their teeth, heads scrubbing backwards, forwards. Their numbers enlarge as Paftoo looks at them: tag #55, #62, #64, #58, #60.
The big one, #55, throws his head up and looks at him. The others do the same, as if the big horse operates them. When they spot Paftoo they take a few faltering steps backwards. But #55 stands his ground and gives Paftoo a stare. Not a hostile stare. It’s a look of enquiry; interested in the next move. Good, he isn’t afraid.
Paftoo doesn’t go any closer. He shakes the hay into drifts on the grey grass. Then he sits down to wait.
Was this what he did to tame Storm? He doesn’t know. Tickets probably knows. He seems to remember everything. When Paftoo talks to him it is like hearing echoes.
The idea prickles in Paftoo’s mind. His own memory is surrounded by a wall. Everything beyond it is blank, but sometimes he hears something – a shout, a sound. But Tickets’s memory has no wall.
That must mean Tickets never goes for a sharing. Of course, how could he? He’s rooted to the booth.
And Tickets doesn’t even have a cloud. Paftoo has never seen a bod without one. Even the horses have them. Perhaps it’s because Tickets doesn’t get scores. Intrepid Guests don’t befriend him. And never getting shared means he’s never submerged in the group. He goes on for months, years, building memories. Plus other qualities.
After a while, the horses come close, heads low, browsing. They pick up strands of hay, each swivelling a watchful ear to Paftoo. The markings on their legs and faces are moon white.
The big horse is leading as usual. From Paftoo’s