The only thing separating John and Olivia from the old Dreamscape amusement park was a fifteen foot fence that stood its ground directly in front of them.
“You aren’t afraid are ya?” John taunted.
“In your dreams,” Olivia yelled back as she jumped into the air and latched onto the fence. John quickly grabbed hold of the fence himself and began to make up distance. Higher and higher they went until they finally reached the top.
“Now what?” Olivia asked.
“What do you think? Jump,” John calmly replied. He leapt from the top of the fence and managed a safe landing fifteen feet below.
“I don’t know about this.” Olivia shouted down.
“I’ll catch you, just close your eyes and jump!”
Olivia closed her eyes tight. “Here goes nothing,” She said to herself, and with that she jumped. Olivia let out a piercing scream as she sailed through the night sky.
Thud! She landed safely in John’s arms. Olivia opened her eyes and found herself gazing directly into John’s complexion. “I didn’t know you were so strong,” Olivia said.
John smiled and set her back on her feet. “Looks can be deceiving,” he replied. The two of them turned their attention onto the amusement park they had illegally entered.
The Dreamscape amusement park had been closed down for some time now. It once brought joy to thousands but that, of course, was before the accident. Dreamscape was home to one of the most thrilling white water rafting rides in North America. It proved to be a bit too ‘thrilling’ when one of the rafts flipped over trapping five unlucky riders in a watery grave. Of course they fixed up the ride best they could but when news got out business began to go down the tube. No more than two weeks later another tragedy befell the amusement park. Two riders were hurled to their deaths when some cables snapped on the high flyer swing. With two accidents under their belt in such a short time their business declined even faster; in fact, so much faster that the owner’s had no choice but to shut the whole thing down. Not knowing what to do with the place they just locked it up and left it to rust. That was a full year ago now and they had never come back for it. At this point the only entertainment Dreamscape provided was an adventure for young couples with nothing better to do on a warm summer night. Olivia and John were in exactly that boat.
“This place is so cool!” Olivia shrieked.
“I told you you’d like it” John replied. Olivia ran full tilt into the heart of the amusement park as John huffed and puffed close behind.
As the two ventured further into Dreamscape the atmosphere became more and more eerie. It began to feel less like and amusement park and more like a ghost town. Everywhere you looked there were empty snack bars, gift shops, metal tracks that showed early signs of rusting; all of which seemed to come together to cast an ominous shadow over the two.
Olivia came to an abrupt stop allowing time for John to catch up. A large shabby looking funhouse loomed in front of them. It looked as if a fair number of visitors had found this funhouse before they had. Its windows had been smashed as far around as they could see and the front door was hanging half off its hinges. Graffiti artists had clearly made themselves at home here too; intricate designs were displayed all along the front of the structure along with an occasional message that read something like: ‘Enter at your own risk.’ To top it all off there was the face of a clown perched on the rooftop staring directly down at them; its sharp teeth concealed by a menacing grin. It had huge, glowing green eyes; the kind that could stare directly into one’s soul.
John grabbed Olivia’s shoulder from behind forcefully with one cold hand. She jumped forward and let out a high pitched yell. “You scared?” John questioned.
“No! You just took me by surprise, that’s all,” They were both scared and they knew it. The only thing they were more afraid of was letting their fear show.
“Well if you’re not afraid than what are you waiting for?” John exclaimed. The couple slowly inched closer to the funhouse and mounted the steps. John could have sworn he saw the clowns grin widen as it faded from view.
An overwhelming musty smell filled their nostrils. The inside of the place had to be even worse than its frame. Empty bottles littered the floor and the graffiti carried from the outside onto the inside walls.
As they made their way further into the funhouse a new smell began to infiltrate the already stale air. It was the smell of vomit. Olivia began to gag.
“Just relax. It isn’t that bad.” John said in a failed attempt to comfort her.
“Are you kidding me? This place is disgusting! Let’s just go I really don’t think I can handle much more of this.”
“Jesus Olivia! I came here to explore and that’s exactly what I’m going to do!” John grabbed her by the hand and led her through the remainder of the room. Olivia fell silent.
They came across a tall winding staircase.
“Well, up we go! I’m sure the air will be much fresher up here.” John acclaimed.
Olivia nodded. “I sure hope so,” The two worked their way up the spiraling steps and as John had assumed the air started to smell much cleaner.
At the top of the staircase was a long and thin corridor. Memories filled John’s mind as they stepped inside. They had entered the hall of fans; one of Dreamscapes favored attractions when it was up and running. There were fans of all shapes and sizes; fans on the walls, fans on the roof and even fans on the floor.
John had always looked forward to this room; more than anything else in the park. He remembered going as a young boy and how he had loved the feeling of the wind blasting through his hair. He also remembered the frantic look on his mother’s face as she fought the fans to keep her skirt from flying up. That had never failed to make him laugh.
Of course, this time through the hall of fans John felt none of the same pleasures that he had used to. With nothing to power them they sat lifeless in the gloom as the couple passed by them. John had half expected them to miraculously turn on for old time’s sake but they never budged.
