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It was mid-afternoon, I was in my car. I was driving, I don’t really know why, or where I was going, but I was driving. I was just following cars in front of me, hoping that they would take me somewhere new, somewhere I hadn’t been before.

Before I knew it, I was on the interstate. I was rather panicky at this point, I realized I didn’t know where I was or what had happened. I was in an unfamiliar city and I didn’t know how to get back. I made a resolution to get off at the next exit and find someone who could get me a map. I cursed myself for not getting a smart phone.

Suddenly, there were people going the wrong way. Just barreling through the wrong way, maybe three or four of them. Not long after, I saw cop cars and police motorcycles. I had to swerve rather badly to avoid them as well. Putting it out of my mind, I came to a one-lane exit.

When I pulled off, I was stopped by a gate. I got out of my car, locked it, and found the steel steps down. Before I could get to the bottom, I heard shouts and screams. When I looked over the railing, it was suddenly like looking through old police footage, like on “Cops” or “Snapped” or something like that. But what I saw was something that I hope no one would ever have to see.

There was a little girl, maybe six or seven, shoving people down a very wide escalator. It was probably twenty feet across and covered in blood. But the little girl was just smiling as she did so. There was a woman at the bottom of the stairs, screaming and sobbing as she watched, unable to help. I got a closer look at the girl.

She was wearing a blue dress, very puffy and expensive-looking. She had on a light sun hat and most curiously of all, a masquerade mask. It was covering her eyes, glittery with feathers and things. I heard her laughing as she pushed down three girls that looked like they could be her friends, and finally two people at the other end, who were probably hoping that they could go and avoid her. With these last two joining the pile already at the bottom, she threw herself down, laughing as she did it. She looked like a pretty, bloodstained rag doll.

Finally, I dashed down the steps, hoping that I could do something. But when I got there, there was no one. No bodies, no girl. Just the escalator, the steel railing and the ground at the bottom, all stained crimson. Someone came out of the small mechanic building near the side, her face pale and grave as she looked at the still escalator. I moved down a set of steps that was off to the side, half of that even covered in blood, and met her.

“The 'Masquerading Marauder', as she was called.” She said, gesturing to the stairs in response to my look of horror. “Seven months ago. We still can’t get the blood out.”

I shook my head, figuring that I had just been hallucinating, and moved down the next set of steps, finding myself on a brightly lit steel walkway. There were bridges that rose up high, wooden gazebos in the centre of the garden, and people strewn across, all laughing, either not knowing or not caring about the horror behind me.

I was shaking, my heart pumping, my adrenaline going so fast, and I was finally able to procure a map from a man who was eying my demeanor suspiciously. Rushing back to my car, I avoided looking at the stains on the steps as I hurried up them, doing my best to fight the automatic urge to hold onto the handrail.

I drove home, arriving after an hour, and still get a thrill of horror every time I stand at the top of my steps. I was up after the nightmare all the time, the same laugh haunting me wherever I go.

This is the only copy of this story I wrote. I didn't want this on my computer.

-Hunter, 7-2-11