The Night Rider by Karen Schauber
You seize the stallion by its mane. Waves of titian hair cascade from poll to withers. Nose nudging, a purr of warm breath washing over your face. It's what you know. It's what you remember.
You hoist your leg over his long torso and settle in circus-style. The beast pulsing with energy. A smouldering energy worming its way inside of you. An impulse, feverish and giddy, awakening. It's what you know. It's what you dream about.
Strands of flaming hair clump in your fist. You press your body closer into the beast. Dig your heels into his barrelled chest. You move effortlessly, in tandem. Thundering hoofs spark torrents of milky way. The long black tresses whipping in the slipstream are your own. The wind is wild. The wind is fierce. It's what you know. It's what you crave.
You leave the city behind. Its depravity and corruption, its bustle and alienation. A metropolis filled with dead zones. Ruins that have kept you caged, your soul crying out for more. The night is awash in a filmy haze. Air turning sweet with manna grass, bull thistle, lavender and sage. The tableau a shade of eerie. You flow like water, chart as a comet. —The winding arpeggios of the erhu, kora, and dudek, envelope you in an hallucinatory splendour. Liquid Senegalese melodies and gauzy synthesizer tones transport you, open your mind's eye. The calliope pulsing and pushing its hypnotic tempo. —You are mercury, rising. You are equine. You are free. It's what you know. It is who you are.
For an instant, you look back. The carousel is spinning. Its neon lights still aglow......
Ahead, the neverlands.
Karen Schauber's work appears in sixty-five international literary magazines, journals and anthologies, including Bending Genres, Cabinet of Heed, Cease Cows, Ekphrastic Review, Fiction Southeast, New World Writing, Spelk; and a 'Best Microfiction' nomination. 'The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings' (Heritage House, 2019), her first editorial/curatorial flash fiction anthology, achieved 'Silver' in The Miramichi Reader's ‘Very Best Book Award' for Short Fiction, 2020. Schauber curates Vancouver Flash Fiction -an online resource hub, and Miramichi Flash -a monthly literary column. In her spare time, she is a seasoned family therapist.