A Fear of the Funfair

This is the story of a lost girl. A lonely girl. A girl that makes a dsicovery that changes her life forever. As for funfairs? Well, blurbs shouldn't tell the whole story.


4. Inside

    Heaving myself up painfully, I gazed across back to the house. Then came an ear-piercing SHRIEK! The whirlwind surrounded the old wizard and lightning struck his bald head (hovering very briefly as if considering whether to come and strike me down instead but thankfully deciding against it), frazzling his beard. He collapsed in a heap, his cry of “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” fading away into the darkness. Paralyzed with fear, I watched as his lips and wide eyes fluttered, and his feet twitched. Then all was still. Fifteen minutes later I reached the top of the steps, now thoroughly exhausted and trying to imagine ice caps and nitrogen pools, freezing cold showers, anything cold to help soothe the burning feeling in my ankles – the furnace had been turned up. I wanted to collapse down and rest, as if sleep would carry me away from all this; it would send me home. But the thought of being anywhere near a dead body was too much for me and I scampered as fast as I could through the door to shelter. It slammed shut behind me, and heavy black bolts shot automatically home with a loud clanking noise that echoed through the concrete corridors. Or was that magical? I crawled, shivering, to the nearest room. Inside was a huge chair, draped with moth-eaten blankets with hand-stitched scarlet patterns. A small pyre-wood table stood in the centre of the room. A thread-bare crimson hearth rug lay on the floorboards. I picked my way gingerly across the wooden planks with care – there were nails sticking out everywhere – and misplaced planks left gaping holes, from which a strong draft came pouring through. All of a sudden I heard a patter patter of heavy feet. A dog? A wolf? I hurried as rapidly as I was able to the door, risked standing up on my quickly recovering good foot and – CREAK! At the sound of the squeaky floorboard the patters of feet grew strident and more constant; faster and faster. I slammed the door hard and saw a rusty key in the lock. I turned it quickly and was rewarded by a resounding click. Pocketing the key, I noticed that the footsteps had seized. I crouched down and gazed through the keyhole.

     I heard shaggy breathing. A fiery amber eye surrounded by grey fur glared back at me. I screamed as sharp, pointy white claws scrabbled at the door, and a growl returned my cry. What were these creatures doing here? Were they the magician’s pets? I gazed up and saw a second keyhole. Dragging the small, circular pyre-wood table, which was surprisingly heavy, to the door very slowly, I clambered onto it to reach the second keyhole at the top of the door. The growling and scrabbling were growing louder and more violent, as was my imagination. This time there was no key. Leaning on the door, I tried the key from the first lock and with a rusty grating click, the lock slid home. Suddenly the door I was leaning against shook, and I was flung back off the table. The wolf (or were there wolves? How many were out there?) was head butting the door! I crouched in a dim, dusty corner and wished I could get out of here! Why was the wall behind me wobbling and shifting with the vibrations of the panels on the shaking door? And what was still, burnished thing that was sitting in the corner opposite me with glittering ochre eyes like jewels? EEEEEEEEEEEK!!!

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