Before I came across this short story I knew Thomas Hood only as a poet.
This one is in a book of SS collection titled Adventure but I would put it under Terror or Horror or Suspense. Do tell me how you would classify it after you have read it. Luckily, a PDF of the SS is available online.
According to Hood’s son, this story was written hurriedly to fill an unexpected gap in a magazine. The printer’s devil was waiting for copy downstairs while Hood wrote it, handed it to him and asked him to run back to the press.
It is first-person narrative within a first-person narrative.
The action takes place on a hot air balloon that is slowly ascending into the blue sky as bags of sand are emptied one after the other.
With the narrator is a last-minute companion, the original volunteer not having turned up in time.
This fellow-traveller urges the narrator to go higher and higher.
Just the mention of something by his companion and the narrator finds himself in a tizzy.
What happens as the balloon drifts up, up and away?
Read the story and decide for yourself.
In comments do not reveal the end. If you wish to speculate, write me an email.