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Old 25-05-2022, 11:10 PM
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Post Trauma

DeviantArt Link : Trauma


He looked at the giant playground, it was a large room enclosed in giant glass walls and a large glass door which had the name of the restaurant on it. It read “Pavlov’s”. There was a couple of chairs and tables, a large sound system and a couple other toys. The thing that caught his attention though, was at the ceiling; the largest prison he had ever seen. As soon as the flood gates were about to open, he quickly retreated towards the bathroom hoping to miss the manhunt. After hearing that terrifying countdown, and then relative silence afterwards, he decided to come out. Maybe they weren’t intended for this particular birthday party, he thought. Unfortunately for him, the carnage hadn’t even begun. Most of the other children were ignoring them, except this particular group of girls. He had a crush on the one wearing pink sneakers, and while the group was batting and kicking these monstrosities, she was the only girl trying to place her foot on top of a huge one.

Why?! He wondered, why her?!

The little boy’s heavy breathing was noticed by one of the employees. She tried leading him back inside the playground, and as she opened the gates of Tartarus, the familiar shrieks of tortured souls muffled the traditional “congratulations” song which he despised. With every unintentional rub, every kick, every skin contact, harmonious squeaks of agony echoed a wave of inferno, burning his ears. The small boy could almost feel his ears splitting open, and the familiar feeling of wetness dripping out of them. Was it blood? He thought to himself. He would rather not find that out, and left his ears to their own peril.

There she was, the cute lady with a silly face painting. She looked at him with a joyous smile and open arms, an invitation to the eternal suffering that laid ahead. She was happy, joyful and almost ecstatic. The music was booming and everyone was cheering. Reality was failing to make any sense, and so the kid froze.

A conspiracy perhaps? Or maybe a nightmare? These merciless barbaric savages had no means to process fear, or threat… were they even human?

As the kid pondered and wondered, the clown faced woman questioned his lack of initiative and stepped forward, kneeling and staring him right past the eyes, and into the abyss that lied beyond them.

“What are you scared of? Come on, we’re having fun, you want a balloon?”

The entire world crumbled all around him. He could feel the foundations of Pavlov’s trembling underneath. The restaurant was collapsing right before his eyes, and yet nobody really cared. The girl with the pink sneakers finally managed to corner her toy and, to prevent it from slipping again for the 6th time now, pushed it with her foot against the corner of the playground.

Unbeknown to her, her actions were about to send one of her classmates into a complete psychological torture. She was about to revive a deeply ingrained memory, a stimulus, and had complete power over him. It was at this moment, in this instant, that she would take part in one of the greatest psychological phenomenon known to mankind. Both Pavlov and Freud would be proud.

The balloon exploded in a fun and festive pop which made all of the parents jump in shock. His classmates stopped dead in their tracks, and a calming silence engulfed the place. Time suddenly froze, as the boy was now face to face with the familiar feeling of death. This very instant, this haunting and scarring moment right after the loud death of a loved one, would usually remind everyone in the room of their inevitable doom and make them jump in complete horror as they get to listen to the sweet sound of dying latex. This single moment couldn’t last more than a Planck time, but to him, it was it. It was at this very moment, where he could clearly see both parents and classmates, and even the idiot kneeling in front of him, genuinely scared for their lives. He was very familiar with this instant. But unfortunately, it didn’t last long, as these zombies quickly started laughing and cheering. A moment ago and they thought calamity descended upon them, and now, it was all fun and games.

She grabbed another balloon, stabilizing it right in front of her while lifting her right foot again. She had death in her mind, and he was seeing red. The girl he once had a crush on, was now on his death list. Should he behead her? Or crush her like she did those creatures. He would much rather split her skull open and paint his room with her consciousness and memories. But not now, not right now. He was outnumbered, and at a greater disadvantage, and so his heaving heart and complicated brain made their decision. Flight it was. And so the kid ran for his life.

