Look around about this round
About this merry-go-round around
If at all God's gaze upon us fall
His mischievous grin, look at him
His mischievous grin, look at him
Forget about the reasons and
The treasons we are seeking
Forget about the notion that
Our emotions can be swept away
The merry-go-round beckoned children and adults alike to the fairgrounds. Lights twinkled in the twilight as children squealed while carnies squirted them with waterguns from the plastic horses. Shayla still couldn't believe that Ms. Rose had assigned this exercise as her First Level exam. Her fingers brushed the familiar energy of the crystal choker, drawing strength as she faced the onslaught. Before Ms. Rose had found her and brought her to the academy, Shayla felt like an alien transplant in a world filled with coffee shops and malls, tight clothing and short-shorts. Shayla could not stand the concrete crowds. She did not hear their thoughts. She heard their feelings, deep in her veins, pulsing through her heart. Shayla described it once to a friend:
Insecurity feels like a flutter of baby bird wings not quite ready to hit the air current.
Sadness feels congealed, sluggish; my blood moving through quicksand.
Guilt feels like tapioca pudding.
Anger matches the cliché of boiling blood combined with a brewing thunderstorm.
And happiness, well happiness tickles its way through my arteries, causing me to laugh out loud.
As time went on and the overwhelm grew stronger, Shayla withdrew. Ms. Rose and the academy (for those "gifted") had given Shayla an opportunity to understand herself and a chance at the semblance of a "normal" life. Tonight was Shayla's first challenge. She prepared for this test of sensory overload all day. She meditated and cleansed in the salt pool, lit sage, practiced visualization exercises of healing light surrounding her and thanked her shadow angel in advance for strength.
Shayla walked through the entrance, her blood immediately battling itself with the conflicting blitz of joy, anger, frustration and even sadness. Shayla was always amazed by the layers of simultaneous emotions others felt. She took a moment to center herself, breathing in deeply, ignoring the aromatic assault of asphalt, funnel cake, cotton candy and smoke; focusing instead on oxygen filling her lungs. The sweet air soothed her neurons as if singing soft lullabyes to the emotional explosion.
Shayla finally relaxed and began to walk beyond the entrance. Her task involved one complete tour of the carnival without dissolving into a crying fit or freezing. She began to mix with the crowd and realized that she actually could take notice. Shayla watched a little girl in pigtails with a gap-toothed smile eating ice cream, chocolate sauce dripping on her chin as her mom frantically tried to wipe up the mess. She saw a young freckled boy crying when his dad took him away from the arcade games and a group of teen girls laughing loudly to draw attention to themselves from the boys nearby. All details normally denied Shayla due to her "gift." Shayla was halfway through the park when she began to feel an itch. Not an itch she could scratch, but an itch in her blood. She looked around, trying to find the source. A sea of faces and blurry rides surrounded her as she began to lose her focus. She silently called to her shadow for a stronger shield of healing energy. She felt a slight shift of air but the itch continued. Shayla began scratching at her wrist and felt the panic increasing. She began turning in circles looking for the energy vamp that had to be near sucking her dry, forcing her into a merry-go-round world of emotional insanity.
(Ok, so Shayla really isn't going insane or I wouldn't have a book to write, but the writing exercise called for a beginning and end with "merry-go-round" which sounded fun even if a bit contrived on the ending!)