Not My Heaven

amusement park

© J Hardy Carroll

The ride slowed down and Jessie thought it was over. The man running it yelled, “Free ride” and it started again. He was dressed funny like the girl next to her.

“I’m Harriet. Isn’t this fun?” It was fun and scary. The sky was a different color and the children on the ride weren’t the same.

“Where are we?”

“Heaven, silly.”

“Am I dead?”

“We are but you can get off when it stops again.”

“Why am I here, Harriet?”

“So you know being loved by a Mommy and Daddy is better than anything else, even being in Heaven.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields writing challenge for 19 January 2018. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

I pondered a number of different ideas for this one, from the sappy sentimental to murderous and dark. I decided to settle on “creepy carnival” but give it a happy ending. I thought about having Jessie actually die, but then figured I’d give her a break and a moral. Even being in paradise, I imagine the souls of all the children who died way before their time would still miss the Moms and Dads who loved them.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to

67 thoughts on “Not My Heaven

  1. Still seemed pretty creepy to me, but I’m relieved she can get off at the next stop. Still, something like this is bound to traumatize her, hanging out with dead kids. Hm, is the lesson that there’s no such thing as a free ride? 🙂


  2. Beautiful story, James. Realising that the heaven is really on earth would probably add a lot more cautiousness and goodness to the thoughtless days while we are alive.


  3. Okay, so my words are back… let me try this again. This is an AWESOME write, James! I really did enjoy it yesterday, and even more so today! Heaven is SOOO BEAUTIFUL that words defy its description. Can’t wait to get back there! ❤ 🙂


  4. I loved the happy ending, James. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard the story “The Littlest Angel”. He’s a small child who died and went to heaven and asked for a box of his things that was still on earth. When he finally gets it it’s full of ordinary things a little boy would love like his dog’s collar for instance. When I was little it was on the radio every Christmas and was such a tug on the heart a lot of people probably cried. Good writing. 🙂 — Suzanne


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