23 November 2011
*VIOLENCE/LANGUAGE are quite possible*
Michelle shuddered as the freaks of evolution rolled into the arena on their bikes. The wide smiles played unnaturally across their cheeks as they honked obnoxious horn and jumped around in bright suits made of noisy, colorful patches.
The children surrounding Michelle and her date, Scott, on the hard stadium seats clapped and cheered. She cast a sidelong glance to her date, who happened to be rapturously engaged in the show as the clowns leaped from ball to bucket and back. What the hell did Venus' Lovers set me up with? A five year old?
Michelle should have known the evening would be sour when Scott had treated her to White Castle for dinner. When the circus rolled to an intermission, Scott stood and grabbed Michelle's hand. A strong tug of her hand had Michelle following him.
"Scott," she protested. "Where are we going?"
"Down there," he replied, pointing to the center ring. "They've got an awesome funhouse."
Michelle grimaced. Not exactly what she wanted to do on a first date. Maybe a romantic dinner and a movie. Hell, a walk through the park. Not traipsing around screaming children as they ran back and forth, surrounded by the wonderful stench of elephant shit.
Scott pulled her past the rides and giant snakes and straight towards the looming entrance of the funhouse. The small building was set off the edge of the ring, away from the crowds, and the people walking by seemed to just ignore it. He pulled Michelle inside, and she found herself suddenly encompassed in darkness.
Blinking, Michelle tried to bring the shadows into focus. "Scott?" she whispered. He didn't reply, and when she felt the empty space surrounding her, the apprehension inside grew. She stepped back and reached for the doorknob, only to find it broken.
"Scott," Michelle said, more forcefully. "This isn't funny."
A soft chuckle resonated from the darkness ahead. "It's lots of fun," Scott whispered from ahead. "Come and play, Michelle."
With no choice, Michelle wandered forward. Her fingers trailed along the wall until she turned the corner to enter a room of mirrors. Her own wide eyes reflected back to her from every surface, and Michelle hesitated.
"Scott?" Silence echoed around her. "Scott, I don't want to play."
"Too late," he whispered, right behind her.
Michelle screamed and turned, but his reflection was on too many surfaces to know which one was real. She scrambled backwards until she finally broke free of the room and ran down another twisting hallway. The narrow space opened into a small banquet hall and Michelle stopped abruptly.
She sniffed and curled her lip. "Is that...almonds?"
A slow clap echoed from somewhere above and a spotlight blinded her. "Congratulations, Michelle," Scott said, his voice resounding around the chamber, from nowhere and everywhere at once. "You seem to be one of the few people who can smell cyanide. Burnt almonds, they say. Do you know what happens to someone when they're exposed to high amounts of cyanide gas, like in this room?"
The doors behind Michelle slammed and she whirled on her heels, straining to see him. "Cyanide?" Visions of emaciated bodies flashed through her mind. "Why?"
"Why?" He laughed as the gas hissed through the vents and filled the room. Michelle could feel it scratching at her throat as her eyes began to water. "Because I fucking hate you. You're my insurance agent, bitch. Burn in hell."
Michelle fell against a table in the corner as her lungs began seizing, and she gripped at her chest and neck. Scott's maniacal laughter filled her ears as her knees hit the floor and blackness filled her vision.
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Scribbled by Lindsay K.