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You wonder what the hell is going on.
It seems as though some crazy stuff is happening and you’re not sure if Sarah is OK. You decide there is only one sure fire way to find out. You decide to go see her. You flip the closed sign on the office door, you grab your coat and your car keys. You lock the place up and you make your way across the parking lot to your car sitting at the edge near the bushes. You stop for a moment and listen. You can’t hear a damn thing. No birds, no traffic, no animals nearby. You look up at the sky and you see no birds flying, no chemtrails left by airplanes. “It’s like everything has stopped.” you say. And look back at the Motel.
Room 16 catches your eye again. It has something about it. An aura of mystery and a sinister feel. But you must get to the city and find Sarah. She is your priority now. You pop open the door to your car and dive back in. The car starts first time and you spin the steering wheel right, slamming into full right lock and turning around to face the highway. You gun it for a couple of seconds and let the tyres peel smoke and dust into the air as the car lurches toward the exit. When you pull to the white painted line that separates the parking lot from the highway. You stop dead. Looking left and right down the deserted highway. You see the sign in front of you, it reads.
CITY CENTRE 55 MILES
You slam your foot on the gas and peel out of the driveway in a screech of tires and smoke. The car straightens out and you gun it. Speeding down the lost highway toward the city. You wonder how Sarah is. Your thoughts are running wild as you hit 60mph and keep it there. Cruising nice and steady. “I wonder if she’s OK?” you ask yourself. “It’s so unlike her.” You head out now, into the tree lined section of the highway that rolls out into countryside and hills. The desolate space reminds you that there is a lot of driving to be done. But luckily there is little traffic on the road. You cruise past all the familiar spots.
The weird oak tree that you used to play around as a kid. You used to think it was haunted and a place where witches were hung according to tales you had heard off the old man with the white beard. The deserted BowlARama that teenagers in the area would drive up to and make out on a Saturday evening. You remember a tale that someone told you many years ago. As you drive past you recall it. Way back in high school a boy called Mark Jacobson told you and your friends about when the BowlARama back in the 50’s was open and thriving. It was a Saturday night and the place was packed. Kids from all over the state had driven over to kick back here and drink some malt.
One of the cashiers, a guy everyone called Milky because of his right eye. Blind with glaucoma. He was bullied at work for years you were told. And one night on a Saturday he flipped. Took his granddads AK47 to work and took out 20 kids. Just stood shooting into the BowlARama until an off duty cop blew his brains out. You suddenly remember this as you drive past the deserted building. The ghost stories you told each other as kids. You remember back to when you thought the place was haunted and you got spooked by it. The blood curdling screams you thought you heard coming from inside on those long winter nights.
Why are you remembering all this now? What part of you is bringing back these memories and for what purpose? What role could they serve other than to fog your judgement right now? You ease off the gas a little and cruise a bit slower. Past the wheat and corn fields that you used to run through as a kid. The tall swaying ears of corn that rustle as the wind whips through them. You remember running hell for leather through them past a scare crow everyone called “old bones”. Nobody ever saw the farmer. Just that black scare crow with the pumpkin head. By the time you were a teenager that head had dried and baked hard over a lifetime of summers. It looked like a mummy now as you fly by. You turn around for a second, watching it vanish up the highway behind you.
A loud thud and your car hits a tall thick shadowy figure in the road and starts to swerve violently. “Oh fuck what was that….. WHAT WAS THAT?” You yell as the car yanks itself left and off into a grass ditch at the side of the road. Bumping and jumping hard for a second or two until the shear drag of the long grass brings you to a halt. The engine steams. “Fuck I think it was a person.” you whisper. You pop the door and get out of the car. You move round to the front and see blood spatters all over the hood and grill. The grill is bent right out of shape. And there’s a sharp hole in the radiator. You crouch and take a closer look.
Something long and spike like has pierced right through the metal and screwed the engine up. “What the hell could of done that?” you ask. Standing up you step through the thick roadside grass back up onto the highway. Looking left and right to see nothing coming. No traffic still. And nothing in the road either. You make your way back up to a large pizza shaped blood stain on the road where whatever or whoever it was you hit once stood. But there is nothing else. Four acrid black tire marks start just after the blood stain and follow the trail all the way to where your car left the road. Steam still billowing from the engine.
