Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Conclusion)


“Mr. Potter?” asked Tom.

The clown’s smug expression fell and a pause hung in the air. He blinked twice and glanced from Tom to little Sheila.

“I’m right, aren’t I?”

The clown, mouth agape, nodded his head. “No one has ever guessed who I am. Not one person. How did you know?”

“If I told you, it would only work to your benefit. And how dare you scare a little girl like that?” A crinkled forehead worn by the clown, Mr. Potter, indicated confusion, so Tom continued. “Don’t give me that ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about’ look. I can see by my daughter’s body language that you scared her. He turned to his daughter, “Sweetheart, did the clown scare you?”

Sheila’s lip quivered, as she nodded. “He said I had to stay here. I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to go home.”

Tom glared at Mr. Potter. “Get us out of here, and what do you mean I’m the only one who was able to guess who you are? Why is that significant?”

“It’s important because, without knowing that, you would not have been able to leave.”

“Where’s my wife? Where’s Connie?”

“Connie never said she wanted to stay, so she is still on the carousel.”

“I never said I wanted to stay. Sheila, honey, did you tell Mr. Potter you wanted to stay?”

“No! He’s a bad man. I want to go home.”

“There are others here?” asked Tom.



“All around. You just can’t see them. But they are content,” said Mr. Potter.

Tom had to be dreaming. Stuff like this never happens. “Get us out of here, please.”

Mr. Potter nodded and snapped his fingers. At that instant the countryside vanished and they were all on the carousel under the large tent. It rocked to a stop. Sheila jumped from her twin horse. Tom dashed off his duck, and Connie hopped off her horse and hurried to her daughter and husband.

The Present

“How come I don’t remember that?” asked Sheila.

“Do you remember your nightmares?” asked Connie.

“Remember them, I still have them. Why?”

“Those aren’t nightmares. They’re memories.”

“How do you know my experience in such detail, when I don’t? Dad only caught the last remnant of it.”

“The clown, well, Mr. Potter, never took his eyes off of you while you were there in the lollipop field. You just couldn’t see him. Later that evening, he came over to the house. We didn’t want to let him in at first, he but told us through the door that he had to tell us something that was a matter of life or death, so we let him in. He explained what had happened between you and your look alike, Shelly. The danger was that, since she escaped on one of the twin horses, she was now in this world.”


“Soooo…..that meant the two of you couldn’t live within 1000 miles of each other, at least not for very long. He took her in as his own which meant, with us being here in this house, one of you had to move. That’s why we moved clear across the country. To get away from her.”

“What happens if we live within 1000 miles of each other?”

“Whose dead body did you see in Mr. Potter’s yard?”

Sheila’s mouth dropped open. “This is my fault? I killed her. No!”

“When you bought this house a year ago, she was still living next door or in the area. And…..” Connie’s voice trailed off.

“Why didn’t I die?” asked Sheila.

“Because you were born in this reality. Shelly wasn’t.

“You should’ve told me. I never would have purchased this house if I had known.”

Detective Jameson, who’d been quiet up to this point, cut in, “You mean to tell me this whole thing is a result of two people being within 1000 miles of each other? One of whom is from a different reality? Are you kidding me? No. I don’t buy it.”

“Mr. Potter will verify everything,” said Connie.

“Wait a minute,” Sheila cut in. “I’ve been living here a year now. Why did Mr. Potter not say anything when I first moved in. Why didn’t he tell me then that I couldn’t live so close to Shelly? Not to mention, as long as I’ve been here, I’ve never seen her. The only other people who live there are the Mason twins, Tim and Tyson. They’re boarders of Mr. Potter’s.”

“Yeah, we found evidence of other people who might be living there. Where are are they?”

Sheila shrugged. “Beats me. Like I said, I’ve been at a writer’s conference. Last I saw them, though, was a couple of weeks ago. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been here. It just means I haven’t seen them.”

