Post Number: 22
|Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 04:34 pm: ||
The Ferris wheel stood, silent and empty in the middle of an abandoned carnival, the rusting machines a monument to failure. They were supposed to have moved on to the next fair, but after the girl’s death two years ago, the crew vanished. Gypsies have little interest in talking to police.
The landowner was old and infirm; only two people ever came to that muddy lot; a dark haired woman who watched from the shadows, and the boy, he who in his seventeenth year had his hand on the controls of the Ferris wheel when the girl came tumbling down. Both of them, haunted by that same last moment, seeing her mad staring eyes grow bigger as she hurtled towards them in her final moments.
She watched him climb up the girders, knowing what he would do when he reached the top. She had two choices: she could stand and watch, as she had done two years ago.
She climbed. Her gymnast’s training gave her enough power and speed to overtake him and grab his arms, preventing him from moving or falling. Tiny raindrops, blown by a fierce wind, stung their cheeks. Her face inches from his, she shouted: “It wasn’t your fault!”
He cried out: “I can’t make it stop! Every time I close my eyes I see her coming toward me.”
“If you jump I’ll jump with you. Is that what you want?” He shook his head. “Then talk to me.” Rusty hinges creaked; an empty car was just above their heads; the wind blew the door open and shut, open and shut. With all her strength she lifted him inside, and placed her body between him and the opening.
“This door was locked.” She pointed, emphasizing every word: “I saw her hands reach out here to open it. You did everything you could.”
“I knew there was something wrong. She handed me her jewelry, but the girls -- they always do that, so they don’t lose it on the ride -- it was when she kissed me; it felt like she was saying ‘good-bye’…. I should have stopped the ride…. I should have done something….”
“You couldn’t have known.”
“I feel so guilty.” His stare became more frantic now, “Her eyes! I can’t stop seeing her eyes!”
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. She took him over her lap; he tried to resist, but she was far stronger. Removing his trousers and pants was the work of a moment, then she spanked him with a wooden paddle that she took from her purse.
He was already almost crying, but she spanked him far beyond tears. She took him into that world where pain replaces guilt, and punishment brings forgiveness. He tried to block the hurt by closing his eyes, but every time he did the girl came back, and his frantic stare returned. Still she kept spanking; harder, until the pain forced his eyelids together and nothing could prize them apart, not even the memories from two years ago.
She stopped, finally, when she was sure the ghosts had flown away, and she held him, rubbing gently; as he sank to his knees she cradled his head on her lap and let him cry: these were his last tears as a boy, and his first ever as a man. Finally he arose, half crouching under the low metal roof; while he dressed he thanked her, and asked why she carried a paddle in her purse.
“It reminds me of her. I used to spank her. Maybe if I had done that morning …………”
“You’re her sister?” he asked.
“I was her lover.”
The clouds parted; a beam of sunlight lit her face and he saw her clearly for the first time. He opened a gold locket and held it up; yes, that was her portrait inside, in miniature. Silently, he closed her hand over it. Now it was her turn to cry, and she did; in a choked voice, she bade him: "you go down first; I need to be alone."
He turned around in the doorway, holding her eyes with his for a long moment. Under his breath, he whispered: "I’m not likely to repeat the same mistake, not after that.” Gently, he spoke aloud: “Just pretend I'm not here.” Turning his back, he sat in the doorway, his legs dangling in air and his arms looped through the frame of the car, giving her the solitude she wanted.
The sound of her crying cut through him like a knife; desperately he wanted to turn and comfort her as she had him -- he had promised her privacy -- he waited until she reached for him.
Finally, she put her arms around his waist, resting her cheek on his back, the water from her eyes soaking his shirt and pooling on the floor; unseen, one of her tears fell through a seam in the floor, all the way to the ground.
© Hardwood 2007
Post Number: 210
|Posted on Monday, February 19, 2007 - 09:52 pm: ||
Great story Hardwood. You are a very talented writer.
"Success in almost any field depends more on energy and drive than it does on intelligence."
Post Number: 1703
|Posted on Tuesday, February 20, 2007 - 12:37 pm: ||
Another great one Hardwood!! Thanks so much for posting it!!!
Post Number: 329
|Posted on Wednesday, February 21, 2007 - 01:38 am: ||
It's got a lovely scene, amazingly fluid. I like it