The dusk air was clogged with the scents of deep fried food, the air clouded with the exclamations of hundreds of happy carnival goers as they sped through rides with reckless abandon. It was the perfect evening, the joyous atmosphere filling the hearts and minds of everyone there with enough fun to last until their next adventure. I couldn't help but smile my brightest, widest grin.
It was the season of carnivals, fairs and outdoor festivals. The sweet smell of cotton candy washed over the land like a flash flood. The bright emerald of my eyes swept over the masses, spying large overstuffed animals bobbing through the crowd as children and adults alike totted their prizes through the fair grounds. Everyone here, tonight, was a child at heart. Including myself.
Spying one of my favorite carnival treats, the fun house, I giddily trotted over towards the old converted trailer in search of those infamous mirrors and cheap pranks. My friends had all gone in search of their favorite greasy fair delicacies, leaving me to my own devices. While I disliked going on most of the rides by my lonesome, I could more then handle the various mysteries inside the fun house. After all, they were mostly geared to scare children. Most of them I had seen a million times, and at most, provided me a chuckle or two. Once in a while something would jump out and startle me, but even then the prank was met with laughter. It was a fun house after all!
I dug a few tickets from my pocket, taking inventory as I read the sign outside the old trailer. A young Hispanic man stood by the door, his smile only broken by a sip from his fresh ice cold lemonade he held in his right hand. As people entered, he would smile and nod, placing their tickets in his pocket. It was five tickets to enter, I had exactly seven. What a fine way to end my magical night at the fair!
Passing the little light blue squares of paper off to the vendor, I merrily stepped up the stairs and into the dark interior of the large refurbished trailer. I had to blink a few times to adjust my eyes to the light. Pausing for just a moment, I pulled the length of my long red hair back over my shoulders and secured it with the purple hair tie from my left wrist. I was ready to have some fun, all by my lonesome.
As I began down the tiny dark corridor, I could hear the echos of the people who entered before me chuckling and squealing. I heard a couple up ahead, the woman giggling like a school girl after her boyfriend (Or male counterpart I should say instead of making assumptions) let out a frightened cry. I quietly uttered a chuckle. Men usually seemed to be the biggest chickens when it comes to these types of thrills!
As I rounded the first dark corner, I was met with my first scare. An old prop of a hanging man flew out from the way, its limbs flailing about limply from the sudden jolt that had forced it from its place in the wall. I jumped, my body flooded with an anxious tingling that seemed to dissipate out through my fingers and toes. I chuckled, pushing the dummy aside as I headed further into the fun house. There was something odd, as my fingers had pushed against the prop, it had felt slightly warm and gooey. Great effects! Perhaps they had actually put some effort into things this year!
After another couple feet, a ghastly glowing sheet came flying across the ceiling accompanied by the familiar ghostly sounds Halloween had made famous. My green sights followed the sheet until it disappeared into a back wall. Without a second thought I made my way further down the hall. Before long I came to another corridor, my face almost meeting the black wall rather abruptly if not for my toes hitting the painted card board. I blinked, squinting for a moment to gather my bearings again. It was easy to get lost in places like this, the black interior and lack of lighting leaving you disorientated and easier to spook.
Before I had time to recover from my encounter with the wall, there was a horrifying shriek, followed by another cheap prop dislodging from the wall. I let out a squeal of surprise, falling back onto the floor as the dummy swung back and forth in front of me. It had several flashing green LED lights scatted around it in odd places. I chuckled as I plucked myself back up off the floor. I gave my butt a rub or two, my cheeks a little sore from the tumble. It was nothing big, especially not compared to the thrills I was getting this time around!
I started off again, the dummy having the same warm gooey texture as the last. This time, however, my fingers came away wet. I frowned a bit as I wiped them off on my jeans. Probably glue from those little dollar store LED lights. Perhaps the vendor could offer me some wet wipes after wards. It would only be right, since it was their sloppiness that had caused it.
There were several more props that dislodged from the dark walls, their little trap doors squeaking as they popped open to spit out some thrills. Various pained cries, shrieks and Halloween sound effects echoed through the halls. I couldn't hear any more people in the trailer, they must of all made it out already. I was having a blast, my voice bouncing through the darkness with chuckles and squeals. I hadn't thought twice about the grotesque creativity used in the props, most of the dummies appearing rather lifelike in the dark. To me, they were simply an improvement to the same old fun house sh-peal. It was nice to see (and feel) some effort being put into this carnival classic.
After about five minutes I came to a door, my hands finding the knob before I even realized what was in front of me. I attempted to turn it, but it wouldn't budge. Frowning, I furrowed my brow in frustration. Removing my attention from the door, I felt my way around the hallway around me, running my fingers along the black walls. There didn't seem to be another way through. Maybe it was just jammed!
