The Carousel. Short Story.

Ok, so I know I said that there would be an announcement today at the lastest but I was wrong, the week became suprisingly busy, so sorry about that, but it will be very soon!

This is the 80th short story posted on this blog since it started only a few months ago, it is pretty insane to think of it. I’ve written maybe 65 or so of the short stories specifically for the blog rather than ones I had already done. In about 6 weeks or so I’ll hit 100 mark which is also pretty strange to think of! I’ll have to do something to mark it, though what I do not know, I’ll figure something out though!

Anyway, on with the show!

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The Carousel.

She sat on the park bench, looking at the empty carousel. The day was dull, the sun covered by the dark, rolling clouds, all the children were inside, away from the park and impending rain. The carousel was in darkness too, no light or music brightening the day as it spun endlessly, horses moving up and down while children shouted and laughed with delight. She rubbed her hands together quickly, then clamped them underneath her armpits, trying to keep some warmth in them, she hadn’t brought gloves with her, a choice she was now regretting. The day was beginning to get colder, any rain that fell would be icy, she glanced at the sky, she still had time. Her coat was thin, though it provided great warmth, it would do little to protect her against the rain.

She used to come to the park as a child, and then as a teenager, her parents used to watch as she spun on the carousel, always on the pink horse, of which there was only one, barging her way in front of everyone to get her coveted seat. They dragged her here as a teenager, trying to recapture the childish delight they had once all shared. She grumbled and moaned but she still enjoyed coming here alone. It had been a place of good memories, and still was, despite every memory being as a knife, twisting in her stomach. Yet she still came, despite the pain and sadness, she needed to be here, needed that connection with Johnny. She too had brought him here, coming along and watching as he ran onto the carousel, he never seemed to mind which horse he got, he was just happy to be on it. They were so different, she had felt a possessiveness towards her horse, which, though painted another colour years ago, she could still pick out. All of them had come here, her, Johnny, her parents, one big happy family, out to enjoy a day in the park. Her parents hadn’t been back here since it happened. They avoided this place, walking or driving long alternate routes so as not to pass it by, to not be reminded. They always did prefer to avoid their pain than confront it.

The slight wind carried shrieks of delight from the playground, some people had braved the cold and potential rain, she smiled as she remembered Johnny racing ahead to the park and how she ran after him to keep him in sight, to make sure nothing happened. How he’d race to the swings first, then the slides before deciding what to go on next. They always went to the carousel first and then again before they left, some times getting ice cream from the vendor on nice days, then they’d slowly stroll back to the house carefully eating their ice-cream, trying not to lose a single drop. He was always a neat eater, something she herself had never mastered, but she was trying. They’d finish their treats and then walk, hand in hand the final few blocks, while he babbled excitedly about whatever was happening in school, who he had met in the park, what newest thing his grandparents had promised him. They always spoiled him, buying him a new toy or game, always baking something as soon as he entered the door, only waiting long enough to ask for the days request.

The rain started slowly, large drops falling to the ground, mostly missing her and, so lost in her memories it took her a few moments to notice, it seemed that as soon as she acknowledged the rain was falling it began to fall faster, encouraged by an audience. The drops were thick at first but soon became smaller, after a few seconds it turned to a torrent, shocked from her memories she stood and ran towards the nearest cover, the carousel. She stood by the animals, looking out at the rain. It would stop soon, should stop soon and then she’d walk home. She looked around at the horses, slowly circling the ride until finally finding the one she was looking for, both her horse and Johnny’s, it was the last horse he had ridden on, she smiled when he first chose it, remembering how it was always her choice but now it seemed like an ominous portent of things to come. If only she had of noticed it before things might have been different. She sat into the saddle, the cold plastic making her shiver, she leaned forward, resting against the plastic mane of the horse, it was cold now but would warm up soon. She loosely wrapped her arm around the pole, and closed her eyes, remembering the movement, the music, the smell of popcorn and oil. She needed to see it again, the carousel, her horse, she knew she wouldn’t be able to move on until she had. It was the final week of it’s existence, soon it would be torn down and, perhaps replaced although it was unlikely. It would just be an empty space, covered over in grass and soon populated by couples and families and teenagers, the memories contained in the carousel would be lost forever. There was some outcry after the decision to get rid of it was announced, but it was minimal, most people never used it, they may have looked at it while passing by but few rode it. Far different from the time when she was a child and had to push and jostle to get her horse, Johnny had his pick of almost any one he wanted, with only a few other people ever going on it at the same time. Some had suggested that it remain, though inactive, a reminder and a beautiful ornament, but this was refused, it wouldn’t be safe, people would use it for seating, things would collapse, it would need maintenance, costly maintenance at that.

She remembered the day it happened, her parents didn’t blame her, but she blamed herself, how could she not? She had seen it happen. They had been walking to the park, crossing the road, Johnny ran ahead, he didn’t stop to look, he knew that’s what he should do, but he was so excited, they hadn’t been to the park in weeks, he ran without looking, the driver couldn’t stop, she didn’t blame him, there was nothing he could have done, she knew the moment she saw him step into the road, there was nothing to be done, it was too late. She screamed at him and broke into a run, he stopped and looked back, confused, she saw the comprehension dawning just as the car struck him, sending his body into the windshield. The noise had been so loud, the crack of the windshield, the car swerved and the driver slammed on the breaks, but the damage was done. He flew into the air, rotating twice, before landing on the road with a heavy thud. He didn’t move. She reached his body, hoping, praying it was just a dream, one of those dreams that were horrible but when you woke up everything was back to normal. She had sat with him, cradling his battered and broken body until the ambulance arrived. He was in a coma for two days before he died, she had stayed with him, not leaving his side, his small hand cradled in hers until finally he let go. The doctors had told her that they didn’t know how long he would be in a coma or if he’d even wake up but she knew he wouldn’t, she could feel it. She had hated herself for feeling that way, parents were supposed to sit by their sick child’s bed, knowing that they’d get better, hoping for a recovery, but she knew it was only a matter of time, knew it the moment the car had struck him. She made herself hold it together until the funeral she knew that once she broke down that would be it, she wouldn’t be able to stop. She had arranged everything as she thought he would have liked, his entire class showed up, as well as some of the other children, his friends, teachers, family. She wanted them to remember him as he was, a bright happy boy rather than the lifeless corpse he left behind.  Even as she stood at the grave, looking at the coffin being lowered no tears came and none did, she had erected a dam, one so strong the sadness couldn’t break through. She had felt nothing, she was numb. She stroked the horses mane and remembered the music, how free she felt when it spun around endlessly, as the music swelled in her mind she felt the tears come and sobbed, grasping at the horse, tears dripping down it’s plastic mane while the rain continued to fall, a loud drumbeat on the roof of the carousel accompanying her tears.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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2 Responses to The Carousel. Short Story.

  1. So I’m guessing Johnny is her brother? though I’m still not so sure…
    Well, anyways, it’s a nice one, and you reminded me that I had once wrote a little writing on “Carousel” too, but it’s saved somewhere in my hard drive, and I have no idea where it is now… :/

  2. Her son, but really any family connection will do 😛 (not doing great upholding the misunderstood writer schtick am I?)

    I hate when that happens, I’m always saving word documents used random words (or the first word of the story) have a few where I have no idea at all what they are until I click them and even then I’m like the hell is it?

    -Alan

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