Little Sheila bopped up and down on her carousel horse anticipating the ride’s movement. She’s going to go on a ride for real. It wasn’t just a carousel ride. The clown said so. Maybe someone will ride with her on the empty twin horse next to her, when she got there. The carousel lurched forward, but it didn’t go fast. She wanted it to go fast.
“Faster, faster,” yelled Sheila to the clown, as she passed him.
The clown smiled and waved his arms. The carousel sped up.
“Faster, I want more!”
The clown waved his arms again, and again the carousel increased in speed. This time the speed created a blur as it whirled around.
“Weeeee!” called Sheila.
Then the carousel vanished from sight. But from where little Sheila sat, the scene in front of her and all around her morphed into a field of patches of flowers an green grass. No, they weren’t flowers. They were lollipops. She wanted one. No, she wanted two. She stopped her horse and slid to the side to dismount, but something stopped her. “I want a lollipop,” she said to no one. She bopped up and down on her horse again and poked her bottom lip out.
“I can get you a lollipop,” said a voice behind her.
Sheila turned in her saddle and followed the voice that sounded like her own. A little girl who looked just like herself stood on the ground a few feet to her right.
“Who are you?” asked Sheila.
“I am you. My name is Shelly. You can come down off the horse and get a lollipop, if I get on the twin horse next to you.”
Shelly mounted the twin horse next to Sheila, then Sheila jumped down, ran over to a lollipop, and plucked one up. She licked the sucker several times not paying attention to what was happening around her. That is, until a strange noise caused her to whirl around.
Shelly kicked the horse with her heels, “Yah, yah.” The horse took off with Shelly on top and Shelly’s laughter carrying on the wind as she left Sheila behind.
Sheila, still holding the lollipop, ran after the horse. “Wait for me! Wait for me!”
The clown appeared in front of her, so she stopped. “I want my horsey. Where is my horsey going?”
“You wanted to stay here,” said the clown.
“No, I wanted a lollipop.”
The clown’s makeup morphed from a smiley face to a frown. He shook his head.
“I want my mommy. Where’s my mommy?”
The clown indicated with an outstretched arm, “Here is your daddy.”
Sheila turned in the direction the clown indicated and saw her dad jogging toward her.
Tom rushed forward, knelt next to his daughter, and scooped her into his arms. “I’m sorry, sweetheart.”
“Where’s mommy?” asked Sheila.
Tom stood up with Sheila in his arms and turned to the clown. “Get us out of here.”
“Oh, such demands and lack of manners,” droned the clown shaking his head.
“Please, get us out of here.”
“Only if you can guess who I am,” said the clown.
“That’s impossible with all that makeup you ha…..” Something familiar about the clown caught Tom’s notice. It was a nervous tick in the corner of the clown’s mouth. The slight movement could be missed if one blinked their eyes, but it was there, now, in the corner of this clown’s mouth. “Mr. Potter?”
(To be concluded in Part X)