Write Stories

Mike Brown

Carnival Of Cruelty

Chapter 1

    What was I
thinking?  I mean seriously…all of these
years later I think back and realize how fucking close I came to…..well, you’ll
find out as time goes on.  All I wanted
was a day outside, to relax and have fun…but…..well, let me explain.

        It
all started with one cardboard invitation I received in the mail.  I almost threw it in the garbage thinking
that it was one of those bullshit commons that we all receive but my curiosity
got the best of me.  All it said was:

 

SCRATCH BELOW TO FIND OUT YOUR
SPECIAL PRIZE

 

       Of
course, I was a tad skeptical, but I am addicted to all of the scratchers, so
when I saw that silvery area that could be removed with a coin, I couldn’t stop
myself.  It was as if it was calling to
me…”Scratch Me Mr. Herring, Scratch Me!” 
That was all it took!  I dug my
right hand deep into my pocket and found a quarter….and before I knew it, I was
scratching away.  Well, I was thrilled
when I saw:

 

CONGRATULATIONS

 

YOU HAVE WON A FUN FILLED DAY AT THE CARNIVAL!!!

 

       I’m
getting ahead of myself, I’m sure you’ve already asked yourself, “What was this
guy like when he was a kid if he is that addicted to scratchers?”  Well, let me tell ya.

 

                                I
was born in a suburb of New York State that nobody has ever heard of and if you
have, you’ve either lived there…been through there…had a friend or acquaintance
that lived there…or you acted like you knew where someone was talking about so
you didn’t act like you were confused. 
In any case, that’s where it all began. 
My parents were awesome, anything I wanted for the most part, I got,
until I turned 8 years old.  From there,
if I didn’t beg or plead, I would be shit outta luck; except for one day a year
and August 1st was that day. 
Now don’t get me wrong, I can’t complain, my mom and dad                                        weren’t
abusive, or neglectful to me…but it just seemed like I would disappear in the
layers of day to day stuff going on. 
Both of my parents worked to make sure we had a roof over our heads,
food on the table and clothes on our back…we were a good family.  One night a week we got to choose what would
be for dinner, my night was always Tuesday and my meal was always burgers and
fries with no vegetables.  My parents
weren’t too happy about the no veggies, but it was my night…and I called the
shots.  What’s funny is that all of these
years later, as the old saying goes, old habits are hard to break and each
Tuesday night without fail, my dinner always has been burgers and fries…&
still no veggies.  But back to August 1st,
opening day of the local fair, and each kid that showed up not only was entered
to win a chance to lead the opening day parade, but the first 150 kids would
get a fair t-shirt.  I thought that it
would have been cool to be able to lead the parade, but truth be told…what I
really wanted was the shirt.  Each year
the design would be different but what always stayed the same was that near the
middle of the shirt was always an empty spot where the carnies would spray
paint each kid’s name along with the year that you were there.  The shirt was available to all younger people
until the age of 16; and up to the age of 15 without fail, I would get my
shirt.  The problem that I would soon
face was, in the fall of my 15th year alive, my Mom & Dad
weren’t getting along too well and trying to do family things like we used to
do was for the most part a thing of the past. 
This went on for months, but I knew in my heart of hearts that when it
came to August 1st and my final time being able to get the shirt
that I always wanted more than anything in the world, my parents would put
their differences aside for me and my happiness.  Well, this is what happened when August 1st came along.

                        I had been reminding my
Mom & Dad for months prior about the “First Day” and up until about a month
prior to August 1st, they ignored me.  But July 4th, as the fireworks
blasted colorful displays in the air, my parents assured me that everything
would be ok come August 1st and that the three of us would go to the
fair.  I wanted to ask them each day
leading up to the “First Day”, but I figured that I wouldn’t badger them and
possibly piss them off to the point where they would change their mind about us
going to the fair on day number 1 as a happy family…I wasn’t taking any
chances…not this final time.  So As my
eyes opened that morning, I felt like a kid all over again, even though I was
16, I felt like I was 8 or 9 years old, beyond excited about it finally being
August 1st and the first day of the fair.  I was dressed faster than I had ever been
before (at least that is the way it seemed) and was downstairs in the kitchen
trying to make up my mind about what I was going to have for breakfast.  I looked at the clock on the wall by the
stove and saw that it was 9:30am….12 noon was the time that we needed to be in
line at the fair.  As I put my two
chocolate chip waffles in the toaster my mind began to wander about how much
fun we were going to have that day.  Not
only get my shirt, but ride some rides and get some fair food before we came
back home.  As I devoured my waffles I
heard my parents begin to move around upstairs. 
I thought, “Excellent, Mom & Dad are up so we can get ready to
go.”  I stood by our front door and
waited, watching the clock slowly tick the minutes by.  When 10:45am came and my parents were still
upstairs, I decided that I would walk to the bottom of the staircase and yell
up.  I can remember walking in the living
room, stand on the landing of the staircase and yell upstairs, “Mom, Dad…you
guys up?”  I thought I heard my father
say yes, so I walked back over to the front door where I stood and waited.  As time ticked on my legs began to tire some,
so I dragged one of the wood kitchen table chairs over to the side of the door,
then sat down.  I looked at the clock on
the kitchen wall and noticed that it was 11:32am.  I must admit, I began to fidget a little bit…we
had to be in line in 28 minutes and it took at least 10 minutes to get
there.  I just sat, looking outside as
the neighbors (without a doubt) made their way out of their houses and to the
fair.  I yelled upstairs once again at
11:45am and my parents yelled back, “WE’ER UP……WE’RE UP!!!!!”  Well, I sat back down on the wood chair and
watched outside and to be quite honest…I fell asleep. 

