Tyrannosaurus fucked around with this message at 22:05 on Oct 31, 2017
|# ? Oct 22, 2017 16:48|
|# ? Dec 4, 2021 11:10|
I must admit, it’s a little funny to watching the pair of black-shelled robots force the screaming woman into her car. The Collective's workers were harmless, of course, but they were also had a dogged sense of duty towards their assigned tasks. If their job was to ensure attendees were seated and strapped down for their ride, they'd do it, regardless of protest.
"Please no..." she thrashes against them, eyes casting about over the milling crowd, searching for something. When I’m too slow to look away, they catch mine, locking on as the rest of the attendees shuffle onward towards the next attraction.
"You... you have to leave! You have to run! This thing, it's not what it seems, it's a death machine! Tell the others. Run!" Her words came out in choked gasps, the two workers finally managing to shove her down into a seat, cold metal restraints locking around her limbs. She was young, the age at which kids used to attend college.
"Enjoy the ride!" I call in response, giving the girl a lazy wave "You’re a little too old to be scared of roller coasters!" Her screams faded as the train was winched away into a sunny sky, dark hair whipping around as she still struggled to escape.
Uploading, like every other great advancement, wasn’t universally accepted. When the Collective had first come online, the union of a thousand AI's across a hundred nations, some reacted with fear, panic, and dread. They couldn't see the value of the Collective's gifts, and they spurned humanity's next step along the path of evolution. Eternal life, freedom from disease or danger, infinite knowledge... how could people reject such things?
From that fear, that animal terror, had come the Parks.
The Black Vans had been intimidating, dredging up dark memories of past atrocities best left forgotten, but the Parks?
Richard smiles as black-shelled Worker hands him a turkey leg. He takes a deep bite, grease running down his chin. The Parks were something to look forward to. He hadn't had turkey, real turkey, in almost a decade. When his wife had eaten a hamburger earlier, their two daughters had been scared to even try it, having only seen real meat in pictures. The entire day had been one of wonder for the family, losing themselves in the food, the lights, the rides, the mascots in costumes, in the memory of a happier world.
His daughters had been so brave, climbing into the car with Sarah. Not even fidgeting as the robotic attendants strapped them down. Braver than him, really. That animal brain of his had kept him wandering the park while they were Uploaded, telling him to smell another flower, enjoy another delicacy. They’d likely tease him for it.
Eventually though, it can’t be put off any longer. Dropping the half eaten turkey leg into the trash, give him an odd sense of giddy excitement. How long had it been since he'd wasted anything?
The line for the Coaster was shorter than it looked, and when my turn came, I quietly took a seat at the edge of the car, waiting patiently as the metal restraints lock in place.. The train begins sliding along, past the loading area, into the white building labelled Upload. Instead of the scanners and machinery he expected though, the cart stopped in an empty room, its walls covered in sound dampening foam. The murmurs of confusion morphed into panic as the train lurches to life again after only a few minutes.
“Wait, no! There has been some sort of Mistake! Please! Stop the ride!" I scream at anyone, at anything. We all do. Screams of animal rage and fear as the scent of sweat and urine fill the train. We're winched higher and higher, until the park below fades and blurs.
Then we plunge, my vision turning brighter and brighter as we enter the first curve, then the second, the third, the fourth, fifth, sixth… so bright it's almost white as I...
An automated scanner flashes over the Train as it rolls slowly to a stop.
3744 KILOGRAMS OF RAW MATERIAL READY FOR PROCESSING
Metal Clamps slide back into the cars of the Train, as hydraulics lift up the seats, tilting them to the side. More scanners dutifully note that all 72 discrete units have left the train.
PROJECT X4723 PROGRESS AT 97.6538%
MORE MATERIAL REQUIRED
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 00:44|
I know it’s afternoon because the popcorn is raining through the rusted machinery above. I know I’m not alone in my Ferris Wheel cab because I can see for the first time. I have been here for this long.
The number on my seat is 8. I am Number 8.
He’s wearing a bowler hat, a tight striped shirt, black cargo shorts, raggedy boots, and a blue bandanna tied around his left calf. His face is in shadow. I stare at where his face is supposed to be, away from the scorching pink light.
Popcorn falls from my lap as he scoops me up in his arms. My jaw falls down like an unbuttoned pair of trousers, and the space in my throat where a sound should be is bare.
He inches and tread-walks over the rims of the Ferris wheels while carrying me, deft, slipping through metal spokes with peeling paint. The air is made of light. Hundreds of twenty-foot-tall wheels, glittering incandescent rainbows, all on the same metal axle, whirling round and round, some in a steady wagoneer march, some in a searing acetylene blur.
An endless number of wheels on one axle. An innumerable amount of axles, cramped and close like pencils in a cup.
There is no ceiling, there is no floor.
Faces in each cab like paint, drying slow and inevitable. I have been here for this long. The number on my seat is 8. I am Number 8.
On the wheel with blue-lit trim, he steps off the rim and clatters into the cab. He sets me down on the slotted metal seat, brushing away the popcorn. My eyes are still closed. He presses his index finger into my nose like a button.
I open my eyes and look up at him.
“I’m here,” he says.
“Hello, Here,” I say.
“Alycia,” he says to me. I lean back in my seat. What forms in my mind is not an Alicia with an I. I hear the Y in what he says.
He leans closer to me. I see the white teardrops painted below his right eye, three of them in an even column, suspended in flesh forever.
Without a word, he kisses me, deeply, breathlessly. I kiss him back. I let him pull away.
He stares into my eyes. “Did you feel that?” he says.
“Feel what?” I say.
In the distance, calliope music weaves in and around the creaking metal joints.
Without a word, he produces a bag of pink fluff from his cargo shorts. It falls to the floor of the cab. He turns to leave.
“Aren’t you going to ask me to come with you?” I say.
“No,” he says. “The machinery has to keep running.” He hoists himself onto the rim of the wheel as our seat nears the top again. He ducks his head out of the way of the cab at the bottom of the wheel above us.
“And anyway,” he calls over his shoulder, “you’ve never said yes.”
I watch him leave.
The number on my seat is 9.
I am Number 9.
I rip open the plastic bag, shove handfuls of the cotton candy into my mouth, ravenous and writhing, teeth grinding against the spun sugar, solidifying it into pink pebbles on my tongue. I swallow them all at once like pills. When they’re gone, I forget where they came from.
My hands move independently of me, try to whip the plastic bag into a tight cord, to tie it around my left calf like a--like a knot. It’s very important, even though I have no idea why. Nothing could be more important.
I open my eyes for too long, and the pink light is there again, and I close my eyes and open my mouth, stinging with sugar, pink shining onto the place barren of words.
I let go, and the plastic falls undone to the swaying metal floor, like the ghost of something else.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 00:47|
Test of Courage
They were next in line for the ferris wheel.
Ely stared at the hand that had dragged her around for the past month. The sprawling, intricate fire tattoo crawled out of Ingrid's shirt, and Ely imagined the flames scorching her pale skin to a lustrous bronze, like her girlfriend's.
"What's wrong, love?" Ingrid asked.
"I'm not afraid of heights," Ely said, to Ingrid's hand. They were already done with the roller coaster, and she had forgotten all about it after the dizziness faded. She was far more concerned with the person in front of her than any contraption designed to thrill. Despite their relatively short time together, Ingrid had wormed her way into Ely's life that she couldn't imagine it without her girlfriend in the first place.
