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Impossible Things

by Nadia Rowntree 10 months ago in Mystery
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Sometimes the inexplicable should remain just that.

The first time I saw the bull I was certain it was going to kill me. He was beautiful- and terrifying.

From the tips of the massive horns jutting from his head to his shiny hooves he was pitch black. This creature looked like the sole embodiment of darkness. His pitch-black eyes bored into mine, and I felt the blood run from my face.

I was only 10 at the time.

He stepped closer to me, and everything in my body told me to run- get away, save yourself! But my limbs remained frozen, and the breath caught in my throat. Terror made my heart pound.

He continued moving towards me until he was only a few feet away, and I felt the hot air on my face as he huffed out a breath. I was expecting it to smell rancid, but it didn’t. It smelled like flowers and sunshine and fresh baked cookies and all the things that made my child self happy.

It was so unexpected that I felt some of my fear instantly melt away. I looked at him with a different eye and saw that the black of his coat wasn’t so much one shade of black but iridescent. It shone with all the colors of the rainbow.

The bulls gaze met mine, and in it I saw all the beauty of the night sky. I gasped as I felt a wave of calm wash over me while I looked into his eyes.

I slowly reached a hand up to touch one of his magnificent horns expecting him to pull away, but when he remained perfectly still I ran a finger from the base of the horn to the sharpened tip, shocked at the glass-like smoothness of it. My hand drifted back to my side and in a breathless voice I said, “hello.”

He stared at me a moment longer, then blew another warm breath into my face before he turned around and walked away. I watched the branches part around him and heard the sudden cacophony of forest life return, making me realize I hadn't even noticed it had gone silent. He disappeared from my view, and the feeling finally flooded back into my legs.

“Wait!” I cried as I ran after him, flinging the branches out of my way. I reached the point where I had last seen him, but he was gone.

For a moment I thought I had dreamed it all. Until I looked at the ground and saw a perfectly shaped hoof print in the dirt. I looked up and took one more step into the forest, but then I heard my mother calling my name. I looked over my shoulder across the river, and saw her walking down the trail through the trees.

I sent one last longing look in the direction the bull went, then started picking my way back across the water.

“Andrea, there you are! I’ve been calling you sweetie, lunch is ready,” my mother yelled.

“I’m coming!” I shouted back.

I thought to come back later and look for the bull again, but I never got the chance.

The next day I was in a car accident that killed my best friend. It was my first experience with a tragedy like that, and the next couple years of my life were so consumed by learning how to deal with that grief that I forgot all about the encounter.

The next time I saw him I was 19. I was in college and in need of an escape from my busy life, so I found a hiking trail that would take me away from the bustle of the city. I had been out for about two hours when all at once the entire forest fell silent.

My steps slowed to a stop, until the only sound I could hear was the breath puffing past my lips. I spun in a circle looking for whatever had caused the disruption, and only just caught the gleam of a black horn amongst the trees.

I froze, my eyes widening as I made eye contact with the bull.

“You,” I breathed out. I hadn't remembered the creature until this moment. I stepped towards him at the same time he came to me. His warm breath fanned across my face and it awakened all of the memories of our first meeting. The same sense of calm spread through me, and my tensed muscles relaxed.

I reached a hand up and placed it on his forehead, amazed at the sturdy feel of him. I still half believed that I was imagining this but he felt all too real.

“I don’t understand. What are you? How are you here?”

He didn’t answer me of course, just looked me in the eye and nudged his head into my hand. I let out a huff of laughter.

“Okay then. I guess I shouldn’t have expected you to answer, but I sure wish you could. This is just- bizarre.”

He was more beautiful than I remembered, but there was an air of something unnatural about him. Not just the fact that he was entirely black, but he exuded an energy that made me feel like I was around something that could never be explained.

The snap of a branch behind me had me whirling around, prepared for a yeti or some other mythical creature to wander into my path. But I saw nothing, and when I turned back the bull was walking away.

“No, wait! Come back!” I ran after him, unable to reconcile myself with never seeing him again. But just as when I was younger, he slipped around a tree and by the time I made it there, he was gone.