                                My
parents woke me with a touch on my shoulder, my Mom smiled and said, “Let’s get
you that shirt sweetheart.”  I looked at
the clock and saw that it was 11:50am, there was still time if we left right
then.  My Dad drove us, he had a lead
foot (as the expression goes) and most of the time it scared the hell out of
me, but today I was happy as hell that he drove so fast.  We got lucky when we got to the fairgrounds
because there was one perfect spot open right by the entrance gate.  As my Dad shut the car off, I dashed out of
the car to get in line.  The line was
quite long, but I figured that I had made it with time to spare…the final shirt
I was allowed to receive was mine!!!!! 
As the line walked forward I could hear happy kids & teens as they
received their one of a kind shirt.  I
leaned to the right and saw that there was about 100 people in front of me;
this didn’t make me nervous because I knew that there was going to be enough
shirts to pass out to all of us.  Well,
the line slowly moved forward…step by step I became more and more excited with
anticipation.  Finally, there was one kid
in front of me when the announcement was made:

 “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, PLEASE CONGRATULATE
THIS LOVELY CHILD BECAUSE SHE IS THE ONE TO RECEIVE THE FINAL FAIR
SHIRT!!!!!” 

                                My
heart sank, I was next in line…just one more shirt…why couldn’t there have
been…just one more shirt? 

                                My
Mom & Dad tried their best to raise my spirits by the three of us walking
around the fairgrounds, looking at the different displays, like Mrs. Wilson’s
prize Guinea Pigs that she brings to the fair every year, all of (there were 2)
4H tents where most of the time there would be some sort of flower display, an
area where there was a small petting zoo with a horse, cow, & goats.  Of course, we had to spend a quarter to get a
handful of feed for the goats and the horse……well, I always did.  And to top off the 4H tent experience, there
would be a baked goods auction.  On a
long table there would be plates of homemade chocolate chip cookies, homemade
brownies, rice crispy treats & at least 2 or 3 cakes.  I would have fun listening to the bids &
once in a while, I would be able to bid on a plate of cookies or a cake…I never
won, but it was still a lot of fun to be part of the bidding action.  Near the middle of the fairgrounds would be
the area where you could play a game to win a prize.  There was always the Test Of Strength game where
you would hit a mat with a big mallet as hard as you could to see how strong
you were, the Ring Toss game where if you could get your ring over the top of a
milk bottle, you would win a stuffed animal, the Darts Game where you would try
to pop balloons on a wall by the use of 3 darts & what was really cool
about that game was; you could win a stuffed toy, a free pass to the fair for
the next day, or if you were really lucky and a damn good shot, you could win
Money!  There was an assortment of bills
behind 10 of the balloons.  5 One Dollar
Bills, 2 Ten Dollar Bills, 2 Twenty Dollar Bills & for the truly lucky
shot, behind one balloon was a Fifty Dollar Bill!  I was always a pretty good shot and except
for the Fifty, over time I managed to win all of the bills that was
displayed.  Most of the time I wouldn’t
go home with the money though…ok, let’s cut the bullshit, I never went home
with any of the money.  I would either
play some more games, or buy my Mom & Dad a treat…Dad always wanted a corn
dog and Mom would want fried bread dough with white powdered sugar sprinkled on
top of it.  As for me, I would either get
a soda (Root Beer or Sprite) or I would get a frozen Coke. 

                                Then
came the areas for the rides, all of the slow rides for the little kids, the
little bit faster rides for the teen agers, and then came the rides that I
enjoyed the most…the rides where you knew for sure by the time the ride was
over, you would have either puked or shit your pants! Don’t get me wrong, I
loved to try and ride every ride that I could, but the “HOLY SHIT” rides where
the ones I liked the most.  My favorites
were, (in no particular order);

                                “The
Demon” which was a loop coaster that also had 3 corkscrew turns near the end of
the ride.  I have to admit, seeing the
ground coming toward your head as you go upside down and then right side up
again three times was pretty wild!!!

                                “The
barrel spin” which was a ride where you stood against the wall inside of a
massive drum, then the drum would begin to spin, G-Force would cause your body
to stick to the wall, and then outta nowhere, the floor of the drum would drop
out from underneath you and you would hang there while spinning.  At one point the floor would slowly begin to
rise until we were once again standing on it, then the drum would begin to slow
down, at which point the operator of the ride would instruct all of us in the
drum to step away from the wall.  We
would then balance ourselves until the ride came to a complete stop and we were
able to exit the drum. 

                                Another
one of my favorites was the “Tilt O’ Whirl.” 
What was really cool about that ride was, you didn’t wear a seatbelt or
some sort of safety harness during the ride. 
You would just sit on a bench with a half-canopy behind and over your
head, and have a bar that would come down in front of you…not close enough that
it would be touching you, but close enough that you could grab hold of the bar
if you wanted to.  The ride would then
begin to turn and the cars that we sat in would begin to sway back and forth
and before we knew it, the car we sat in would spin in different directions
independently while the ride itself would continue to go in a circular motion
undulating up and down causing the car your in to sway and spin in different
directions faster and faster….to the point where you think you might throw
up. 

                                Those
were pretty much the rides I enjoyed the most and those were the rides that my
parents made sure that I rode in the hopes that I wouldn’t be so sad…it didn’t
work, but I have to give them credit for trying to raise my spirits.

 

                                As
my mind returned to the present I looked down at the card that I held in my
hand:

 

CONGRATULATIONS

 

YOU HAVE WON A “FUN FILLED DAY” AT THE CARNIVAL!!!

 

PLEASE PRESENT THIS CARD ALONG WITH A
PHOTO ID WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT THE CARNIVAL GROUNDS.  THE INFORMATION YOU WILL NEED FOR YOUR “FUN
FILLED DAY” WILL BE ON THE REVERSE OF THIS SIDE OF THE CARD.  AGAIN, MR. HERRING

 

                                      CONGRATULATIONS

 

                                I
wasted no time in turning the card over, the back of the card read:

                               

MY CONGRATULATIONS GOES TO YOU MR.
HERRING!  YOU ARE ONE OF THE LUCKY FEW TO
HAVE SUCH A SPECTACULAR OPPORTUNITY SUCH AS THIS!

PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THE ADDRESS
OF WHERE YOU WILL SPEND YOUR “FUN FILLED DAY” AND OF COURSE, THE DATE WHEN YOUR
“FUN FILLED DAY” WILL TAKE PLACE.

 

MR. HERRING, PLEASE BE AT THE FOLLOWING
ADDRESS AT PRECISELY 10AM ON AUGUST 1ST!

 

HARRIS CARNIVAL

2563 CARNIVAL DRIVE

NEW YORK, 16435

 

PLEASE KNOW MR. HERRING, THIS IS A ONCE
IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!  IF YOU DO NOT
SHOW UP ON AUGUST 1ST AT EXACTLY 10AM, YOU WILL FORFEIT YOUR “FUN
FILLED DAY!” AND TRUST ME MR. HERRING, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON YOU SHOWING
UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

ONCE AGAIN, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR GOOD
FORTUNE AND I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ON AUGUST 1ST AT
10AM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

                                                        SINCERELY,

                                                          “THE
VOICE”

Ps. MR. HERRING, DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS
LIFE CHANGING OPPORTUNITY…COME TO THE CARNIVAL!!!!!

 

                   My
first thought after reading the invitation was, “Could this be true?”, “What is
it about the, “Fun Filled Day”, that makes me kind of wonder exactly what this
“Voice” person had in mind & to top off everything else, the date of when I
am to be at the carnival…maybe I’m crazy…& it could be just a coincidence…but
I’m to be there on August 1st…the last time I thought about an
August 1st and a Fair or Carnival would have been when I was 16 and
how they ran out of shirts just before I was going to step up to the entrance
gate.  Now I am 35 years old and I have
an invitation to go and have fun…maybe now…maybe this time…August 1st
won’t be a memory that I will try and forget!

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2

 

                                The
morning of August 1st didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  I woke up at 8am, took a quick shower and was
in my kitchen before I knew it.  The
question that was in front of me at this point was…what to have for
breakfast?”  I knew that I would have
either a glass of juice or chocolate milk but what to eat before my “FUN FILLED
DAY?”  I looked into my freezer and got
out my box of chocolate chip waffles and premade sausage links that I only had
to nuke in the microwave.  As the toaster
popped my waffles out of it and the microwave dinged letting me know my sausage
was ready, I glanced at the clock and saw that it was 9:06am…I would be leaving
for my “FUN FILLED DAY” around 9:30am, that would give me plenty of time to get
there, park and be at the front entrance by 10am.

 

                                Thank
god, the traffic wasn’t too bad, I was able to make better time than what I
expected.  As I arrived in the parking
lot of the Harris Carnival, I was surprised to see that there weren’t any other
vehicles in the parking lot besides mine. 
As I turned off the ignition on my car I briefly thought, “What the hell
am I doing?  Drive away!  Just drive away!” but my curiosity got the
best of me and I climbed out of my car, locked the doors behind me and as I put
the keys in my pocket I turned and saw a huge entranceway that had an enormous
oval archway above the entrance doors that read:

 

WELCOME TO
THE HARRIS CARNIVAL!!!!!

PLEASE WATCH
YOUR STEP AS YOU GO THROUGH THE ENTRANCE DOORS!!!!!

 

                                I
walked up to the front door entrances to the carnival and saw written with what
looked like white chalk paint:

 

PLEASE
ENTER MR. HERRING

 

                                I
pushed open the entrance door and found myself inside what looked to be some
sort of elevator & in front of me was a set of double doors with no windows.  Playing over a set of loud speakers was a
sort of music that you might listen to if you are trying to rid yourself of a
headache or trying to get some sleep. 
Once the song that echoed inside the box like structure that I stood in
finished I heard what sounded like somebody clearing their throat and then I
heard…it…him.

 

                                “Good morning
Mr. Herring and welcome to your “Fun Filled Day” at the Harris Carnival.  You may address me as “The Voice.”  Today you will have the opportunity to have a
hell of a lot of fun…or…a hell of a lot of misery…all of the decisions that are
made today will be made by one person Mr. Herring…and that person is…YOU!!!!”
 

                                I
stood wondering what “The Voice” meant by the day could be fun or miserable…in
any case, I didn’t say a word as “The Voice” continued:

                        “There
may be some familiar faces that you will come across as your “Fun Filled Day”
progresses and their fate as well as your own is in your hands…so welcome Mr.
Herring.  Please scan your invitation
card to proceed into
the Carnival.”  I grabbed the card out of my back pocket and
placed it underneath a red scanner light that had a sign above it saying:

 

PLEASE
SCAN THE BARCODE ON YOUR INVITATION BELOW

 

                                As
I scanned my card, the double doors that were once closed in front of me opened
wide and I heard what I presumed to be “The Voice” state:

 

“Please enter
Mr. Herring.”

 

                                I
stepped through the double doors and I realized that I was back inside what
seemed to be another elevator like enclosure. 
I remember at this point I yelled out;

 

WHAT THE
FUCK IS ALL OF THIS ABOUT!!!!!? 

I DEMAND AN
EXPLANATION…NOW!!!!!!!!

 

                                The
next sound I heard chilled me to the core:

 

“HA!
HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! …YOU ARE IN NO POSITION TO MAKE DEMANDS MR.
HERRING!!!!!  THIS IS YOUR ONLY
WARNING!!!!!!! 

 

                                I
then calmly asked, “What do you mean warning? 
If I fuck up, what will happen?” 
The voice then responded in a very maniacal tone,

 

“PUNISHMENT…SWIFT, FIERCE AND QUITE PAINFUL!!!!!”

