This week, write a post based on this image:
It was many years ago. The photo was suddenly appeared while I was sorting through the stuff that mum had left, but I had not forgotten why she had kept the photo. Perhaps as a warning never to trust anyone again even if he did have a children’s carousel in his front garden.
When Jackson moved into the street no-one really noticed. Not me, mum or the other neighbours; that was until he put the carousel in the front garden. It was not just a carousel, but it seemed to shout at you, to draw you into its ban. There was a cat, a giraffe, a tiger and two strange animals which made you feel nervous. A green slimy looking object with a long nose (yes an object, it could not have been something that breathed or walked the earth) and something that could have been a lion, but a yellow lion. Of course there was a horse, but the horse was a small inconspicuous horse, it was white but small, nothing threatening, although everything else seemed to be threatening about the carousel.
I remember the first time I saw Jackson.
“Hi, just call me Jackson, and what is your name little girl?”
He was a big man, as wide as tall, had greasy hair and smelt like a barber’s shop: probably it was not grease, but some sort of gel to keep his hair in place. He just stood there looking and I froze. Mum told me not to speak to strangers, so I kept quiet.
“Lost your voice little girl, tell me your name, I won’t hurt” and then mum came to my help. She saw me through the window.
“That your daughter ma’am” he asked “she seems to have lost her voice.”
“No, she hasn’t, she is just being careful. I brought her up not to speak to men she doesn’t know.”
“And a very good idea: you never know these days. I’m Jackson and just moved in: nice to meet you Mrs. Errrrr”
“Jones” said mum “and that is my little girl Jemma”.
“Hello Jemma” and this Jackson type stretched out his hand, but did not take mine. He patted me on the cheek. I took my handkerchief and started to wipe where I felt his greasy touch. Everything about this Jackson seemed to be fat and greasy.”
“Jemma what are you doing” said mum “Mr. Jackson just wants to get to know you. He is new in the neighbourhood.”
“No offence taken Mrs. Jones” said Jackson “and yes, I am new here. Perhaps you can help. I work during the day and am looking for someone that would perhaps look after my place; just some cleaning and dusting to keep it in order. I will pay you, of course, and your little girl could even take a ride on my carousel.”
Now dad had left mum a couple of years ago. She was not sorry, and neither was I. Actually she threw dad out as his drinking got just too much. I don’t know all the details, mum didn’t tell me and to be quite honest I didn’t want to know. There was never a quiet moment when dad was living with us. I knew mum could use the money, so I kept quiet while she spoke to this Jackson about the payment. She seemed to be satisfied and he asked her into the house to see what was to do.
“You can come as well Jemma” he said “I have some lemonade in the kitchen for you”.
I decided I did not want lemonade from this Jackson man, or even go into his house, so I waited outside, leaning on the carousel.
“Hey, you, want a ride?” I turned to the direction where the voice came from, but only saw the animals on the carousel.
“I’m talking, the green one. Do you want a ride?”
I was sure I saw the green slimy monster wink at me, but no, it couldn’t be.
“What’s wrong? I am in charge here, jump on.”
Yes, I saw his lips move. So I looked at him and there I was suddenly sitting on this creature’s back. I do not know how, but was just holding on and he started to move. All the animals began moving, making a noise that sounded like a jungle at night. I once saw a film on the TV about a jungle. I saw shapes passing by, trying to grasp me, I could hear children crying.
“Don’t be frightened” said the green creature “we will take care of you, we take care of all of you” and then I was suddenly sitting on the back of the giraffe, then the lion, afterwards the tiger until I eventually landed on the horse and then everything stopped and I saw Jackson leave his house with mum.
“Come now Jemma, it is time for the evening meal” and mum grabbed me by the hand and dragged me home.
“How was it mum, did you get the job?”
“Job, no Jemma, there was no job. Let us forget it and I do not want you going near that place, or talking to that man called Jackson.”
“But the carousel mum”.
“Do not even speak about the carousel. It is an evil house and anything to do with the house is evil.”
So that was that I suppose, and mum being mum I naturally obeyed her. I walked past the house on my way to school, but always kept my eyes away from the front door, although I could feel his eyes watching me through the curtains at the window. I could still hear the cries of the children and a voice that called “come and have a ride”.
It must have been a month later that there was a police car outside the house. Two children, two of my schoolfriends, had disappeared. They never came home after school and the police seemed to be everywhere in the neighbourhood.
That night the carousel burnt. It was turning, the flames turning with the carousel and Jackson? He was tied to the green monster and burning with it. Since that night I never heard the children’s cries any more.
“What did you see in that house” I once asked my mum “nothing for your eyes” she said and she took the secret to her grave, but she had kept the photo.
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