So carnival of horrors is currently at a stand still I’m still writing part three, very much enjoying it. Due to having my class folio due in under two weeks I’ve had to turn my attention to my Born to be free rewrite / extension which my teacher is letting me submit with one of the five folio options that I disagree with. I’m studying novel yet we have to submit stupid short pieces involving research and sensitive topics, good thing I need to fail. Glad she’s understanding. I didn’t make the deadline for publishing been sick not sure what was wrong with me but it made life tougher than my mental health and physical challenges. Then on Saturday my life turned around in a way. My favourite football team Richmond Tigers have made finals for the first time in twelve years, I’ve never gone to a final and wasn’t going to be. A lovely friend from the Cheersquad came up to me at half time and handed me money insisting my fiancé and I go. So now I get to go. This week has been crazy, footy taking over my life and the zoo having baby meerkats (my favourite zoo animal) was a big distraction and ruined me writing Tuesday when I went to write at the zoo, what a surprise. Will be able to share born to be free in the coming days I think, it’s nearly finished.
A voice inside shouts at me “coward.” The voice is right, I’d be a coward if I put myself before my family. I cringe as I clear my throat.
“Alright, fine, I’ll do it,” I croak, as everything starts spinning around me.
“Really? Why the change of heart? You could just say he vanished while you were in the toilet.”
“His family. What sort of sick, twisted person would lie by saying such a thing? Where do I begin?”
“You have more guts than I thought you did, maybe you’d be tastier,” Kyle licks his lips.
“Where do I begin?”
“No need to shout. Find the street at the back of the carnival, you’ll see a blue house, head that way. Take the second left, then first right, follow it to the end where you’ll find Smithers horse ranch. Get on a horse, go through the forest next to the ranch until you get to the river. Head upstream in the river until you reach a large cluster of rocks. It’s not too late to pull out…”
“I’m not pulling out. Lets get this nightmare started.”
I repeat the directions to myself over and over, until I find myself standing out front of Smithers horse ranch. My heart’s pounding so hard I can’t help but think its going to tear out of my chest. I haven’t gone near a horse since I fell off one and was nearly trampled to death when I was seven. I was fortunate to only suffer a broken arm and a couple of cracked ribs. Chills run down my spine, as I try to get up the courage to enter the ranch.
“Howdy buddy, name’s Joe. How may I help ye?”
“I’d ah like to hire a horse, to go for a ride.”
“Are ye experienced?”
“Ye sure bout that? Nothin to be ashamed of if ye need to do more of a trail ride thing.”
“Trail ride… ah well you see I need to go through the river in the near by forest.”
“I can trail ye through the river sure. You’re gunna freeze in those clothes though matey.”
“That’d be great. I’ll be okay, I don’t feel the cold.”
“I mean ye gunna get wet legs from the river.”
“Oh, right. I’ll be fine.”
“Alrighty then, have ye any experience?”
“Ah yeh, I rode once.”
“Nearly ten years ago,” I cringe, closing my eyes.
“Ye sure ye wanna be doing this?” I can hear the amusement in Joe’s voice.
“Doesn’t matter if I want to, I got to.”
“Alrighty then, lets get ye saddled up.”
I try to focus on my breathing, my anxiety getting worse the closer to the horses i get. Joe keeps looking at me with his eyebrows raised, he must think I’m crazy. I trip over a loose rock, cursing under my breath as I pull myself up.
“Ye seem very nervous buddy. Animals can sense our anxiety, I’m not so sure this is a good idea.”
“I’ll be fine… It’s just last time I fell off and broke my arm and cracked a couple of ribs. Please let me do this.”
“Alright if ye insist, this way,” Joe strokes his beard with one hand and points toward a paddock with the other.
Closing in on the paddock I start gulping down air, praying that the huge black horse I can see isn’t the one Joe has planned for me to ride. Even from here the beast towers over me. Just looking at it from a distance brings chills, it reminds me all too much of the accident last time I went riding. Two voices in my head argue with other. The one telling me to pull out gets close to winning. I bite down on my lip as my eyes begin to water. Putting my focus on Dylan and the task to be done if I’m to see him again, I decide that there’s no choice, I must press on.
“This is Thunder, you’ll be riding him today,” Joe smiles, introducing me to the horse that takes my mind back to that awful day. “Come give him a pat.” Reluctantly I take baby steps toward him.
“His a big boy.”
“Sure is, his one of my biggest. Don’t let his size put ye off, his as friendly and tame as horses come.”