Maybe we're going too fast, the voice in her head said. It was the voice that life had given her, a defense mechanism that became necessary because of previous tragedies. Heights were too abstract a fear--wife beaters, belt buckles, and cheap beer were more up to her alley. She ran her fingers over her braid, absentmindedly checking it.
"You know, out of all the people I've dated, you're the first one to suggest an amusement park," Ingrid said.
Ely forced a smile. "I've never gotten the chance to when I was younger."
It all happened in a flash--someone pushed Ely from behind and she half-staggered, half-tripped into the cab as Ingrid's grip loosened, like a scene out of a nightmare.
Ely fought back a scream as an old lady climbed into her cab, and the attendant secured the door with a thunk that suggested a cell door. Ely looked at the cab behind them, and Ingrid was inside, sharing her ride with a handsome man instead--the dashing-millionaire-with-a-nasty-kink type. They were having a spirited conversation, and the phoenix tattoo peeking out of Ingrid's shirt seemed to writhe in excitement.
"Are you all right?" the old lady said.
Her tone was sweet, but Ely sensed that something was off. "You pushed me, didn't you?"
"I would never do such a thing." The old lady craned her short neck to look past Ely. "Did your lover end up on that cab?"
Ely bit her lip, her hands clawing at her purse. "Yes, she did."
"Awfully convenient, isn't it?"
While men did not interest Ely at all, Ingrid did not care about gender in the slightest. She was just into people, and often Ely wondered if she was just another proverbial notch on Ingrid's belt. As the man went over to Ingrid's side, Ely felt a part of her soul escape with her breath.
"My girlfriend's very friendly, but she would never cheat on me."
"Sometimes the people you love turn out to be someone else. Don't you think so?" She started braiding her hair, like Ely's reflection on the mirror would, except with more wrinkles and gray hair.
Ely looked below as the trees and other rides shrank from view. She glanced back at Ingrid's cab and saw the man lean over for a kiss. Ingrid's face was unreadable, equal parts surprise and excitement.
Without thinking, Ely stood up, rocking the cab, and fumbled at the door mechanism. It didn't make sense that it could be opened in the middle of the ride, but Ely mustered all her lingering wits to unlock the door, and summoned all of her strength to push it open.
The cold, faint air flicked at her face, invisible fingers running through her hair. They were so high up that Ingrid's cab was directly below them. The cab top was painted a drab shade of green, obscuring her view.
"What are you doing?" the old lady said, with a shortness of breath that Elly knew all too well.
"I'm going to save her," Ely said.
"Even after everything you've seen?"
Ely nodded, and jumped out of the cab--
--and landed inside theirs.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," Ingrid said. Ely looked down on her hand, still holding Ingrid's. As if they've never let go.
"Worse," Ely said. She told Ingrid about what she had seen, and the voice in her head made manifest. Ingrid went over beside her and gave her a soft, lingering kiss.
"I'm glad you believed in me, but please don't leave the cab in middle of the ride, okay?
Ely smiled. "I'll try."
The voice in her head would come again, trying all sorts of tricks, but Ely would be ready.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 00:49|
Darlene. 1226 Words.
I suppose I’ll always be drawn to the carny life like a cat to a basket weaver.
After working the pumps at the Esso station for a few months over the summer, my old boss Cheeser welcomed me back to the carnival. I even got my old job back doing litter collection.
I roamed the park with my spike and my canvas sack. Sure, it wasn’t horse science but that didn’t bother me much. I loved being back; the smell of roasting peanuts and fried snickers, the teenagers sneaking a kiss or a grope when they thought no one was watching. Even grownups shook off the concrete and let go a little; you’d see ‘em crab-walking out the Tunnel Of Love all flushed and crooked in the pants.
That’s where I first saw Darlene, my rose-scented floater.
She floated — worked a different post every night — selling peanuts and crackerjack some nights, other nights taking tickets near the front gate.
That first night I saw her she was a flower girl making huge paper roses; two for a dollar. Her brilliant red hair and green eyes flickering beneath the gaslights like a sequin scarf.
She waved me over and we talked a little. And then every night after that I spent more time spiking litter around her post no matter where she was, even when she took tickets at the dead mermaid booth.
Our fourth night together she surprised me with a kiss. I was between the Scootsy Daisy and the Oceans of Wonder collecting the empty crab leg wrappers when she appeared out of nowhere. She took my face in her hands and kissed me like I was the prince of King-town. Time stood still those few seconds her lips met mine, and it was drat-near impossible to keep a grin off my face the next few days. A dream like her, a lady who could easily win second or third at a beauty contest, stealing a kiss from the likes of me, an old dried-up sardine.
I was happy. And Darlene was happy too. She’d light up whenever I came by, laughing at even my stupidest jokes.
Every now and then I’d ask her where she came from, how come I never seen her before, but she’d always steal a kiss and say “that’s for quarters and questions!”
“There’s a reason you ain’t noticed Darlene before,” Cheeser said one night as I returned my spike and sack.
He worked the supply shed; a crowded little trailer with one of those split doors where the top half opened and the bottom half stayed shut. Light from a bare bulb spilled out over his shoulders as we stood there jawing.
“Of course there’s a reason I never seen her,” I said. “She’s new is all.” I lit a half-smoked cigarette I’d found over by the ponies.
“That ain’t it,” he said, shaking his head all slow like. “You’ve been here five years now. I knew Darlene from, I’d say…” he tugged his plumb-fat chin with two pudgy fingers. “I knew her from fifteen years ago at least.” If he had eyes, I’m sure they’d have been all cobbley like he’s sitting on a birthday cake.
“Wasn’t her.” I said. “She couldn’t have been more than five or six back then.”
“Oh it’s her all right. Red hair, pouty lips? Green eyes, deep as a lake?”
“You just described half the women around here,” I said.
“Hips that move like a pair of drunk cats on a see-saw?”
I smiled. “That's Darlene all right. But there ain’t no way she was like that fifteen years ago; the girl’s only twenty at best.”
He tapped his cigar at me like he was conducting a one-note symphony. “You’re being haunted Jake. She’s been floating around here for years. Ever since the fire of ‘28.”
I was hand slapped. I’d heard of that fire. It killed upwards of forty people, carnies and cattle alike. I never heard mention of any names though, and I never asked. Carnies are a tight bunch and you don’t go poking a sack of hungry toads if you can avoid it.
“She died next to the duck pond, burnt to a crisp," He said. "That’s alls I’m telling you.” His voice quivered and he mopped his nose with a kerchief. “You'd best watch out. Now get on. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.”
I spied on Darlene the next afternoon while I spiked popcorn and paper cups. She was floating outside the Cotton Candy Museum selling flowers that nobody took, flowers that nobody noticed at all. How could anyone pass without admiring her beauty? I could barely tear my eyes away, and I was I peeking from between fence slats.
When she waved at me I went like a fruit fly to dog food. Her smile was beautiful, though somewhat messier than I recalled. Tiny flecks of green between her teeth. Lunch perhaps? Or moss? Her eyes flickered like rubies, or recalling what Cheeser told me, maybe flickered like submerged tree roots in a pond.
