Galloping Stories

Written by Charli Mills

Charli Mills, a born buckaroo, makes literary art accessible at She writes about the veteran spouse experience and women forgotten to history.

March 2, 2016

Galloping StoriesWhoa! Pull back on the reins and consider this galloping energy that has us running the fences of our lives. Maybe it’s the season, or maybe its a season of galloping. From the ranch perspective, it’s horsey energy.

This week writers considered the many ways in which we gallop through life. As we have come to expect, writers have many different perspectives even running the fences.

The following stories are based on the February 24, 2016 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about galloping.


Panic by Carol Campbell

Time was running out for Shane. Panic would set in quickly so she had to work hard and finish before the inevitable paralysis set upon her. Now it had become the fuel that drove her to gallop ahead despite the grip of her condition.

Trauma, a fickle storm that assaults her being from every side. Love for the wild though has pierced through that veil and transmuted her fears into empowerment. These wellsprings of energy last for a limited time but that’s okay. She will finish her garden. Fill it with flowers and veggies. The survivor will thrive.


Galloping by Jane Dougherty

The train lurches at an unvarying pace. The same countryside trundles past the window, same fields, rivers, woods. Identical lines of trees border roads she’s sure run faster than this train. In her head she gallops, fast as a mythological horse, flying winged galloper, eating up the cloud miles that separate the two halves of her heart. In her head she howls with excitement and apprehension.

City approaches. Her hooves slow. What if he isn’t there? When the winged train flies into the station, she clings to the last ticking shreds of incertitude, reluctant to risk hope for death.


The Slaughter by Pete Fanning

Across the table, a hazel-eyed predator sat in my wife’s chair.

I pulled my hair. Had she always been this good? Smarter? Ruthless? Cool as the slab of marble between us?

The kids were asleep, the room pulsed with pressure. I leaned forward for a closer look while she took a casual sip of wine.

Then I saw it.

The horse. My knight galloped to an open square. My thumb lingered. I saw the graveyard of casualties at her elbow, a smile lurking in the corners of her mouth. Yet Sir Hasty nobly charged ahead.

She pounced.

“Check mate.”


The Final Gallop by Irene Waters

Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y.

The noise of the gallop grew louder. Breathless, the sound of the beating hooves reverberated through her head until she felt that she was sitting astride one of the horses advancing rapidly toward her. They were a beautiful sight with all legs airborne, a momentary touchdown and then airborne again. Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y, Ken -tuck – y.

“What’ll I put on the death certificate?”

“Long standing gallop rhythm, terminal heart failure.”


Escape by Kerry E.B. Black

The fear twisted Carleen’s insides, held her fast like a rabbit in a snake’s thrall. Her heart threatened to escape its cage or batter itself to a pulp. Chills and terror forced her every hair to stand on end. Gasps for breath sounded as ragged as the trails of her fleeing tears.

She took the tears as inspiration. They fled the horror her eyes beheld. She willed leaden muscles into compliance, giving an internal pep talk.

His hands felt like sandpaper, stripping her innocence. With a kick, she launched from his grip. Hair streamed behind her as she escaped.


The Gilbert Gardens Gallop by Roger Shipp

Having purchased the tickets three months in advance I couldn’t wait for May 7th.

From the early age of nine, I had been a landscaper for the local greenways. Three of us would rake bunkers and collect refuse from the rough. In exchange for unclaimed greens’ tee times… Now I was the First Assistant to the Lead Horticulturist for Viette Nurseries here in Arizona.

The fifteen foot tall pillars of the organ pipe cacti and the multi-variations of flowers in the hedgehog cacti awaited me at the Mt. Phiffer’s Appaloosa Range- the third stop on the Gilbert Gardens Gallop.


The Hunt by Anthony Amore

Love seat and oversized chair shoved into the hall, both cats circled around the Christmas tree to the right and I broke left. The dog barked uselessly disrupting the hunt. Breath held, hearts pounding, eyes scanning the room’s horizon: drapes, window sill, end table, lamp. The mouse was here, I could feel him. Ornaments jingled, the cats stared up into the live pine their tails twitching.

“You know it’s not in there,” my wife said after I’d dragged the tree out onto the frigid porch. I shook my head convinced, until he peeked from behind the purple drapes, twitching.


Heart of the Matter by Geoff Le Pard

‘This health check is routine for a woman of your age…’

Mary growled inwardly.

‘… a blood test, a stool sample, BP, heart and lungs, your BMI score.’

The doctor wrapped the blood test band around her bicep and studied the read out. ‘147 over 87. That’s rather high, Mrs North. Have there been any changes in your lifestyle recently?’

Mary knew. The change sat on her bedside table. A letter from the private detective she and Rupert her brother had employed in Ireland to track down her sister. It was enough to make anyone’s heart start to race.