He bolted out of the front door and kept running away and into the parking lot. He kept running, tears raining down behind him. The employee grabbed her purse and followed him, calling his name a few times, then shouting it over and over. The boy wanted to be as far away as possible. It didn’t matter how muffled the death of the next balloon was going to be, he needed to be far, far enough to forget, far enough to die and disappear. He hated them, and he also hated the fact that he wished to protect them.

The girl inside the playground wasn’t able to kill her next balloon using her foot, and so she resorted to jump and stomp on it using both feet. With an immeasurable excitement and unbelievable smile, she jumped, both feet close together and landed on the balloon. Her weight deformed the balloon before the latex broke apart and exploded in a violent, ugly death and beautiful pop. Her friends cheered her on and started bringing more balloons to her, holding them steady while she placed her foot on her next victim. The other employee who had seen the little boy run away, quickly intervened and asked the girls to stop popping the balloons.

Meanwhile, the boy made it all the way to the end of the parking lot, and sat on top of the concrete slab, looking at the deep valley right below him. Should he just jump? Maybe if he jumped far enough to the left, he could manage to hit this giant rock and possibly smash his face against it, making it a painless death. He started imagining himself falling and hitting just his face on the protruding rock, making his falling body do multiple flips before getting impaled on one of the iron bars sticking out of the unfinished building.

He could hear the sound of footsteps and someone panting behind him. He turned and saw the same female employee with the same childish face painting.

“What do you want?” he asked with a stern look. Now that they were alone, he was ready to fight.

She kept coming closer and closer to him, trying to catch her breath.

“I’m going to kill you if you come any closer! I’ll push you down there!” He added, sobbing.

“What the hell is wrong with you? They’re just balloons! I can tell them to stop bursting them if you want. Lets get back. You can’t stay here.”

“No! I’m not getting any closer to them! I know you’re going to pop them all if I come back. Stay away I warned you!”

“I promise you I’m not going to pop any balloon. Here, wear these, they will protect you.” She grabbed her own wireless headphones from her purse and handed them to him.

The boy seemed surprised. He didn’t expect to receive any help or support from anyone, let alone the very people who most likely setup the balloon drop.

She pulled her phone out and played a calming song. The boy started listening and asked if he could control the volume. She gave him her phone and showed him where the controls were, and how to activate noise canceling.

“I need you to trust me, okay? We need to go back, we can’t stay here.”

“I want to stay here. I’ll just wait for my dad to come pick me up.”

“Your dad told me he’s coming pretty late. Plus the party already ended. People are leaving. Let’s go back and I promise you I won’t let anyone touch a single balloon. They will all be under my own protection.”

She offered him her hand and he reluctantly agreed. They both walked slowly together back towards the restaurant. He spotted one of his friends leaving with his parents and felt a little relieved. He wished they would drop dead, but he knew it wasn’t going to happen. The closer they got, the tighter he held her arm. His breathing became much heavier and she could feel it. She told him to wait right beside the back door and she quickly got in to speak with her coworker.

The playground’s floor was completely covered with very tight balloons, and some even escaped the playground and made their way under some tables and chairs. Most of the children were outside the playground, either eating desserts or just running around shooting each other with their newly acquired Nerf guns.

“Don’t let anyone pop a balloon, okay? There’s this kid who’s deathly afraid of them. I made him a promise.”

“Don’t worry about that, I kept them busy. There was just this one girl who kept bugging me about it. She really wanted to bust them all, but I didn’t let her. Thankfully she left now. You can bring him in.” Said the coworker.

The little boy went in, and quickly noticed the balloons scattered around. There were these two mothers sitting at a table, they were both wearing sharp high heels and there was a poor red balloon right under their table, being pushed every now and then by their shoes.

“The safest place for you is actually the playground, come on in, there’s nobody in there but me and you.”

“But all the balloons are there! I can’t stand them.”

“I know, but think about it, If all the balloons are there and it’s just me and you, then they’re safe. They won’t pop. We will protect them.”

He thought for a moment, still staring at those two mothers. One of them noticed she was touching something with her feet, and so tried to look under the table and tried moving her foot away, accidentally squeezing the balloon against the wall. The balloon released a howl of pain as squeaks of horror echoed around him. The mother grabbed the balloon and batted it away, giggling.

