Illustration by Hannah Shotkoski

Gone Riding by Sue Ann Porter

Illustration by Hannah Shotkoski
Illustration by Hannah Shotkoski

I wanted to ride in the cool of the night; the fierce daylight overheated my horse and made the saddle uncomfortable. I waited until the sun set before mounting my favorite horse, Smiley. It would begin as any other night of riding, but then my horse would speed up like Secretariat, the American Thoroughbred horse who won the triple crown of racing in 1973.

Smiley stood motionless and allowed me to mount. He began a deliberate gallop, but then charged full speed ahead. My legs tightened as I straddled the horse. Something was missing: there were no reins to hold onto.
I grabbed the animal’s neck with both hands in a desperate attempt to stay in the saddle as I bobbed up and down. My hips and thighs ached with each thump upon the saddle. My fingers grabbed the horse’s mane as I attempted to gain control of the animal’s motions. My chest slammed against his head as I struggled to hold on.
“Stop! Stop!” I cried, but Smiley increased his running and bobbing. What hindered him from stopping? He never did this before.
I ricocheted up; then back down into the saddle. I heard people scream in the distance as we all rode around the circle faster. I wanted to help them as I passed through the sounds of their screams hanging in the air, but I had my own situation to deal with. I clutched the horse’s thick neck, my neck buried in his mane, my chin upon his ear. My horse’s neck obstructed my view of others who clung to their horses.
Strange music mocked me as I rode, becoming louder with each loop around the track. Suddenly my horse stopped.
The last thing I saw as I flew from the horse to the ground below was the carousel operator’s toothless grin.

About the Author

Sue Ann Porter

SueAnn Porter is a two time cancer survivor. She used to be a Computer Programmer, and wrote words for computers. She now uses the computer to write words for people. She enjoys writing Flash Fiction stories, and is now working on a novel and a modern-day commentary. Stay tuned. She lives in Upstate New York with her husband and a very spoiled dog named Bailey. You can visit her at her blog Also, her twitter handle is @SueAnnPorterONE.

 About the Illustrator

Hannah Shotkoski
Hannah Shotkoski

Hannah Shotkoski is a high school junior and she obviously loves to draw.  She most often likes to work in pencil and acrylic paint, but she also uses chalk, markers, and charcoal.  In addition to artwork she loves reading, and hanging out with her friends. You can follow her on Instagram.

Gone Riding is one of the many amazing submissions we have received for the second edition of the literary collection The Machinery. You can read the first edition here.


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