Its been raining. The ground is weak. Maintaining footing is hard, land slipping and collapsing under force.
3 children from the villager have gone missing. Last seen on the village outskirts villagers fear the children have wandered into the hills and with the conditions, they may have slipped into the deep crevasses which lurk there.
Search parties are mobilized. The scatter amongst the hills and the sand flats. But the rain keeps falling. Their horses struggle with the mire and soon the searches are carried on carried out on foot. The sludge bogs them down, the rescue mission becomes strained, taking weeks rather than days. Then the inevitable happens. The bodies of the children are found buried under a wall of mud. Their bodies are dug from the sediment, coated in dirt and taken back to the village which is plunged into mourning.
Serene in death, no hint of their oblivion, the washed bodies of the children are laid out in their home, mother and father forlorn crying over their departed angels. They have to be pulled away by the other villagers as sky darkens.
Night falls. A haze has blotted out the stars, waves of raindrops strafe the landscape, already treacherous terrain now almost impassable. Yet in the deluge the gaucho stands atop the mesa. Rain pools in its sombrero as the drenched poncho clings to the hollow rib cage. Rainwater zigzags down the ashen wraith and the sallow horse as the gaucho focuses on the village through the cloudburst. A pull on the reins and the descent begins.
Whereas other riders have found the terrain impossible to navigate the gaucho manages it with ease. Even as its mount slides down the hill sides its eerie grace remains uncompromised. The rain does not falter and the flats are reduced to sludge yet the gaucho pushes on, the horse sloughing through. Mud slides off sallow hooves, reapplied as they return to the ground.
The village has been reached and on the cobble path, a familiar rattle echoes through the deserted streets. The parents are desperate to watch over their children, other villagers holding them back for what they assume is their own safety.
The gaucho arrives at the house, leaving the horse outside briefly stroking its skull before opening the door to the house. Its attention turns to the three corpses. The gaucho raises its hand releasing the children’s souls from their sinewy entombment. Previous experience has informed the gaucho that children’s souls are different to those of adults. Once free the children revert to innocence, running around the room, gleefully playing with each other. The gaucho simply sits, allowing the kids to play. Eventually though the time comes when play must stop and they must leave. The gaucho rises and by simply raising its hand gets the attention of the children and leads them outside.
One by one they are lifted onto the horse. Being children they are soon playing again. The observing villagers are confused. They cannot see the souls yet witness the gaucho picking up something that to them is not there. The parents however have a sense of what is happening and see how carefully the gaucho treats the invisible spaces. Their sadness abates, even if it is just for a moment.
The gaucho does not get back on the horse. It walks to the horse’s head and once again offers the slightest stroke before tugging on the reins. The horses ambles forward, the children riding on its back. The gaucho does not lead the horse but remains level with its mount. The children keep on playing and every once in a while the gaucho turns to keep them from being too rowdy and if the situation gets out of hand, a powerful shake of the finger. But the children soon resume their play, the process repeating.
The rain still falls. As the rider exits the village, an alabaster glint fades into the rainstorm, heading towards the hills.
Feedback is welcomed. I honestly feel that the 4th paragragh doesn’t work all that well and later on the word choice “innocence” isn’t the best one.