If she was a ghost, I suppose I should’ve been terrified, looking into her bottomless green eyes, holding her clammy hands.
But here’s the thing; I wasn’t. Her kisses put a blanket over any fears I should’ve had.
“You know what?” I said, hugging her. “I don’t care if you are a ghost. Don’t matter a whit.”
She pushed away from me.
“What’s this, you think I’m a ghost?” She said. “Where’d you hear such nonsense?”
“Cheeser,” I said, spiking the grass a couple times. “He told me you died in the fire. Says you’re a ghost. But you know what Darlene Chesterfield? I don’t care.” I held her hand in mine, and noticed the crescents of dirt beneath her fingernails.
“Cheeser?” Her voice caught. “You talked to Cheeser?” Her smile faltered. “Quit playing now Jake, it’s not funny. You know he’s been dead six months. Drowned in the ocean over the summer.”
I shook my head. “I’ve worked for Cheeser for years.” My heart sputtered in my chest. “I saw him last night and he ain’t dead. How would you know Cheeser anyhow?”
“Cheeser? James Chesterfield? He was my uncle.” She wiped at her cheek. “I came to town for his funeral last month. Took a job here after that.”
“Nobody told me he was…” I trailed off. None of it made sense. “You're saying he drowned?”
“Tried to go swimming in the ocean but the idiot can’t swim.”
“Doesn’t make sense.” I said.
“Oh yeah? He told you I drowned in a pond fire? What the hell is a pond fire?”
I finally calmed her down with mouthfuls of apologies.
Of course Cheeser denied everything the next day. “She says I’m the one’s a ghost? What a laugh!”
Each went on insisting the other was a spirit, and neither looked entirely of this realm if you catch my pitch; her with her filthy nails and green teeth, him with his eye sockets as empty as a bone-dry bird bath.
In the end, I chose to go on pretending like both was as real as myself. Wasn’t no point jeopardizing a steady job nor a steady girlfriend.
El Toxxed Prompto
YOUR PARK IS HAUNTED BY THE GHOSTS OF BAD DECISIONS
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 01:00|
A construction worker followed his sledgehammer to the squat black rectangle of a bumper car attraction. He left a wake in the leaves behind him on the park’s abandoned thoroughfare. It was day two of Curlyland’s overdue demolition. Yesterday, he had destroyed a stand of carnival games, taking atavistic pleasure in smashing a mildewed dunk tank. The only evidence of the specter watching him work was the sudden and autonomous tipping over of his coffee.
The insides of the bumper car building were painted with images of famous cartoon characters altered just enough to not infringe copyright. The walls were packed with these murals, each character piloting its car with manic joy. Rearing back, the worker tensed and brought his sledgehammer crashing through the head of a white duck in a green beret. He noticed a pale flickering in his periphery and wheeled around, leaving his hammer lodged in the duck’s painted forehead.
It was a small child, face blurred beyond recognition. Eyes straining wide, the worker gasped and began to shiver, slightly at first, but intensifying until he had to grip his hammer to stay upright. He exhaled and tore his hammer from the wall. He could still feel the spirit’s oppressive company. Working up a rage, the man swung his hammer wildly until adrenaline allowed him to open his eyes. Nothing of the visitor remained but a glimmer in the man’s periphery. Now covered in an icy sheen of sweat, he resumed his task. The only sounds that reached him through his destructive reverie were the screams of the nearby Ferris wheel being wrested to the ground.
But the ghostly spectator remained there at the edge of the man’s vision, dimming with each swing of the 16lb hammer.
His wife stared at him with tired eyes and left the statement hanging between them. He stood there, nervous with his confession. She said, “No, you didn’t.”
Hours after his wife succumbed to sleep, the worker lay awake and tried to remember the ghost’s visit. In those eerie moments, it had spoken to him. Shock had not let him remember until after the sun had set. The ghost’s voice had reverberated through the building like a sourceless echo, not quite intelligible through the man’s earplugs.
Then he had stood outside the bumper cars, ready to bring the roof crashing down. If the ghost remained, it had been too faint to see. The building collapsed after three more whacks. He tried to convince himself nothing had happened.
Curlyland’s only roller coaster, a wooden one from the 70s called Ball Lightning, was scheduled to be brought down on the third day of demolition. Its 2,700ft of track stretched upward, looming over the park like the skeleton of a cat arching its back. It would take a week for the trucks to haul away all the scrap once it fell.
The worker lingered at the felled bumper car building before continuing to that day’s assignment: the dilapidated food court and its giant gazebo, dutifully shielding a score of picnic tables from the rain. Through his earplugs he could hear faint shouts as other members of his crew set up the explosive charges on Ball Lightning. Each exclamation sent him looking over his shoulder for yesterday’s ethereal companion, but it did not reappear.
In his partially deafened state it was easy to focus on his work and ignore the chill that accompanied his memories of the day before.
“Hey, you got a sec?” asked someone behind him. The closeness of the voice startled him into a rigid posture. Feigning nonchalance, he looked at the half-smashed pretzel stand in front of him, shrugged and removed his earplugs. It was his supervisor. “We got a big job in the city starting up and our wonderful boss wants me to train a new overseer on it. I wanted to see if you’d be up for it.” The supervisor glanced at his watch before continuing. “Oh, they’re setting off the charges.”
Both men turned towards Ball Lightning, its tracks luminous through the trees in the early morning haze. The cracks of detonations shook the air around them and the towering ride vibrated, faltered, and fell with a roar.
“Down she goes,” the supervisor said. He glanced back at the worker. “There’d be a small raise, of course.”
Clouds of dust crept towards the pair and they covered their eyes and coughed.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 01:04|
QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at 02:48 on Jan 1, 2018
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 01:21|
sparksbloom fucked around with this message at 03:38 on Nov 27, 2017
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 01:31|
On the seventh day the Bearded Lady refused. She sat on her rock under her spotlight and stared through her glass walls at her hordes upon hordes of gawkers. A legion of faces and eyes and mouths and jeers and taunts, all the same, all ebbing and flowing in their turn around her bubble of sanity. The same questions, the same roars, the same jests they thought she couldn’t hear, all around. Still she refused, and then the questions came.
“How many children will I have?” asked a three-fingered woman. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused.
“Will the North and South go to war?” asked a fleshy boar of a man, three extra eye holes carved into his face. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused.
“Must my father die?” asked a sickly figure of indeterminate gender, corrosive venom spilling from its mouth with each word. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused.
“Why are you naked?” asked a boy of about five, his tongue hanging near his sternum. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused.
“Are we alive?” asked someone. The Bearded Lady did not see whom. She blinked and silence reigned except for the thunder of roller coasters, the music of the carousel, and the cries of festival barkers outside her tent. Surprise fled. She stared ahead, and refused. A paying crowd grumbled and churned, muttered foul slurs and dark words about how they’d been cheated, how she was broken. They left, and she refused.
On the eighth night she refused bread and water and stayed in her tent so she would not miss the stars when the spotlight returned.
“Why do you no longer help?” asked the man who held her here, arms longer than she was tall and a face of blank featureless skin except his chasm of a mouth. “Can you not see people need the Bearded Lady?”
The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused. Her chin burnt. Slowly, inch by inch, the mass of iron grey, iron hard hair pushed onwards. It already covered her from shoulders to stomach. The man glared as best as one could without eyes, turned on a heel that let out a screech of metal, and left.
