Jim crept through the night, for the first time in years feeling like the twelve-year old that had first lay eyes on the carousel.
He cast a quick glance around, but he knew that it was pointless. No one had followed him to the clearing.
Jim slowly walked to the carousel, smiling when he thought of what would soon come.
He tinkered with the mechanism a bit, and it wasn't too hard for Jim to get the thing working again.
Jim wished for a second that Will could have been with him in that glorious moment, imagining the glories of youth again. Then Jim shrugged. Will would only try to stop Jim from going around.
It wasn't too difficult for Jim to figure out how to get the carousel turning backwards. Once he heard the strange notes of the march playing backwards, Jim ran towards the carousel and jumped on.
It felt fantastic, turning back the hands of age, becoming young again. Jim was too busy enjoying the sensation to be worried about how he was going to get off.
Then the music stopped, as did the carousel, suddenly. The twelve-year-old Jim leaped off, right in front of Will, who was still sixty.
"Oh, god, Jim. What did you do?" Will asked, horrified.
"It's amazing, Will! You have to try it!" Jim said, grabbing Will's arm and leading him toward the carousel.
Will jerked his arm away. "Have you forgotten everything that happened when we were twelve? How that thing killed ?"
Jim just looked at Will. " was evil. I'm not, and neither are you."
"You aren't evil yet, Jim. You're still just a sixty-year-old man in a twelve-year-old's body, but that won't last long. Soon you'll have people riding it, promising them youth. Soon you'll be no better than Mr. Cooger, or Mr. Dark, either."
"That's not true!" Jim said, not understanding why his friend was being so stubborn about it. "I will never be like either of those men!"
"Do you remember hiding, Jim? Holding our breaths, hoping that none of the freaks would find us?"
"I'm not going to end up like them!" Jim repeated.
"That's what you say now." Will said.
Jim backed away from the older man. "It's not going to happen." He repeated once more before he turned and ran into the woods.
Will watched his friend go, a great sadness in his heart.
-Eighteen Years Later—
Jim sat in the café, reading about the disappearance of the seventy-eight-year-old Will Halloway. Jim slowly shook his head. Will could be so stupid sometimes.
Jim stood up and walked out of the café, to the small truck outside. He joined the child who was sitting shotgun. He smiled at the boy, but the boy didn't acknowledge it. The kid was blind, and had been ever since he had ridden the carousel.
Jim searched his pockets for his keys, his fingers brushing the dragonfly as he searched for his keys. The dragonfly had appeared in his pocket soon after he had run away from Will. At first it had worried Jim, but he had soon gotten used to its presence. He had even used it to draw a small tattoo on his arm.
As Jim pulled away from the curb, he turned toward the boy. "I'm sorry, Will." He said as a single tear ran down his cheek. Jim knew that he'd never stop being sorry.