Are you ready for the next chapter? I definitely recommend reading Chapter One and Chapter Two of Collected first if you haven’t already. I am so excited to be sharing these first four chapters with all of you. However I ask that you please keep in mind these chapters are pre-editor and some things may change before final publication. I would also like to note again that I am currently accepting donations in an effort to cover costs of hiring a professional editor. If you are interested in donating there is more information after the chapter. Regardless I thank you for stopping by, reading, and I truly hope you enjoy!
When Rian made it to the back of the line she saw the token machine. Reading over the instructions she inserted enough for one adult. She felt a little silly being a single grown woman getting on a carousel. It didn’t help as she looked around her that she seemed to be the only single adult getting on this ride. Everyone else had a child or two with them. Pressing her lips together she looked ahead and just tried to remain confident in her movements as the line moved forward steadily until she reached the operator.
A short round woman greeted her with a professional enough smile as she took the token. Rian smiled back as she observed the woman’s acne covered face that was poorly covered in too much powdered foundation. The woman had frizzy hair and her name badge read Claire S. It seemed for a brief moment that Claire S’s professional smile dissipated into a judgmental glance as Rian moved ahead to get up on the platform of the carousel.
You’re just imagining things… Rian thought to herself with a soft sigh escaping her.
Once both of her feet landed on the platform though, there was no further thought to the look she may or may not have been given. Rian’s whole thought process changed gears in an instant as her body moved forward as if it was on a hunt; she suddenly had to find the white horse. Not just any white horse, but the one so brilliantly decorated that looked just like the one from her childhood. That was the one she needed to be on.
Where is it? I must find it! Rian’s thoughts were consumed and though the platform she was on was naturally only so big, she felt like she had been walking for miles on end when she finally spotted it a few animals up ahead. There was an instant smile on her face, but it quickly faltered as she also spotted a mother and her young daughter approaching the same horse.
“No!” she blurted out in a panic as she threw herself into a full on sprint. Not caring that she bumped into a few people along the way. Upon reaching the horse she let her hand come down causing a hard loud smack on the wooden horse’s rear end as the mother was about to pick up the young girl.
The mother let go of her daughter and jumped in place, startled by the sudden noise and appearance of Rian. She managed to clear her throat though and offer a mostly friendly smile. “Excuse me, but my daughter was about to get on this horse.” The woman’s smile became a tad bit friendlier in her polite plea of Rian giving up the horse.
Most people would have been fine with this and moved along. Rian would have been most people on any other day, in any other moment. In this one however she couldn’t help how her eyes narrowed to the other woman, “Too bad lady.” She spoke with a hint of venom on her voice as she tossed one leg over the horse and proceeded to hop on its backside.
“Excuse me?” the woman began, but Rian shook her head.
“There doesn’t seem to be an excuse for you.” Rian practically snarled as she looked to the other woman briefly, before her attention averted to the young girl who looked both confused and scared. “You should be thanking me, after all it’s better for you to learn now that life is full of disappointments.”
“What is your problem lady?” the mother of the girl’s temper was clearly rising.
“Mommy?” the young girl questioned quietly in a fearful tone.
Rian looked the mother of the girl right in the eyes. “I suggest you find another animal, the ride will begin soon.” Others around them had begun to stare and Rian could only guess that this other woman wasn’t trying to make a scene as she took her daughter’s hand.
“Come on Sophia…” as she led her daughter away she muttered, “What kind of a grown adult…” but the rest of sentence was lost to Rian as she sat upright and looked ahead blocking out any other comments possibly being made.
As the waltz music began to play and the ride began to move, Rian could feel her conscious slipping back in. “What is wrong with me?” she muttered beneath her breath as her shoulders slumped. Rian couldn’t believe she had been so rude to not only another person, but to a child. She suddenly felt ashamed of herself as the faux gallop of the white horse began.
I just wanted to recapture a moment. Rian thought to herself. Am I that selfish that I couldn’t give a little girl this horse and just choose another one? She sighed and looked out from the carousel seeing all sorts of people waving to the kids on board.
As the waltz song continued to play, it seemed to lull Rian easily out of her personal negative spiral. Her mind eased back into the memory of the first time she rode a carousel. She could so easily feel her father’s hand on her back as she hung onto the horse. She could visualize so clearly how her mother happily waved to her from the sidelines. For a moment, Rian was finally at peace. There were no sad lonely thoughts of heartbreak. There weren’t any sour thoughts of herself for her bad behavior. There was just a moment of happiness.
Rian closed her eyes for a moment. She was ready to fully emerge into this blissful memory. It came so easily that she not only saw it all now, but she could feel it as if she had gone back in time and were truly reliving the moment.
For the first time in a while she felt true happiness again. There was a smile on her face as the faux galloping of the white horse continued. Rian embraced the moment as she fully emerged into this feeling once again. Sadly it all came to an end too fast as the music began to quiet down and the galloping began to slow as if it were coming to a stop.
When Rian’s eyes fluttered open she gasped as she saw she was the only one on the carousel. The people who surrounded her were now all gone. She looked behind her, in front of her, above her for the second tier to the carousel. Then as it came to a complete stop she looked out and noticed that the mall was quite dark compared to its brightly lit scenery that buzzed with people just moments ago.
Where is everyone? Rian wondered as she looked around herself. She remained still on the wooden horse for a moment and even debated just staying put until someone came around. However that decision made her feel silly. Cautiously she dismounted from the horse and looked around. It was strange to her as she immediately noticed that while the carousel itself was brightly lit and polished, the rest of the mall looked dark and grimy. Is this a joke? She questioned herself as she stepped down from the platform of the carousel and made her way to the exit that led back into the food court.
For a brief moment she had to wonder if this was some sort of prank. How else would it explain the disappearance of others? She could have simply been so involved in her memory that she didn’t hear the sounds of people hopping off the ride or ducking out of the way. She didn’t understand how the place got so grimy looking so fast, but it was a theory she was sticking to for the moment until she thought about who would want to prank her? She didn’t know anyone well enough in Grand Rapids outside of Dillion.
Then something struck inside of her. Dillion. Of course! Maybe the break up was a sick joke of his. Oh that Dillion… she thought to herself. …Maybe he’s going to propose now! The hope of it all filled her heart to the brim as she smiled wide running further out into the food court. “Dillion! Where are you? Come out!” she laughed lightly as she felt a certain happiness return to her, but the only response she received to her calls for him was the sound of her own voice echoing in the darkened mall, followed by an eerie silence.
Chapter Four goes live on Wednesday (October 17th) at 9:00am EST! If you enjoyed this chapter and want to help support me as a writer in getting this professionally edited, then please feel free to send donations through PayPal by clicking the button below.
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