3/31/16 QW- Jamie’s Carnival

For 20 minutes, write a(n) quiet story.
Setting: Carnival.

The stillness, which would have seemed eerie to some, felt like home to Jamie. He spent his whole life in the shadows of the ferris wheel and the carousel in daylight and had come to know their creaks and whispers. He considered them friends, although since he’d never had any real, human friends he wasn’t sure exactly what that meant.

Jamie’s mother and father had worked for this same carnival before the accident. They, too, had grown up within its circle of wagons and tents. They, being more palatable to the eyes of the “normals”, had known its boisterous side, though. They saw the carnival as a frantic, panting beast to be tamed with whips and chairs. Jamie knew the true nature of the carnival. Jamie knew that the carnival, like himself, just wanted someone to see her tattered edges and spent just a moment trying to mend them.

The accident that took Jamie’s mother’s life could have been prevented, as is true of most accidents. The small platform upon which she sat as she glided through the air was attached to its ropes with large screws. These screws were checked each time the main tent was erected and again each time it was taken down. Or so the safety checklist indicated.

In reality, the men and women charged with building the carnival had little time for checklists and safety protocols. The leaders of the towns they visited wanted showmanship and pizzazz. The carnival bosses wanted quick turn-over. The attendees wanted nothing less than pure magic. None of them wanted to sit around watching for days as the carnival was built. They wanted to go to sleep with life plodding along as normal and wake up with an entire village of striped tents, exotic animals and fried foods next door.


At first I thought it unfortunate that the theme “quiet story” and the setting “carnival” were paired together. Then I realized that a quiet carnival is probably one of the saddest things I can think of … and someone who only knows a quiet carnival is bound to have some interesting backstory.

Your turn! What did you come up with? Post a link to your 20 minute quick write in comments!


[Prompt provided by The Journal: Prose Challenges template. Quick writing done alongside those already participating in Camp NaNoWriMo 2016 with the encouragement of @NaNoWordSprints.]

Image available from Bobbejaan Schoepen Archive under CC by 2.5.

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