Stopping the Merry-Go-Round – Short Fiction

Everyone looked super excited. The wheel was giant and it looked beautiful from afar. But now that the seven-year-old was standing under it waiting for her turn to be mounted up this giant circle of death, she shivered with fear.

‘Come, Divya beta, up you go,’ said her uncle who had brought her to the fair. She looked around and saw only the happiest faces. Everyone was excited so she should be too, she thought. She sat on the seat leaning forward, holding the protective rod. The swing started going up and she felt the earth disappear. Her head felt light and she heard screams of joy. She tried to join in but her throat was choked. She could only feel a gripping fear in her calves. There was no where to run. ‘Get me off,’ she shouted as the wheel took a circle. Her uncle, not sensing anything weird, waved at her. She wanted in that instant to murder him for bringing her to this wheel. But then, she remembered how excited she was earlier.

‘Can’t we go faster? I want to sit on on the top of that beautiful wheel,’ she had said. She felt very stupid as the wheel completed one more circle. It was getting faster now. Turns out, it had just been warming up all this while. The true fury had not been unleashed. And then the wheel took up a dizzying pace. She felt queasy. Her temples felt hot and her legs were sweating. She looked down and saw little people doing little things like drinking coloured soda and buying cotton candy. She swore to herself that if she survives this time, she would do those little things and then quietly leave the fair. No rides, no giant wheels, nothing.

After five minutes, the wheel came to a halt and she was ‘rescued’. She puked at her uncle’s shoes perhaps on purpose. He patted her on the head and helped her with some water.

Years later, she stood in her office and looked at the computer screen. It was nine in the night and she hadn’t slept in days. The man to her left was sitting with his eyes fixed on the screen. He chuckled as he fixed the bug in his script and waved a fist. She wasn’t sure how she felt about the bug or the screen or the script. She felt nauseous.



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