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Not everything is up for sale.

By Mark GagnonPublished 29 days ago 3 min read
Photo by Sumeesh Nagisetty on Unsplash

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. It is an event that residents of this isolated little town have grown accustomed to. After all, what's one more uncommon, even magical, occurrence in a town filled with such things? Of course, the town wasn't always so indifferent to supernatural phenomena, but that was before the carousel took on a life of its own.

Round and round, the brightly colored machine turned on its axis. Horses, Unicorns, Lions, and even several Dragons endlessly chased one another on the deck of the wondrous contraption; perhaps being inspired by the cheerful sounds of the automated calliope. The beasts always carried bright-eyed children on their backs, but not today or any day, during the frozen winter months.

The carousel, seemingly indifferent to the biting cold air of a January night, steadily turned circle after circle without a care in the world. A crowd of townsfolk formed around the merry-go-round, unable to find out why the machine was running and who had turned it on. Most of the city council and the mayor, having just adjourned an evening meeting, joined the expanding crowd. The city fathers unanimously decided that a tract of land used as a park along with everything on it, which included the carousel, was to be sold to a developer. The sale would revitalize the city coffers and many of the council members' personal bank accounts.

Originally, the land and the carousel were donated to the city over 150 years ago by a wealthy benefactor to be used in perpetuity as a park for anyone to come and enjoy. He did this in memory of his only daughter, Stephanie, who died on her sixth birthday from a childhood disease. She loved to ride the carousel and now the last vestige of her memory had just been sold.

The mayor's daughter was the first of the town's children to slip away and happily hop aboard the slowly circling carousel. Most of the other excited children in the crowd followed her lead and climbed on, each child mounting one of the wooden creatures. Only one animal was left without a rider, a white unicorn with a long purple mane, and a golden horn protruding from its forehead. A young girl emerged from the cover of darkness dressed in a purple frilly dress, her favorite color, and strode purposefully to the carousel. As her steed circled past, she climbed onto the carousel and mounted the unoccupied horse. The ride's revolutions increased as the music intensified, and everything on it became a blur. The children's shouts of delight turned to screams of terror, their cries finally blotted out by the roar of wind being generated by the out-of-control ride. Several of the parents frantically attempted to rescue their children but were rebuffed by the wall of wind that surrounded the carousel.

It was the mayor who humbly approached the ride, and in a terrified voice called out, "We are canceling the sale. It was wrong to want to remove you and sell this land. Please forgive us and return our children." The ride continued to whirl at a breakneck speed for a minute longer, as if contemplating the offer, before slowly decelerating.

The frantic parents, as the ride slowed, scrambled aboard the carousel and retrieved their terrified kids. The only child remaining was a little girl in a purple dress mounted on a golden-horned unicorn. She scanned the crowd intently, sat up as straight as her slight frame would allow, and spoke.

"My father gave me this carousel and I like to let everyone ride it, but it's not yours to sell. I'm going back home now, but I'll be back to ride my unicorn from time to time, so please take care of this special ride for me."

Later that year, the town built an amusement park around the carousel and erected a plaque in Stephanie's honor. There were never any further attempts to sell the ride.

Every night at midnight, the purple clouds came out to dance with the blushing sky. A young girl's giggle could be heard across the sky. It was a reminder to the good townspeople for generations to come who owned the carousel.


About the Creator

Mark Gagnon

I have spent most of my life traveling around the US and the globe. Now it's time to draw on these experiences and create what I hope are interesting fictional stories. Only you, the reader, can tell me if I've achieved my goal.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  4. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

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Comments (6)

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  • Naomi22 days ago

    This is my favorite kind of story—short, but full of imagery and meaning.

  • Donna Renee24 days ago

    :D This was great! Also, that was a nice level of creepy! Not so creepy that I'm going to have nightmares but creepy enough that I'm going to look at carousels a little differently now...

  • Tina D'Angelo29 days ago

    Fantastic! Is this a story about Binghamton, New York? Just a wonderful story- I could see the animals on the carousel.

  • Donna Fox29 days ago

    I love your opening paragraph, you set the scene so well! Wow! This was eery and such a fantastic read, super engaging! Wonderful work!

  • william u cowser29 days ago

    nice ghost story with a warning!

  • Lana V Lynx29 days ago

    Gave me chills.

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