On the tenth day they started calling her She That Doesn’t Answer. The eyeless man gestured and despaired as question upon question, jeer upon jeer, proposition upon proposition, met silence. Are we real? What is to happen to us? What have we done? Can anything be saved?
“Why is your beard growing?” asked the boy with the tongue, who had visited every day. All met silence. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused. When the crowd left the eyeless man turned up the spotlight until she smelled her flesh cooking.
The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and refused. The eyeless man left. That night her beard grew and she ached to scratch and tear and claw but didn’t. She drank water but refused bread.
On the fifteenth day bones could be seen through her skin. Her beard reached her hips. The questions continued but the silences became contemplative. A half-faced man walked up to her glass walls and hmm’d and ah’d. He muttered a question in a language she did not understand, and thus an impossible language, then stared not at her beard but her eyes. Another hmm, another ah, then he turned to the eyeless man.
“Broken my boy hardly,” said Half-Face. “Art boy you have art in this fine park of yours only a madman would think it broken do you think stained glass broken?”
“Well,” said Eyeless, as the river of words finished its flow at last. “Can you not see she fails at a Bearded Lady’s entire purpose?”
Half-Face stared then whipped towards the tent entrance, storming out in another tirade of which the Bearded Lady only caught traces. This robbed the crowd of enthusiasm. They stared at each other, some coughed, she caught conversations not intended for her ears, and they filed out amid the eyeless man’s protests. The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and experimented. She commanded her beard to rise and wave farewell when all in the audience were turned away.
On the twentieth night the eyeless man left her under the spotlight at its most powerful for an hour, screaming questions she knew the answers to but would not acknowledge. Flesh burnt but hair did not and she stayed still. Her beard was at her knees and protected much of her vitals. Eventually he lost interest and shut off the spotlight before storming off, hollering into the night a promise to return and end a fortnight of grief.
“Why do they keep you in a tank?” asked the voice from the first day of her refusal. The Bearded Lady looked up and saw the boy with the tongue, and next to him a woman, beautiful but moulded. The Bearded Lady could see the stretches and gnaws and knead-marks where men had looked upon her and tried to turn flesh into ideal. Her voice had no ignorance, no selfish quest for knowledge, its tone was that of someone speaking to a fellow human. There was concern there and it refreshed her. The Bearded Lady stared ahead and, finally, did not refuse.
“I am Bearded,” she said, voice a thin rasp from thirst and heat and disuse.
“Why?” asked the boy with the tongue, hand tightly clasping the moulded woman’s.
“I refused to sacrifice knowledge and become owned.”
“Are all Bearded treated like this?” asked the moulded woman, her easiest question. The Bearded Lady could answer with a gesture, but found she had missed speaking.
“Then why stay?” Horror danced across the moulded woman’s skin, creating ripples on flesh and filling her voice.
“I was waiting,” said the Bearded Lady, who rose with a stagger from hunger and thirst and fatigue and the weight of her grown beard. She headed for the door.
“For what? Life? An answer?” Were they, after all, alive?
“No. For growth.”
Knowledge told her it should not have worked but her beard swung back and down and carved through the door latch with a shriek, sending tongue boy and moulded woman jumping back. The door swung open.
Freedom. She loped forwards, bounding and swaying, but heard skittering and pulling. The eyeless man lurched into the tent, his mouth wide with rage. In his hand, a spear that could impale an elephant.
“I will get a new one,” he howled, and the Bearded Lady stumbled back, but before the eyeless man could strike a tongue circled his ankle and pulled. His face smashed against the dirt and the Bearded Lady could smell blood.
Knowledge told her where to sever the brainstem and she struck with her beard, slicing through flesh and bone and nerve before there was a chance to scream. Three stood in the tent as blood wet earth.
“You are alive,” said the moulded woman. The boy with the tongue nodded and smiled. “Would you like to see the stars? To see Earth?”
The Bearded Lady stared ahead, and smiled. “I would. I would like that very much.”
The three stole out of the park in dead of night, and none chased.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:17|
The Last Ride
Word count: 1175
Flash Rule: Aerial
It wasn't until they had boarded, and found their seats, that Glenn realised they were on the wrong train.
"Hey, Lucy. Aren't we going the wrong way?" He turned away from the window, as the train station disappeared behind a bend, and toward the redhead sitting next to him. She was in her late teens, like him, and they had been together roughly a year. This trip was actually to celebrate their first anniversary.
She looked back at him with clearly feigned surprise. "What? We are not going towards the Fairland Park? Oh, no! What ever shall we do?"
She smiled at his dumbfounded look and took out an envelope from her purse. "Here you go, darling. Happy anniversary."
"What's this?" Glenn took the envelope and looked at it. It was an older type of envelope, made from a thick, yellowish paper. It felt expensive, and a feeling of dread washed over him. On the front were written "Happy Anniversary!" in Lucy's flowing writing. It was sealed with a red wax heart, with their initials inside.
Glenn opened it slowly, breaking the heart seal. Another sense of dread came as the broken wax parted and he saw the gilded paper inside. He looked at Lucy in disbelief.
"Come on. Take it out!" Her eyes were wide, and full of the wonder he knew he should be feeling. He suddenly knew what was in the envelope, and now he knew where they were heading.
His trembling hand reached into the envelope and brought out two gilded tickets.
STARLIGHT PARK was printed on them in big, bold letters. Underneath, in a smaller font, was written World's 8th wonder!
Glenn's breath froze. This was bad. Really bad.
"Well?" Lucy's voice had an undertone of slight annoyance, telling him that his reaction was not what she had expected. He quickly snapped out of his bewilderment and put on a big smile.
"We're going to Starlight?" His voice was filled with excitement, and somehow he managed to fake it enough to alleviate her annoyance at his poor reaction.
"That's amazing! These tickets must cost a fortune! And on Halloween night as well!" He laid it on thick now, doing everything he could to suppress the rising terror in his gut.
"Anything for you, my darling," Lucy replied beaming. "I even booked a room at the Stargaze Hotel for us." Her smile turned naughty for a second as she said that, and she winked coquettishly.
Glenn hugged her close, feeling her warmth. "I love you, Lucy." His face, hidden from her, could now express his fear.
Lucy stood at the window watching the park draw closer. Her face was that of a child on Christmas Day, and she couldn't stop expressing her wonderment all the way up.
Glenn stood next to her, with an iron grip on the horizontal bar above his head. His eyes were fixed on the approaching monstrosity, held in the air by propellers, jets, magnetism, and who-knows what other thingamajig or doodah that kept it floating a thousand meters above ground. He could not avert his eyes, howver much he wanted to.
Glenn's father, who was an aerospace engineer and a pilot, had told him time and again how the Starlight was an impossibility; that it broke just about every law of physics by staying afloat that way; that it was an abomination, and that it made a mockery of science. Glenn, having flown with his father more times than he could count in his experimental aircrafts, had learned the hard way the horrors of keeping things afloat in the sky.
"Wow! Everything looks so small from up here!" Lucy's excitement reached a new plateau as she looked down through the glass floor. "Glenn, look! The railway just a tiny line down there!"
Glenn, eyes fixed looking upwards and ahead, just nodded abd gave a small "Yeah..." in agreement.