The boy’s heart almost dropped as he rushed towards the playground, plugging his ears. He spent the next half hour pushing against the noise canceling Headphones. He liked them, they did a good job muffling the background noise.

As more and more people left, eventually it was just him and the two coworkers. It was getting pretty late and the employees had to clean the place before closure. They needed to show up early the next day to prepare for tomorrow’s birthday, which meant blowing more balloons for tomorrow’s balloon drop. These balloons were going to get absolutely destroyed the moment they would fall to the ground as the kids were a little older this time. After cleaning most of the place up, there was still something that was needed to be done. Both employees got inside the small inventory room inside the playground, where all the games, toys and balloons were stocked up.

“Do we wait until his father picks him up before cleaning the balloons? Its already 9 pm.”

“No, his father told me he’ll be right at closure time, and you know I can’t stay overtime today.” She says, washing her face from the paint.

“I guess we’ll have to pop them right now. Maybe you could help him get through it.”

The two girls got out of the room and stood in front of the kid. The girl he was familiar with took a chair and sat right in front of him, removing his Headphones. The kid was strangely calm and relaxed, as no balloon exploded during the past hour.

“We need to clean the place, and that means we need to get rid of these balloons. Look, we can stand outside the playground and you can wear these headphones while She bursts them all. Ok? Do you think you can do that? I’ll be with you. I’ll keep you safe.”

The child’s face almost melted in despair. He started hyperventilating and was having trouble catching his breath. He then nodded in agreement, at the end of the day, she kept her promise, and he knew he could trust her even if he was on the verge of having a panic attack.

The little boy carefully walked out of the playground, his lady friend holding the door open for him. He kept staring at the balloons as he carefully took every step, making sure he never touched them. She grabbed a nearby chair and placed it right in front of the giant glass wall separating the playground and the rest of the restaurant. He watched, mortified, as the other employee got inside the small room, and then got back out, holding a pair of scissors.

“Are you alright? Tell us when you feel ready.”

“Stay with me, please, and give me your Headphones. I’m scared.”

“It’s going to be alright dear, don’t worry, I’m with you.”

She gave him the Headphones and activated the noise canceling feature. She grabbed a chair and sat right next to him. He leaned against her side and she engulfed his head with her arm, closing his ears tightly.

The girl inside the playground walked up to the glass wall and gestured whether she could start or not. The boy took a deep breath, and then nodded slowly. The show was on.

She opened the scissors to their full extent and held it like a knife. She approached the nearest balloon, which sat right next to the transparent wall. The boy stared at the girl’s face, looking for any signs of mercy, or humanity. The girl placed the razor sharp edge on top of the balloon, and then glanced at the little boy, feeling bad for him. She gently pushed her hand down, obliterating the balloon. The boom was just as loud as before, and the girl winced a little at the high pitched crack that followed. She looked back at the kid, and he had a mortified look on his face, as if he was witnessing some sort of public execution.

She walked over to the next balloon, and then slowly poked it with her weapon. The balloon responded with a sudden, higher pitched whiplash of latex. She poked three more balloons in quick succession, trying to get herself more comfortable with the loud sound, before smirking in satisfaction. Adrenaline was flowing, and so she started bursting all the remaining balloons, one after the other. Balloons were bursting faster than they could cry. She wouldn’t leave room for the echoes to properly dissipate. Bang after Bang after Bang, latex was flying in all directions. Feeling completely overwhelmed by the loud explosions and the effects of adrenaline, the girl started giggling and shrieking, bursting balloons in rapid succession, without a care in the world. Almost all balloons were dead, aside from a couple ones that were hard to reach. She stopped and caught her breath, looking at the boy through the wall with a gigantic smile. There was latex stuck to her shirt and dangling on her hair, she looked like a monster, like a killer. The boy was still hugging his partner, trying to relax.

“See, it isn’t too hard. One day, you’ll grow to enjoy bursting them yourself. There’s a couple more to go, you can do this.”

