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Come One, Come All (OPEN)

 
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Isaac Wheeler
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:29 pm    Post subject: Come One, Come All (OPEN) Reply with quote

"The first opening night in a new town on the Midway was always the most exciting. Rides that went up like mysterious, sleepy relics from some forgotten time overnight; only to roar to life once the sun went down brought its own kind of buzz to the city.

There was something about a Carnival. A unique sensory wonderland that kindled the inner child in everyone. The lights that beckoned and dazzled, the games that were played; risk measured and taken with a deep breath and a proper taunt of the ego only a true Carny could master. The smell of cotton candy, popcorn, the adrenaline thick in the air amidst the squeals of sheer delight and terror.

Or maybe it was the allure of the expanded view of one's own city from the top of a Ferris Wheel or Roller Coaster that gave one a different perspective. Lingering for a few seconds just a little closer to the stars before plummeting back down to earth; a dizzying contrast of of highs and lows.

The carnival lay out was in the shape of a horseshoe designed to not only entice revelers with a gradual progression of unique experiences, but also to maximize spending. The crowd would enter the open end and by natural instinct, would usually proceed up the right side. The Games would be the first attraction along the right side of the horseshoe. Rides were located down the center, with the Carousel always being the first attraction as a sort of visual centerpiece for its universal, ageless appeal. Followed by the Ferris Wheel, Tilt-a Whirl, Zipper, Dragon Coaster and so on. After the games and rides, the crowd would find more kid friendly rides coming down the left side of the horseshoe and of course, concessions."
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Ketch Creeley
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take a Spin through the addled conscience of a shifter.
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Lucy Mitford
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lucy saw it first.

A carousel.

Dair playfully dragged his heels as she tugged him towards it. But he couldn’t say ‘no’ to her. Not to that smile of hers. “All right, all right,” he grumbled good-naturedly.

He sat on a pig next to Lucy’s hummingbird and watched as the carousel slowly filled to capacity and then started into action. “I can see why you’d been so eager about this,” he called over to her, teasing with sarcasm.

Lucy laughed brightly, her head tipping back, her hands around the brass pole. “I like it!”

And she did like it. Maybe because it reminded her of home. Of the carousel in Central Park when her cousin Jamie would climb up behind her, and they'd pretend they were at the Kentucky Derby. It was innocent and childish.

Lucy smiled over at Dair, watching him as his pig went up and down in a simulation of a movement that Lucy was pretty certain a pig could never accomplish. She looked ahead at all the riders in front of her, the parents with their children, the delight on their faces.

She looked down at her hummingbird, its outstretched wings painted in iridescent green and blue, catching the light with every spin of the carousel. It looked so real, so lifelike. She knew it was silly, but she had to be sure. She reached out to see if she could feel the feathers.

With a gasp, she withdrew her hand.

The wings were moving. Beating like a real live bird. Only slowly. As if the bird were moving in extreme slow motion.

"Did you see that?" Lucy looked over at Dair. But he looked frozen, a smile just barely turning up his lips, his pig at the low position of its rise and fall. "Dair?" She waved her hand in front of his face. Then she looked ahead at the other riders. Everyone else looked frozen too. She looked out past the platform at the carnival goers. No one was moving. It was as if time had stopped.

Only the carousel moved. The platform spinning around and around. The music in its light-hearted loop.

Lucy slid from her hummingbird and weaved between the brass poles to the edge of the carousel. "Hello!?" She called out to the operator, waving to get his attention. But there was no response. She frowned, hurrying back towards the center of the carousel and then called out again, hoping another operator might be there. "Hello!?" But there was no response. All she could see was her own anxious face reflected in the mirrored panels.

Holding the brass poles, she made her way back to Dair and her hummingbird. She watched its wings beating up and down in a slow, steady rhythm, and as she stood there, it almost seemed like the bird was looking back at her. She looked over at Dair, her lips parted to call out to him one more time. But he hadn't moved at all. He was frozen in time, like everything else.

“Dair!” She shouted at him. She grabbed his shoulder and shook him. She beat a hand on his thigh. Pushed his chest. But he barely budged, his expression unchanging, his gaze focused on where she’d been sitting on the hummingbird’s back minutes before. She looked around for something else, some other way out.

“Think you’ve moved on, don’t you love?”

She recognized the voice immediately. Even without seeing him. Without knowing where it came from. It had been so long since she’d heard him, so long since he’d spoken to her. But she knew his voice.

It was Reginald.

Lucy turned. “I have,” she insisted, weaving through the animals and the frozen people, searching for her ghost. “I have moved on.”

Reginald appeared before her, flickering to existence as the carousel spun. “Got your fancy gallery.” With every turn of the platform his body became more and more solid. Until he was more human, more alive than she’d ever seen him since he’d left her so dramatically that night so long ago. “Got your new life with Dair.”

“I’m starting over.” She backed up a step, reaching to grab a brass pole, trying to focus on his face instead of the frozen world spinning by. At first she’d thought he was angry. But he wasn’t angry. It wasn’t anger in his eyes. It was sadness.

“He won’t stay with you.” Reginald moved for her. “He’ll leave you again. Like he did before.”

“No, he won’t.” She looked up at him as he neared, frowning. “He said he wouldn’t. He won’t.”

Reginald shook his head, closing in on her. “Everyone will leave you.” He reached for her, his hand cupping her cheek.

She gasped in surprise, feeling his rough skin, his warm palm, for the first time. “No they won’t.”

“They will. Everyone will leave you. Even him.” He leaned close, his voice gruff and quiet. “Everyone but me.”

The carousel spun the world around them, everything frozen in time. She closed her eyes.

“I’ll never leave you.” Reginald whispered. And then he pressed his lips to hers, warm and tender. A kiss so surprising it seemed to last forever.

And then, just as suddenly, Lucy was alone again. Reginald was gone.

“Lucy?”

The music had stopped. The carousel was no longer spinning.

Lucy turned to look at Dair and stared at him for a long moment. She couldn’t move. Didn’t know what to say. A light breeze cut through the brass poles and tugged at her hair. She dragged in a shaky breath and just stood there.

Dair looked back at her, curious. When had she climbed off her hummingbird?

She looked from Dair to the hummingbird. It was motionless. Its eyes lifeless. As if it had never moved.

Finally, she managed a small smile. A covering smile. So well-practiced, it was hard to tell that it was disingenuous. It was hard to tell how much discomfort it hid beneath its soft little curve. “I think--I think I’d like to go home now.”
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Starspell
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pay it forward.
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Do you remember still the falling stars
that like swift horses through the heavens raced
and suddenly leaped across the hurdles
of our wishes--do you recall?
- R.M.R.
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