Auriel with Bears in Santa Monica

She stood among the hundreds of people on the pier. There were families and children alike. Auriel was alone. Her black military boots weighed her down as she shuffled across the pier in hunger. She was in search of shelter and rest on a one-hundred degree day in late September. There was no sign of it.

She peaked through every game booth and under every attraction, but there seemed to be nothing, except a run down building, which looked to be an old fun house. Nothing was defeating this heat so this had to be the solution. She found an old back door to enter through and proceeded into the fun house, the back door closing behind her.

When she entered, the room was void of light. Not even the light from the outside reached into the room. She reached out into the open space. There was nothing. “Hey, are you there?” she called out, though she did not know who she was calling to. The void silenced her until she took a step onto what sounded like twigs snapping under a soft crunch. She knelt down and grazed her palms along the ground. There were matches, broken ones, still she took the chance at lighting them. The match box was flattened next to the matches so she grabbed what felt like a handful and the match box in hopes of seeing what was around her.

A sharp spark ignited the flame. She held the flame out and saw a nine foot bear, frozen, with its mouth open, and front paws in front of its face. She screamed and her breath blew out the match. She stood in the dark struck with fear.

After realizing it might have been an old statue, she stood with the second match, this time with a little more confidence. As she carried the flame in her other hand walking to the left, she saw a bear sitting in a rocking chair while it rocked back and forth it too was still and made no noise. Her mouth dropped and her finger tips went numb. Suddenly, the bear’s head turned to her. She screamed once again and the flame went out. This time she wanted to run, but there was no way out without a light to reach the door which she had entered through.

Intending to leave the fun house, Auriel lit another match. She saw a cute and harmless sign with a cub on it. It had an arrow inches below it that pointed at what looked like a plate of hardy breakfast. She ran to the plate without a second thought as to how and why this meal would be in a dark room with old carnival attractions. She approached the food and began to eat. It was delicious, warm, and filling. She was exhausted from the day and decided to find a place to sleep. Anywhere in the room seemed okay to sleep, especially because she hadn’t slept in a bed for a while now. Fortunately for her, there was a pile of dirty old tent material next to the bear cub sign, so it was a perfect bed for a nap. She slept.

Soon the lights went on with a cackle from a couple of the amusement park employees. They stopped in their tracks when they smelled the smoke of a burned match in the air. They saw no open flames and the plastic food hadbeen chewed on. Someone had entered the Fairy Tale Fun-House, but who?

Auriel was still sound asleep. The employees found her, but dared not touch her directly. She looked filthy and poor. They grabbed a broom handle and poked her to see if she was alive. It didn’t seem like it. “Dude, is she-” the male employee said until he saw her wince. They two took a sigh of relief.

“Hey, you can’t be here.” the other male employee said. She quickly stood up and tried to run away, but could not find the exit. The park employees laughed at Auriel for her clumsy and disoriented actions. She soon found an exit door and fumbled over everything she never knew was in that room. Auriel left the building to find herself nearly alone at night.

She was still hungry and still alone.



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