THEY WERE ALL LOOKING FOR HER. Yet there she was, silent, somber and hidden. Unaware of the anxiety her absence was bringing to her guardians, she sat quietly on the swing and moved with its movements.
‘What on Earth am I going to do? Where shall I look for her?’ asked Jasmine worriedly.
‘Don’t worry Jass, we will soon find her.’ Cabby answered. But he was just as worried as Jass, and feared what could happen to them both, or Jass alone, if they failed to find her.
The swing moved merrily. Round and round it went, and Rose who sat there silently, was soon lost admiring the vivid, brilliant colors of her surroundings. She had lost grip of Jasmine’s hands, but that was not her fault really. It was hers, who was too busy chatting and laughing about with Cabby.
‘Oh what nose does this elephant has! And look at those stripes on the tiger’s body! I love this orange tiger so much!’ exclaimed the little girl.
She struggled to climb at the top of it while the swing moved, but thud! She fell again and again while trying to get over that slippery tiger.
‘I don’t like you tiger!’ she said, and ran towards the yellow bear.
‘Oh Winnie! You look so adorable in real! Have you got any honey today?’ asked Rose as she suddenly remembered that she felt hungry.
Pooh didn’t answer but Rose kept standing, waiting. Tears welled up in her eyes as she discovered that none of them would speak to her. Maybe they were all angry at her, but why? She could not understand.
‘Mr. Giraffe! Will you speak to me?’ she went to the yellow animal with black spots all over. ‘Oh look, how long your neck is! May I touch it?’ she questioned, but failed to receive an answer. Soon she felt lumps in her throat and looked at her whereabouts. She was all alone in the zoo they had brought her to, and no animal would speak to her.
Jasmine on the other hand, paced apprehensively. She didn’t know where to look for her or Cabby, who had told her he’d return soon, and that too with Rose. It had been about twenty minutes since he left, and Jasmine’s heart filled up with fears. The gatekeeper had already come by twice and warned that the gates closed by at seven-thirty sharp. What was she to do, if Cabby failed to find Rose? What if he came to her alone, and Rose? What will happen to that little girl? She shuddered as she imagined what the future might hold for them.
‘Pooh! Tiger! Mr. Giraffe! Won’t anyone of you talk to me? Why, does nobody like me? She questioned again, as tears rolled down her cheeks and the figures blurred in her eyes. ‘Horsey? Elephant? Dear Bunny? Will you not talk to me either?’ To her despair, none of the animals replied. They were too unkind, and too hostile.
Suddenly the merry-go-round began to slow and eventually it paused. She looked at it with horror. What had just happened? Were any of those animals sick? Or were all of them going to die? Her eyes stared in disbelief and her heart swelled with emotions.
Cabby returned to Jasmine and told her that Rose was nowhere. And while he was telling that, the incharge came yet again to suggest maybe the girl went outside for popcorn or something and that they should call the police.
Cabby agreed to that and asked Jasmine to relax.
‘We will find her very soon, Jass. Let me call the police.’ He also ordered the man to bring her some her cold water.
‘What is there to relax for, Cabby?’, sobbed Jasmine. ‘I have lost her. My sister’s daughter, her only glimpse. What will I tell others? How will I answer them? And how will I live myself?’ –
They suddenly heard a scream. A child’s scream.
‘ROSE!!!’ she shouted and started running to whatever direction she presumed the sound to have come from. ‘ROSE! Please Rose. WHERE ARE YOU?’ Cabby followed her, running north-east. They ran and ran, and kept running. From there to here and here to there, but couldn’t find her. Soon they reached the smaller gate which opened to a garden. A garden with swings..
‘She must be there’, Jasmine cried and bent to get in.
They quickly divided their paths and began searching her. Night had fallen completely so theyrelied on their torches to show them way.
‘ROSE! Are you here dear Rose? Can you hear me? Please answer!’ cried Jasmine as she repeated her name again and again.
But Rose was nowhere.
‘Jasmine! Head to the left.’ Cabby shouted.
‘What? Did you find her?’ she asked hopefully. And she sighed and smiled; relaxing like a traveler stranded in desert when an oasis is seen.
‘No. I did not. But look here!’ he pointed to the merry-go-round which was silently stuck and frozen at its place.
Jasmine looked unbelievingly at the floor – and to Cabby and the floor again. Then she bent down and picked up a few scattered beads with teary eyes. A few blue beads from a bracelet Rose wore fondly. Rose’ bracelet. Lost Rose’ bracelet.
Where was she now?
A fictional story based on the photo would be great (Who is this little girl? Where is she? What is she waiting for? Where is her family?), but we also look forward to non-fiction posts inspired by the photo. How does the image make you feel? Does the girl remind you of anyone in your life, or of yourself? Are you as scared of the unidentifiable green creature as we are, and is that a nose or a beak?
The story was writen for a WP challenge, and it needs revisions. Criticism is welcome.
© Maria Imran * Randomly Abstract*
Short stories / Merry-go-round