Title: Tower of Terror
Summery: Fifth in Carnival series. Follows Cotton Candy, Ring Toss, Carousel, and Toy Boats.
Haunted houses ain't good places for crazy girls to go.
The girl had said she was gonna win him a goldfish at the next game. He had no idea why, but following her was easier than argueing, 'special since his stomach had just finally settled from the eight times round on the merry go round.
Natural-like, his life wasn't getting any easier, cause before they could even get over to the games with the fish as prizes, they passed the Haunted House.
And gorram girl suddenly came down with the desperate urge to go in. She was tugging on his arm and babbling at full speed about needing garlic and holy water, which made it hard for a man to get a word in edgewise.
So, he didn't bother trying to be polite.
When she tried to take off running to get in line, he hauled her right back against him by the back of her dress.
"Ain't no way we're going in there, little girl," he told her.
She looked about ready to spit fire at him, but he was a manly man, and he weren't scared. Much.
She clawed at the hand that was holding round her middle, keeping her from running off, and when that didn't work, she tried talking. "She needs to fight the demons," she patiently explained. "One girl in all the world, and all that."
"Looks like there are plenty a girls going on that ride, and you ain't gonna be one a them." He tightened his grip some. He couldn't grab her with both arms, 'cause he couldn't get around her and the gorram stuffed turtle she was clinging to.
She leaned her head back onto his shoulder and pouted.
"That ain't gonna work, neither," he told her. "I ain't crazy, and there ain't no telling what kinda gos se they got in there."
"Its not real," she said sullenly.
"And how long after we get in there will you be forgetting that little fact?"
"She can remember basic facts. She is not stupid." She crossed her arms over Turtle indignantly.
"Never said she was stupid," he said, giving her a little shake. "But she is crazy, and haunted houses are weird."
"So, you're gonna have stuff you don't know about jumping out at you. And everybody around you is gonna be screaming and scared." He tightened his arm and bent down so he was speaking right in her ear. "Could you handle it?"
She hesitated. And that was all the answer he needed.
"So, we ain't going in." He loosened his hold, but she didn't step away.
She was looking at him specutively.
"How does he know?" she asked. "She could be fine and have a good time." She added a little wistful like, "Be a girl."
"What, you're a boy now?" He grinned.
She leaned back against his shoulder again, and he automatically put his hand on her waist to steady her.
"Girls go into haunted houses and scream in fun and hide their eyes on their boyfriend's neck," she explained sadly. "Girls don't get confused about what is real and what is pretend."
He snorted. "'Course they do."
She blinked up at him.
"You're a girl just fine." He patted her hip with one hand. "You been having fun, right?"
She nodded, big eyes hanging on his every word.
"I know plenty a girls who don't like haunted houses none," he told her. "And plenty a girls who didn't have nobody to win 'em no turtles or take 'em on the merry go round." He scowled down at the top of her head. "Most of 'em wouldn't have ridden the stupid thing in the first place."
She half turned under his arm, slipping one little arm 'round his waist. She tucked her head down into his chest and peeked up at him. "You really think I'm a girl?"
He raised an eyebrow. "What else would you be?"
She looked down at his chest. "Not a person. Something bad."
She sounded so sad that he pulled her a little tighter up against him. "You ain't bad. And you ain't nothing either."
"Promise?" Those eyes was starting to look all shiny again. Like she was fighting not to cry.
He sighed. "Promise."
"And she is a girl?"
"She's a girl."
"And he will take her on the Ferris Wheel?"
"Just once around?"
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Next: Funnel Cake