“There is one weird piece to this puzzle,” said the detective. “We didn’t see any evidence of a woman living there. So, if this Shelly as you say has been living there, there’s no indication of it. None. It sounds like our Mr. Potter has some holes of his own to help fill in the missing pieces to this weird story. Why don’t we go ask him?”

“Before we do that, I have a question I need answered,” said Sheila.

“What’s that,” said Detective Jameson.

“What tipped you off about the body in the back yard?”

A knock at the door interrupted.

“I’ll get it,” said Connie. She opened the front door and a uniformed police officer stepped inside.

“Excuse me ma’am. Is…” Seeing the detective in the living room, he nodded. “Detective, we found something you need to see.”

The detective dashed through the living room, calling behind him. “You both might as well come with me.” Then he was out the door.

Mr. Potter’s house

The police officer guided them through the front door of Mr. Potter’s house and into a bedroom. A queen size bed with no headboard stood in front of them facing the left wall. A chest of drawers stood propped up against the opposite wall. The medium green carpet and the gray colored walls gave off the feel of calm and secluded.

“Over here,” said the officer making a be-line to another door on the left wall. He opened it and stood aside.

“It looks like a closet,” said Detective Jameson. “So.”

“Look inside.”

The detective sauntered over to the closet door and poked his head around the corner. The light from the bedroom lit up the small closet in a dusky haze with a bit of light peppering the space. It was empty except for a few shirts hanging off to the right. He was just about to pull his head out when a sliver of bright light peeked out between two of the shirts. The detective pushed both shirts aside to reveal a swirling vortex. He hurried out of the closet. “I think I know how Shelly was able to live here without being noticed. But first we need to talk to Mr. Potter. Come on.”

Later that afternoon at the precinct

Sheila and Connie sat in the observation room in front of the two-way mirror waiting for Mr. Potter to be brought in to interrogation room one where Detective Jameson sat drumming his fingers on the table.

“Mom, where’s dad? Why isn’t he here with you?”

“He’s on a business trip,” replied Connie.


“He wouldn’t tell me.”

Sheila sighed and noticed her mother’s pained expression. She took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Moral support would have been nice. For both of us.”

At that moment Mr. Potter was led into the interrogation room and guided into a chair across from the detective.

“Mr. Potter, we found what looked to be a vortex in the closet of your bedroom.”

Mr. Potter’s eyebrows rose, and he gazed over at the two-way mirror. He moved his gaze back to the detective, but he didn’t answer.

“Come on, Mr. Potter. What’s all this about? If you didn’t kill her, then at least tell us what happened.”

Mr. Potter glanced at the two-way mirror again then back at the detective and blurted out, “Tom killed her. Tom, Sheila’s father killed her. This past Thursday.”

Behind the mirror, Connie and Sheila gasped at the same time.

“Mom, was dad on a business trip this past Thursday night?”

“Yes, that’s the trip I told you about. but, like I said, he wouldn’t tell me where he was going.”

“I was in Chicago.” Sheila remembered her phone conversation a week ago with her parents. She had been telling them of her up and coming trip to Chicago. Her father used that opportunity to come here and kill Shelly.

Mr. Potter continued. “If you were able to see the vortex, it means someone went into it.” A sad smile crossed his face, as he gazed at the two-way mirror knowing who went into it.

Sheila shot out of her chair, ran out the door, and entered the interrogation room where Mr. Potter and the detective were seated. “You’re lying.”

“No, I swear. I watched him go, and I saw him kill her.”

“Why didn’t you stop him?”

“He said he killed her for you. You see, Shelly had magical powers because she was from a magical realm. She bragged about giving you nightmares throughout your life after that time you and your parents spent on the carousel.”

“How did my dad know all of this?”

