Ingrid walked through the fairground, her little brother clutching her hand. Children brushed past them, running eagerly towards an ice cream truck. Whoever designed the fairground had clearly gone for a spooky look: all the buildings looked old and cracked, there was fake rust on the rides and a giant grinning clown with pointed teeth loomed over the arch at the entrance. Tom mumbled quietly to himself, and fiddled with a strand of his wavy blonde hair. They passed a man dressed as a clown, gloomily handing out balloons to passing kids. He glanced at Ingrid. She felt sorry for him, so she forked over a pound and took a balloon. Tom grinned. "Now you're stuck with a flying poodle for the rest of the day," he said. Ingrid smiled. "Could be worse. At least I didn't get that one of Barbie."
Tom laughed as an announcement came from the speakers.
"Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are now closing. Please make your way towards the exit. Thank you for coming to Clive's Fun Fairground, and we hope you had a nice day," came the bored voice of the announcer.
"Clive's Fun Fairground- that's go to be the cheapest name I've ever heard!" said Tom.
"Yeah," Ingrid agreed. "Come on, let's go."
As they were walking down the well trodden path with everyone else, Ingrid felt Tom's hand slip out of her's. She looked around in the crowd, searching for his face amongst dozens of others. "Tom?" she called. The herd of people were pushing her towards the exit. Ingrid weaved through the crowd, apologizing to everyone she slipped past. When she finally got through, there was a mean looking man blocking her. He had dark hair, and a bulky figure. His eyes were hidden beneath a pair of black sunglasses.
"Fairground's closing. Please make your way towards the exit, miss," he said unkindly.
"I've- I've lost my brother," she explained. He sighed.
"We're closing the gates in ten minutes. You'd better hurry," he said, walking off.
Ingrid ran back up the path, her Nike trainers squelching in the mud. The poodle balloon was still tied to her wrist. She pulled it off, and it shot up into the air.
"Tom! Tom, where are you?" she called. It was getting dark, and she felt nervous be herself. The fairground was eerily empty. "Tom, if this is a joke, very funny. Seriously, it's closing! Come out!" she yelled. Silence. Ingrid rolled her eyes, frustrated, and trudged on. She checked a couple of tents hurriedly, but other than a few questionable plastic chairs, they were empty. It must have been at least five minutes by now, she thought worriedly. Apart from anything else, where was Tom? "Tom!" Ingrid called desperately, her voice wavering. She could feel her heart thudding in her chest. She ran into another room. It was pitch black, and she couldn't see a thing. She fumbled along the wall blindly, searching for a switch. She felt one with her forefinger, and pushed it. There was a click as the lights flickered on.
Ingrid screamed. There was a body sprawled across the floor. Ingrid froze, wide eyed and trembling. Its checkered blue shirt was soaked in blood. Using all the bravery she had, Ingrid bent down, and rolled the body over so she could see the face. Both cheeks were sprinkled with freckles, its lifeless blue eyes staring at the ceiling, the mouth still open from its last scream.
It was Tom.