“I hope so.”
“You’ll be right, just believe in him and most importantly yourself.”
“Believe… Yes, that’s it. That’s what I need to do its the only way…”
“Alrighty then, ye ready to jump on?”
Those few words is all it takes for me to freeze. All my effort and energy to move proves to not be enough. Joe frowns, I know his getting impatient, I’m just waiting for him to change his mind. Suddenly I’m right beside the horse, something kicks me into gear, ifeeling like someone lit me on fire. Looking up at the giant horse, I feel myself freezing up again. The fire feeling returns, I close my eyes and jump, thankfully landing almost in the right position. My confidence rises, I decide getting on has to be the hardest part of the challenge.
“Very good. So through the forest and to the river is where you need to go?”
“Ah yer,” Joe’s voice brings me back into the moment, out of my day dream.
“Alrighty, give him a kick with your left foot and follow me.”
“Here goes nothing,” I say aloud, though I really mean everything.
Joe leads us off, taking things nice and slowly. I can’t take my eyes off the giant neck that’s blocking my view of everything in front of me. Next thing I know, I can taste blood, I’ve bitten my lip a little hard. I cringe, the pace we’re going has increased, I’m now going up and down, and still biting my lip. Something has taken over my body, I try to stop the biting but I can’t. Closing my eyes for just a couple of seconds I remind myself that I wouldn’t be given a horse that blocked my view. I open them again and curse, still I can’t see. We start cantering, I don’t like this new speed. I feel like I’m about to have a heart attack. Before I know it I can hear the river. I feel like they are about to wipe me out, take me over. We stop by the rivers side.
“Ready to do this buddy? Ye doing great so far.”
“Ready as I’ll ever be. How deep are these waters? I have to go up to the large rock cluster.”
“At worst I’d say up to Thunder’s knees. Ye shouldn’t get too wet.”
“Awesome, I’m ready,” I croak, the water still threatening to take hold of me.
My heart pounds as we enter the water, I try to keep myself calm by reminding myself it’s nearly over. I fight with myself to keep my eyes open. My stomach twists and turns, guess I must be getting seasick. I try to look ahead, trying to spot the rock cluster. I’m blinded again, water and the horse making it impossible to see in front of me. Even to my sides everything’s spinning around. I don’t know how I’m controlling Thunder, hopefully his just following Joe, if not I hate to think about what might happen. After what feels like a lifetime Thunder pulls up beside Joe.
“This where ye needed to go kid?”
“Um… Yep, I think this is it.”
“Up the banks we go for a short rest. Then we’ll go back to the ranch.”
“Sounds gr-gr-great,” I’d forgotten about the fact we’d have to ride back.
The last thing I remember is struggling up the slippery banks. Now I’m flat on my back, on the ground, my head throbbing. Joe’s looking down on me and I can sense someone else watching. Joe smiles when he see’s my eyes open.
“I’m not quite sure, I helped ye get off Thunder for a rest, next thing I know your eyes are closed and ye were on your back hardly breathing. I left my phone back at the ranch, so all I could do was hope you came around quickly.”
“So I didn’t drown?”
“No, only your feet and lower legs got wet.”
“Thunder didn’t try to kill me?”
“No buddy, he wouldn’t do such a thing. Why would you ask such a question?”
“Sorry, I must’ve fainted and had nightmares.”
“As long as you’re okay, all is good,” Joe smiles.
“We’ll done Seth, you completed the task. One down, lots more to go,” Kyle snickers.
“Show yourself you stupid clown,” I mumble.
“Clown? What clown?” Joe asks, no longer smiling.
“Kyle the clown, the whole reason I’m doing this. He has my brother, I’m trying to save Dylan.”
“I don’t know what to say, but I think it’s best that ye don’t ride Thunder back to the ranch. Ye can walk with me, I’ll lead both the horses.”
“Thanks, that’d be great.”
“You can move on to your next task Seth. Ditch this old man. Sooner you’re done, the sooner you get Dylan back,” Kyle bursts into laughter, I still can’t see him, but I can sense him.
“Ah Joe, do you mind if I find my own way back?”
“As long as ye think you’ll be okay?”
“I will be.”
“Alright, take care buddy,” Joe waves, grabbing his horses and heading off into the distance.
“Good job Seth, but will you pass the next test I have planned for you? Here’s the instructions on how to get to the haunted mirror mansion. I will be waiting outside on the balcony for you to bring me the treasure box.”