“She was able to go into the vortex at the end of the day and come back out in the morning. I thought you were all safe because up until a year ago, you lived out east with your parents. But I was wrong. One night, when she was supposed to be in the other realm, I woke up to a strange noise to find my whole bedroom wasn’t a bedroom anymore. At least not my bedroom. It was yours. Shelly was standing over you while you were sleeping and inducing nightmares. I could see how painful it was for you. I tried to make her stop, but she wouldn’t. You see, she wanted your life and thought if she drove you mad she could somehow kill you. It makes no sense, I know. But that was her logic. One night your dad walked in and saw her.”

“How was he able to see her?” asked the detective.

“After having been in that realm while on the carousel all those years ago, you are given the ability to see the other worldly things. When your dad walked in on her, she disappeared. So for years she taunted you. Last Thursday your dad showed up on my door step and asked to see her. She wasn’t there, so he waited for her. He didn’t have to tell me why he was there. I could see the malice in his face. But I let him in anyway. When she showed up, he told her she was going to stop her torcher of you. Well, as you can imagine, they argued. He grabbed her around the neck and strangled her. We dug a grave that night and threw her in it. Then he jumped into the vortex I had shown him, because he didn’t want to go to prison for doing something that protected his daughter.” Mr. Potter smiled then smirked.

“You sound happy about all of this,” said Sheila dumbstruck.

“Oh, you bet I am.”

Later that night

Sheila and her mother, Connie, sat at the kitchen table. “Well,” said Connie, “at least Mr. Potter is going to prison for being an accessory. It doesn’t make me feel any better, though. Your dad is gone.” She hung her head and wrung her hand in her lap. “I’m going to miss him.” A tear traveled down her cheek.

Sheila reached a hand across the table to her mother. “I know. We both will.”

There was a tap tap tap at the door, and both mother and daughter looked at one another. Sheila got up and pulled the door open. It was her dad.

(The End)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part IX)


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)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part VIII)


Tom took his seat on the carousel’s duck then looked up ahead at his wife and daughter and smiled. Connie’s expression relayed worry, but Sheila’s excitement shown through as she bounced up and down in her seat in anticipation of the ride. It warmed his heart to see her happy. Anything for his little girl.

The carousel lurched forward. At first the sensation of movement struck him as though he were floating. He passed the clown, who smiled. The floating of the carousel moved faster now but not by much. Then the outside environment of the carousel changed as though a paint brush, with one swipe, created a mountain side all in one stroke. The circular motion of the carousel stopped. Now he wafted up and down swishing this way and that. A loud “Quack, quack,” sounded from behind him. White wings flipped up from under where he sat and flapped. He turned his upper body left then right then patted the sides of his seat. Feathers. He sat on feathers. No. He sat on a real duck, who floated on a lake. Gazing out into the distance, mountain ranges stood in every direction. Shiny, yellow, billowing grass waved as a light breeze jostled it.

“Oh yeah,” said Tom. “I could get used to this.” He propped his legs in front of him, crossed his ankles, and cupped the back of his head in his laced fingers then closed his eyes.

“Then get used to it you shall,” replied a deep male voice behind him.

Tom sat bolt upright and glanced around. “What? Who said that?”

“I did,” said the duck.

“You talk?”

“Ummm, you just heard me speak, yet you still asked that question? So silly.”

“I’m not used to animals speaking as humans do.”

The duck ignored Tom’s statement, “So you are choosing to live here.”

“What? No. I never chose to live here. What are you talking about?” asked Tom
scratching his head in confusion.

“Yes, you did. You said, and I quote, ‘I could get used to this’, remember?”

“Well, yes, but that isn’t a decision to stay here. Nonetheless, you said it. Here, it is taken as such. So you are never to leave.”


The Clown

The clown looked on and smiled as Tom vanished from the carousel.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part VII)


The carousel sped up, and everything outside of it became a blur. Connie didn’t know about her husband or her daughter, but it felt as though she was sitting still. Is the carousel standing still and the outside world spinning? Then a bright dash of sunlight glinted, and she found herself atop a live horse and racing through a vast countryside. She clung to the reins and leaned in over the front of the saddle. A glance this way and that told her she was alone.

