The Rider is hooded as hellebore; the eye slips from him, too easily. He passes unseen. His own eyes are blue, should he wish it: disemboweling, purgative. Let that gaze enter; it will stop your heart.

The slender stem, the nodding head, coy down-gazing under the cowl of petals, purple-flecked. There's poison there. It reddens the skin, like desire.

His hair is the colour of foxes, thick.

He offers the bread. It is not taken. He bites into it as into the neck of a living thing. And the smith pulls the boy away from the snatching hand: foolish, foolish.

He rides away. The horse's tail streams behind like long black roots.