Where the Carnies Are
Fantasy | New Adult
Olive is having a very bad day. She caught her boyfriend cheating on her, she lost her job, and she stumbled into a portal leading to a secret carnival kingdom which she can’t escape. The good news is she meets an eccentric, but stunningly handsome knife thrower. The bad news is she can’t go home for another two months.
The world she lands in is full of sideshow characters, terrifying amusement rides and her biological parents’ past. She was born a carny, but raised as a normal human. Magic lives in her blood, but it hasn’t reached her heart. To find out who she really is, and why carnies are disappearing, Olive must deceive the king with the help of Alex the knife thrower.
Olive and Alex play a dangerous game with their emotions when they decide to have a fling during Olive’s stay. They both lead very different lives and being together would mean one of them giving up the life they've always known.
Tricks and traps are around every corner in this kingdom. Few can be trusted and Olive will need all the help she can get to make it through unscathed.
I looked around for the nearest sign of life. A faint light glittered from across a field of wild grass. It was far away, but not so much so that I couldn’t get there. Though I dreaded walking through the field in my heels. Sighing, I grabbed my purse, locked the car up, then stuffed my keys into my purse and turned for the light. The ditch was cleared without injury, and I gained a little confidence. The moon was full. The stars shined. I paid more attention to them than the terrain I was traversing. But, who could blame me? I hadn’t seen the stars in a while. The city was too good at hiding them.
The air changed. Traces of music reached my ears. Carnival music? And the smell of cotton candy accompanied it. The music grew louder as I approached and the smell grew stronger too.
After a few more steps, a bright light flashed before me. I was caught off guard, then stumbled and fell, landing face down on a springy, bouncy, flat surface that felt like a giant dodge-ball. Even in the darkness, I could tell that it was yellow. I pulled myself up to a sitting position and gazed at the tall yellow walls to my left made of the same material I was sitting on. I thought I might be in a giant bouncy house.
Panic struck as I realized I couldn’t see my car, or the field I had just been in. What happened? I couldn’t be dreaming. Could I?
That’s when I twisted my head to the right and caught sight of the grandest carnival I had ever seen. Bright lights dazzled my eyes and took my breath away. A large gateway was about 40 feet away with an arch over it that read in lighted letters: Welcome to Crescent Carnival Kingdom!
Crowds swarmed in the distance. No one noticed my arrival, and no one else was on the giant yellow rubber field I sat on. Walking on this would be impossible with heels, so I took them off and shoved them into my purse. Good thing I remembered to paint my toenails. I stood and bounce-walked my way towards the gate. One small step for man, right?
Once I neared the edge of the inflated thing I was on, it sloped down like a giant slide. The slide would take me straight through the gate and onto solid ground. I grabbed my skirt to hold it in place and slid down. The ride down hinted at memories of a younger me.
A giggle escaped me as I tumbled onto the grass. I think it’s the first time I’ve laughed all day.
There were dark admissions booths all around me. I really needed to find a phone or someone who could help me get back to my car. The only people were still at least 80 feet away. They might think I’m insane if I just go tell them I’ve lost my car and somehow landing in the middle of a carnival. I wonder if I fell off a cliff or something. Perhaps the light I saw wasn’t a house, but the top of one of the many rides that loomed ahead. My mind tried to grasp onto reasonable explanations for the sudden appearance of this place.
“A little late to the party, aren’t you?” someone said from the right in an English accent. I turned in the direction of the voice, but I only caught sight of a shadow.
“What party?” I asked.
“It’s only two months until the next season. You’re late getting back.”
The voice came from behind. I spun to try to catch him, seeing nothing again.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said. “Where are you?”
I kept spinning until a man’s face appeared so close to mine that I stumbled backward. Before I could fall, he caught me and my gaze. His left arm wrapped around my waist like a swing and his right hand held my shoulder.
About Kayla Curry:
Kayla Curry’s creative mind never sleeps. Literally.
As Kayla sleeps, her active imagination keeps up the work by making her dream all night long. It’s those dreams that provide much of the inspiration for her stories.
Her works include Where the Carnies Are, Obsidian (Mystic Stones Series #1), and many short stories.
She lives in North Platte, Nebraska with her husband and two sons and she plans to keep writing and creating for the rest of her life.
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