Breakfast at the Farm

The magic continues! In the latest installment of our winning My Little Pony Writing Contest entries (if you missed the magic, go here and here.) Today, we present the flash piece “Paco” by Winona Leon. Photo, above: OakleyOriginals



Riding Paco makes my legs melt like wax. Beneath me, I hear his body move like an insolent child’s heartbeat. Tense and excited, he unfurls his legs and then stomps on the ground. His gait feels so light that it doesn’t take much to imagine that we’re flying. It’s because of his paso llano, proof of his proud heritage as a Peruvian Paso. I can imagine those who must have brought these gravity-defying stallions across the arid deserts. Poor stallions: horses that were meant for flight were confined to sugar and cotton plantations because of their strong-willed endurance. It was almost too late until the Peruvian people remembered the importance of these passionate and elegant creatures to their culture.

I’ve never forgotten. After my grandparents purchased him, I quickly discarded my drawers of Barbies and My Little Pony in order to spend time learning to ride. Oh, Paco, my Francisco. I think that he must dream vividly in color, like me.

Usually, I am not afraid of Paco. We often ride together bareback, and I use his mane as my reins. It is Dulcinea sweet, to have such a companion also eager to escape and explore.

But now, he knocks his head back impatiently, and I feel unsure. He bites at flies and will not listen to my demands. When we run, it is too fast. I yield him to stop, slow down, “there, settle, boy,” but he only moves faster. We run past the arena and into the grassy pasture. When we crash through the wire fence, I still can’t help but clutch the reins. Barbed wire ruthlessly slices against my legs and arms. I’m barely conscious as I struggle to hold on, thinking, we’re falling, falling. Icarus, you’ve gone too far. But in the end, it is only me who falls. The ground catches me with arms made of the cruel sharp ends of dead grass and agave lechuguilla.

When my grandparents come for me, I can only ask, “Is Paco all right?”

They look confused, but I understand once I see a brown fleck still sailing through the unfenced pastures beyond our acre. The speck grows smaller and smaller as Paco travels onward, perhaps, meeting the gods.

Later that evening, a neighbor finally catches Paco. This time I will not wait for him. None of my bones are snapped. Nothing will scar. Yet, the taste of betrayal is sharp and hurts more than any physical injury could. He has left me, and there is no room for forgiveness. My grandmother brings Paco in like a prisoner. His South American heritage now hangs around his neck like chains, and his coat is matted, wire still caught around the neck and flank. In that moment, I cannot help but think we tasted infinity together. But Paco had been set on immortality. I watch with sad, knowing eyes while his blood seeps like the sunlight.

Winona Leon

Winona Leon


Winona Leon currently studies creative writing and fine arts
at the University of Southern California. She also serves as
Fiction Editor and Co-Founder of Fractal Literary Magazine
and works with both Kaya Press and Gold Line Press. Originally
from West Texas, she grew up entranced by a sky full of stars
and all the words that could describe it.



The magic hasn’t fizzled yet — check back soon for our final My Little Pony Writing Contest winner.

Other winners:

“Friendship is Magic” by Marci Rae Johnson
“My Little Pony’s Easter Message” by Debbra Palmer