Rolo and the Carnival Game

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: October 22, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: October 22, 2018



Rolo met Mr. Jatopy on a school night.  He awoke to the sound of beating drums. 

Jungle music, he thought; except, it wasn’t melodic.

The wall next to his bed radiated heat, but that wasn’t the source.

The boy pawed around for his glasses.  Stupidly, he often rested them on the bed, his intention, to keep them in easy reach.  But they couldn't be found.

The night-light cast malformed shadows.  His blurry vision played tricks; the dark entities appeared to twitch around the edges.

A bongo’s tempo increased—it seemed, in direct proportion to his heart.

He squinted, the green haze of his alarm clock sharpened into square numbers.  Three Twenty-seven.

Gushing water coursed through the walls.  A toilet upstairs flushed, just his father’s overactive bladder. 

Heavy footsteps vibrated the ceiling.  His father was a large man.  The reassurance of another conscious being eased the boy back into the pillow. 

The jungle music slowed; his eyelids closed.

His body tangled into the blanket.  Its embrace comforted him, warmed his body.  It even warmed his upturned cheek, strange.

His heart beat sped up.

Eyes pierced the back of his head, he just knew it.  The monsters were clever; they knew when he’d confront them.  A surprise attack, that’s what he’d do.

His upturned cheek became warmer.  In his mind’s eye, he painted a target on the source.

The boy sprung around with a hammering fist.  It connected with a solid piece of felt.  His eyes blinked open, just in time, too.  A puppet with a frown and a dent in its head melted back into the wall.

You finally came out to play, Mr. Jatopy.

From that day forward, he learned wall-monsters didn’t discourage easily; however, the cautious invader was weak to surprise attacks.  The boy would feign ignorance; then, when the radiating heat closed in, a hammering fist knocked it away.

A very jittery child.

The therapists said Mr. Jatopy didn’t exist.  His mother said the same thing.  His father grunted.

Soon, the walls of the house became still; his surprise attacks only struck air.  It felt lonely.  He didn’t see the apparition as malicious, just a friendly game of whack-a-mole.

However, tenacious by nature, the boy adjusted.  He grew out of the house, only visiting on holidays.  His parents thought coursework kept him busy; the boy blamed all the college parties.

But a long break in January kept his schedule clear.

Once again, beating drums awoke him, not bongos, just an early throbbing hangover.  His contact lenses displayed his bedroom in sharp lines and edges.  Sweat poured from his face; he needed water.

A clank on his nightstand, he noticed a distorted green light.  Square numbers magnified through a round glass.  Three Twenty-seven.  Glittering bubbles rose in between.

Reflexively, he brought a hammering fist down behind him.  It only struck air.

A puppet with a frown and a dented head shadowed on the wall.

© Copyright 2019 TomDelay1252. All rights reserved.

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