I leaned my body into the door, my hands furled as tightly as they could around the little handle. I noticed something strange when I pressed up against the door. There was a low mechanical hum coming from behind the door. I paused, pressing my ear to the black entryway as I listened intently for any other sounds. Perhaps it was the generator outside that powered the entire fun house. Shrugging it off, I lofted a little sigh of disappointment as I realized the door was not going to budge. I'd taken a wrong turn, obviously. Prepared to turn around and shuffle my way back to find the correct path, I slipped in something wet on the floor. Immediately my stomach churned as my mind raced to assumptions. Urgh. Someone had probably thrown up in here, either from fear or intoxication and I'd just stepped in it! Disgust rushed through me, quickly dispelling the happy vibe that had followed me around all evening. What a great way to end the night.
Now focusing more on my surroundings I began to notice a smell. It didn't reek of vomit, but rather it was a bitter, metallic smell. Oil from the generator? No, it was a little different. More bittersweet. I scrunched my nose before heading back down the corridor. Whatever it was, it didn't matter I had to be close to the end by now. I had a sudden desire to go find my friends and head back home for the night. My fun had been ruined by someone else's bad luck. At least I wasn't the only one who had wandered down the wrong tunnel.
Dragging my fingers along the walls, I searched for another passage. It only took a moment or two before my fingers slid around a corner to my right. I don't know how I managed to miss it before, but I hurried turned the corner. My face smacked right into another prop as I rounded the corner. I shrieked with the sudden shock, my body instinctively falling back away from whatever it was I had just run into. As I glanced up towards the source of the thrill, several LED lights flickered on and off behind it, one of those cheap Halloween sound effects blaring in the background. What I saw in those few short-lived green flashes horrified me. This time I got a good look at the dummy, almost every last inch of its frame covered in what looked like blood. From the chest down into the stomach cavity was torn open, fresh sausage-looking guts poured out onto the floor. It hung suspended by its neck from the ceiling. As I sat there on the floor, another bright green flash erupted behind it. It was then that true terror struck me. Terrified eyes rolled down towards me, peering down directly into my own. That was no dummy!
Completely encompassed by the sudden onset of fear, my body went into over drive. As my limbs began to flail beneath me in an attempt to get up, I began to slip on blood that had pooled on the floor. My heart beat feverishly against the walls of my chest, my breathing flying out of control as I began to drown in my own panic. All those dummies... Those props! They were real! I began to whimper as it all began to sink in. Digging my heals down into the floor the best I could, I pushed myself back, crab-walking back down the corridor in search of an exit. Loosing track of time, I crawled back frantically through the dark hallway for what seemed like forever until I felt it was safe to turn around. I wanted out of that freakish house of horrors immediately. That was no fun house!
Rolling around onto all fours, I became horribly aware of the racket I was making. How long had I been whimpering? Had someone heard me? Paralyzing fear threatened to break down the door to my subconscious as I crawled on all fours back the way I had come. I needed to get out of here, immediately. Whoever was killing people might still be in there and I didn't want to meet them!
At long last I saw a brightening of the black heavy-duty cardboard walls of the "fun house". I gasped a sigh of relief, hot tears beginning to pour down my face as I hurried towards the exit. Sunlight became more apparent as I crawled, its weak last rays fighting for its life against the twilight. There was shuffling behind me now in the corridor, and a low scraping sound. I whimpered loudly, my voice jagged with pure horror. I was almost out of this place!
At last I reached the door way from which I had entered. Throwing my hands out the door, I curled my fingers over the door jam to thrust myself forward and on down the stairs. As my body rolled out onto the grass, a loud cry of frustration echoed from inside the trailer. I didn't waste any time, rolling onto my stomach and pushing myself up onto my feet. Again my emerald eyes rolled along the crowd, their terrified faces gawking at me as I rose to my full height. I didn't wait, I didn't stop. Breaking out into tears, I pushed through the crowd, leaving bloody hand prints on t-shirts and bare shoulders. I wanted to get out of there right now.
When I finally found my friends, they all gathered around me in an effort to comfort my trembling frame. By then I was uncontrollably crying, my salty tears leaving streaks in the bright red blood from the fun house. Security had already been called, and it took them very little time to find me. They had stormed the fun house, quickly discovering the grisly remains of eleven people. The culprit had yet to be found, but they were scouring the grounds as they questioned me. I only half listened, the crowd of hundreds of people and their oversized stuffed animals suddenly terrified me. One of them, any one of them, could have been the culprit.