The directions appear in my hand on a piece of paper. Stunned I look at the note, I can barely read the writing. Hoping for the best I start on my way to yet another place of horrors.
Author note: Hoping to get this story up to scratch to be published in an anthology. Due to memory loss from medication my grammar & punctuation isn’t what it used to be. Any feedback welcome & appreciated.
The carnival, my idea of a nightmare. Mum says I must take Dylan tonight and be a good big brother. My best protesting efforts fail, for it was an order that I take him. I feel like a prisoner, trapped in a world where my purpose is solely to follow orders. She doesn’t see the things I see, or feel the fear I feel. Society believes carnivals are full of fun and games, I know otherwise. Evil runs throughout them, they aren’t fun, they are full of pain.
I cringe, watching the seconds on the clock tick by slowly. My chest starts to ache as my heart rate rises. The clock strikes five, I’m officially out of time. Two hours have flown by and I’m yet to come up with what my mum would consider a valid excuse for skipping the carnival. A lump develops in my throat, I can hear Dylan’s footsteps coming closer as he talks excitedly to mum.
My stomach’s heavy, I’m certain I’m going to vomit the second I see the entry to hell. Dry retching, I just want this nightmare to be over. Trying to live to fight another day, I give mum one last pleading look.
“Seth Atwood, you listen to me. You’re sixteen, its time to grow up. Don’t you dare give me that look! I’ll meet you kids back here at nine thirty,” mum yells, as she gives me her try me, I dare you look. I know I’ve lost the battle.
Dylan opens my door, pulling at me eagerly before I’ve even slipped my belt off. My brain has a mind snap. If Dylan wasn’t alive, you wouldn’t be going through this. I fight with the voice inside of me, pushing them away. I couldn’t kill my only sibling. I scramble out of my seat, my left knee cracks. Cringing from the pain I tune out as Dylan babbles away.
“Cotton candy’s so yummy and sweet Seth, can we get some? What about snow cones? We have to because they are the coolest. Mum said we can get hot dogs with extra ketchup, the way you like it. We have to go on the cha cha…”
Dylan shuts up, only to burst into laughter instead as I fall bottom first into a stinky, gooey mud puddle. I find myself thinking that today can’t get any worse. My hands bunch into fists as I watch Dylan double over in laughter. This whole thing is his fault. He freezes when he sees my fists, before casually taking a couple of steps back. He offers to help me up. Being the fool that I am, I accept his hand. I find myself back in the mud, this time I land face first. He parades around, grinning from ear to ear, acting like some hero as he shouts ‘victory,’ over and over, waving his arms around. My face flushes red, and teeth grind, as I get up, wiping the poop-like sludge from my eyes.
I can feel the anger building inside of me, no longer am I afraid of the carnival. My mind focuses on payback. Suddenly I’ve grabbed him by the collar, and I’m dragging him into a dark corner, away from the crowds. i take him behind a crumbly, old caravan. Instinct soon returns, as I let Dylan go, studying our surrounds, body tingling in fear. It’s too quiet here, you’d here a pin drop. Something tells me we need to get away from here, but the anger is still there, paralysing me so I can’t escape.
“Have I told you what happens to children who misbehave at carnivals?” I snicker, as a laugh escapes from inside of me.
“No, tell me.”
“Well, little brother, clowns aren’t all the fun you think they are. They are evil. One will kidnap you, tie you down…”
“Slit your throat, then eat your insides. They are so delicious,” someone booms over me, before evil laughter echoes from all around me.
“Wh-who’s out ttthh-there?” I cry out, as Dylan squeezes me, tears falling down his cold, pale cheeks.
“I’ll gut you, like you gut fish. Drink your blood, indulging in it, as if it were a glass of wine. My mouth’s watering already.”
“Go away, leave us alone,” Dylan screams out, as I feel a damp spot on my leg. Great, I’ve been peed on.
“You were a naughty boy Dylan, I was watching. You should have listened to your brother, his right about the carnival. Welcome to your worst nightmare kids,” the mysterious voice responds, letting out another long, evil cackle.
“I’ll be good from now on, I swear I won’t be naughty.”
“Too late Dylan. It’s time you pay for being a bad boy. It’s only fair that you die.”
I swing into action, not letting fear paralise me. I scoop Dylan up and run for my life. I know he was a naughty boy, and at I was angry at him, but his my little brother, I couldn’t imagine life without him. Two giant shadows loom over me, I push myself to run faster. My shoes loose there grip on the slippery grass, sending us both flying in separate directions. I open my eyes and search for Dylan, but there’s no sign of him. My chest goes tight, my heart beats faster.
