Sitting on top of the elephant, Senka’s pointed toes didn’t even reach its shoulders. It was too big. From the ground, it had looked tall enough, large enough, gargantuan enough. Trying to hold the width of its back between her heels, she finally understood why someone had known words like colossal, and enormous, and immense, and still felt the need to invent elephantine.
Senka had thought riding an elephant would be climbing on a horse: fright in the pit of her stomach when she looked down, but really just an adjustment in the roll of her hips to a four point tempo instead of her own walking two. Instead it was like riding a timid rowboat which sometimes hesitated at the base of a wave, and sometimes threw itself into it just to get things over with. Senka leaned forward, hands on the rough grey skin at the elephant’s neck. She pushed her knees forward for better balance. While she was there, she glared at the back of the elephant’s head.
She usually had excellent balance – run on roof lines faster than most people run wide flat streets balance – but here she felt like her body had forgotten how to grip gravity. She kept slipping and sliding, catching herself and pulling herself upright, one second sitting too still and the next bending like a string in the wind.
People were watching. They were staring. They darted out of the way of the elephant’s thick feet and craned their necks to look up at Senka perched on its back. Even with all her attention set on memorizing the swing of the elephant’s gait so she wouldn’t fall fifteen feet to hard paved road, she caught the shock and judgement on their faces. She did not belong on that elephant, probably was not safe riding it through their cultivated streets, definitely did not look dignified enough to match the magnificent, painted creature.
She would have liked to explain that there was nothing she could do about it now. She couldn’t return a stolen elephant just because it didn’t fit.