“You seem a bit more quiet than usual. Is everything alright?” John asked.
“This place just gives me the creeps.” Olivia replied. He noticed that her eyes had been averted to the ground.
“Well I’ll tell you what. How about we finish up with this funhouse and after that we’ll head back into town, maybe grab a bite to eat or something?”
“Ok” Olivia said softly. A faint smile crossed her lips.
They made a ninety degree turn at the end of the hallway and entered a large circular shaped room. There were mirrors as far as the eye could see; each one displaying a distorted image of the two. Some big, some small, some short, some tall. John was not enjoying this one bit but he could tell that Olivia was beginning to lighten up.
“You look like you weigh five hundred pounds!” Olivia giggled.
“Oh yeah? Well I’m not the only one!”
They spent a good while in front of those mirrors, making faces and laughing it up. In fact, Olivia was having so much fun that she hadn’t noticed the mattress laying flat in the corner of the room. John had. He figured this funhouse had recently been hosting many different kinds of fun; new kinds of fun.
They entered a tunnel located at the end of the room. As they got further in, it was clear to them that the tunnel was shrinking in size. It was getting so small that they wondered if they could even make it all the way through. John could now smell the night air, the exit was close.
“Could you hurry up? I don’t exactly have the most pleasant view back here!” Olivia complained as she crawled slowly behind him.
“I can tell were close but I don’t know exactly where it……..”
The next thing John knew he was flying down a steep metal slide. He screamed as the slide brought him straight down into the darkness. Just when he thought he was about to shoot right off the edge, the slide wound into a corkscrew and spat him out at the bottom.
“John!” Olivia screamed. “Are you okay down there?”
John got up and brushed off his pants. He had cut his arm on a jagged rock while trying to break his fall but it was nothing too gruesome.
“Yah, the grass broke my fall,” He replied. It hadn’t at all but he figured there was no point in worrying her. “Come on down! Just make sure to be careful.”
Olivia began her descent without as much as a sound. She drifted gracefully around the twist and turns and somehow managed to land on her feet. A huge smile formed on Olivia’s face.
“That was fun, let’s go again!”
There was no way in hell John was going down that slide again.
“You know I’d love too but I believe I promised a beautiful girl that I would take her out to dinner.”
Olivia’s smile grew even wider. She stepped towards John and wrapped her arms around him. “You’re too cute,” Olivia said. She kissed him softly on the cheek.
That moment was the closest that John had ever felt to love. He pulled her in as close as he could; his chin resting almost on top of her head. John closed his eyes and allowed his mind to drift off.
He wished the moment could have lasted longer but Olivia began to pull away. In that split second John could have sworn he saw a figure watching them from inside the funhouse but it quickly vanished.
“What’s wrong with you? You look as if you just saw a ghost.” Olivia’s smile disappeared and was replaced by a look of deep concern.
“It was nothing,” John muttered.
“Okay, if you’re sure,” There was a brief silence that seemed to last forever.
“Let’s get going, I’m hungry,” Olivia finally said.
“Yeah, we should get going,”
Olivia started in the direction of the fence they had scaled earlier. John followed, once again close behind.
Who was the figure he had seen in the funhouse? It was definitely a man, he knew that much. The shoulders were much too broad to belong to a woman. It could have been a homeless man just looking for a place to spend the night. Regardless, John certainly didn’t want to stay long enough to find out.
“Hey, look at that!” Olivia exclaimed.
John turned his head to face one of those old carnival photo booths. Old was an understatement, it was ancient. It had clearly been carved from fine wood and there was a silk curtain draped over the entrance.
“The lights are on, I think its working! Let’s go in.”
How the hell could that thing possibly be working when nothing else in the park showed the slightest hint of life, John thought to himself? It was just too strange.
Olivia pushed past the curtain and dashed inside.
“Hurry up!” she yelled. Her voice was muffled by the thick casing of wood that surrounded her.
“I’m coming!” John shouted. Just as he was about to enter the box he noticed something else that seemed peculiar. On the ground below the picture slot lay a number of unclaimed photos; each of different couples that looked about their age. John picked up the pile and skimmed through the different pictures. Some of the faces looked vaguely familiar, he was almost certain he had seen a few of them somewhere; maybe the newspaper?
Two arms reached out of the photo booth and pulled John in causing him to drop the pile of photos back onto the grass.
“No more stalling, I want a picture!”
John popped a coin into the slot and watched as the screen came to life.
“Say cheese!” Olivia said. Three. John put his arm around Olivia and smiled. Two. One. Olivia leaned over and planted a kiss on John’s lips just before the camera went off. Click. Olivia and John disappeared.
The booth was now completely empty. The screen went black and the lights went out. The only sound to be heard was the rustle of wind through the booth’s silk curtain.
The photo of John and Olivia gracefully fluttered from the slot to join the others on the ground below. They too, had fallen victim to Dreamscape.
© Copyright 2016 JordanP. All rights reserved.