 

                                I
was frozen…just that warning alone made me start to wonder just what the hell I
got myself into.  I thought about turning
around and leaving, just going back out to my car and going home.  I remember saying:

“Screw
this bullshit!!!  I’m outta here!”

                               

                                At
that point I heard the voice say:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
there is only one way to leave the Harris Carnival…and that Mr. Herring will be
revealed to you as your “Fun Filled Day” progresses.  In the meantime, Mr. Herring, it is time for
you to start your first activity.”

                         As “The Voice” finished it’s sentence I saw a
medium size projector screen lower from the ceiling…the voice then continued:

                        “Mr.
Herring, please have a seat and enjoy the following home movie…pay attention,
this home movie has to do with your first activity.” 

 

                                As
the semi-grainy film began I was stunned to be looking at…ME…when I was about
10 years old, I was standing in between my mom & dad and the three of us
were standing in front of the “Darts Game.” 
I couldn’t help but smile as I saw myself closing one eye because I was
sure that doing that would help me aim the dart better.  As I threw the dart, the home movie ended…and…
“The Voice” spoke:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I truly hope that you haven’t lost your throwing technique…because…” 

 

                                I
stepped through the double doors in front of me that were opened with the scan
of my invitation, there about 50 feet down a paved walkway was my favorite carnival
game when I was a kid… “The Dart Game.” 
There on a wall was about 75 balloons of different colors…as I walked my
way down the paved walkway, “The Voice” out of nowhere echoed out:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
today you get to relive your favorite game from your childhood, but today,
there are some different prizes that you can win.  There are some where you will receive a free
pass, there are some where you will have a life changing decision put in front
of you & there are a few that simply say… “PUNISHMENT!”  But, just for you Mr. Herring, I have added one
thing that always eluded you when you were a kid…behind one balloon is a brand
new Fifty Dollar Bill!  As you see in
front of you Mr. Herring, there are no indications as
to what is behind each balloon.  So, Mr.
Herring, please step up and take your 3 darts, good luck & may your aim be
perfect…and lucky!”

 

                                 My first thought was, how could this “Voice”
know what I didn’t win when I was a kid, and how is it possible that he could
have that footage of when we were at the fair? 
In any case, I took a deep breath, then relaxed for about 10 seconds
before I did just the same as I did when I was a kid.  I closed one eye, took aim toward the middle
of the board and threw the dart…and the dart I threw popped a bright red
balloon.  The second dart that I threw
popped a deep blue balloon and my third and final dart popped a grass green balloon.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
your three darts have now chosen what your fate will be…gentlemen, please step
in and reveal to Mr. Herring what he has won.”

 

                                From
my right side came 2 people that looked almost like druids.  They were walking side by side & dressed
in deep black garb from head to foot. 
Between the two of them, they removed the papers that were behind the 3
balloons that I had popped and then walked side by side to the left…never
saying a word.  I stood there for what
seemed to be 10 or 12 minutes when I heard:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it is now time for me to reveal to you what your fate is behind each balloon
you popped.”

 

                                I
remember taking a deep breath when “The Voice” continued:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
behind the bright red balloon your fate has revealed…CAKE…behind the deep blue
balloon your fate has revealed…PUNISHMENT…& finally Mr. Herring…behind the
grass green balloon your fate has revealed…What you didn’t receive when you
were a younger player.”

 

                                I
tried to concentrate on just the cake and the money, but my mind stuck with the
punishment…what could that be?  As I
stood thinking about what the punishment would be, a plate appeared in front of
me with a piece of what looked like chocolate soufflé cake and one white
plastic fork.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
please enjoy this snack!  You must eat
all of the cake in order to continue.”

 

                                 As I picked up the fork and cut deep into the
slice of cake, a strange red viscous fluid came pouring out of the middle.  I thought that possibly the liquid could be
some sort of a thick strawberry puree, but I knew better than that!  Right then I heard “The Voice” ring out:

                                “Mr. Herring,
it would be a… BLOODY SHAME
if you didn’t finish all of your snack…and lick the plate clean.”

 
                              As I
looked down, I have to admit that I began to gag to the point I was ready to
throw up!!!!! “A Bloody Shame?”, what the fuck…BLOOD?  As I placed the first fork full into my mouth
I was surprised to taste a sweet cake…but the fluid was quite bitter, and very
nasty…my mind & mouth reminded me what I was eating and once again, I began
to gag profusely…it was at that point when I heard “The Voice” ring out:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
please know that if you vomit, your punishment that you ARE going to receive will be worse than what I have in
mind!!!!!  My suggestion to you Mr.
Herring is…EAT!!!!!”

 

                                I
did everything in my power not to think about what I was doing and to be quite
honest, how I was able to eat the entire piece of cake is beyond me!  As I placed the cake free plate on the
counter I heard “The Voice”:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I see that you have finished your cake…but I see that there is still some
“Blood” remaining on the plate.  As I
said, you must also lick the plate clean or your punishment that you ARE about to receive will be
worse!”

 

                                I
can remember gagging once again as I picked up the plate and began to lap up
all of the red liquid that remained.  As
I placed the plate down on the counter I heard:

 

                                “Very good
Mr. Herring…very good!  You are stronger
than what I thought!!!!!  It is now time
for your… “PUNISHMENT!”