The boy couldn’t really hear her clearly thanks to his ears being covered by two layers of protection. The absolute monster that lied in the playground started kicking the balloons that were hiding under the table, before exposing them to her sharp metal. They all became scraps on the floor, waiting to get broomed up and thrown into the bin. The girl exited the room, looking all jumpy and excited, looking for those rogue balloons that traveled a little too far. The boy quickly jumped out of his chair, and surveyed his surroundings. Like a turret, he kept rotating and following the girl, never leaving her out of his sight. She caught a balloon under table number six, the one that was right behind them. She placed the balloon on the table, and then, staring at the boy, placed the tip of the scissors on top. His heart ached in agony, but he knew he couldn’t do much. The mass murderer closed her eyes and frowned, just as she pushed the tip into the balloon. The balloon exploded loudly, making her flinch. The other girl quickly rushed over to him and stood right behind him, pushing the headphones further into his ears. She looked at her coworker, who pushed a couple more balloons into a single corner with her foot. Right after the other, they all shouted their last screams before turning to confetti. She walked up to the little boy, who was now removing his headphones. Both employees congratulated him for his gargantuan efforts and invited him to the small inventory room inside the playground.

“You did amazing! I can’t believe you sat through it all like that.” Said the first employee.

“You see? There’s nothing scary about balloons. They’re really fun to play with, and even more fun to pop.” Said the second employee, removing bits and shreds of latex from her body.

The boy gave his friend her pair of headphones, while the other girl went deeper in the dark room to get something.

“I’m going to blow this balloon for you, okay? It’s your reward for overcoming your fear.”

She inflated the balloon a little under rated size and passed it to the child. After putting her headphones back inside her purse, the first employee grabbed the balloon and pushed it onto the little boy’s chest. She then pressed really hard against it with her lips, leaving a giant kiss mark. The boy looked at the lipstick imprint and smiled.

“This balloon is now safe, you can take it with you.”

The boy went outside alongside the two other employees. The one he trusted sat right next to him on the pavement, while the other girl was locking the restaurant’s doors.

“Your father will arrive any second now, but tell me, what started your fear of balloons?”

“I’d rather not say.”

“Uhm, okay I guess. Your mom should have picked you up way earlier, no child has to stay on the street alone at night.”

“I lost my mom last year. All I heard was 5.. Explosions, and then my father screamed. I was never told what happened to her, but everytime a balloon pops, I start remembering the distinct sound of a body hitting the floor, followed by a gasp, and the screams of my father.”

The girl was in complete shock. She barely had the time to add in a word before a large SUV with tinted windows pulled up beside them. A large man got out of the car and stood in front of the boy. The boy hugged him dearly, before getting in the car.

“Thank you for taking care of him. I hope he didn’t cause any trouble.” Said the man in a very monotone and expressionless manner.

“Oh, no no absolutely not. He’s an angel, and the party was really nice.”

Without adding a word, the tall and muscular man turned around and hopped back into the black car, before driving away.

The girl opened her purse, and got a balloon out. She stared at it, thinking of the boy she had just met.

In the car, the boy hugged his balloon. He thought about his new lady friend, and started having weird fuzzy feelings. He liked her, and he liked being around her. He strangely felt safe when she was close to him. He looked at his balloon and at the kiss mark she left for him, and kissed it back. He felt a strange and warm feeling inside, and had a sudden urge to inflate his balloon further, as it was quite underinflated. He noticed the restaurant’s logo on the balloon, followed by a second print saying “We hope you got Pavloved!” and wondered what that could mean.
The universe isn't forever. Neither is your life. Enjoy it.
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Old 31-05-2022, 04:56 PM
Scooter Scooter is online now
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Default Re: Trauma
Very nice! Definitely can relate to this in some ways, thankfully not in others. I like the little touch of the other employee getting into the bursting, but then later returning to a more calm state and checking up on the kid as well. It's the little details like that or the balloon the boy got being a little underinflated that I really like.
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