Part 1 – In the Beginning, It Began
By Jeffrey Kieviet
Based on an Idea by Jeffrey Kieviet & Casey Moriarty
Dark Horse wasn’t a proud man. His father & grandmother tried desperately to instill in him the values of their tribe. He was reared on a reservation and taught the ceremonies and traditions that had once made their people great, before the white devil had come to these lands and burnt them all to ash. But that had happened a long time ago, back when his great-great grandfather, the Dark Horse for whom he was named, had fought alongside his brethren to preserve their way of life. They had warred against generals & armies, taken bows and arrows against bullets and gunpowder, and traded life for death.
But that was a long time ago, man. It was the groovy 60s and it was a time for peace and love. Joseph “Dark Horse” Sigo was known as “Joey” by his friends, and they thought it was cool he was an Indian. Native American, whatever politically correct term the government was throwing around this week. He appreciated his heritage, but didn’t live in the past, wasn’t stuck in the “old ways” as his grandmother put it. He liked to go to rock concerts and listen to music, sit in the grass and communicate with nature. Wasn’t that what his ancestors had done? Wasn’t he just finding a new way to live?
So he’d left his home when he was old enough to hold down a steady job. And sure, some people gave him a hard time, some people called him “Red Man” and other moronically cruel names. But he just let them slide off his back. He knew he was good; he didn’t need to be proud or boastful. He settled down in a small town in Minnesota, worked the grill at a diner and lived a happy and content life. Joey Dark Horse didn’t retire a rich man, but he’d made enough to be comfortable, fit in a little traveling and vacation time.
Time passed. His age nearing 70, Joey made a long awaited trip to Florida. Miami, a place where the old can be young and the young can be irresponsible and half naked. There had always been a small hope to relocate to a bright, sunny world to live out his golden years. Minnesota would get so cold and dreary sometime, it could feel like death was just around the corner. Little did he know that death was waiting for him on a warm beach just south of Cutler Bay.
Enjoying his quiet time in Florida, Joey decided to go horseback riding along the beach. He found a small pleasure riding company that would let him ride for the day (unsupervised. He didn’t want to have to hang back with a bunch of plump grey-hairs who yelped every time the horse began to trot). Growing up with horses, he knew how to ride and gallop and jump, but it was exhilarating to do all of it so near the ocean. His horse was a large but slender black mare named Sea Wind; its coat was silky and shiny. Its powerful legs dug into the sand and trotted along the shoreline. The horse even loved splashing in the growing tide and both rider and beast were soaked as the sun began to sink into the horizon.
As they made their way back toward the city, toward the small ranch where the horses were held, a man stumbled onto the beach in front of them. He was a grizzled old man, so dissimilar to the plain and well kept Joey that he seemed to represent a social chasm: what would have happened had Dark Horse led a darker life. The old man’s beard was unkempt and flowed in gnarled strands to cover his chicken neck of loose skin. What little hair the man had was graying in a way that the original black just made it look dirty. There was a brown paper bag in his hand that fell with a wet clink when the man shuffled in the sand. Joey reigned up on the horse and asked if the man needed some help.
“I don’t need nuthin’ from no injun,” the old man slurred and belched.
Tired and not wanting to add an unfortunate blemish to an otherwise entirely enjoyable vacation, Joey turned and tried to continue up the beach. The man stepped swiftly in front of Sea Wind.
“Woah, there pardner,” his speech was barely intelligible above the sound of the waves. “You ain’t gittin’ out o’ here like that. Maybe you wouln’ mind sparin’ a few dollars so a man can have a drink. You know what they say ’bout the sea? Water, water everywhere, but not a drop ta drink.” He made a sound somewhere between a gurgle and a hiccup.
“I did not have any money with me,” said Dark Horse, his deep vibrato cutting through the cooling air. “And you look like you have had plenty to drink already.” Tentatively, he touched his heels into his horses side.
“I don’ much like the sound of your tone, boy.” The irony of the man’s age was not lost on Dark Horse. “Why don’ you climb down an’ help a fella out.”
“I thought you didn’t need any help.” Joey’s calm face betrayed a smirk that teased his lips. He was ready to go back to his hotel and call it a night.
“Smart ass.” The old man was getting irritable. “Maybe I oughta pull you down and see what kinda help you got in your pockets. Maybe there’s a wallet you can spare for a fella like me, ‘specially on a night like tonight, seein’ as it’s my weekend an’ all.”
It all happened so suddenly. Dark Horse tried to get his black mare to mosey on, but the old crudger jumped at them and spooked the horse. Had the sand not given way beneath it’s hooves, maybe the horse would have been able to control itself, but it reared high and the old man managed to get a hand tangled in the reins. While the old man couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds soaking wet and having-not-yet-flossed, the combination of the shift of the sand, the scared Joey on its back, and the toppling of the cretin coiled in the reins, the horse tumbled and collapsed, with Dark Horse in a broken pile underneath her. The old man managed to slide away, free from the beast, but Joey felt his body pop, everything crushed and beginning to shut down.
But this was not the end of Dark Horse. As he felt the life leaving his body, he felt himself grow in size and stature. He felt power and strength and, with a tremendous shudder, he began to climb to his feet. But his feet were not his own; they were no longer even feet. They were hooves. In a wave of unreal panic he stamped about, pummeling his already lifeless body beneath his enormous equestrian weight. Dark Horse had somehow survived as Sea Wind, now what little was left of the man had become a horse. As he inhaled the cooling evening air, the irony that he was now, in truth, a dark horse, was not lost on him. Dark Horse than heard a loud retching sound.
Turning to look over his massive shoulders, Dark Horse saw the old man vomiting into the rising tide. Whether it was because of the booze or the shock of the dead man in the sand, he could not tell. The dead man in the sand. That was him, Joseph Dark Horse Sigo. Suddenly he was filled with anger, red hot rage coursed through his half-ton body. Slowly, Dark Horse made his way toward the bum, his pants beginning to fall down his legs as they became weighted with sea water. The old man looked up at him with woozy eyes, barely registering the horse, no idea there was a man trapped inside.
A blinding light flashed into Dark Horses eyes.
“What’s going on down here?” A voice called from the distance.
Looking towards the source of the light, Dark Horse saw two men approaching with flash lights aimed at himself and the old man. Then, tentatively, the light left the horse and found the bloody mass of what-was-once Joey on the ground.
Both lights swam up to catch the horse, clicking of guns being released from their holsters were followed by shouts of, “Freeze! Police!” Were they yelling at the homeless man? Did they know he was at fault for this atrocity? Or did they think the horse would understand; could they have realized there was a man behind the squinting chestnut eyes?
It didn’t matter. In all of the excitement and unfamiliar with his new body, Dark Horse reared and let out a fretful whiny that was swallowed by the sound of crashing waves. Guns were fired, Dark Horse did not know who the bullets were intended for, but just as many found the old man as found his behemoth body, thick neck, and long face.
The horse tumbled once again, only this time falling into the water with a splash. Dark Horse, Sea Wind, Joey Sigo was swept away by the waves, the mystical event of man and horse washed out to sea in the reddening sunset. But this too, was not the end of Dark Horse. No, not even close. This was just the beginning.
To Be Continued…
*This story is not my own, this story is all of ours. With the tremendous success of films like Sharktopus, Sharknado, and the upcoming Ghost Shark, I feel only a community can correctly tell the tale of Shark Horse. So whoever wants to write Part 2, as long as it’s posted on Primitive Screwheads, my blessing is with you. And may God have mercy on your soul.