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  • Writer's pictureE. Paige Burks

[Writing Prompt] Once Upon a Time…

This week’s prompt comes from the Promptuarium. Sorry for being lazy the last few weeks! If nothing else, there will be a writing prompt every Friday.


The actual prize didn’t matter. It was just a chunk of gold metal, or silver or whatever they were made out of these days.

No, what mattered was the roar of battle: the scent of leather and lathered hide, the snort of her mount, the sound of hoofbeats in the sand.

You’ll just get hurt, little girl.

She adjusted the goggles across her eyes, feeling the strap of her helmet digging into her chin. Her horse quivered beneath her, straining against the gate that kept them still. She leaned into the black stallion’s neck, grabbing a fistful of his hair.

A countdown had begun, the ring of a starting bell muted as the gate flew open. Her horse was all muscle as he plunged forward, her heart racing as he nearly unseated her. She realized she was holding her breath as he charged forward, taking the rail.

I wonder if you ride as well as you talk shit.

Her vision was a tunnel, all that was important was the stretch of sand before her. The dim sound of the crowd, the racing beats of the other horses; she couldn’t hear them. The wind in her face nearly took her breath away, and she had to remind herself to breathe as the black stallion carried her across the quarter-mile stretch.

His legs were strong and sure, his strides long and even and quick. He pulled away from the pack, leaving her competition in his dust.

Royals don’t belong on the track.

Her horse surged as he rounded the last bend, her chest tightening. He could feel her excitement as the finish line came into view, and he carried her harder and faster, like a charger into a fray, fearless and strong.

The cheering around her was deafening as her horse crossed the line, an announcer yelling in disbelief and excitement over the loud speakers. Her horse slowed finally, his body still pulling against her reins, his legs still yearning to run. Only when he came to a stop did she dare look up at the clock.

You can’t win.

Her horse had beaten out the rest by five seconds, leaving her rival to lead the rest of the pack. Her legs were shaking as she kicked off her stirrups, gasping as if she’d just run the quarter mile race herself. She turned her head, looking over the people who crowded around to congratulate her to meet the gaze of her rival.

Satisfaction filled her as their eyes met, his scowl fading into acceptance. He bowed his head in defeat.

She drew a ragged breath as a wreath was dropped around her horse’s neck.

Wild hearts never lose.

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