What about Sheila? If she herself was alone, then her 3 year old daughter rode alone, too. “On no!” Connie shouted into the wind. This is all real. The clown wasn’t telling stories. That means the twin horses Sheila was riding on was in fact a duplicator. “Stop! Stop this instant. I want to get off.”

The black stallion slowed and came to a stop, turned his head, eyed Connie, and said, “Is there a problem?”

“What? Wait. What? You talk? Get me out of here.” She lifted her right leg to dismount, but an invisible wall prevented her from doing so. “Why can’t I dismount?”

“You chose to ride, so you must finish it,” replied the horse.

“But my daughter…..”

“It matters not. Here we go.” The horse took off racing through the field once more.

She wanted to yell to her husband but didn’t know if he could hear her being that she couldn’t see him. She called to him anyway. “Tom!” Nothing. “Tom!” Again, no answer. A loud, echoing laughter shot passed on the dashing wind, as she rode. It wasn’t Tom’s laugh. It was the clown’s.

Then all went dark and the horseback ride continued. The clown’s face floated in front of her and bobbed from side to side, dancing this way and that. Connie gasped; the horse ran faster. She teetered. Instinct forced her to hug the horse around his neck. Her breath sucked in gulps of air the faster the horse went. “Stop!” she yelped, her voice hoarse.

“Ha ha ha ha ha ha…..teeter totter teeter totter.
The faster you run,
the more the fun,
in blackness you will whither…”

Connie’s eyelids drooped, her arms fell loose, her body lolled to the side, and the horse continued to run.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part VI)

The Past

Little three year old Sheila giggled at the waving clown then ran to him. Connie and Tom, her parents, jogged behind her. Connie caught up with her first and clasped onto her hand.

“Sheila, sweetie, let’s not bother the clown.”

“Oh, it’s no bother, ma’am. It’s what I’m here for.” He twisted his painted face in an odd expression, which elicited more laughter from Sheila.

The clown laughed back. To Tom and Connie he said, “Say, I’m in charge of the carousel inside the tent here. Do you think she would like to ride on it?”

Before her parents could say anything, little Sheila jumped up and down, “Yes, yes. Please, Mommy? Please?”

Connie glanced at her husband then back at Sheila and chuckled. “How can I refuse.”

“Great,” said the clown. He turned and led the three of them into the large tent.

Before them sat the largest carousel Connie had ever seen. But she wondered, the tent isn’t that big. How can it house a carousel this size?

The clown read her expression and said, “It’s a magical carousel.”

“Magic how?” asked Connie. Her husband must have heard the trepidation in her voice, because he stepped closer and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She peered down at Sheila’s face, now lit up. Her little eyes were wide saucers. Her tiny mouth gaped open. Connie turned her attention to her husband, Tom. “What do you think? Should we let her ride it?”

Tom smirked then whispered to his wife, “I’ve never heard of a magical carousel. I’m sure he said that for the benefit of Sheila. Kids love that kind of stuff. Go ahead. Let her ride it.”

Connie wasn’t convinced. To the clown she asked again, “Magic how?”

The clown turned around to face the carousel. Pointing to various animals he said, “Take, for example, the horses. If you ride one of those, you will ride through a real true to life countryside as though you are really there and on a real live horse. You won’t be on the carousel anymore. Well, to us here you will look as though you are just riding a carousel, but to you, you won’t be. Then, we have the ducks. If you ride a duck, you…”

“Wait,” interjected Tom. “You mean to tell me that the experience for the rider is real?”


“You’re putting me on.”

“No, I wouldn’t do that. I am telling you the truth.” A full minute passed without anyone saying anything. Then the clown, seeing the creased brows in both parents’ expressions, continued telling them about the carousels magic. “As I was saying, if you ride the duck, you will be in a pond floating for real on a large, live duck among a beautiful and majestic mountainside.”

Connie strolled closer to the carousel. Her daughter’s hand still clasped within her own. Something odd caught her attention. It was what looked like twin horses attached to one another with one seat between them. She pointed it out to the clown and said, “I’ve never seen anything like that on a carousel before. What happens when one rides on the double horse?”

