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The warehouse is silent. Dust and moonlight creep in through the vents, causing the windows to dress themselves in darkness and hide from the trees whose bare arms tap at the glass. Overgrown weeds and long, silvery grasses have, over time, wrapped themselves in and around the rotting wooden boards at the base of the building.
From inside the dark, dusty halls of the building come the faint sound of a hammer. An old man sits at a makeshift workbench, hammering at a large sheet of metal. Behind him, like a large, looming shadow, is a machine cloaked in a white canvas. The man stops his work and sighs. It is well into the night, and he had planned on finishing up hours ago. He stands and studies the draped mechanical wonder, his final masterpiece before retirement. He touches the corner of the fabric, and pulls. The canvas slides off the machine like butter on a hot dish, billowing down upon him before crumpling into a heap at his feet.
There, sitting in the middle of an abandoned warehouse, was a large and beautiful carousel.
It was very solid yet appeared quite delicate. It's grand base, full of intricate designs and golden plating, stood firmly on the floorboards, holding up a menagerie of leaping animals. There were great golden tigers and meek black rabbits, prancing deer and sleek white stallions. Every animal that a child could imagine, and more, stood expertly painted and positioned on the carousel, itching to taste the wind if it weren't for the tall blue and gold-striped poles in their bellies that stationed them to the ride. Cherubs and angels adorned the top, smiling down on the animals and scattering rose petals down from their pink-tinged clouds. The contraption gleamed in the moonlight, waiting.
The old man stood for a moment, surveying his work, before slipping a hand into his pocket and withdrawing a large brass key. His footsteps echoing, he walked to the other side of the carousel and ran his arm over the smooth golden base until he found the keyhole. Trembling, the key turned twice, then clicked.
The warehouse was silent. Then, slowly, with a faint whirr, the ride began to come to life.
A light and airy tune began to play as the carousel started to turn. The animals began to awaken, gliding up and down on their poles. Slowly at first, then faster and faster, the outstretched tiger began to chase a large buck, who was forever out of reach yet ran with antlers reared and back arched as though his life depended on it. The oversized black rabbit bounded up and away on it's pole, leaping through tall, imaginary grasses as his little black paws pounded on invisible dust.
The machine, now awake and warm, gathered speed. It was a blur of golden brass, a cloud of vibrant colors. It was alive, and it sang cheerfully.
The old man stood in awe of this beautiful thing, this last work of art before he laid down his hammer forever. As the ride slowly began to come to a crawl, then finally a stop, he climbed the little stairs with trembling knees. Feet in the stirrups and withered hands clutching a molded mane, the man positioned himself in the saddle of a little spotted mare, his personal favorite. The carousel began it's next round, moving slowly at first but gathering speed with each passing second.
The old man felt a strange, tingling sensation in his chest. As the ride spun faster, the tingling spread throughout his entire body, and grew stronger until he no longer felt himself inside of his body. The warehouse began to blur and glow.
The carousel carried him around the golden pole and back, then around the pole again. Only, when it came back around the second time, the little mare's saddle was empty. The ride spun to it's final stop, and was silent.
The dust creeped in through the cracks and settled on the small metal hammer, alone, and gleaming in the moonlight.