Phyl Campbell

Copyright 2016. Author Phyl Campbell. All rights reserved.

A Muse Meant

“I don’t want to stop you from living your life. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you.”
“But I just can’t let you.”
“Look, my dad talks about leaving all the time. We might leave before it happens.”
“Leave? You can’t leave!”
“And then there’d be nothing to worry about.”
“Nothing to worry about? Are you crazy?”
“Because I’d be gone see – and you’d move on.”
“How can you even say that? You’re my best friend!”
“And you’re mine. And I will never forget you. Not as long as I live.”
Samantha took the headphones off her ears and wiped her eye on her shirtsleeve. She didn’t get off the double capped mushroom marked “Futureshroom,” didn’t venture over to the funhouse mirrors of the mushroom next to her – though she was tempted. She continued to revolve lazily on the rotating pedestal of the mushroom. She wouldn’t have gotten off at all, but the roller coaster came to a stop beside her and a snake-like eel popped its head off the tail it had been biting and hissed in her face, scaring her off the toadstool.
The conversation that had reduced her to tears moments earlier was ebbing from her consciousness. She and her classmates were visiting A Muse Meant museum and curiosity shop, but with Alex gone she was buddy-less for the day. Typically, the pair was inseparable, but Alex had called her to say he was stuck home with the flu and had to miss their trip. Samantha missed him. And with the conversation she could almost remember, she worried if Alex was only subjected to a 24 hour bug.
She tried going back to the Futureshroom, but the roller coaster had not resumed its course and the eel glared at her menacingly. She saw the sign marked “theatre/menagerie” and decided to venture that way instead.
Samantha would have thought the theatre and the menagerie would have been to separate locations. This was not the case. The stage was three large slowly revolving platforms being turned on the bottom level, as she would discover, by a menagerie of animals.
Samantha entered the stage on the top level. The revolving stage made her slightly seasick, but she made her way to the edge of the stage. The spotlights were too bright, and the few chaperones that had been stationed there were oblivious to the monkey maneuvers of her classmates. Samantha made her way as close to the edge as she dared, but her classmates were giving no pause in their pursuit of each other over the wooden guard rail and down to the next level. Perhaps on the second level, she would feel more secure. Perhaps there would be a dramatic enterprise she could join in – Samantha loved the stage. She found a sign marked “stairs” and followed it to a hole with the tip of a ladder sticking out the top.
“Great. More heights.” She gripped the edges of the ladder. It was not connected to the stage, and wobbled precariously. “Terrific.” She muttered. She sat on the edge of the hole, and rocked the ladder back and forth. When she was satisfied that the ladder couldn’t fall past the hole, she went ahead and placed her left foot on a rung. The ladder wobbled, and Samantha’s arms were shaking, too. She thought very seriously about getting up and going back to the door, but she didn’t know if she could get to the menagerie any other way, and she was already on her way if she could just muster the courage to place her other foot on the ladder. Again, she tilted the ladder to reassure herself that it couldn’t fall. Then she placed her right foot on the ladder and straightened.
“Don’t look down. Don’t be a baby.”
One foot at a time, she made her way down the ladder. She could see and hear her classmates all around, clambering over the front edges of the stage, and wondered why none of them were using the ladder.Just before she reached the rung she would use to move herself to the second stage, her foot slipped. Surprised, she lost her hold on the ladder and slid down to the first stage, where she landed on her rump with one hand on a cowpie.
“Fantastic.” She wiped her hand on the floor to remove as much manure as she could. She knew her hand would stink regardless, but she didn’t want to …
Oh – there’s more… I’m just not ready to share it with you yet. I know, it’s so mean of me!! But I do want to know if you are intrigued, and what you think will happen. ;)