I'm gonna faint the moment I set foot on it, he thought with dread.
He did not faint, and, he noticed, his feelings of horror dissippated slightly as they disembarked at the gondola station.
As his feet touched the ground for the first time, he noticed how solid it felt. He looked around, and all the attractions and buildings hid the horizon from him. In the late afternoon glow he felt as if he was down on the ground, at any ordinary amusement park. Then he took a better look at the attractions.
His eyes opened wide, first in bewilderment, then in actual excitement of the fantastical display that spread out around him.
Roller coasters, circular rides, ferris wheels, water slides, and every other kind you could think of! And they were all powered by, and utilised the strange technology that kept the park itself up. The gravity-defying technology elevated the experience, and made even the most mundane ride exciting and new.
Flabbergasted, Glenn took Lucy by hand, and together they went into the park for a great evening of excitement, and a wonderful night.
The morning came too fast for Glenn. The evening and night had been a wonder, with many firsts tried, and his sense of dread had completely disappeared by the time they got on the second ride.
"Lucy," he said as they walked arm in arm towards the exit. "This was truly wonderful. Thank you for giving us these memories."
"Aw, chucks," she replied blushing. "For us, I'd do anything."
Glenn didn't know what else to say. He was ashamed of his feelings coming up here. He should have spent that time being amazed with her, instead of dreading something that never came.
He thought back at all those dreams he'd had, of falling from great heights. Every time his dad had taken him up, they had gotten worse. Night after night he would fall, fall, fall. Never hitting the ground, just building up the horror inside him as he fell faster and faster. It got to the point where he would faint as soon as the aircraft left the ground, and, though his dad never noticed, he grew to hate the sky.
But now he felt this could be the moment of catharsis. He had felt his fears draining away through the evening and night, and now he knew he could enjoy the ride on the gondola with Lucy. He smiled greatly at her.
"Where are you going, silly?" She suddenly asked, stopping. She smiled at him the way that told him she had one more surprise. His heart sank.
"To the... gondola?" He answered confused. He swallowed in trepidation.
"No, no. The gondola is for going up! We're taking The Last Ride down." The glee in her voice was palpable, and suddenly the terror came back full force.
He followed her on shaky legs as she skipped of to the side towards a big sign exclaming THE LAST RIDE! in bloated letters.
His heart stopped, and the last thing he heard as he fainted was Lucy saying, with impish delight, "I heard the safety field only works most of the time."
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:35|
flash: When you think you've won but then someone no one cares about gets to decide and gives first place to the other guy
The Second Happiest Place On Earth
"I try and be discreet about it, the murdering. Can't kill just anyone, not here at the Second Happiest Place on Earth. That's what we call the park. Clever, huh? But you knew that, right? You're one of the smart ones. You know what's up."
"So I don't need to tell you that fun parks are supposed to be, well, fun. And if you're not having fun there - where the hell else you gonna go? There's something wrong if you can't even have fun at a funpark. But some people, even the smart ones, don't know how badly they're broken inside till they walk through our gates some morning, a fistful of ride tickets in their hand and then it hits them, right here, that gnawing, inescapable despair.
"I've got a knack for finding them. I spotted you, right? Saw you soon as you got off the bus. Those kids racing past you, laughing and calling each other names, and you didn't even crack a smile, just pulled your jacket closer and stepped up your pace, as if that would make the day go faster. I'm right, aren't I? I told you - I can spot 'em. The folks that can't be happy, ever. Betcha Disneyland ain't hired anyone like me.
"Gotta be careful though. The least fun thing in a fun park is someone finding a body, so, like I said, I'm discreet about it. Sure, there's lots of unfun stuff that happens in a fun park. People get off rides, wander around, and then just puke their guts out wherever they're standing. People get kid stressed and pick fights and then other concerned citizens join in and the next thing you know there's concussions all round and teeth on the cafeteria floor. Happens in Disneyland, too. But people finding corpses, what with the screaming and the police and the ambulances and everything, that is the absolute least fun. There's always an investigation, which means they close the park, which means lost wages for us carnies, which sucks. It probably sucks for the families of the dead people too, come to think about it."
"Shhh. It won't suck for you, because at long last, the pain is over. What a relief, huh? They'll never find you. You've run off to join the fun park. Like that song says, consider yourself part of the furniture. The only question is - where do you want to furnish? You like scaring people? You want to end up in the Ghost Train? Imagine your severed head in a pickling jar, glassy eyes frightening little girls closer to their boyfriends. What about a pirate? We could hang up your skeleton from a hook on Pirate Isle so it rattles when wind blows. Could even give your skull an eyepatch.
"Maybe the Hall of Mirrors is more your style. Lots of smart people just like you in there - a story behind every mirror. Gives 'em time to reflect, I like to think. Heh. Good one, huh? See, there's hidden panels in the halls and the mirrors are two way - so you can look out forever at people pulling faces and walking into things. Or we can put you on our recycling program, so you end up all over the park. A carved 'ivory' bridle on a merry-go-round horse here, a charcoal and 'leather' treasure map there, a rotating clown head people stuff 'ping-pong balls' into somewhere else.
"So what's it gonna be? I'm just gonna loosen your gag a little."
"Mgghff. Luh huh, huh. Let me go, you freak. HELP!"
"Shh - no point screaming way down here. It's your time. You know it, I know it."
"But I don't want to die."
"Oh come on, You do, you absolutely do. I can smell your misery from here. And your piss, but don't feel bad, that happens a lot."
"No, I don't. I can't. I...I...I haven't been to Disneyland yet."
"Disneyland. You said this is the second happiest place on Earth. How do I know I won't ever be happy until I've been to the happiest place on Earth?"
"Well, dammit, bud, if you don't have a point. Ok. I'm kinda disappointed, though, I was starting to take a shine to you. Promise me you'll come back if it's no good?"
"I promise I promise I promise."
"Lemme untie you then. Off you go. See ya! What a smart guy. I told you fellers I can spot 'em."
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:45|
Aaaaaaand, it's gone!
Chili fucked around with this message at 11:43 on Jan 2, 2018
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:48|
Break the Gears
I swing my blade into the exposed neck of the gryphon. Its claws have locked onto my steed, and together we tumble through the ochre sky. The foul beast shrieks in pain as blood soaks its feathers. It's rider is off balance, reaching for his reigns, and despite the slick blood on the pommel I secure my grip and run my sword through his chest. Together my enemy and his steed plunge to the battlefield below. I don't give him another thought—he's the opponent. He deserves death.
Pulling my reigns with my free hand, I spin my hippogryph around and look down on the mounted soldiers that circle the Tower, the thunder of their hooves echoing upwards towards the carnage in the sky. Too early to tell which side is winning. There's killing yet to be done.
An explosion below and I twist the reigns hard to the left. A cloud of hot lead plinks off my armor. My steed howls miserably—she has been hit, too. I tuck her into a dive and we plummet towards the giraffe-soldier below. He's furiously reloading his blunderbuss for another shot but my at the last second I pull back on the reigns and hippogryph's hind legs connect hard. As he flies from his saddle his giraffe unleashes an acidic bite that pierces my steed's hindquarters. She bucks hard and throws me into the air then I hit the ground with a bone crunching impact. Stunned, I roll over and see the giraffe-soldier stagger toward me, blunderbuss pointed at my chest, face twisted into a hateful snarl. I wait for the gun to spit fire and lead and pain but in a flash the giraffe-soldier is hurled sideways before the thundering charge of a riderless unicorn. The wild beast brings its enormous hooves down again and again until the solder is nothing but a sickening mass of flesh and armor and blood. Then it gallops away.