“It’s a duplicator.”

Connie wasn’t sure she heard right. She blinked a few times then said, “A what?”

“A duplicator.”

“Ok, now I’ve heard everything. Come on, let’s ride the carousel. She lifted Sheila up onto the platform of the carousel and stepped up herself. To her daughter she asked, “Sweetie, which animal would you like to ride?”

“The twins, the twins,” yelled Sheila clapping her hands and jumping up and down.

Connie picked her up and placed her on the seat on top of the twin horses, then stood beside her daughter and placed protective hands on her to keep her still. When nothing happened, she said to the clown, “You can start.”

“Oh no. You have to ride something too. So does your husband.”

“Sure, ” said Tom hopping up on the carousel’s platform. He picked a duck.

Connie’s reluctant expression caught her husband’s attention. She didn’t want to leave her daughter unattended.

“It’ll be ok. She’ll be fine, honey. Ride the one horse next to her.”

“Yeah, ok.” Connie mounted the horse to Sheila’s right.

The clown smiled. “Perfect. You’re gonna love this.” He pressed a button and the carousel sprung to life. Slow at first then gained speed. A typical carousel will reach a certain speed and stay there until the ride is finished, but this wasn’t your typical carousel. It’s speed continued to get faster until it was a blur.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part V)

Connie, Sheila’s mother, entered the living room. After being introduced to Detective Jameson, she followed her daughter to the sofa and sat down. At first nobody said anything. So much needed to be explained to her daughter, but she didn’t know where to start. She fingered the ends of her shoulder length auburn hair and glanced from the detective to her daughter. With a smile at Sheila, she placed a hand on Sheila’s hand and gave a gentle squeeze.

“Well?” asked Sheila to her mom.

“This isn’t easy. I’m not quite sure where to start. As a matter of fact, I never thought I’d have to tell you what I’m about to tell you. Before I do that, why is a detective here, why the interest in whether or not you have a twin? You didn’t explain anything on the phone.”

“Mrs. Baye,” said the detective.

“Please, call me Connie.”

“Connie, we found a dead body buried in the back yard of the neighbor’s. It was a…”

“Oh, no! Mr. Potter’s house?” interrupted Connie.

Detective Jameson glanced from Sheila to Connie. “As a matter of fact, yes.” He focused his attention onto Sheila. “Did you tell her whose house, when you spoke to her on the phone yesterday?”

“No, I didn’t.” Sheila turned to her mom. “How did you know it was Mr. Potter’s house? I never gave you any details yesterday.”

“And right now you may sound surprised but your body language is telling a different story,” said the detective.

Connie’s shoulders drooped. “I guess I better start from the beginning. But first, Sheila, why did you ask me if you had a twin?”

“That’s what I was trying to tell you when you interrupted me,” replied Detective Jameson. “The body we found in the backyard of the neighbor’s house looks as though she could be your daughter’s twin.”

Connie’s lips crumpled in a weak smile. “I better start from the beginning.” She placed her purse on the floor next to her left foot and repositioned herself to face more toward her daughter and the detective. “You were two years old going on three and your father and I wanted to do something special for you since your birthday was coming up in a few days. The first day of the carnival was on your birthday, so we decided to take you. As soon as we arrived and walked through the entrance, the music and colors all around you made your face light up. We went to a few game booths, and your dad won some little stuffed toys for you. After the third game, your dad reached down to you to place the newly won stuffed bear in your little hands, when he notice you fixated on something behind you. He followed your gaze to see a clown in front of a large tent waving at you.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part IV)

The Following Morning

Detective Jameson sat in the large, poufy chair watching Sheila pace. “Shouldn’t you be picking your mother up from the airport?”

“No, she insisted on renting a car and coming herself.” She wrung and twisted her fingers as she continued pacing. A deep breath in and a deep breath out had the opposite effect. As much as she tried to relax, it didn’t work. “What is this all about?” whispered Sheila more to herself than to the detective.

