They called him the wordsmith, for he painted pictures within their minds by using words to draw the images they wanted to see.
“Make me a picture of happiness,” they’d ask, and he’d tell of golden evening skies, of flowers and laughing children and warm, loving homes. He’d tell of the crippled horse that could walk again, of watching him run through deep green pastures. He’d write of perfect horses doing perfect things in a perfect world, and they would feel happy and walk away, smiling to themselves.
But they’d be back in a few days and say, “Tell me about love,” and he’d write about that special horse, the one that always comes, that does whatever is asked, that leans his head over your shoulder and hugs you. They would feel love and smile and nod to themselves and walk away, thanking him for his words.
He’d write for them, for his readers, for they wanted to be sad and happy and feel love and pain and anger and all the thousands of emotions that humans create within their minds, but sometimes, late at night, when life was way to quiet, the wordsmith would look at his own mental pictures. He’d write about the real things he saw, about the real emotions he felt. For the most part, he’d keep those words to himself, never sharing his deepest thoughts, never letting others see those images that lay within his mind.
When the readers wanted reality, he’d tell of the seizures, of the neglected, starving horses. He’d walk through the courtroom, let them hear the excuses, but he wouldn’t say anything about his tear soaked pillow, of the nightmares, of the anger that built up within him. He’d tell the readers about the slaughter of horses, but he’d never reveal the vivid horror of seeing the kill bolt strike time and time again, of the blood and screams and agony of trapped and murdered horses. He couldn’t do that, couldn’t bring himself to share the words.
He’d write scenes about the passing of a horse, of all the horse meant to those who loved him, of loving and tears and hope for an eternal Heaven, and he’d share it with his readers but in the dark hours he’d write of seeing the bleached skull of Death, of seeing the essence of life disappear in his hands. He’d cry endless tears at the thought of losing one more, one more perfect horse, but he’d never let his readers know the truth of his feelings.
For they saw him as strong, in control, the master of a ship of horses and for most of them, he was as they pictured – the warrior gone to battle to save the lives of perfect horses. He’d rant of injustices, rave at ignorance, preach compassion to all living things and ask others to join him, to help in the fight to stop the slaughter, to end the abuse and neglect and to share their lives with the animals that walk upon our common earth. He’d create the mental images with his words, and place them before others and they would find truth in the images and understand and offer to help fight the battles.
One night he let his guard down and someone saw into the darkness of his mind. He was frightened and alone and fighting monsters when someone looked inside him and rushed to help. Someone fought with him and pushed the monsters away, picked him up and carried him to a safe place and said words that he had never heard before. “We are all fighting the same monsters, but no one wants to talk about it. These are the unspoken secrets, the worlds we want to share, but we’re too afraid to let others know.”
“Are you saying that others have the same nightmares?” the wordsmith asked.
“Not everyone, but enough of us. What you write makes us afraid. You make us hear the screams of the animals. You are not alone,” the voice said. “You think your readers don’t know what lies deep within you? They know, for at times you write too deeply. It spills out and mixes with those darkest secrets within us all. Your words paint the pictures of our nightmares. You wonder why we stay silent. It is because you have forced us to face that which we don’t want to see.”
“Then what I write is wrong!” he cried.
“No,” the voice said. “It is what we must hear, the pictures we must see, to make us know that all is not well. If wordsmiths like you don’t write, if we don’t see the pictures you paint, then even the unicorns will die.”
The wordsmith pulled the keyboard to him and began typing once again, except this time he let the darkness walk into the light. He wrote of his pain, he wrote of love, he wrote of horses as never before. I am not alone, he thought. He prayed that it would be so, that others would understand. He wanted to tell them what he really saw and, if they did have the same images, he wanted to know, needed to know, for his life depended on it and the lives of the horses depended on him.
“There was once a horse,” he wrote, and, as he started to type, the images painted themselves upon the screen of his computer.