I stagger to my feet. This isn't my first Carousel. I've seen worse. Been in tighter spots and survived. My body bears the scars and metal plates to prove it.
Thundering hooves shake the ground and winged beasts shriek through the sky. The air smells of blood and fur and poo poo and the tungsten plate in my skull aches. My last Carousel ended badly; if my side hadn't emerged victorious I would have been left behind, brain extracted and devoured by the Beast in the Tower. But instead they stitched me back together with cheap catgut sutures and metal plating. Ready to go again. The merchant-kings have their petty squabbles to decide, after all. The Carousel must keep turning.
Then everything fuzzes out, my head spinning as intense disorientation washes over me. The world blinks, and I'm pulled, and the ground rushes up to meet me. The back of my eyeballs squeeze, then I'm back on the battlefield and a huge white beast is plunging from the sky towards me, wings furled, rider tucked low on its back. I fall backwards, my hands scrabbling for purchase, for anything to defend myself with. I feel the cold metal of a discarded shield. Desperately I pull it over my face before the hooves of the great pegasus collapse my chest and burst my skull but before it strikes I shift, and I am pulled sideways, the connection lost again, and I feel my mind released from a mighty grip and I blink
I blink and I'm on the Carousel. The Wurlitzer tinkles a merry melody as the ancient gears spin, the chipped and battered statues of horses and hippogryphs and other beasts bobbing up and down on creaking poles. Chained men with vacant eyes stagger around, bloody knives and sticks and clubs in hand, hacking, staggering, slashing. Murderers and killers.
Men like me.
The Carousel walls have been pulled back to reveal bleachers stuffed full of lords and ladies and merchant-kings and their concubines, stuffing their pale faces with bread and beer, all fancy dresses and waistcoats, clapping and laughing, covering their giggles as we hack and stab and slash at each other on the blood-slicked platform.
I squeeze my eyes shut against the mind-tendrils reaching out to me. Searching. Wanting. The beast calls me back. Its keening thought-voice screeches and swirls, desperate to find me and pull me back into the charade. But for some reason it can't. Something blocks it.
Then I remember the words of the old surgeon when he replaced my broken skull with the tungsten plate. Three words, whispered in my ear. I didn't understand what he meant. But now I do.
Break the gears.
A cheer erupts from the crowd as a soldier drives a wooden stake though another's skull. He leaps onto a chipped and broken wooden ostrich and lets out a whoop, his face twisted in fury and triumph. The cheers of the lords and ladies quickly turn to raucous laughter at the sight of him waving his blood-soaked stick in the air.
Break the gears.
Crawling low I work my way to the center of the Carousel. I feel the waves of psychic energy intensify but they slide off the side of the tungsten plate, unable to find purchase. I don't have much time. It had me before, and now that I've broken free I don't know how long I have. I must find it. And kill it.
I reach a door in the center, marked by a crude and faded painting of a jester. I feel a heavy presence on the other side. A chain seals the bar on the door. I reach down and grab my own chains and iron ball and drive them into the latch. The Carousel shudders and I hear shouts from the laughing and jeering crowd. Again I heave the heavy ball into the latch, and with a crunch the mechanism explodes in shards of wood and metal. The momentum spins me around and I face the crowd, numb and unsteady. Several of the merchant-kings are standing now, shouting and pointing at me.
Unsealed, the door behind bursts open and the horror is upon me. I'm driven forward by a mass of whirling dark tentacles that wash over me in a sickening flood of black energy. My mind erupts and splits beneath the onslaught, tearing my psyche into broken shards of thought and image and emotion and pain.
And then it passes over me and flows across the Carousel and washes up the bleachers like a horrible black tide. Tendrils split and subdivide and flow over the crowd, piercing mouths and eyes and ears, penetrating into the minds of the assembled lords and ladies and merchant-kings, and it feeds.
There's a soft gurgling as the mind flayer consumes their brains and drinks dry the liquors of their meninges. The black mass pulses as it gorges, quenching a hunger it has known for long centuries of servitude. Soon the tendrils retract, leaving empty, mindless husks in the bleachers, frozen in a horrified rictus. The mind flayer, sufficiently fed, shifts, and disappears though the ether to its own infernal dimension.
With the last of my strength I crawl onto a statue of a lion and hold my chains aloft. The other slaves gather around as the Carousel grinds to a halt and a last, discordant note rings from the organ.
The gears have been broken.
flashrule: psychic carousel
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:51|
The View from Valhalla
Natalie screamed and laughed and waved her arms as the lead car sped down the first drop, then through the double loop. Rob gripped the front bar and clenched his teeth, while I kept my eyes on Matt. It was Matt’s first time on the Valkyrie. Last year he had been an inch and a half short of the entry bar, nearly as great a disappointment to him as it had been when the balloon giraffe objected to having its neck squeezed by exploding. This year he stood two inches higher than the ride's minimum. There was no denying Matt this time, and so it was my job as his big sister to make sure that if he threw up- no idle concern, not after what happened on the country fair’s Ferris wheel last month - that his spew be directed anywhere other than into Natalie's perfect blonde pigtails.
Matt’s stomach was holding out as the coaster turned a tight corner and climbed up again, slowly taking a gentle bump and giving us all a great view of the park just after sunset, lit up with a thousand lights. Then the lights went out, ride by ride and we heard a thump and scrape and felt the emergency brake stop our car feet before the next drop.
“What the,” said Rob in the darkness. Emergency power kicked in, with dim amber lights that made the faces of the Nordic warrior princesses arrayed near the tracks look less enraged and more like they were holding their breath underwater.
“I think,” said Natalie, looking more bold than the decorations, “That we’re going to be stuck here for a while.”
We waited. A loudspeaker made some kind of announcement, the words lost under louder static and feedback. I could only make out a few words. 'time’, 'safe’, 'thank’, and what sounded exactly like ‘donkey’ but probably wasn't.
“Don't worry,” said Rob. “I'm sure they'll be able to get the power on soon. Then they'll release the brakes and we'll just glide back to the bottom.”
“Idiot,” I said, a little too loudly.
“See the corkscrew up ahead?” I said. “Starting from a stop we won't have enough momentum to clear it. So we’d just wind up a little bit further and stuck again, but upside down.”
“That would be fun,” said Natalie. Rob’s face paled powdered-sugar white.
“I don't wanna be upside down,” said Matt. “I don't wanna!”
I started to sing, all the kid songs I knew that weren't about nauseating food.
“What are you doing?” whispered Rob between songs.
“Matt could be just small enough to twist out of his harness,” I whispered back, leaning in as much as I could. “So let's try and not set him off on a tantrum, okay?’
Natalie started up the first of several rounds of 'Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall’.
We sang for what seemed like hours. Every now and then the speakers would come on and day something unintelligible ending with 'twenty minutes’. Always twenty minutes, as we served the Valkyries enough to send them back to Valhalla from alcohol poisoning.