 

                        I
stood frozen…preparing myself for whatever could be the “PUNISHMENT.”  Next thing I knew I was slowly moving to the
right on what seemed like a conveyor belt. 
Approximately 5-6 feet from where the balloon game stand stood is where
I came to rest.  I looked from left to
right trying to figure out just what the hell the punishment could be.  As I stood I heard what sounded like gears
winding above my head.  I looked up and
saw what looked to be a four-sided enclosure about 2 feet in diameter being
lowered down over me.  When the enclosure
touched the ground, it was as if night had fallen, because all I saw was
darkness.  It was only a fraction of a
second later and the enclosure was filled with light.  As my eyes adjusted I noticed that there were
four 12-gauge shotguns that hung on the wall just below the ceiling.  As my mind whirled, “The Voice” spoke:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
your punishment is going to be an experiment in sound…trust me Mr. Herring,
this PUNISHMENT is going to ring your bell!!!!!”

 

                        Right
then I knew what was going to happen…didn’t know when, just knew what would be
my fate!!!!!  I stood, my arms to my
sides.  I clenched my fists, closed my
eyes as hard as I could, and then it happened! 

 

BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                My
ears rang and hurt worse than any pain that I had ever felt before!  The sound of the gun shots echoed inside of
the enclosure and I dropped to my knees holding my hands tight over both of my
ears as I screamed in agony.  I felt a
liquid on my hands and upon my inspection, I saw that my hands were covered in
blood that had come from the inside of my ears. 
For about 15 minutes, I was deaf…then slowly my hearing began to return
mixed with high pitch siren like sounds. 
I looked up and saw that the 4 shot guns were pointed now toward the
ceiling of the enclosure and the ceiling of the enclosure was completely
obliterated.  Slowly I began to hear:

 

                                “Mr. Herring, if you can hear me, please speak to me.  Mr. Herring? 
Can you hear me?”

 

                        At
first, I didn’t respond, I wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t because I
could hear a voice in my head saying…” You’re not dead…your alive!!!!!  You can overcome anything, no matter what is
thrown at you…I think!!!!!”

 

                                I
wanted to scream out …” FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!” but the words just
weren’t there.  I tried to say to “The Voice”,
“Give me my $50.00!”, but the more I tried to speak, the harder it was to get
the words to come out of my mouth.  Once again,
I thought I heard:

                                “Mr. Herring,
if you can hear me, please speak to me. 
Mr. Herring?  Can you hear me?”

 

                                I
was able to sputter out…” I can hear you.” but that was all I was able to
say.  I began to remind myself, “The only
thing left is the money….and then it is over…at least this one is.”  My mind began to travel back to the last time
I tried to get that last prize that I tried for so long to get…finally, it is
mine…that’s when I heard:

 

                                “Mr. Herring…you
have impressed me….and so, it is now time for you to receive what you didn’t
receive when you were a younger player.”

 

                        I
was able to get to my feet when the enclosure that I was in began to rise off
of the ground.  As I saw sunlight again,
I squinted my eyes until I was able to see with no problem.  I smiled wide as I declared, “Give me my
money!!!!!”  As before I slowly began
moving back to the right until I was standing once again in front of the
balloon pop booth.  Once the moving
sidewalk stopped I saw a video screen appear over the board of balloons…just
like before I saw a video begin to play except this video showed 8 different
kids standing.  I remember at that point
I politely asked, “What does this video have to do with what I didn’t get when
I was younger?”  After a pregnant pause,
I heard:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
the people you see on the screen are the ones that came to the balloon game
just after you played…these are the people that won that one prize that you
wanted so and never was able to receive. 
Today is the day for your redemption and your chance to win that
prize…all you have to do is:”

                                As
“The Voice” finished his statement the video screen rose in the air and a
platform with those same 8 people stood in the same positions as they were in
the video…except now they were adults.  I
was perplexed…what could be the reason for these people…and what exactly does
“Redemption” mean as well?  Just then a
drawer opened in front of me and as I looked down I was blown away… that inside
of the drawer… was a gun.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
behind these 8 people is a board with an envelope on it…inside of that envelope
is the prize that you always tried and failed to get.”

 

                        I
had just one question in my mind…how do I get the envelope, what do I have to
do?  I without thinking blurted out,
“What do I have to do…kill these people?” 
and gave a slight chuckle of disbelief.

 

                                “YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
OH, THIS IS GONNA BE WONDERFUL! 
PICK UP THE GUN AND RETRIEVE YOUR PRIZE MR. HERRING!!!!!”

 

                        My mind
whirled…was I really going to shoot 8 people just to be able to get the
$50.00?  I slowly picked up the gun out
of the drawer with my right hand by the handle…my pointer finger automatically
entered into the trigger hole.  I just
stood…the 8 people in front of me began to beg for their lives, sometimes
simultaneously, and sometimes individually, but none the less, I heard many
screams of fear coming from the men & women that stood before me.

 

                                “Mr. Herring…as
you were instructed at the beginning of your “Fun Filled Day”, you could be
making decisions for some other people’s fate.”

                               

                                I
responded with, “You said familiar faces, I don’t recognize any of the people
that are here.”  After a quite long sinister
laughed echoed I heard:

 

                                “Mr.
Herring……
I LIED!!!!!!!!!!!!  HA!!!!! HA!!!!!
HA!!!!! HA!!!!! HA!!!!! HA!!!!! HA!!!!!
 
As I stated Mr. Herring, their fate is in your hands….it can be quick…or
drawn out!  You must now decide their
fate!!!!!   Or shall I Mr. Herring?”

 

                        Without
thinking I blurted out…” No, I’ll do it.” 
So, there I was, standing in front of 8 strangers and within moments I
would be doing something that I never thought I could ever do…but I knew that
if I didn’t, who the hell knew what that psychopathic “Voice” would do.  As I cocked the hammer I yelled out….

” I’M
SORRY!!!!!”

 

                   I
closed my eyes and pulled the trigger, and to my relief, the gun was
empty…however I saw those 8 people begin to convulse violently.  Seconds later the eight people fell:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I know that you have a good heart and could not kill innocent people with a
gun…so I made sure that the gun fired no bullets.  However, Mr. Herring, please do not think
that you did not cause their fate to happen!”

