The following was written in response to yesterday’s Five Minute Fiction Challenge. Normally found on the site of the challenge’s mastermind, Leah Petersen, the challenge is on a blog tour and was hosted by J.M. Frey this week. Check it out, check out the authors!
And waited. Marking time off in same manner as so many before her; by the height of her children, the lines on her face, the thinness of her lips. Life was life. You bore the weight of it until it crushed you to dust.
Until the day she took the youngest to the carnival. This’ll be the last, she thought, watching the wondering gaze give way to jaded knowledge.
Her threadbare soul frayed further. She watched the ferris wheel track its orbit, the tilt-a-whirl spew forth its victims, the man at the scale guessing weights.
“Come on up, try your luck!” called the hawker. She drifted closer, listening to his practice banter. One after another men, women, children, fell victim to his smooth ways. Until his gaze fell on her, oily, sliding over her in blatant evaluation. “Try your luck, little lady?” His smile oozed charm and greed. Her stomach turned.
“I don’t think so,” she deferred, and he stepped forward, trying again.
A hand hit the center of his chest hard enough he exhaled audibly. A cloud of anger raced across his features, quickly dispelled. He spun away and Sarah turned her gaze away.
“Hey.” The voice was husky and soft and tugged at all the places in Sarah’s carefully knit lie of a life. She caught back a sob and stiffened her spine.
Another decade of her sentence waited. Another before she could visit the carnival again, a free woman, and answer all of the questions in that voice with a fervent yes.
Until . . .
She wove through the crowd, finding her youngest son throwing darts at balloons. Watched them pop, one by one, like her dreams.