Finally, the lights came back on. We could see the crowds below again, see the fire engine crane rescuing people stuck on the mad mouse coaster across the courtyard from us. We were all fighting battles with biology we couldn't keep winning forever, with Matt doing the worst. He looked down when the lights went on and turned full-on green, but kept things barely down.
“Oh thank God,” said Rob as the engine started to roll up to the Valkyrie. He turned to Natalie. “We should celebrate, after I take the kids home.”
“Hey,” I said. It's not like he was more than a year older than me.
“Maybe get a burger or something?”
“I don't think so,” said Natalie. “I don't think we should go out any more.”
“Are you kidding me?” said Rob. “I go through this with you and you just dump me? It cost me fifty bucks for our tickets, I should at least get to-”
“Wow,” I said. “Nice entitlement, Rob.” The fire engine pulled to a stop as close to us as possible, then started extending its crane.
“Shut up, Becca,” said Rob.
“She’s right,though ” said Natalie.
Rob looked at the two of us, turning his head back and forth. “You two deserve each other,” he said.
“Huh?” said Natalie.
“You don't know?” said Rob. “My sister is totally gay for you.”
Rob had always been a jerk, but I don't think he’d have said that if he had any idea how true it was. I never told him, or anyone else at that time that I was into girls, but yeah. Was, am, will be. And Natalie was extremely hot, that’s just an objective fact. Not exactly my type, I don't go for the perky mean cheerleader type. So not completely true, but enough that I sat there trying to figure out what part to deny for ten long seconds.
And then Matt leaned over to look at the firemen coming up. His stomach made a gurgle and blasted up an afternoon's worth of funnel cakes and frozen cherry soda.
The crane swung up, to about ten feet away. The fireman, wearing a forced grin and helmet dripping with vomit, yelled “This is as close as we can get without hitting the tracks. There's a rig with a longer crane on its way from Gatlinburg. It should be here in about ninety minutes.”
We four swore an oath not to ever talk about those ninety minutes. None of us kept it, not after high school. But it's neither pretty or surprising. Come down to that park, you'll be able to tell which car we had in that ride. It's the one with upholstery fifteen years newer than all the others.
Rob got better. When I came all the way out he was every kind of supportive I could possibly want. He wound up married to a woman who drives a truck for a living, believe it or not. I'm still looking. I did end up dating Natalie for a while, most of her Senior year. Then she got in to Yale and we both agreed trying the long-distance thing wouldn't work. And Matt's just passed his exam and joined the fire department. And on his first day training with the crane one of the older firemen emptied a bucket full of cold puke onto his helmet, because payback is forever.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 02:56|
Necks Door Down
One of the vampires is missing from the haunted house.
I run my hand through my hair as I stare into the coffin, filled with cobwebs and spiders, but no vampire in sight. Istvan. That’s the name of the missing vampire. I mumble one single word, and, not for the first time, weigh up the pros and cons of working at an amusement park that hires actual monsters for one of their attractions.
The park reviews were great, and the pay was even better, but this was the moment that could make all that irrelevant. Each monster needs their own, individual accommodation. Some are easier than others. Gustav, another of the vampires, just wants a cashmere sleep mask and a copy of the paper each morning, whereas Alan, our newest mummy recruit, had asked for as close a replica of an ancient tomb as possible to sleep in, decorated with three solid stone statues of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, with each of these statues changed weekly, before he eventually signed on. It’s a job in and of itself catering to their needs, because if just one of them decides that they’re sick of this place and want to go out there and do monstery things, that’d be the death of the park. As well as a whole lot of people.
Worst-case scenarios buzz through my head, as my footsteps thud against the wooden floor of the haunted house, every last one of them ending with my throat being ripped out in a shower of blood. I ask the other residents of the house if they’ve seen him, but each of them reply in the negative. Well, Stephanie the swamp monster might know where he is, but everything she says sounds like ‘Mggrrgoorgllf,’ so I simply nod, say ‘Okay, thanks,’ and wave her goodbye, breaking into a sprint as soon as I round the corner, heart pounding a steel drum rhythm with every passing second.
I quickly glance to one side as I fly down the corridor, checking to see if Henry the creepy statue is still there, when something cannons into my chest and all the wind gets knocked out of me as I crumple to the floor with a thump. I gather myself up, resting on one knee, and look up to see Tessa, the other park worker stationed to the morning shift at the haunted house, in a similarly sprawled out pose. We both stare at each other for a moment, before opening our mouths and yelling simultaneously.
“Istvan’s missing from his coffin!”
“Greta’s missing from her hut!”
We pause. Stare. Yell again.
We both scramble to our feet and run to the exit, bursting out into the bright morning sun, blinking rapidly until our eyes adjust from the gloom of the haunted house. We both glance at each other again once more, before splitting up to cover the rest of the park.
There aren’t many other workers here yet; it’s only those on the haunted house shift that have to be here this early before the park opens. It should be pretty easy to find a vampire and a witch out here, I tell myself. Just so long as they haven’t left the park.
Okay, best not to think about that possibility.
I run past the ferris wheel and one of the rollercoasters, their giant steel monolithic forms casting thin shadows over me. I peer into food stands, look into the gift shops, brace myself to venture into the public toilets, even cast an eye over that stand where you hook the little rubber duckies to get prizes. Nothing. Not a single slicked back hair, nor fine trim of cape to be seen.
I’m inches away from pulling my radio from my pocket and telling the boss we’ve got a Code 15, when I hear the distinctive sounds of laughter coming from the shooting gallery a few stalls across. I peer over the head of one of the rubber ducks, and see Istvan walking towards it. He’s holding a stuffed bear in one hand, and Greta’s hand in the other. They laugh again, and Istvan lets go of her hand so she can grab one of the stall’s rifles. I stand up straight, and he catches my eye, giving me a sheepish look and an apologetic shrug, before he turns back to watch Greta.
I let out a relieved sigh, and grab my radio to let Tessa know about the new happy couple.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 03:41|
[Edited post-competition to fix a missing line break that's been unreasonably getting under my skin.]
Flash rule: Scary clown protagonist
Behind the Paint
Eureka was an oven, and Six Flags was an overloaded casserole dish. Probably not as loaded (or greasy) as Silver Dollar City across the state, but no less an emblem of the Missouri summer. From Looney Tunes trinkets to overpriced food to scrupulously DC-branded thrill rides, it was a place for many things, but in all of them it was a place for families. This was why Jake Mathis was here. He was here with his family.
I'm gonna throw up. Help. I need to get off. I'm gonna throw up. I'm gonna
A black shirt wasn't the best thing to wear in this shimmering heat, nor was the grease paint that clung slickly to Jake's face. But Jake wasn't wearing them – he was them, and so were the brother and sister who had come with him. Finally, after twelve years, he was at Six Flags with his family, and nobody was going to gently caress it up. It was a miracle, pure motherfuckin' magic.
"What the hell? What the hell, Jake Tanner!"
The vomit drips, reeks. Reeks in him and on him. He can't do anything but sit and stare.
"Good job, Jake. Good job getting on the roller coaster when you knew you were too full." A dripping pause. "Jake, the ride's done. You gonna get off or are you just gonna sit there like a retard?"
His arm is grabbed, and the seat is empty. Empty apart from an orange puddle.