Racing to Calm by Oliana Kim

time bleeds

she reads
embedded themes
in her mind

this and that
them and they
him and her

tick tock
time lingers
the silence
lasting forever

full moon crosses over
dips beyond her view

time crawling warily
like an idle worm

her racing mind duels
inflated tales fuel
upsetting views
tormenting and cruel

time mocks
galloping thoughts
racing all night long
thoughts cannot shut down
her lifelong song

galloping wanes to a trot

sitting by the window
mind finally slows
admiring early dawn


California Night Mare by Pat Cummings

Deep in sleep, I am enjoying a pleasant dream, galloping down a beach, bareback on a white horse with a scarlet mane. The slow-motion rhythm of its pounding hooves speeds up suddenly, bringing my heart to a matching gallop.

With a start, I bounce from the dream to irritable semi-consciousness. The horse’s hoof-beats have transformed into the rattle of the bed’s bookcase headboard against the wall. “Darn it, hon,” I grumble, eyes still closed, “Can’t you just slide into bed instead of bouncing around?”

Distant from the doorway, a shaky voice answers. “I’m not in bed. It’s an earthquake!”


The Guides by Sarah Brentyn

She’d always welcomed the voices.

Though Greta knew not to let on she was hearing people speak inside her head, she didn’t think it was a bad thing. They were angels. Guides.

Greta wasn’t a pretty girl and didn’t “grow into her looks”, as her mum used to say. But friends often described her as having a “Mona Lisa smile”.

It was the voices that formed her knowing grin. They moved with her in a steady rhythm, galloping alongside her own thoughts.

Until that one day.

The voices grew urgent, aggressive. They became a stampede that trampled her mind.


Horse Sense by Bill Engelson

We downed the dregs of coffee and broke camp.

“You don’t seem to want to get to Union City any time soon, Mr. Dobbs?”

Aggie Runacre was proving to be a sharp observer.

“Cities,” I said, with low feeling.

“Yup,” she answered, with a nod.

Dobbs recalled his younger self. Those days, he’d be chargin’ out of these dusty hills hell bent for whatever awaited. Every moment gettin’ somewhere was a moment wasted.

“I do find myself takin’ my own good time,” Aggie said, “even when I want something ended.”

“Well, Miss Runacre, lets enjoy our saunter, shall we.”


Flash Fiction by Kate Spencer

Zenia galloped around the field, the man light as feather on her back. He was brimming with happiness, with his hair blowing in the wind, his back held high. Expertly he spurred her on. Her saddle bell jingled softly.

Heather and Jennie watched from the stables.

“He’s just like a young stallion himself, riding that horse,” Heather said.

“In his heart he is,” replied Jennie. “I can see why Gramps likes coming here.”

Zenia changed direction and headed toward the maple grove in the distance.

“Nooo! Heather! Do something!”

“No worries. Zenia knows he’s blind. He’s safe with her.”


Horse Play by Sherri Matthews

All afternoon it took, setting up the jumps with anything she could find for her horse arena.

Pawing at the ground with her booted feet, tossing her mane of long hair behind her, she snorted then neighed, ready for action.


Trotting slowly, she built up to a canter and then she jumped, sending pieces of wood, plastic and bricks flying across the grass.

Jumping wasn’t for her, she decided.

It was in the gallop that she truly became the horse she wanted to be and she ran for it, ignoring her mother’s cries to come in for dinner.


Dogs Gallop, Too by Paula Moyer

When Jean and Sam got a Labrador Retriever, they marveled at Ella’s gallop. How she loved retrieving that ball!

Eventually, Jean learned when Ella was done. As a two-year-old, her eager hind-legs-then-forelegs kawhoomp continued for 20 or 40 throws, depending on the weather – the cooler, the better. Then Ella shifted to a polite trot, as if she were indulging her owner. If Jean threw any more balls after that, Ella would ignore them.

Ella would turn nine in June, and galloped for 10 balls, at the most.

But the kawhoomps were still graceful, still sprang from a full heart.


Galloping Mind by Anne Goodwin

Synapses ablaze, ideas breed ideas, plans spawn plans. Brain fresh as a daisy, head clear as a bell, pardon my cliché, but I’ve got to move on. No time to eat and sleep is for wimps; lying down is like pressing the accelerator pedal on my mind. Migrant crisis? World peace? Global warming? Got them sorted before breakfast, with the Man-Booker and Nobel prizes in the bag.

Then wham! Floored! As if they’ve pulled the plug on my vitality, wiped my hard drive. Do I want tea or coffee? Leave me alone, that’s too hard to decide.


After the Thunderous Rains
(a 99 word haibun) by Jules Paige

The music that is spring is trying to erupt. It is evident though
that winter is still holding the reigns of this galloping season.
Just last night we had a tornado warning for our area. Today,
without much sun, bundled, Little Miss and I took the uphill
route around the block. She running most of the way. And I
thinking; good, she’ll have a nice nap after lunch.

Insisting on her standard fair…barely able to finish; cookies
would have to wait wait until she woke up.

prancing toward dreams
barely awake for her food
the child nodded off


Walking Partners by Larry LaForge

Edna continually checked her smartwatch for pace, distance and heart rate. Ed took in the sights and enjoyed the scenery.

