It's a Small World: the Dark Side, by Erin 11.7.13

The boat was going quicker that it usually did. You would know. You've gone on this ride at least six times since you've come to the amusement park, and the boat is not supposed to go this fast. Raising your hand, you start to call out to the ride operator, but your mother quiets you, saying it's nothing to worry about. But you know it is, because the boat shouldn't be so fast and the breeze shouldn't be so cold. 

You turn into the tunnel, ready to embrace the music, but there is none. No paintings. No happy puppets. Just darkness and cold. You're wearing a t-shirt and shorts and you shiver.

The voice speaks from nowhere yet everywhere, low and lost silent, neither male nor female… just there, like a presence:

"Not all places are happy. Not all places have dancing puppets. For some children, they have nobody. No parents. No friends. Nothing but darkness and shadows and despair."

You try to scream but it's like you've lost your voice; turning to receive your mother's warm embrace you're horrified to discover she isn't even there. You're like the voice said -- alone. No one but the dark. The only warmth is the tears running down your face, and even they have frozen by now.

"Don't worry. You'll get out of here alive -- nonetheless, scarred for life -- but alive. Remember, little one, it can be a dark world after all."

Ahead of me I hear screams.

And all I can do is cry as the boat moves forward, still too fast.

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