 

                        I
looked down at the gun and it hit me like a ton of bricks, “The gun set off
some sort of switch, correct?”

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
when you pulled the trigger, you activated the electrical system that they
stood on…it was not instantaneous,
oh why should I be deprived the pleasure
of watching them suffer!  Mr. Herring,
please feel free to retrieve your prize.”

 

                        I
began to get weepy and a tear ran down my cheek, even though I didn’t shoot
them, I still just murdered 8 people.  As
I took a step forward I asked…” Is the electricity turned off?  Will I be safe when crossing over the floor?”

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
the floor will remain electrified.  Your
puzzle is…how to “Cross Over” to your prize?”

 

                        Those
words still make me shudder to this day! 
As I stood for about a moment or two I then realized what “Cross Over”
meant…I would have to walk on those people like crossing a bridge to retrieve
the envelope.  I have no idea how I was
able to do it, but I stopped thinking and just began walking.  I tried my best not to look down as I walked
on the electrocuted corpses, but I had no choice in order for me to be
safe…what I saw made me sick to my stomach!!!!! 
The smell was horrendous to say the least!  It was so bad I am at a loss for words on how
to describe the stench!  The char, the
burnt skin, the eyes that were either bulging out of people’s heads, or the
eyeballs that had completely exploded! 
The smell was so putrid that I began to wonder if I should turn back,
but I knew that I had no choice but to continue on or who knows what would be
in store.  As I made it half way across,
I tried to pretend that these were costumed dummies, not corpses.  Faces with skin that was half removed showing
parts of the skulls, the jaw bone and teeth. 
Arms that looked like they were just in a 5-alarm fire…just charred
flesh.  I tried my best to step gingerly,
but that was not possible!  Each step I
took was different from the step before…some of the steps felt like I was
walking on wet sponges.  Some of the
steps caused bloated areas on people to pop and erupt oozes of blood, puss and
god knows what else!  As I finally made
my final step to the board I heard:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
congratulations!  You have solved the
puzzle of crossing…now…feel free to retrieve your prize…what you didn’t receive
when you were a younger player.”

 

                        I
reached forward and retrieved the envelope that was hung by a thumbtack on the
corkboard wall and as I began to open it my mind went back in time…to all of
the times that I tried and failed…and now that unattainable prize was in my
hands…that’s when I thought…” how the hell am I going to get back to the
sidewalk again?  Oh god…I have to cross
over the bodies again?  Well, to my
surprise and relief, when I turned around, the bodies were gone.  To this day I still have no idea where they
went!  Anyway, I walked back to the
sidewalk and stood as I opened the envelope…but what I saw was not what I
expected!!!  All of those times I tried,
I never won the $50.00 bill, so I thought for sure that would be in the
envelope. As I picked up my fifty dollar bill all I could do was just stare at
the picture of Grant in the center oval, I turned the bill over to enjoy the
back of the bill as well, but to my surprise…I found a note on the reverse side
with just one word:

 

 

 

 

MURDERER!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                I
have to admit that I kinda lost my cool when I saw the reverse side of the bill…how
in the hell could that son of a bitch call me a murderer when I technically
never killed anybody…but instead of yelling out a bunch of slurs that would
have gotten me a punishment for sure, I just asked:

 

                                “Ok,
I have done all three of your sick and disturbed tasks, so what’s next?”  Without missing a beat, I heard,

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
you are now ready to continue your “Fun Filled Day!”  Please remain of the moving walk.”

 

                        As
the walk slowly moved to the left, I stood, my mind whirled…” What the fuck
could be next?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 3

 

                        As I took in the sights
and sounds of what seemed on the outside to be a normal carnival, the moving
walk slowly came to a stop.  I looked all
around where I was standing and didn’t see anything that would cause me to
worry.  I was looking at a carnival ride…one
that I hated when I was a kid and refused to ride…but did ride once as an adult
with my then fiancée.  Out of nowhere I
heard:

 

                        “Mr. Herring,
welcome to the next part of your “Fun Filled Day.” Welcome to “The Chair
Swings.”  Mr. Herring, it is time for you
to face your fear of this “Fun Filled” ride. 
Please, step forward, sit down in a chair and place the safety strap
across your waist and buckle it on the side of your chair.”

 

                        I
can remember my hands trembling as I drew across my lap the safety strap and
buckled it into a harness like square that sat on the left handle of my
chair.  I closed my eyes momentarily and
I have to admit, I said a little prayer because I was scared shitless!

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it would be beneficial to you to grasp tightly the metal link chains that are
attached to your chair!”

 

                        I
remember grabbing ahold of those chains so tightly that I knew for sure I was
going to draw blood from the palms of my hands. 
I just sat, awaiting the worst…when:

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…each person in this world has skeletons in their closet…if they say
that they don’t, then they are full of shit! 
Mr. Herring, it is time for you to decide your fate!  Will your ride be a “Fun Filled” memory for
you…or a memory that you will not care for so much…the decision is yours.”

                        I
was so nervous that I let my emotions take over and I screamed:

 “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  FUCK YOU!!!!! 
I AM SICK OF THIS BULLSHIT…FUCK YOU!!!!!”

 

“PUNISHMENT!!!!!”

 

                                I
gulped realizing what I just did.  I
began to tremble a little when “The Voice” bellowed,

 

                        “Mr.
Herring…you were warned at the beginning of your “Fun Filled Day”, now it is
time!”  Because I like your spirit, I
will not allow you to suffer… much!”

 

                        Upon
the words ending I felt my left hand get grasped by what seemed to be a metal
arm that grew up from the ground.  Within
a flash of a second that metal arm snatched my hand off of the chain.  At the same time a small table was brought
out of what seemed to be from nowhere and was laid in front of my hand and the
table seemed to have some sort of magnetic power because the metal arm that
held my left hand in a vise like grip was pulled down on top of the table.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it is time for you to choose your form of punishment!  The question is quite simple…one… two… three…
four… or all five?”