“Excuse me. What was that?” asked Detective Jameson.

Sheila stopped pacing and stared at him for a few seconds, then, “Nothing. It’s nothing.” She turned and plopped down onto the sofa. “It’s just that. Well… She mentioned a carousel, which struck me as odd.”

“Why is that?”

“When I was talking to my mother on the phone, she said, ‘That damn carousel.'”

“Why would that be odd?”

Sheila stared at him, blinked twice, then said, “I don’t remember ever being near a carousel in my life let alone riding one.”

“You’re kidding me. Everyone I know has been on one of those things at least once in their life,” said the detective.

“Not me. But…”

“What? But what?”

“It’s strange. Just the other night I woke up around 1:00 am in a cold sweat gasping for air and remnants of carnival music playing in my head. When I tried to remember what my dream was about the more it faded from my memory. The last thing I do remember from it was Mr. Potter from next door. His face crossing my line of vision when I awoke. Wait. Where’s Mr. Potter?”

“Locked up. Remember? The body in his back yard?”

“But that doesn’t mean he killed my look alike.”

“It doesn’t mean he didn’t either. Look. He refuses to talk, so I had no choice. That, and we found evidence. Of which I am not at liberty to discuss.”

The doorbell jolted Sheila out of her thoughts.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part III)

Sheila stumbled backwards a couple steps. The detective caught her by the arm before she fell to the ground. But her eyes never left the corpse in the hole. The body was hers. It was her. How can that be? Without thinking she had taken baby steps toward the edge of the hole. Her breathing grew heavy. A hand touched her shoulder and she jumped. It was the detective.

“Ma’am, you ok?” asked the detective.

“I’m staring at myself in a makeshift grave in the backyard of my neighbor. Do you really need to know the answer to that question?” asked Sheila.

“Yeah. Never mind. Clearly this isn’t you. Although I can understand your reaction. She’s a dead ringer for you though.”

Sheila shot him a look.

“Sorry. Bad choice of words. Are you sure you don’t have a twin? Maybe the two of you were separated at birth and no one told you.”

“I’m positive. My birth certificate says I was a single birth.”

“Maybe they faked it.”

She had to admit he had a point. Maybe the lady in the hole is only a look a like. That’s happened before. She had to be sure. “Detective, I need to step away for a moment and make a phone call.”


Sheila walked over to the back porch of the house and placed a call from her cell phone to her mother. The other end rang several times. Just as she was about to end the call, the other end picked up.


“Mom…,” said Sheila then paused.

“Hey sweetie. What is it? You sound shaky.”

“Do I have a twin?”

“N-no. Why do you ask?”

“That wasn’t a very confident no,” said Sheila.

“Well…technically you don’t have a twin. But…”

“What do you mean technically?”

“OH!” her mother blurted out. “That damn carousel.”

“What carousel? What are you talking about?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” replied her mother.

“I’m running out of patience, mother.”

“Sheila, honey, it’s going to take more than a phone call to explain things. I’ll be on the first flight out.”

Sheila ended the call and walked back over to the detective who threw her an expectant look.

“Well?” he asked.

“No. I don’t. And yes. My mother is flying in later to tell the rest.”


Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part II)

Sheila backed away from the edge of her balcony the moment after the detective peered inside the hole then drug his head up and sideways to give her a sideways glare. She backed up into the sliding glass door. An electric current sapped her nerves. Why did he glare at her? How did he see her up here? Her chest labored as she took in each breath. She hadn’t done anything wrong, so why was she so nervous? Wait. Why indeed? She sighed and forced herself to relax then turned around, opened the door and slipped inside.

The display on the digital clock on her bedside table read 10:23 am. It was Saturday. To her Saturdays were relax, read, and fun days. Spying her kindle on her dressing table, she snatched it up and strolled out into the hall an down the stairs. A loud knock on the front door jolted her to a stop. Her heart began its pounding in her chest once more.

