When The Carnival Is Not

Submitted into Contest #93 in response to: Write a story about a character who gets lost at a carnival or festival.... view prompt

6 comments

Adventure Fiction Suspense

Cold raindrops propelled by the wind strike like nails to my face. Who in their right mind would visit the carnival with the wind howling its contempt at their existence. And it is in my right mind that I am not sure. But here I am, shivering, muddy, and wet, trying to figure out how I came to be here. The rain is prominent, but the sleet fights to make its presence known. 

A carnival. What kind of carnival is this? It flickers between every spike of rain⎯every blink of the eye; it lights up the night sky then disappears into darkness. The carousel. The Ferris wheel. The words Haunted House flare brightly to entice me instead repels with a strike that blinds. Images; is what I’m left with. Due to the driving rain and the intermittent light show crashing around me, I do not see clearly. 

I did not come to this place by choice. But I can’t recall. Occasional visitor that I am. I would not choose to visit the carnival coaster, its circus, the drop tower in the dead of winter. Or is it? Perhaps, it is summer. And I arrived of my own free will. Impossible. Even on a summer day and half-witted with some sickness I believe I’ve incurred, I would not leave my home on a day like today unless an emergency.

And no emergency would prompt me to be here with no other soul in place. A place where nothing exists one moment then exists the next. Assuredly strange this plot of land. When the lights of the carnival light up the night sky, I visualize its blurry countenance. Only the silence speaks. But when the dark prevails, I hear the shrieks of excitement, the casual chatter, the screech of steel wheels in hairpin turns against metal rails. 

What is it that has summoned me? What powerful desire that must be evil draws me to this moment? For love dare not show me such a place while twisting my mind, shredding my spirit, breaking my body. Why am I here? What am I to see in these two worlds? What is in this world with the carnival lights bright? I don’t know. I wish I knew then I would likely be removed from here and taken back to my true dimension⎯If this is what happened. I have been transported from my right dimension.

I recognize the funhouse and myself in the mirror, I recognize the sword swallowing clowns, I recognize the fire-breathing dancers, but I’m not sure of what’s become of me. I’ve been here on several occasions, this usual happy place, but I don’t discern any faces. 

Even in my most inebriated moments, I knew who was delivering me home. Blurry-eyed, and half-blind, I knew the streets I walked when I didn’t get a ride. I think I knew the dollar bills I drew to pay for the late night or early morning sustenance to make me sober.

But I cannot, for reasons unknown, figure out why my mind goes blank when I reach for my purpose for being here, reach for the route I came. I fear that my reason for being in this place, in this state of mind, has nothing to do with some outside force but might be of my own doing.

My love for the carnival when the carnival is not, will not, should not, be accessible has caused my mind to split into two. One reality. Which I fear I, on some level, am not willing to accept. What is. The other. Fantasy. What I want it to be. To be; So I can visit a time gone by.

A recent past. As I said, I am a frequent visitor to the carnival. In the recent past, I have neglected to enjoy this happy place—deaths in the family who visited with me. Now, no longer able. I do remember. I think. Or is it just a feeling? I recall no pictures to play in my mind. But vaguely, I know. 

This place overwhelms me with dread. The wind deals its body blows. The sleet, the rain whips me with lightning speed. A constant barrage to keep me from realizing what’s happening to me. My mind, not some outside entity, is playing tricks on me. My mind is trying to destroy me. 

Layer by layer, I’ve been unraveling. I have, on occasion, had an image in my mind. A vision of what I wanted to do next; And I glitched. This place, the carnival, replaced my idea. I stood in silence, daydream, and nightmare both. Bright but silent lighting up the night sky, the dark but dreary; voices of joy heard. The happy place personified. Able to understand neither as I carom between the two.

I have denied them; The glitches. They have become more frequent. Casualties of age to be corrected, assuredly. Medication? Perhaps. A change of diet? Nutrition, or lack thereof likely the cause of my unraveling. Meditation, not medication, must be the cure—what better treatment for the mind than the diagnosis from seeking within.

A mental circus unorganized that is what my memories of the carnival derived. There it is again. An idea no-doubt vital to my well-being robbed of me. I can think of nothing but this place. Bright lights dazzle. They conspire with the elements which deliver their thunderous blow.

Who can bring me back? I informed no one⎯No one knows. Like the lightning that jumps through the more ominous clouds moving toward me, what will shock me back to what is true and real? I would like to think if I simply find shelter, that would mend my mental state. 

I could run to the funhouse. I could take up in the big top. The elephants would welcome me. The lions wouldn’t scowl. Surely the carousel would render a modicum of cover. It is too late for me. I fear. Each delivery leaves less of me, less of me to function in my reality.

May 15, 2021 03:48

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6 comments

Tia Jackson
05:32 Jun 15, 2021

Okay this paragraph is just wow! “ Who in their right mind would visit the carnival with the wind howling its contempt at their existence. And it is in my right mind that I am not sure. But here I am, shivering, muddy, and wet, trying to figure out how I came to be here. The rain is prominent, but the sleet fights to make its presence known.” This is honestly such great writing and it made me want to Keep reading. I honestly couldn’t stop reading after half away. It was great and played with my mind’s tendencies to find conventionality. You ...

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Elliott Laurence
10:23 Jun 15, 2021

Appreciate the encouragement, Tia. And thanks for reading I know your time is valuable.

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Tia Jackson
16:18 Jun 15, 2021

Any time. It was a great read. Can’t wait to read more

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Nicole Of 2022
23:04 May 14, 2022

I LOVED IT!! It was different and new. Also, well written👏🏼👏🏼 ....read mine?

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Lee Kendrick
19:43 Oct 20, 2021

What a very poetic way with words you have. A great atmospheric story. Keep on writing, you have a wonderful future instore.

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Elliott Laurence
00:36 Oct 26, 2021

Appreciate it.

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