She didn’t know how much more of this torture she could take. Sweat prickled her forehead, trickled down the small of her back. She pressed her fingers to her temples to try to drown out some of the noise, but it was impossible – some screaming, some crying, all making noise.

From where she sat she could just see some in the pit, only a head or a hand visible here or there. She stared at the locked door, almost trying to open it through sheer willpower. She was distracted by another group being herded in.

This time all girls. Great, more screaming. The girls always screamed so much louder than the boys. She had seen plenty come and go in her time here.

This place changed people.

Just as the noise level went up another few decibels, she heard it. That glorious sound: “Macauley family, your time is up“.

She collected the kids from the bouncy maze, picked up their shoes at the door, and cursed the attendant and his preppy, smiley attitude – “Thanks for visiting the Playbarn, have a wonderful day and come back soon!

Their father can bring them next time…” she vowed to herself.