 

                        Without
missing a beat, I yelled out…”ONE…PLEASE, NO MORE THAN ONE!”  I didn’t know what to expect…I had a feeling,
but I prayed that I was wrong.

 

                                “You asked
for one Mr. Herring and because I like you, your wish is granted.  Please place your pinky finger straight out.”

 

                        I
trembled at the thought of what was going to happen next and I can remember
that my hand and fingers froze up and just wouldn’t move…no matter how hard I
tried.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
extend your fucking pinky…
NOW!!!!!

                                I
tried to explain that my fingers weren’t reacting to what I was trying to make
them do when “The Voice” spoke:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I am losing my patience with you!  If you
do not do as you are told within the next 10 seconds…I will choose your fate
for you!!!”

 

                        It
took all of the strength I had, but I was able to outstretch my pinky
finger.  Once my finger was completely
stretched out, a metal clamp locked the end of my finger down.  That is when I heard what sounded like a
combination of a buzz saw and a chainsaw.

 

                                “GIVE ME MY PRIZE!!!!!!!!  REMOVE HIS FINGER!!!!!!!  HA!!!!! 
HA!!!!!  HA!!!!! HA!!!!!  HA!!!!!”

 

                        The
pain was excruciating to say the least! 
I didn’t want to look down but I couldn’t help myself, like when you go
past a car accident…you don’t wanna look, but you can’t help yourself.  I watched as a saw came up from underneath
the table and slowly began to saw through my pinky.  I screamed in pain as the blood began to
spurt and bone fragments flew from my severed digit.  The more I screamed, the more “The Voice”
laughed with sinister pleasure.  The saw
continued cutting through my finger until the saw was now above my hand.  Blood dripped from the saw teeth and little
pieces of skin could visibly be seen sticking to the blades teeth.  As the pain slowly began to subside “The Voice”
in an almost triumphant tone bellowed:

 

                                “Thank you
for my gift Mr. Herring!  I will add your
pinky to my collection.  Now, where were
we Mr. Herring…oh yes…back to the “Chair Swing.”

 

                        Before
the vise like apparatus release my hand, a pressure bandage appeared where my
pinky finger once was.  As I held my left
hand gingerly in my right hand:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I hope you are having as much fun as I am on your “Fun Filled Day” …so now let’s
continue.  You are now sitting on one of
the carnival rides that everybody seems to love…but you.  Today we are going to change that…MAYBE!!!!!

 

                                I
placed my left pinky-less hand back on the metal chain as I awaited the rules.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
as I stated earlier, everybody has skeletons in their closet, and today you are
going to be given the opportunity to release one of the skeletons from your
quite full closet!”

 

                        As
his words finished I began to hear the roar of an engine as the seat I sat in
began to move.  As the ride moved faster,
the seat I sat in began to pull out to the right.  Before I knew it, the seat I sat in was
almost all the way out to where I would have been laying on my left side.  To be quite frank, I was scared shitless!!!!!  That is when I heard:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
when you were 19 you hurt someone…and you didn’t feel any remorse about
it.  Today is your day to release that
skeleton from your soul.  Admit what you
did, and the ride will slowly come to an unhappy end for me.  However, deny your skeleton and the ride will
slowly come to an unhappy end for you!!!”

 

                        My
mind whirled; not only was I trying to remain conscious due to the speed of the
ride, but I tried like hell to remember what had happened.  All of a sudden, I saw the face of my first
girlfriend appear in my mind…that is when I screamed out:

 

                                “ARE YOU
TALKING ABOUT BROOK?”

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
release the skeleton…
NOW!!!!!”

 

                                I
just yelled out multiple times:

 

                                “I GAVE HER
A SEXUAL DISEASE…I DIDN’T MEAN TO!!!

              “I
GAVE HER A SEXUAL DISEASE…I DIDN’T MEAN TO!!!

 

              I
thought for sure that was it…the ride would slow to a halt and I (dizzy as
hell) would be able to exit the ride…but that isn’t what happened.  If anything, the ride seemed to speed up even
more!  That is when I heard:

 

                                “What else
Mr. Herring?  What else was there about
Brook?”

 

                        I had no idea what he was
talking about.  I spoke with Brook a few
days after I found out that she went to her doctor and she told me that she
never wanted to hear from me again!  That
was all that happened…to my memory.  I
yelled out:

 

                                “THERE IS
NOTHING MORE TO TELL!  THAT IS ALL THAT
HAPPENED!”

 

              “Are you
completely sure about that Mr. Herring?”

                               

                                I
just screamed out as loud as I could:

“YES!!!!!”

 

 

                                There
was a long pause before I heard:

“FUCKING LIAR!!!!!”

 

                                I
remember yelling out:

 

                                “WHAT MORE
WAS THERE?”

                               

                                “Mr. Herring,
you are the holder of your fate & of the truth that will free your skeleton
for good!  Mr. Herring, Brook revealed something
else…and this piece of the puzzle will free the skeleton from your soul!”

 

              After
thinking about the conversations that I had with Brook back then, I realized
what I was missing…so without any hesitation I screamed:

 

                                “SHE WAS
PREGNANT…I HAVE A KID.  I AM A FATHER!”

 

         As
the final word exited my mouth, I heard the engine stop and the ride slowly began
to slow down.  It took about 2 minutes or
so, but finally I sat, motionless.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
the skeleton you have just released has made you a tiny bit pure!!!  It is now time to rejoice in the fact that
you admitted what you did.”

                        Suddenly
in front of me a black curtain appeared. 
I started to notice movement from behind the curtain and I have to
admit, I became curious about who or what was back there.  Suddenly, a figure dressed all in black
appeared from behind the curtain.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it is now time for your skeleton to extract the necessary fate that it has
wanted for so long!”