“What the fuck is going on? I definitely hit….. something.” You say frustratedly looking around. Clearly there was an impact, clearly there’s blood. But nothing else. “Maybe it was a cow. The horns ruptured the radiator.” You say to yourself trying to calm down. Trying to make sense of it all. You pull out your cell phone. No signal. “Jesus fucking Christ phone….WORK!” You scream in desperation.
Just as you turn to head back to the car you see a dirt road running parallel to the scene of the crash. It runs off the highway and down to an arched sign over the road. But you cant read the sign. Zipping your jacket up you head down toward the sign. On the roadside a smaller sign like a real estate board reads:
Taunton Amusement Park – Open All Year Round
“Park huh? Well at least they might have a phone I can use.” You say as you head down the dirt track toward the arched sign. Passing under it. It is cast iron and very old. It was once bright green but is now faded and chipped and rusted. It looks heavy and reads TAUNTON AMUSEMENTS – The Dream Factory. “Huh yeah looks dreamy all ready.” You chuckle. Still walking down the dirt track until you get to a small wooden hut with a green rusty metal turnstile attached to it. “This must be the ticket office.” You say. Peering inside the cobweb infested hut you see a ticket machine. Some piles of unprinted tickets and little else. “Damn no phone. Maybe inside the main office.” You say looking up into the entrance of the park.
There is a carousel, a tall yellow rollercoaster called Monster, and a ghost train called House Of Death. There are hundreds of other rides behind rolling back for ages. The place looks deserted. But there is a light on at the main office next to the haunted house. “Hmmm maybe it’s the off season, probably a maintenance guy hanging around.” You jump the turnstile and instantly feel as though something is wrong. You walk past the old Candy Grabber machines still full of candy, you pass the hot dog stand and the soda bar. And eventually you get to the haunted house. Inside the machines and animatronics are still working.
Now and again you hear one of the cars click and rumble its way around and then burst out of the double doors. Just coming to a halt near you. As you stand by the guard rail. “Hey anyone home.” You shout up through the doors into the darkness. But you get no reply. In fact the moment you speak the haunted house seems to shut down. All the lights go off, the clicking stops. The cars stop coming through. “What the fuck?” you say walking up the steps to the track where the ghost train cars come past. This haunted house ghost train is pretty old. It looks like it needs a lot of work done to it so maybe there is a maintenance guy inside.
You step across the track rails and gently push the black wooden doors open. “Hey is anyone there? I need to use a phone. There’s been an accident.” There’s an echo. But very little else. You stare down the end corridor of the haunted house ride. There are silly fake luminous ghosts and half eaten zombies hanging from the walls and ceiling. Down at the far end you see a dog leg turn to the left. And what looks like a jail scene. A padded cell with an inmate in a straight jacked slumped over in a wooden chair, the jail door is open and there is a technician. He looks like a large bald man, kneeling down to the fake prisoners legs, fixing something.
The prisoner animatronic is still on, it writhes and screams behind its mouth gag. “Hey you…. you work here man?” You shout. But there is no response. “What the fuck? Everyone deaf round here?” You mumble to yourself as you head down the corridor. The door swings shut behind you starving the place of daylight. Only the workman’s lamp now shines down into your eyes from the end of the corridor. “Hey dude I need to use a phone.” You say again. Watching the grimy mechanic on his hands and knees still doing something to the animated prisoner. “Hey!” You shout. Getting pissed.
The technician groans. You stop dead in your tracks. “What the FUCK?” You ask. You hear what sounds like a chomping noise coming from the technician . You get within six feet and he stands up. And turns. His face from the nose down is covered in blood. Behind him, the animated prisoner you realize is a REAL person. And his legs are all chewed up and broken. “Holy fuck!” The huge man reaches for you. Stomping after you down the corridor. Groaning and spewing blood everywhere. You spin on your heels and run like fuck back out of the haunted house attraction. You jump the barrier and out onto the asphalt.
You wait, and watch the huge slow monster of a man in red coveralls lurch his way out of the attraction. And bump into the guard rail. You quickly look left and right. And find a four feet stretch of bike chain hanging off the back of an old hot dog cart. You get the gloves underneath the counter and wrap the chain around your fist. Stepping out back into the centre of the asphalt. Between the rides. Just you. And the monster. You take a long deep breath. And get a firm stance as he lurches closer, groaning.