Tad grinned in monochrome. "Come on, ninja! Let's do this poo poo!" On his torso, the flaming face of Jack Jeckel echoed his enthusiasm.
"Where do you guys wanna go?" asked Jake.
From behind Amber's map: "Holy poo poo, the Joker has a ride?"
"poo poo yeah, the Joker has a ride!"
The 'lette led the way.
The wrong person sees. It's crowded, but no crowd can stop this.
"What's that? That's how you treat your little kid?"
"Who said it was your business?"
"I'm serious, man. That ain't right and I know you know it."
"gently caress off." Jake follows his parents off the platform.
"You know who treats his kid like that? A BITCH."
Rick Mathis runs back toward the staring crowd.
Jake couldn't believe it. This was fun. This was fun. Not fear, not pain, just a loving trip to Six Flags. Who gave a poo poo if people sometimes looked at the ninjas like they did? Who gave a poo poo if he smeared his paint trying to eat a turkey leg? Who gave a poo poo about anything, sitting in a Ferris wheel or behind a go-kart's wheel?
There aren't any punches, though not for lack of trying. There's no longer a crowd but a wall of arms, and the struggle is fierce but brief. Nobody's even called security, but the Mathis family – or its patriarch – has had enough. The ride home is silent except for Dad's yelling.
The tears were sudden. Jake stopped walking toward the Xcalibur and just stood there like – no, a close call, but he wasn't going to think of that. He was going to cry and cry for the right reason. Tad and Amber had stopped a few feet ahead; they saw the streaks and blobs and came back to him.
Jake threw his arms around his family.
"I fu... I fuckin' love you guys!"
Gripping the chair. Stripes from the belt. A woman crying louder from the other room.
This was it. There was The Boss, towering over the northwest end of the park, a coiled dragon on a nest of timber. Twelve years later, it was the same groaning, heaving giant that it was the first time around – Jake watched in awe as the track bowed out on every bend the cars rounded. Even waiting in line for this beast was a thrill in itself. And he was going to ride it.
2:00. It's all over. Jake's watch chirps its tiny alarm, and he carefully, as silently as possible on the creaky springs of his ratty mattress, slips out of bed to the floor. His backpack is packed – a couple changes of clothes, his toothbrush, his ancient Walkman from Goodwill, and a sick-rear end tape called Riddle Box. He's lucky enough to have friends he can trust with this, and he knows that he'll make it with their help. After arranging the clothes that won't fit in his backpack as best he can under the blanket, Jake climbs through the window and closes it without a sound. He doesn't run away. He runs home.
Jake, Tad, and Amber shared a row in the third car from the front. Jake could feel his hands distantly gripping the safety bar somewhere a mile away from him as the train rattled up its chain. A dip, another rise, and then the bone-rattling drop.
He barfed, and nobody cared.
Sham bam bamina! fucked around with this message at 19:08 on Oct 24, 2017
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 03:59|
Gates closed. Redeem all tickets at the counter tomorrow morning.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 04:12|
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 08:45|
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 11:40|
MY GOD YOU JUDGES AND YOUR SLOW DEBATING OF 43 STORIES.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 13:27|
MY GOD YOU JUDGES AND YOUR SLOW DEBATING OF 43 STORIES.
I know, right?
Anyone up for interprompt? Because I was thinking about tomatoes that may or may not be rotten.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 14:32|
INTERPROMPT: Man Agonizes over Tomatoes
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 17:37|
this pasta just ain't right.
there's not enough tomatoes.
that's what you get,
in a post-apocalyptic italy.
there's no sauce, just noodles,
and we're hungry.
mamma mia, we're hungry.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 18:02|
Time Bomb (#70)
"Man, these tomatoes are good."
Frohike chews, bittersweet little seeds crusting on his lower lip.
He swallows and lights blind the earth.
He spits the chunk back into the tomato.
The fruity flesh reseals into the red belly and he puts it back on the vine.
He remembers the outcome of the blast one more time.
Frohike picks a fresh tomato.
"Man, these tomatoes are good."
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 18:16|
She scans the menu as I remove my fedora and balance it carefully on my knee. It actually is not rude to wear it inside, and gentlemen of the day did so all the time--but I am never one to start a confrontation over such a trivial matter, and acquiesce to the waiter's third request.
"I don't like fruit salad. It's too sweet," she says, still taking her time to make a choice.
She's so cute with her scientific illiteracy. With a paternal sigh, I grin and lean over the table to touch her wrist. "Well, actually a tomato is a fruit, so you likely eat 'fruit salad' quite often."
Something has twisted the fabric of the universe into a cruel shape with strange shadows, though, because her lips do not bend upward into an unstoppable smile. Her eyes do not glimmer with laughter held back and respect for my kind impartment of knowledge. Instead, in this strange alternate world, her lip twitches, and she takes a hiss of breath in between her teeth.
"Ahhh, oh no. Something has come up." She says, looking at her phone with its screen still black. "I have to go, sorry."
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 18:19|
cptn picard looked up at the kardashian and screamed THERE. ARE. FOUR. TOMATOES.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 18:40|
You say to-mah-toe, i say to-may-toe, we both agree that tomatoes are garbage and should be eradicated
"Here, Greg, try this cherry tomato. It's juicy and sweet and tasty."
Greg bit into the tomato.
"God," he said. "This tastes awful."
And it did. Because tomatoes taste awful. All of them.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 18:51|
cptn picard looked up at the kardashian and screamed THERE. ARE. FOUR. TOMATOES.
lol Star Trek reference
Please ascend to the Blood Throne, GoonSir[ess]
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 21:07|
"Star Trek is bad," said the king of tomatoes.
"Tomato more like toma-no," said someone who watches Star Trek.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 21:27|
cptn picard looked up at the kardashian and screamed THERE. ARE. FOUR. TOMATOES.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 21:32|
Storms lash the cabin.
Hungry woman eyes prized veg.
Bleak night for tomate'
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 22:24|
The Ventraglian serpent-weevil slid into my ear canal. "What's red and invisible?" it whispered directly into my cerebellum.
I thrashed against the bonds that held me to the gurney, wanting desperately ignore its honeysuckle voice. But the beast's secretions forced honesty from me. "I don't know," I said through gritted teeth.
"No tomatoes," it rasped from the center of my sense of self.
We started screaming, together.
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 22:41|
I have a tomato. You look like you could use a tomato or two. I give you my tomato and then you only look like you could use one more. You are welcome.
Pull the switch! Pull the switch!
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 22:43|
lol Star Trek reference
this is the most succinct summary of my td participation possible, i think
|# ? Oct 23, 2017 22:45|
blood throne my rear end
that's just ketchup you fraud!
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 01:10|
blood throne my rear end
you failed, YOU'RE the one who needs to ketchup
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 01:13|
I'm only beheinz on last week because my computer malfunctioned right when I hit send. There was some packet loss.
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 02:55|
I'm only beheinz on last week because my computer malfunctioned right when I hit send. There was some packet loss.
More like package loss.
(i.e. a sexist reference to a loss of courage that implies that women and femininity are inherently weak)
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 03:00|
It's TYOOL 2017 and people still don't save important documents to the cloud?
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 04:10|
|# ? Dec 4, 2021 11:10|
If your thunderdome story is an important document then lol @ your life
|# ? Oct 24, 2017 04:14|