Escape from Vienna
by Erin Snyder
Issue #56 • November 7, 2018•Buy Now!
I jumped at the sound of my name, dropping the double bridle I was cleaning. It fell to the neatly-swept floor with a clatter of metal bits and buckles, and I winced at the noise. My nerves were shot; every unexpected sound set my heart racing. I turned around on the overturned crate I was using as a bench and saw Franz peering through the door. He and I were élèves, riders in training, at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
He smiled at my frazzled expression and strolled into the room. “I thought you were jittery before this business with the horse evacuations started,” he said, “but now it seems I must revise my definition of nervousness to accommodate you, dear Tobias.”
I offered a weak smile in return and bent over to retrieve my bridle from the floor, trying to still the obvious trembling in my hands. “I think I have a right to be nervous, Franz,” I said. “These bombings are putting us all on edge.” Images of late-night air raids flashed through my mind—how I’d struggled to remain calm while I helped lead the group of invaluable Lipizzaner stallions from the stables and into the sheltered hallway that led to the Winter Riding School, sirens screaming our impending doom and Allied bombs crashing all around us. The air raids had been going on for almost a year.
Erin Snyder is a sophomore and aspiring author at Sweet Briar College, where she studies Biology and Creative Writing. Erin has been riding horses since the age of five and enjoys the discipline of dressage. On a trip to Vienna, she had the opportunity to watch a performance of the elegant white dancing stallions at the Royal Spanish Riding School. That experience fueled her love for the Lipizzaner breed and inspired her to write “Escape from Vienna.” When not studying, riding, or writing, she enjoys performing in musical theatre productions, competing on the equestrian team, or serving as a teaching assistant for the SBC Riding Program.
Patrick Ryan on Escape from Vienna
It’s always a pleasure to read submissions for our Teen Writing Contest. And it’s an extra pleasure to be taken to a time and place I’ve never been before. In the case of our new issue of One Teen Story, the time is 1945, and the place is war-torn Vienna. Tobias and Franz are riders in training at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. An evacuation is underway. Bombs are falling from the sky.
That’s already enough to have me on the edge of my seat. To complicate things further, the only manner of quickly and safely evacuating the horses is by train, and most conductors aren’t willing to pull a train through an air raid to save a bunch of horses.
The ability to create believable tension in a short story is admirable; the ability to sustain it to the end is something to be celebrated. One Teen Story is very proud to be presenting Erin Snyder’s “Escape from Vienna” to the world of readers. You’ll never look at a Lipizzaner stallion the same way again!
Q&A by Patrick Ryan