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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

William Falo lives in New Jersey with his family, including a papillon named Dax. His recent short stories can be found in Vamp Cat Magazine, Fragmented Voices, Superlative Literary Journal, the anthology of the year’s best dog stories, and other literary journals. He can be found on Twitter @williamfalo and Instagram @william.falo

          I looked around at the carnies, and they were all broken in some way; I fit right in with them. I picked up my stray kitten Mischief and went to join them.

          I started to see beauty in the carnival. I saw it when the sunlight faded over the double-Ferris wheel and the lights of the midway filled the carnival with colors of every kind. I felt it as Mischief curled up next to me when we went to sleep. I heard it when happy children begged for stuffed animals as they ate cotton candy and cried for ice cream, and I heard it when people screamed as they spun around on the spinning rides. I was missing the wild creatures of my former life, but sometimes flashes of red appeared in the distance, and I knew they were out there, free and happy.

          Sometimes, in the quiet of the night, I hear a distant scream. I jump up and chills run through me until Mischief rubs against me, and her purrs calm me down. I just hope they are always screams of joy. They are screams of joy, aren’t they?

Blue sky and ferris wheel between dense trees.

WILLIAM FALO

CARNIVAL ANIMALS

Header image from Getty Images

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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