Whoosh….something grazed past the clown’s tomato-nose at supersonic speed. He blinked, freezing mid-act, as if someone had pressed the pause button. Nano-seconds later, a scream of terror filled the air … first, one…then, more…until the bustling energy, giggles and laughter of a few seconds before was slowly replaced by panic and mayhem. Volleys of bullets fell on the unsuspecting crowd of babies and toddlers, boys and girls, mothers and fathers, nephews and nieces, uncles and aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers – all, who had come to have some fun and frolic, little knowing that they would be running for their lives just a moment later. A young mother ran blindly with all her might, clasping her little girl’s hand, with the single-minded focus of getting her child to safety.
“C’mon Amy! On your feet. It is time to feed Tarzan and Lily and get them ready for today’s opening act”. Eliza walked towards the animal cages, a bucket of meat in either hand, waving to Amy to join her. As always, her heart fluttered with nervous excitement and hope. It always did, without exception, whenever the carnival opened up in a new town. She knew that though her body and mind would be focused on guiding Tarzan and Lily through their routine, her eyes would steal glances at the audience, scouring through the mesmerized faces, looking for that one familiar face, the face of a young woman, etched deep in her mind! Eliza imagined how that face would have aged over the years, just as she had. Oh! What a happy reunion it would be! Amy would finally get to meet her grandma! As Eliza opened the cages, Tarzan and Lily greeted their mistress with a roar and a grunt.
A little girl walked aimlessly, her little, achy feet, sub-consciously, guiding her away from the chaos all around. She was too young to understand any of it. Where was her mom? She had been watching the funny clown’s antics – thinking of it, the little girl chuckled. But where was her mom, now? The girl looked around. Ah! There were some tiny sheds on wheels not far away. Those look like toy houses. Maybe mommy will be in one of those. Dragging her sore, weary feet up the steps of the nearest caravan, she peeked inside. Ah! There was a nice, fluffy bed, just like the one in her room. Crawling her way under the bed, she lay down and was soon fast asleep.
A young mother lay on the ground, wounded. Blood gushed out of the bullet hole in her stomach, making the brown earth around her, a crimson red. Her breathing was slow and laboured, the unbearable pain making it much worse. She struggled hard to keep her eyes open…she can’t go to sleep…she HAD to find her little girl. She craned her neck, her terror-filled eyes scanning the pairs of legs running around her…could she spot Eliza’s pink stockinged dainty legs?… until they couldn’t keep open anymore.
Naga Vydyanathan, a computer scientist by profession, is an aspiring writer. Being passionate about language and reading, it has always been a secret desire for Naga to be a writer one day. A thoughtful and deep thinker, Naga writes fiction, delving into the minds and thoughts of her characters. Her pieces have appeared in Twist and Twain, Flash Fiction North, Literary Yard, Ink Pantry and Literary Stories.