Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Prompt: The Last Carousel

Sarabel reached both arms high. “C’mon, Tomas, jump! I catch ya. Promise!”

Tomas sat perched on top of the spiked metal fence they had laboriously climbed together. Sarabel had jumped down to show him how easy it was, but she had stumbled against some broken pavement and twisted her ankle, swearing all the bad words she remembered, and a few they had made up. He grimaced down to her now. “I don’ wanna, Sa’bel. Iwangohome!”

She stuck her tongue out at him. “Whichair side ya choose, ya have ta jump. An’ I here on dis side ta catch ya. So choose.” She stretched her arms up again, encouraging him to jump into them.

He closed his eyes and leaped out like he was jumping into a pool. Sarabel stepped back and caught him in a bear hug, as if they had practiced a hundred times. Which, of course, they had. Tomas flung his arms around her neck and laughed. Sarabel kissed his cheeks and dropped him to the ground, swinging his hands in her own.

“Good jump! Now, c’mon. I wan’ show ya sometin spesh.”

Tomas gripped her hand tightly in his stubby fingers as they walked down the broad broken path.

“Wha’ dis?” He asked, looking around wide-eyed.

“Dis was a zoo. All kinds animals here.”

“To eat?” Tomas liked meat when they could get it.

“No, silly. Not all animals to eat. Dese for look-see.”

He glanced up and her and snorted. “Look-see? Why?”

Sarabel shrugged. “Why” was Tomas’ favorite word, and she rarely had answers. “Curious, I guess. Dese diff’rent animals than out dair.”

“Diff’ent? Like what?” Tomas looked around with more interest.

Sarabel pointed to the overgrown pond on their left and pulled him toward a faded sign on the fence. “See here? Dis where alleygators lived. Dey like great big gwonnas wit lots teeth an’ long tail. See picture?” She traced the barely visible outline with her finger.

Tomas fingered the picture and cocked his head, thinking. “Gwonnas wit teeth? Eat Tomas, stead Tomas eat him?”

Sarabel laughed and pulled him away. “That’s right! Big alleygator gwonna eat ya right up!” She tugged him into a run. “Come on, alleygator meat! Got sometin’ spesh ta show ya!”

Tomas laughed and chased her down the path. He almost ran into her when she stopped without warning. He looked up and grabbed her leg, peeking around at the giant animal before them. “S’at live, Sa’bel? S’at alleygator?”

She ruffled his hair and pulled him in front of her. “No, silly! Da’s alleyphant, not alleygator. Big, big. But not eat Tomas. Eat grass.”

“Got two tails? Look-see, Sa’bel!” Tomas climbed on the elephant statue’s curved trunk and swung his legs on either side.

“Das his nose, ya b’lieve? He pull grass wi’dat and put in mouth up here, look-see?” Sarabel stood on tiptoe to run her fingers over the elephants mouth.

Tomas studied the statue quietly. “Dis be good animal to keep out dair.”

Sarabel looked back at his serious face and nodded. “Better dan wat we got, right? No eat Tomas, no fight Sarabel.” She shrugged again. “Cmon, we mostway dair.”

They left the elephant statue and continued on the path, following the curve until Tomas stumbled to a halt. His mouth dropped open. Sarabel laughed. “I told ya it spesh. Cmon, I show ya best part.”

She pulled his hand, walking up to the broken shell of the old carousel. Burned and stripped of all decoration except for one perfectly preserved zebra. It stood balanced on its pole, ready for the next rider.

Sarabel lifted Tomas onto the Zebra’s back, and he clutched the pole for balance. She stepped forward and patted its neck, then walked back to stand next to its back leg. “Wan ride?” she said back to Tomas. She didn’t have to look up to see his nod.

She leaned her weight against the zebra’s rear to get the carousel moving. Once it started, it quickly picked up momentum, still balanced after all this time. Sarabel hummed a song she remembered, louder and louder as she walked after Tomas, then jogged, then ran. He laughed and clapped his hands, then grabbed the pole again when he slipped in the saddle.

Finally Sarabel ran out of breath and stepped away to let the Carousel’s momentum carry Tomas around. He rode it until it slowed all the way to a stop, on the far side from Sarabel. She jogged toward him, and he reached out his arms for her to lift him down. He hugged her tightly. “Tank ya, Sa’bel. Dat spesh. Yes, yes. Dat ver ver spesh,” he whispered into her neck. He snuggled into her arms, and Sarabel started walking back to the fence they had climbed to get in.

“Sa’bel? We could stay here. Be zoo animals. Ride again tomorrow.”

“Sorry, Tomas. Not enough protection here. Not like houses. We come back, kaykay?” He sleepily nodded agreement. Sarabel tightened her arms around him.

In the distance, they heard a single howl, then another. The shadows were lengthening, but they still had plenty of light to get home.

Dogs in house:
Houdini, Brindle
John Williams, Latin American Guitar Music By Barrios And Ponce
Time writing:
50 minutes
July word count:

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