Discordant calliope tunes oscillated from the carousel masking the growl of the creature hiding between carvings above the ride. It sprang through the blur of harsh coloured bulbs landing on a wooden horse below. He scrambled up the pole above the child unnoticed, scraping flakes of gold paint that fell on her blonde locks. The little girl was enamoured by the glittering snowfall. Looking around she saw his twig fingers scraping away the gold-leaf behind her, grinning like a joker from a pack of cards.
“Go fish.” it screeched.
She froze, her falling smile a row of cracked painted teeth, her head a carved block. The bulbs flashed and burst as electricity seeped into the night.
The mothers screamed as their antique children whirled past. Fathers climbed aboard with curled fists, angry and confused. The creature sniffed as it leaped from horse to horse, child to child. Corn-dogs and burnt butter popcorn wafted from the east. Another fair in another county waited.
Nobody saw it leaping across dark fields to its next playground. “I spy more fun at the fair.” It echoed leaping through the night.
Later that night across the land, all that remained were wooden children for mothers to love. They clung to them with broken hearts, punctured with splinters, flaking with old red paint.