“Puppet on a String” by Caitlyn Minelli

Nancy Farmer looked around the fair. So many sights and sounds and smells to take in. It had taken hours to get here and she was impatient to eat some cotton candy while watching the acts.

   “Daddy, what’s that?” she asked, her blonde head bobbing up and down.

   “That’s the puppet master’s tent,” her father responded, taking her hand.

   “Can we go see?” she asked excitedly.

   “I don’t see why not.”

   Nancy squealed in excitement as she dragged her father towards the black and red topped tent. As they reached the entrance, a midget in green pinstriped pants and a flowing red peasant’s shirt stepped in their way.

   “No adults,” said the midget, eyeing them over his extremely long nose.

   “What do you mean no adults?” asked Nancy’s father.

   “No adults,” was the response.

   “Is that all you can say?”

   “No adults.”

   “Daddy, I want to go in!” whined Nancy.

   “Maybe not this one, sweetheart. I think we should go…” said her father.

   “No!” Nancy screamed. She pushed her way past her father and rushed into the tent.

   It was pitch black. Nancy screamed. A light turned on to reveal a set of stairs that led down to a single chair placed in front of a small stage. She followed the stairs and sat down as the curtain lifted.

   Music started and a female puppet in a blue dress and petticoat appeared on stage. It began to dance and sing until a gentleman puppet in britches and a green tailcoat appeared on the other side of the stage.

   The female puppet started to giggle as the gentleman started dancing toward her. The second doll grabbed the first and started to twirl. Nancy giggled. They stopped and took a bow as a third puppet came on stage. It was an ugly puppet. It looked exactly like the midget blocking the opening of the tent. He held a chain that led off stage in his left hand and gave it a tug. Nancy gasped. Out slumped a puppet that looked just like her father. The woman and two men proceeded to kick her father’s effigy until the thing simpered in pain.

   “Daddy!” she screamed.

   The puppets started giggling with each other and at her as the midget puppet dragged her father off the stage.

   Nancy ran out of the tent crying but stopped when she saw she was no longer at the fair. It was simply all gone. Only garbage littered the ground. She turned back and saw the tent was gone. Just the woman, the man, and the midget, all life sized.

   “Your father belongs to us now,” said the midget. “Goodbye.”

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