The carnival spun with vibrant colors, joyous cries of young glee, and the bright summer sun. The colors whirled together into a blend of orange and red, the screams swirled with excitement, and the warm dusty air gently rotated with the motionless galloping of the carousel horses.
Children were everywhere, dodging between the crowds, calling to one another, eating cotton candy and candy apples, and walking in tow behind their parents, their bright, cheery eyes taking in every attraction with fascinated wonder.
Soon, through the picnic grounds, across the main square, and down the two parallel rows in between the rides, a game of tag came to life. The imaginary land in which this game lived, soon grew so wild that the parents, the stall operators, and the groundkeepers began to grow irritated.
Little James cared not for the adult world that moved around him like a sluggish storm cloud, and he was too involved in the game to notice that there was a possibility of getting in trouble. And so he ran and dodged and climbed with the best of them.
The environment was perfect for his maneuvers, and he found that he could work with the crowd almost to the point that he would be considered a super hero. Almost. He could use the adult flow of traffic to keep the taggers always at a distance.
Soon however, a boy fell down and bumped his head. The parents grew angry and they demanded that the game be destroyed and the players disbanded.
James would have none of that. Little Todd was just not as good at the game as he was. It was Todd's fault that he fell down. And besides, risk and danger was all part of the game. Couldn't the parents understand that?
James soon allied with the rebels, and the game thrived for some ten minutes under the very noses of those sniffing adults. But then, Johnny tripped over a stranger's cooler and was ambushed by angry voices and scolding glares. He was eaten alive and imprisoned on a picnic blanket with a glass of milk.
Somehow, the game continued. But only the elete remained. James was the ace, the hero, the man in black, the ninja, and the best swordsman in the land. And then began the epic chase. Tony was James' nemisis, and it soon came down to just the two of them. They circled wearily, their eyes staring each other down, and their young hearts beating with life.
Then Tony made his move, and James was suddenly the escape artist. He was positively a blur as he dodged through the crowds, flew over whole picnics, lunged between freight train sized strollers, ducked beneath flying frisbees, and soared over lightning speed skip ropes. He was ahead of Tony like he'd never been before, but still he did not slow!
His perfect escape grew to an incredible climax as he soared over fences, rolled under picnic tables, and dodged between the poles as if he were Luke Skywalker on a speeder-bike! And then, very suddenly, he realized he had gone too far.
His eyes flicked from side to side, and he danced on his feet like a cornered boxer, looking for a way out. He was in an off-limits location of the park. A tent billowed out around him, official thing-a-ma-jiggies were piled in boxes on the ground, and there was no one around.
He began to grow afraid, and so he turned at random and began to run again. This time however, his run was unsure and uneasy. The imaginary world around him was beginning to fade as he realized he was lost. He passed tent after tent, wall of fabric after wall of fabric, down strips of lonely green grass, and past boxes and boxes of behind-the-scenes supplies.
His eyes were wide and he was just waiting to be cornered by a gang of angry clowns. What was he going to do? What if he saw something he wasn't meant to see? What if he walked into the backroom of a magician and was ensnared in some terrible spell?
His stomach went hot and runny and jitters of anxiety began to make his limbs go weak. And then, he was walking one of those long and lonely strips of grass between tent walls, when he suddenly spotted someone coming. He panicked and lunged towards one of the walls, frantically crawling under the fabric and into the dark beyond.
Then he opened his tightly shut eyes. Now he was really not supposed to be here. He stood up. He was in a tent the size of his bedroom, and it was cluttered full with boxes and chests.
He sat down in the middle of it all and began to cry. His parents wouldn't know where he was. He was missing out on the candy and the fair rides. His friends were all doing what they were supposed to because the game was over. Why hadn't he realized that the game was over?
After a moment, when his tears had dried to his sticky face, and his courage was beginning to build, he stood up to investigate.
And it was at this moment that he noticed a faint clicking sound coming from one of the boxes. He looked down at the box and was surprised to see a sudden flash of light from within. So he bent down beside the box with a racing imagination and slipped his little hands in beneath the lid. Then he lifted the flap.