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Laughter Lost

Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words (or more or less!) –  write a post based on this image.

alone-on-the-playground

Picture courtesy of Michelle Weber

For a while she watches the children playing on the merry-go-round. They laugh as they spin around, over and over, faster and faster. She feels a little pang of fear as every so often one jumps off, but they always land safely. The others laugh as they watch their friend stagger around, dizzy and giggling.

After a while the children leave, heading back to their homes for dinner. Although still a child herself, she doesn’t feel one of them. She no longer joins in their games, no longer laughs with the others. It has been so long since she has laughed.

Only a year ago she had played with them, laughing, feeling joy in every moment, the innocence of childhood. She would ride the merry-go-round, spinning faster and faster until she was too dizzy to continue. She would jump off and sit on the wall while others took their turn. She loved to watch her friends’ happy faces as they spun around, waiting until it was her turn again.

She walks forward slowly, hesitantly, and sits down on the edge of the merry-go-round. It is still now, the last of its motion died away. She looks up at the garishly-painted animals, once a promise of joy. No longer.

The merry-go-round was always her favourite. She would play on the swings, higher and higher. She would play on the slide, zooming earthwards as fast as she could, but nothing compared to the way she felt when she was spinning around and around on the merry-go-round. She never had a favourite animal to sit on – she didn’t play favourites.

This merry-go-round was only half a mile from her house and she could come whenever she wanted. She used to come every day after school, meeting her friends. Her sister often came with her. It has been a year since she was last here.

A voice intrudes on her thoughts.

“There she is, thank God!”

Her mother.

The little girl looks around and sees her mother coming towards her, an anxious look on a face aged with grief. She watches as her mother makes to race towards her but a tall, conservatively dressed man holds her back, taking her arm gently but firmly.

Her father.

A look passes between mother and father and they stop a few feet away. Her father takes her mother’s hand and they stand together, watching her. Her mother allows a small smile to cross her face. She is pretty when she smiles. She hardly smiles at all any more.

The little girl picks up a tiny posy of flowers from the wall. She had picked them carefully, lovingly from the little garden at the back of her house an hour before. Walking forward hesitantly, she places them gently on the merry-go-round, next to the spot where a year ago her sister had jumped off, her landing mistimed so that she landed in a broken, unmoving heap on the ground.

She gives the merry-go-round a gentle push and for a moment watches it turn slowly, the flowers disappearing for a moment before sliding back into view. She feels a hand take hers and looks up into her mother’s face, seeing tears in her eyes to match her own. They turn together and walk away from the slowly-spinning merry-go-round.

They don’t look back.

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  1. August 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Very good. Very dark! Do your dreams match your writing? Hm. Dr. Freud is in. A nickel in the can by the door, please

    Like

    • August 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      I don’t know why I keep writing dark fiction, that’s two in a row.
      My dreams are more confusing than anything else but I must say, a nickel is very cheap for a sitting with the famous Freud!

      Like

  2. August 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Wow – I didn’t see that coming! Great story. I was intrigued the entire way through!

    Like

  3. August 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    I like your dark- side iof your writings. Mostly enjoy the unexpected twist and turns. Steven Kingish but different.
    One paragraph at a time, writing what you know.
    I will preorder two copies.

    Like

    • August 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      I’m glad you enjoy the twisty turns of my dark writing. I seem to get more out of writing dark stuff. I’m not sure what a psychiatrist would say about that!
      As you say, maybe writing a book one bit at a time will make the whole thing less daunting.

      Like

      • August 22, 2013 at 5:37 am

        Stay out of your own way, relax, write what you know and mix in your imagination, done.

        Like

  4. August 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    Love the twisty ending! You kept me wondering till the very end there. Great job!

    Like

  1. August 22, 2013 at 6:22 am
  2. August 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm
  3. August 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

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