“WAHHH!!!” With a loud cry, she clutched the shiny pole with all her might. The ride was spinning faster and faster, but she wasn’t scared at all. She spotted her Papa in the crowd, holding up a camera in her direction. He yelled something. It might’ve been ‘say cheese!’ but she wasn’t so sure, the wind whooshed over her ears, whipping her braids over her shoulder as the ride spun with delirious speed. Within moments she lost sight of her Papa. When she spots him again she’ll smile for the camera for sure. She giggled and screamed at the top of her lungs, the noise mixing with the rest of the children’s sounds of joy at the carnival.
The night was a young and mischievous thing, and the wonderful colors of the carnival lights was making the guests giddy with excitement.
Round and round she spun, laughing and screaming her mirth. The taste of blue cotton candy, still sweet on her teeth as her skirts billowed around her legs. Another circle, and she finally spotted her Papa, his smile was gleaming under the camera that covered the upper hap of his face. She threw up her arms and embraced the wind as she gave him a big smile. “Papa!” She yelled out, but he couldn’t near it as the wind snatched the word and scattered its syllables.
On a gray morning in a dusty room he sat. Manuscripts scattered around him the way multicolored leaves blanketed the ground outside. It was fall again, the nights were getting colder. The view outside looked like a postcard. A carpet of bright fall colors reflected the canopy of trees that lined the empty streets. Everything was tranquil, silent as a mystical wonderland, as if fairy tale creatures could suddenly appear at the end of the long fall colored corridor. A sudden wind rustled the dry leaves overhead, a thousand whispers, as if the trees were chatting under the heavy gold sunlight.
He wondered briefly if they did.
How long ago was it that he’s been outside? He’s lost count of the days - not like he cared anyways.
The world has gotten quiet after the apocalypse. Was there still anyone around? He wasn’t so sure. The same trees that kept him trapped indoors also kept those dreaded un-living things away. For the time being, he’s stuck here, but he doesn’t mind. Everything has been so quiet and peaceful lately, so he’s made decent progress at his work, writing in time to the gentle rhythm of the autumn wind.
Day in and day out, he sat in this tiny room until the chair creaked under his weight. Seasons passed but he didn’t count them. The weeks were too short and too long all at the same time. He took on his glasses and pinched the spot between his brows. Sighing, he placed and adjusted the glasses on his face before picking up the pencil that had rolled onto the floor.
He’s becoming thinner and thinner. His fingers are nothing more than pale skin stretched over the joints of bone. A rueful smile appeared on his lips as he caught sight of his own ghastly complexion in the reflection on the windowpane. Even the frail flutter of his pulse is bittersweet. He’s dying, he knows it well. The last can of food was so long ago that he couldn’t even feel the hunger pains anymore. His body is slowly shutting down, slipping steadily towards its end the way the scenery outside is drifting towards barren nothingness.
He accepts death graciously. Its timing couldn’t have been better. Just a few more days, he knows he can finish his tale. The pencil has worn down to a nub, but it’s just enough to finish the rest of the story.
“JULIE!!! JULIE! WHERE ARE YOU--” He screamed until he was hoarse, his desperate question choked it a wrenching sob. “Ah-h where are you, Julie, come ba-ack” His face hurt from being twisted in such a grimacing expression, but no matter how hard he cried, the pain clotted in his chest.
“Jack! Get yourself together!” Marcus grabbed him by the arms and pulled him back from the carnage. The tear tracked on Marcus’s face reflected the climbing flames in front of them, but he know he can’t be weak, his crazed friend would dash into that hell’s blaze without a second thought if he slacked his hold. “Julie might be with the survivors! Let’s go check! C’mon Jack! She can’t be in there!” Marcus half believed himself, as if all it took was speaking it for it to become true. No, Julie has to be with the survivors. Marcus just knows it. A lot of people were pulled from the wreck, and Julie had sat on that unicorn hear the edge of the carousel - she must’ve been pulled out as soon as the fire began.
“NO!!” Jack struggled with all his might. “SHE’S IN THERE! I SAW HER, I saw her-ah-” His legs gave out and he collapsed on the ground, bawling like a child.
Marcus made quick work of dragging his friend away.
So preoccupied with grief, none of the carnival goers noticed when something ungodly crawled out from the wrecks of that carnival and launched itself onto the back of an unsuspecting fireman.