“You’re brother is with us now Seth. You wanted him gone… Your wish is my command. You don’t need to worry about him anymore. Think of this as a gift from me to you. You don’t owe me anything.”
“How do I get him back?”
“By facing your worst fears lad.”
“Then I get my brother back?”
“Yes, you have my word. Cross my heart,” the kidnapper promises, sounding bored.
“Word of who? How can I shake the hand of someone I can’t see?”
Seconds of chilling silence pass, followed by high pitched laughter. There’s multiple people, creatures, whatever it is laughing. I gasp as a dark figure appears in front of me. His unnaturally tall. A huge spot light suddenly shines brightly onto it. My chest tightens, I scream. It’s a giant, creepy clown. I step backwards, trying to get away. Something taps my shoulder. I bite down on my lip, daring to turn around and have my back to the giant clown. I vomit, as I come face to face with a soft, red, ball-like nose. The slim, tiny clown in front of me smiles wickedly, revealing sharp, fang-like teeth. A giant, ice cold hand lands on my shoulder, then turns me around.
“Hello Seth, I’m Kyle the clown, though you probably prefer to call me your ultimate nightmare. The short guy, his my sidekick, Axel.”
“How sweet this is. Your fear, so powerful and strong, you can’t even say my name. Now tell me kiddo, are you ready to play my game?”
“That dear little brother of yours? Oh, don’t worry, his around. If you want to see him again, you better do as I say.”
“What do I have to do?”
“Oh, not much. Just ride a horse through the local river, kiss a girl at the top of the giant ferris wheel, find the secret box in the haunted, mirror mansion, feed a lion, bring me a dozen roses: in three colours. But wait there’s more,” Kyle smirks, awaiting my reaction. My heart has gone cold, I freeze for several seconds.
“Why of course my friend. I need you to go over Golden Bridge, though a spider cave, walk through a snake put, fly in an aeroplane, then casually go through carnival crowd, going on every single ride until you find me again.”
“Are you serious?” I croak.
“Shall we say deadly,” Kyle chuckles, with a devilish grin.
“But horses, heights, bridges, roses, snakes, spiders, flying… Oh god, I think I’m going to faint. I fear all them.”
“Well isn’t that just too bad?”
“Just give me back my brother.”
“I’ve told you what you must do…”
“Well I refuse.”
“Then it’s too bad, you loose.”
TO BE CONTINUED
Excuse my absence been one hell of a month. Have been at doctors at least once a week and had three or four med changes after one didn’t go good and I nearly ended up in hospital. Also have a legal issue going on, if anyone knows anyone in Melbourne who can offer free legal advice please let me know as Woolworths are denying the staff member was a factor in the incident that has left me with a strained something near my hip for 8days now, I’ve missed my studies, footy and social outings as a result and my mental health has taken a serious fall.
I have finally won my first camp nano, in the early hours of Sunday morning I flew past the magic number. I’ve had an amazing cabin which has really helped along with the support of my fiancé & our cat.
I have also finally completed my writing folio for my studies, just doing some editing before submitting it tomorrow. I’ve even actually done one extra piece. My fantasy piece ended up over five thousand words my teacher is going to be very surprised I think. The prompt she gave us for that task is actually the inspiration for the novel I’ll be commencing in November.
August aside from a minor operation that I’m terrified about brings AugNo a non official version of nano, I have signed up and set my goal for 37K reduced it because of the operation. I’ll be splitting my time and words between my rewrite of FairChange Danger and Racing Fear as I didn’t actually write much of Racing Fear this month.
Then the following two months I’ll also be working on detailed planning for Novembers NaNo. Then it’s Nano.
I’m happy that I’m enjoying my writing again. I’m very proud of what I’ve completed this month. I may share a folio piece or two in the near future.
Day 2 stats with 50minutes remaining.
Average words per day: 1613
Your average per day: 3,631
Total words written: 7263
Words remaining: 42,737
At this rate you will finish on: July 14 2013
I was hoping to be at 6,000 by now, didn’t know that I was being realistic when setting that goal but here I am day2 drawing to an end and I’m at 7,263. The 3,458 words done today hurt like anything. I’ve been stuck in bed unable to put weight on my right foot or leg, had a migraine, think my left wrist is fractured and have several swollen fingers. Starting to think I really am too stubborn and hard on myself especially when it comes to writing goals. So happy I’ve completed chapter two, think its the hardest scene I’ve ever written for anything.