They started out together, but it didn’t last.

Ed was on a walk; Edna turned it into a gallop. They separated as Edna picked up her pace to meet her daily workout goals.

At home afterwards, Edna fretted over the slower time to cover her target distance. Ed cooled down and relaxed with a glass of iced tea.

Edna vowed to do better tomorrow. Ed looked forward to another stroll.

“Great walking with you,” Ed said with a chuckle.


Flash Fiction by Rachel Poli

They galloped alongside together, one going faster than the other. People passed them by, but they kept to their own pace happy as could be.

“Wait for me!” James called.

Amanda slowed her pace looking over her shoulder. “Hurry up. Everyone is at the other end already!”

“I’m… trying!” James huffed.

When they made it to the other side, their gym teacher called out to the class, “Great! Now gallop back to me.”

James grumbled. “I hate this class.”

Yet, he continued the exercises as everyone else already made their way back to the other end of the gym.


Tennessee Saddlers by Charli Mills

Sarah closed the record book. Cobb’s latest negotiation with Mr. Majors looked good – on paper. Sarah mistrusted the smooth-talker, but Cobb swanked about, having negotiated the sale of Alexander Tennessee saddlebreds to this ostensible “pony express” endeavor. He’d receive a handsome fee from his Uncle Hamilton Alexander, and Rock Creek station would become a relay for the mail carrying scheme. Sarah had doubts it’d succeed. Walking out onto the store porch she looked across the bridge to the Tennessee ponies. Of their ability to gallop like spring wind she had no doubt. It was time to test ride one.


The Galloping Little Man by Rowena Newton

The Cathedral was packed.

“Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They’re all precious…”

Suddenly, the unholy little terror broke free from his mother’s grasp.

“Gallop! Gallop! Gallop!” He squealed, charging down the aisle riding his horsey. Even overpowering the organ, his clip-clopping sandals thundered over the floorboards.

Heads turned! Eyes glared!

Exhausted, his mother unconsciously staggered in his wake. Number Two on the way, she was no longer “Princess” but “Mummy”. No more putting her feet up!

“Such is life!” her mother always says.

And yet…!

And yet…!


Hunger by Ruchira Khanna

“Keep the change!” he commanded as he twitched his eyebrows in disgust.

“No Sir. These belong to you.” Harry extended his brown hands towards him that contained a few coins.

“Sheesh! then just drop them here.” Mr. Silva continued his journey as he spat those words.

Harry stared at the metallic money in bewilderment. The twinkle in them was dull as compared to the glimmer in his eyes.

With no customers in sight, he gathered his boot shining accessory and galloped to the nearby bakery. He was thrilled that today he will satisfy his hunger and sleep in serenity.


Deadline Daydreams by Ann Edall-Robson

Get it done! Get it done! The deadline looms with the end of the day. The pressure is on with every tick of the clock.

No warning, no preamble and no help. Demands that take the mind to a dimension of near explosion. For what? Someone else will look good. Get the accolades.

Screw it! Life is too damn short to always make others shine. Time to bask in your own glow. Walk out the door. Do what you want. Your forever dream beckons.
The what if daydreams propel you through the ‘must get it done’ vortex.


Market Day by Norah Colvin

I heard

as I sat curled with a book

the thundering of hooves

the snorting of nostrils

the jangle of stirrups.

I felt anxious.

I saw

as I looked through the window

the horse at the gate

the rider on the path

the bag in his hand.

I felt excited.

I smelled

As I opened the bag

The freshness of bread

The sweetness of apples

The promise of coffee.

I felt famished.

I felt

As I savoured my lunch

The crunchiness of crusts

The crispness of apple

The warming of coffee.

I felt satisfied.

Yum! Fresh produce.

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  1. Sherri

    Whoa! Another fantastic compilation Charli…thank you!

    • Charli Mills

      Yeehaw! It certainly is!

      • Sherri


  2. Rachel

    Wow, lots of great stories!

    • Charli Mills

      Glad you could be a part of them!

      • Rachel

        Thank you!

  3. denmaniacs4

    Some lovely work here.

    • Charli Mills

      Including yours!

  4. Norah

    What a diverse collection. I think everyone galloped off in their own direction. There are some great stories here. I didn’t intend for mine to be included, but thank you for doing me the honour.

    • Charli Mills

      Got to include your galloping creativity!

      • Norah

        Thank you, Charli. You are very kind. 🙂

  5. roweeee

    Thanks once again, Charli. These weekly posts are doing me so much good and it’s really interesting to read such a diversity of responses.
    Now, I’m off to think about the library xx Rowena

    • Charli Mills

      Happy to hear that! I look forward to your library flash. You bring such interesting perspectives on the prompt!

      • roweeee

        Thank you, Charli. I do try to think laterally about the topics and being Australian, the lifestyle here is quite different. Even the seasons are out of synch!

      • Charli Mills

        Even out of sync, we can make something collective. Amazing, really!

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