“Open up,” yelled a male voice on the other side of the front door.

Sheila inhaled another deep breath, let it out slow, and proceeded the rest of the way down the steps. “Coming,” she called back in as calm a voice as she could muster. She reached the bottom step, sauntered over to the entryway, and opened the door. It was the same plainclothes detective she viewed from her bedroom balcony. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“I’m Detective Jameson. Are you Sheila Baye?” asked the detective in a tone that could snap an alligator to attention.

“Y-yes. What’s the problem?”

“Can we go inside, ma’am?”


Once they were inside and the door was closed, Detective Jameson asked, “Ms. Baye, do you have a twin?”

Sheila shook her head with a quick jolt. “Excuse me?”

“I asked, do you…..”

“I heard what you said. No, I don’t.”

The detective leaned from one foot to the other and massaged his chin with his thumb and forefinger.

“What?” asked Sheila. “Does this have anything to do with what’s going on next door?”

Detective Jameson didn’t speak right away. Instead he rested both hands on his hip and eyed Sheila as though trying to decide something. Then, “Do you know the people next door?”

“Kind of but not really,” said Sheila.

“What do you mean?”

“Well just that we don’t normally talk to each other, like carry on a conversation or anything. Beyond the niceties of being polite, that is. You know, like, ‘Hi, how are you.’ That sort of thing.”

“Have you ever been over there or go inside the house?”

“No.” A brief pause hung in the air for a full minute. Then, “Detective, what’s this about?
When I was up on my balcony a little bit ago, I saw two people digging. What did they find, a body? I couldn’t see everything from my vantage point.”

“Where were you the last two days?”

“Am I a suspect?”

“Just trying to rule you out.”

“I was in Chicago at a writer’s conference. I just got home late last night,” replied Sheila. “Here,” she walked over to a small table propped against the wall, grabbed her used plane ticket, and handed it over to him.

“Can anyone verify you were there?”

“Another author went with me. His name is Taren Wilks. Now, you want to fill me in on what this is all about? If I’m being accused of something, then I need to call my lawyer.”

Detective Jameson winced then eyed her once more. “Ms. Baye, it’s…I’m not so sure…what I mean is…never mind. Come with me. There’s something you need to see.”

Sheila followed the detective out the front door and over to the house next door. They entered the front door and found two officers in the front living room searching. The detective continued through the rest of the house and out the back door with Sheila following close behind.

They stopped at the far left corner of the backyard. The detective turned and faced her. Sheila craned her neck to look over his shoulder, but he moved to block her.

“Before you look at what I am about to show you, I want you to keep in mind that it’s going to look disturbing.”

“Of course, it will. Dead bodies are supposed to be disturbing.”

The detective didn’t respond and gazed at the ground instead.

“It is a dead body…right?” asked Sheila.

“Yes, yes it is.” He moved out of her way.

Sheila stared down at the body in the hole and gasped.

(To Be Continued)

Posted in Short Stories

Carousels and Nightmares (Part I)

The Present

Sheila Baye stood propped against the sliding glass door as she looked from the balcony off her bedroom. Next door the police swarmed in an out of the house. She assumed they were searching for….what….clues? Clues to what? She noted the gloves they all wore. Maybe one of the Mason twins was killed. Maybe one of them or both stole something and hid it. Given the number of officers, it had to be pretty serious, she surmised.

Her attention drew to movement in the far left corner of the house’s property out back. To Sheila it was a blind spot, even being up high on her balcony. But a couple of heads bobbed up above the wooden fence then lowered. She sauntered to the outer corner of her balcony and stretched her neck hoping to gain a better view. Then one of the heads was joined by a hand waving someone down from inside the house. A plain clothes detective, she assumed, rushed out of the house and over to the two bobbing heads.

“What have you got?” asked the detective.

One of the officers who had been digging, moved to the side and gestured toward the hole. It was a body.

(To Be Continued)