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Funhouse

God, she was beautiful.

hope this isn't too late for the comp!

Screams erupted from every ride in the carnival, even the not-particularly-scary ones like the Ferris Wheel and the Turtle Train, as Conor walked the midway. The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs and cotton candy washed over him. Discarded hamburgers and crushed lemons from discarded cups of lemonade littered the ground.

He looked in the hall of Funhouse mirrors and saw the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Long red hair, full lips, eyes so beguiling he wanted to fall into them and disappear forever.

Minutes later he was handing the bored ticket-taker his money.

Conor rushed past the usual scares: the spinning barrel, the compressed air jets, the moving stairs.

When he turned the corner into the Maze of Mirrors he saw nothing but darkness. Fifty tiny flames burst into view. His heart jumped. Someone had lit a cigarette at the end of the Funhouse path. That one match had blazed fifty simultaneous times, in the repeating panes of the Funhouse mirrors.

The flame lit the face behind it. Conor had no doubts it was the woman, even before he saw her face. She took a long drag and smiled directly at Conor. She exhaled the smoke in a blue cloud, obscuring her face. When the smoke cleared she was gone.

God, she was beautiful.

Conor scanned the warped glass around him.

When he found her again, she was on the far side of the room. She continued to smoke, in a deliberate manner, as if she were an actress on stage and the cigarette a prop. She’d conceal her face in a cloud of tobacco fumes, only to reveal it as the cloud dissipated.

She disappeared a second time. He frantically searched the maze. When he found her again he saw she was behind him. How had she moved so quickly?

Importantly, he saw nothing stood between them now. No glass, no mirrors. Just she at one end of the hallway, he at the other.

He ran to her.

The glass hit him sharply in the head, full on. The impact dropped him to the floor like a rock.

He staggered upright, saw her standing to his right.

“Come,” she whispered, in tones so captivating they set his heart agallop. He ran to her and slammed into another mirror. He heard her laughing as he pulled his head away. He saw blood dripping from the glass before he blacked out.

When he awoke, red and yellow lights ricocheted through the Funhouse mirrors. EMTs were strapping a body to a gurney and covering it with a sheet. Conor didn’t need to look closely to know the body they handled was his. He didn’t need to test the glass in front of him to know it would never budge. No exit would be offered to him.

He live here now, behind the mirrors. The screams of the children outside intertwined with the laughter of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, echoing down the long mirrored hallways forever.

 

 

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