The Moon Broke Forth

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Troubled introvert lost in amusement park meets creepy old man and friend. Drug trip ensues...

Submitted: November 10, 2009

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Submitted: November 10, 2009

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The lines swirled around the metal poles that separated the couples as the click clacks of the roller coaster sounded dully somewhere above them in the darkness.
" I'm serious, Francis, get on this ride. I'm fed up."
"I want to but, I'm telling you it's unsafe. What if--"
"Enough of that, get on or I'm going out that exit"
He gave a sideways look to see if she was serious this time. She was looking away at a shooting gallery that was closing. From somewhere the smell of vomit and popcorn mingled. Rachel was a good friend, and he hoped for more but--
"You've ruined this whole day. Sitting around drinking beer and eating pizza, I could have done anywhere. I paid thirty bucks to get in and pay 30 more bucks! Let's do this."
"I just don't think I--"
"Alright, fine. See ya, I'm walking out the exit before you. I'm not going to stand in line till we get to the cart and see you wimp out again. God, it's embarrassing. Just what do you want out of life?" She ducked out of the line pushing people to the side, and he heard the clicking of her shoes on the wooden floor as she passed under the flashing orange and yellow neon sign that read "Chicken Exit."
"What's going on" the girl from the couple next to him tugged on her boyfriend's arm and pointed to a lit up ring of concrete in the dark courtyard beyond the ride's line. Sounds of children rose up, and he made out the grotesque shape of a clown on its knee's.
"Please stop." the clown wailed. And he saw the kids pelting him with globs of ice cream. Many in the crowd laughed. The clown looked to be crying and slunk into the darkness as the children ran away laughing.
"God, how awful," the woman said.
He moved forward in line thinking about Rachel. He had been driving her nuts all day, hadn't he? Hoping that maybe--maybe she would...What was that old guy staring at him for. And she had been talking about how hard it is to find a nice guy. That old black guy was just staring at him. What about him? Why wouldn't he do? Why won't he look away or somethin'?
Pop-pop-pop-crack-shhhhh. Another cart whooshed in and let out a group of dazed dangling characters who staggered down the exit ramp. He was almost there. He counted. Yes, he would be on the next cart. He should leave but...He tried not to look at the old man, but he couldn't help a quick head glance. He pretended to be looking for the trash can. Oh, where is that, I just need to--he fiddled in his pockets--need to throw this away. Damn, he was still staring.  He was a amusement park worker, probably a custodian or something.
"Hey, calm down, bro," the backward hat guy said. The guy eyed at Francis for a second then looked at his girlfriend and laughed.Francis mumbled something, a half-apology. Sorry. Sorry he was this way. Scared to do anything. Then he found himself in the cart.
It was a slow uphill climb. A spiral. He was finally doing it. His head reeled and his bowels moved and gurgled. He looked down at the blue and orange lights that speckled the park from this height. Where was she? 
Then it surprised him. The sudden drop sending his stomach up. He was yelling along with everyone else. His hands were in the air as he was jerked sideways up-side-down and right-up again. And as soon as he started smiling he was in black. A reverberating metallic darkness and the sounds of screaming. And for a brief moment he felt okay.  Then, the rushing of lights and the brakes hit.
"Exit-to-your-left-thank-you" cracked overhead. He mangled himself out and down the ramp. The others dispersed and he was alone under a buzzing lamp. He called out her name, but she was nowhere. He went over to the closest restrooms and they were locked, black, and deserted. She was nowhere. And...she had driven. He yelled out her name. A fountain puttered like some kind of fool. He thought of the clown. He looked down and saw the globs of ice cream like stains after an execution. 
He thought he could never take the ride, and he did. Why didn't she stick around? There was no one about. The rows of imitation carnival games stood like grim giant stones. 
He stumbled on trying to remember where the parking lot was. He went faster. Soon, he was sprinting. The rows of game houses and food stands came one after another. He was frantic. He made a horrible squeaking noise and wondered if he was crying. A labyrinth. Then he fell, vomiting. A dry heave that produced a thin drizzle of something incomprehensible. 
"Lost. Eh, boy?"
He looked up to see the old amusement park worker staring at him again, a smile on a wrecked face. Holding a long push broom. 
"No, I, uh"
"Yeahs you are. You're lost and scared ain't ye?"
He looked about and saw he was in another courtyard. In the center lay a statue that looked like some sort of dark obelisk. He got up wiping the residue of his stomach from his chin. 