That night, there was a fire in my apartment building. Since I was still awake thinking about my encounter with the bull, I smelled the smoke. I was just able to get to the fire alarm and get my roommate out before our entire kitchen was ablaze. The firefighters said we were lucky, that we were moments away from being trapped in the room.

But I knew the truth. If that bull hadn’t appeared to me, I could have easily died.

Now at age 27, I can safely say that seeing the bull again fills me with both fear and a strange excitement. It all goes the same as it has before. Me, alone in the woods, and him suddenly appearing. I smile as I run my hand down his neck.

“Hello again. It’s been a while.”

He leans his head into me and I close my eyes with a sigh. I still don’t understand what he is, and I am beginning to think that I never will. I look into his eyes again, hoping to see some kind of answer but all I see in his gaze is the same fathomless black. I feel myself getting lost in him, like I'm floating in space with nothing but peace surrounding me. There are no worries there, no fears. Only an unending sense of calm. Strange, seeing as the only other times I have seen him have been before something tragic happened.

This time when he leaves, I don’t bother chasing after him. I know that nothing I do will stop him. However, once he’s gone I find that most of the peace that he seems to bring with him disappears as well. I am left feeling on edge, worried about what the next day will bring for me.

I’m at a park half an hour from my apartment, and though I find I’m a bit nervous to get on a bus, I have no other options to get home. While I’m waiting at the bus stop I call my mom in the hopes of calming my nerves.

“Hi honey, how are-”

“Is everything okay there? How’s dad? Grandma?”

“They’re all right. Why do you ask? Is everything okay Andrea?”

I breathe a small sigh of relief. While there are still countless things that could happen, my family being safe was my biggest concern.

“Everything’s fine mom. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to worry you. I can see my bus coming, but I’ll see you this weekend still yeah?”

“Of course, your dad is so excited to see you. Have a safe journey, I love you.”

“Love you too.”

I hang up the phone, feeling slightly better but still anxious about what could happen. When the bus pulls into the stop I realize my hands are shaking. I put them in my pockets to try to calm myself.

I perch on the edge of the seat closest to the front of the bus, and can practically feel the anxiety rolling off of me. I notice a few people glancing at me, but I can’t seem to care. My breath is coming quickly, my heart pounding in my chest. As the bus pulls into traffic I look at my watch, anxious to get home.

We've been driving for a few minutes when I notice the driver’s body jerk slightly. My breath catches when his hand flies to his chest. I jump to my feet when a second later his head drops down to the wheel and the entire bus swerves to the left. I'm able to grab a handrail and keep myself standing, but others further down the aisle aren't so lucky. I can hear their screams and the thuds of bodies hitting the ground, but my eyes are glued out the front of the bus.

We've crossed into the other lane of traffic and there are other cars swerving around us, honking horns. My hand is an inch from the steering wheel when the side of the bus slams into the guardrail, throwing me to the ground. My head smacks on the floor when I land, and for a moment my vision darkens.

I reach a hand up to my head and it comes away bloody. My vision is a bit hazy, and I feel dizzy at the sight of my own blood.

I can still hear everyone else screaming and crying. The bus jerks again as a car glances off the front bumper trying to avoid us, and I slowly push myself to my feet. I reach across the unconscious driver and try to unbuckle his seat belt, but his weight leaning over the wheel is hard to move. I look up again and feel my heart stop as I see a transport truck headed straight for us.

I shove the drivers' body back as far as I can and reach over him, my fingers just managing to reach the buckle and undo it. I grab him by his shirt and pull him to the floor. In seconds I am in the seat and pulling the steering wheel to the right just as the transport passes us. The sound of screeching metal is loud in my ears as the side of the bus scrapes along the truck.

Dust flies all around us as I pull the bus onto the shoulder of the road and hit the brakes. For a moment I just sit there, staring out the windshield and breathing hard. The feel of blood running down my face has me coming back to myself. I look over my shoulder and see people scattered in the aisle, bloodied and tear stricken.

My thoughts race as I think about everything. It seems I somehow have a constant portent in the shape of an impossible black bull. Its twice now that he’s somehow saved my life. I refuse to believe that he is the cause of the terrible things that have happened. Having someone to blame wouldn’t make life easier anyhow. But having someone to thank? That could make a world of difference.


About the author

Nadia Rowntree

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