"I'm fine. I'm heading to the parking lot over there."
"There ain't no parking lot yonder," the old man laughed, "There's nothin' over them ways but the trash heap. Yous don't know where ye are atall do ye?"
"I guess not."
"Right, well, I'll take ye to someones that will hep."
"Really.  Thanks." The old man turned and made large steps down a side alley. He had to jog to catch up. They took a right down another back alley that smelled of rotten toffee. The concrete was cracked and slimy and covered with wrappers and condoms. Then the park walls opened up and Francis found himself walking into the woods under the park tram. The last one rolled by seemingly deserted.
It smelled like cooking, a greasy odor heavy in the air as they came around a large tree trunk. He saw a small shack with a flickering red glow in the windows. He stopped.
"What is this?"
"It's where I'm taken ye." 
"I thought you were going to take me to an information desk or a park map!" 
"He, he. That won't hep ye get unlost! Madam She. She'll hep ye out."
"Madam S--"
"Shh!" The old man scolded and rapped his push broom handle against the door. Silence. Then a rattle of pans and the door opened. 
It was black and rusty, like an old cast-iron stove. It swiveled oddly at the joints, turning them and leading them into the smoky shack. It omitted a rattling hum. It was a collection of globes and soldered and bolted together. It turned back to look at him with two red eyes, round and reflective like something found on a bicycle. S.H.E. was stenciled on its chest. 
"A robot--"
"Do not speak. You do not know forwards. You do not understand placement.  You are lost. Correct." S.H.E.'s voice was sharp and stingy, scratchy as if it were coming from far away.
"Uh, I guess so."
"Sit, " and a mechanical ball sent a pointy finger at a chair that looked to have come from a tractor somewhere. He looked for the old man and thought he was abandoned, but then he spotted him in the dark of the corner, smiling by the door.
Instantly, the machine was awhirl taking bowls and powders from a shelf and mixing them with an old fashioned egg beater. Francis clutched his hands together and darted his eyes about the shack. He sat on the only chair. The slats that made up the walls and ceiling had gaps that showed the blackness beyond like rib bones.The walls were cluttered with old fashioned devices that he couldn't comprehend the use for. The only thing he recognized amongst the metal instruments and containers was a cattle skull that stared down directly across from him. 
He turned and it was looking hard at him with her red lamps. They seemed to be trying to look into his. 
"Give," came S.H.E's voice and the black ball of a hand with its four digits took his. The other hand begin tracing the contours his. She looked down studying his flesh. "Yes," S.H.E. said.
"What does that mean?" He felt an urgency. 
"One more additive." S.H.E turned grabbing something, adding its dark oily contents to the mixture. "Things on this world go up and go down, " shaking the contents and pouring some into a small tin cup. "You must perceive." S.H.E. handed it to him. "Drink." 
He looked at it. This morning he couldn't even bring up the courage to ride a rollercoaster or be frank with a girl, how could he--"
"Drink. Perceive."
"But what if--"
S.H.E . looked at him with the red eyes. The old man in the dark corner smilingly made a drinking motion with his hand, rubbed his belly, and nodded satisfactorily.  Francis gulped it down. It was gritty and without taste.
"What will happen now?" He asked the old man. 
"I do not know."
"What do you mean you don't know? What the hell did she give me?" He stood up. The robot stayed still, facing him. 
"Do not be nervous. You. Perceive. It depends."
"It depends on what?"
"If you want to be found," the old man answered opening the door and gesturing him forth.
As he stepped out into the night, he felt as if the cool air was a snake slithering up his back and the weeds and bramble moved like spider's legs and the door shut and he was alone pondering what had just happened and where he could go to get out of here out of anywhere but here "Ass blow through a monkey carriage" he said but it was not what he wanted to say not what he wanted to do walking forward where maybe the car was in a parking lot but all was dark in the forest a creature screeched from a tree then the moon broke forth from its cloudy refuge and winked at him like a jaunty thing rolling in its heavenly socket as if trying to lead him and he followed while the firmament began to glow pulsating with stars and he came to a creek and waded thigh deep with the stars spinning around the eye of the moon he rose up closer and closer to it and it got bigger and bigger and he looked down on the world and saw Rachel driving in her car and the clown huddled on a dirty mattress and the amusement park was lit up and full of filth and excrement and that was okay because the moon winked at him in consignment and he felt his fear of this planet lessen and suck up into the eye and he fell back down to earth to walk amongst the trees and machinery and people again.


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