 

                        The
black figure walked slowly towards me and just before the figure stood in front
of me, I saw what looked to be a quite sharp knife appear from underneath the
right side of the figure’s arm with the handle coming to rest in the figures
hand.  As the druid like person
approached me, I closed my eyes as I felt a very sharp pain cascade across my
right cheek.  I placed my right hand upon
my cheek and upon inspection of my palm, I found a pool of blood. 

                                “Mr. Herring,
you are feeling a facial pain that exceeds a minor slap across the face. Your
fate for this stage has been fulfilled.  Your
skeleton has been satisfied.  You may now
continue on your “Fun Filled Day” here at the Harris Carnival”

 

                        As
I released the restraint that held me on the seat, the black figure turned and
began to walk away.  I can remember quite
vividly just before the figure disappeared behind the curtain, the figure stopped
and without turning back toward me, I heard just a few simple words:

 

                                “I WOULD HAVE MADE YOU PROUD…YOU GAVE UP ON ME…YOU
GAVE UP ON MOM…I HATE YOU WITH EVERYTHING THAT I AM & I HOPE THAT YOU BURN
IN HELL!!!!!!!!!”

 

                            I wanted to say that I didn’t know
about him or her…but the words just weren’t there, no matter how hard I tried.  As
I stepped back onto the moving walk, all I could think about was…what if…what
if?

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
I’m sure that you are getting tired and you must be getting thirsty as well…so
for the next part of your “Fun Filled Day” …you are going to be able to
relax…and have a special made drink…a special made drink made by…
ME!!!!!”

 

                                I
have to admit that “The Voice” was right, I was very thirsty…but in the same
right I was nervous as hell about what the “Special Made Drink” could be.  None the less, I prepared myself for what I
definitely knew would be…the unknown!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 4

 

                        As the walk came to a
stop I saw a small patio with a picnic table in the middle of the floor.  What struck me kinda funny was that there was
specific painted seating with one-foot high dividers cutting them out.  From where I was standing I could see that
each of the seating areas facing me were a different color…and that the bench
was partitioned into 3 sections.  I
craned my neck to try and see the other side of the picnic table…was the other
bench the same as the one facing me?

 

                        “Mr. Herring,
as part of your “Fun Filled Day” you will be given refreshments.  I know Mr. Herring that you have never been a
fan of sitting alone, so I have arranged for you to be joined by 5 other
guests.  I’m sure that each of you will
have a little to talk about because you each have something in common.  Mr. Herring, please step forward and sit down
in the red area.”

 

                        As
I stepped forward I noticed that the red area was in the middle of the picnic
bench.  I also noticed that to my left
the seat was painted in some sort of pink and to my right the bench was painted
in a grayish color.  I looked across the
table but was unable to see the other colors that the seats were painted.  Next thing I knew, one by one people came and
sat down at the table.  There was a woman
with long brown hair sitting to my left and a man with short black hair sitting
to my right.  Across from the lady on my
left sat an older person, well the guy looked to be in his 60s with thinning
gray hair and wearing horn rimmed glasses; across from the man on my right sat
a girl that looked to be in her 20’s with long red hair and deep blue eyes; and
then across from me sat a lady that had an all over tanned face with deep green
eyes and shoulder length auburn hair.  I
swore that I knew the woman that sat across from me from someplace before…all I
knew is that she just stared at me…and she had a smirking grin on her face.

 

                                “Hello, ladies
and gentlemen…I need not introduce myself to one of you, but for the others…you
may refer to me as, “The Voice”.  One of
the 6 of you is having a “Fun Filled Day” …and that person’s identity will remain
a secret…today is a time for a friendly chat. 
Each of you will receive a red cup with lemonade inside.  Please do not drink any of the liquid until I
instruct you.  In the meantime, feel free
to get to know each other…I’m sure once you know who you are sitting with, you will
have quite a bit to discuss.  One last
thing ladies and gentlemen, your identities are unknown to each of you
sitting…and that is the way things are to remain.  If any of you give away your identity or use
some sort of trickery to expose your identity…then both you and the person
sitting across from you will receive:

 

                        “PUNISHMENT”

 

                        “Feel
free to begin your conversations.”

 

                                To
my left and right the conversations began…I overheard things like:

 

                                “It wasn’t my fault…you were the one that decided what
we were going to do.”

                        “Fuck you!!!  Don’t try and blame me for your
bullshit!!!!!”

 

                                But
the woman across from me never said a word…just continued to stare at me with
the same smirk that she wore on her face from the moment that she sat down.  After a moment or so I decided to break the
ice and speak first…but before the first word could escape my mouth we heard:

 

                                “PUNISHMENT!!!”

 

                                My
seating partner began to show a fearful face and her eyes bulged out of her
head.  I knew exactly what was going
through her mind…my problem was…do I tell her to relax…that the punishment was
not for us?  As my mind whirled on what
to do I saw to my left a large black enclosure slowly get lowered over the two
people.  Once the black enclosure came to
rest on the ground we heard:

 

                                “Ladies and
gentlemen…I warned each of you that any breaking of the rules would result in a
punishment…so…for the four of you remaining at the table, feel free to continue
your conversations…as for the two of you that broke the rules:”

 

                        I
could hear the muffled sound of “The Voice” speaking to the people on my
left…but I couldn’t make out what was being said.  I decided to concentrate on my task at hand
and find out who was sitting across from me. 
That is when I said:

 

                                “So, I think that we know each
other from someplace, but right now I can’t figure out where from.  Did we know each other?”

 

                                “Yes, we did.”

 

                                “Did
we go to school together?”

 

                                “No, we didn’t.”

 

                                “Did
we work together at some point?”

 

                                “No, we didn’t”

 

                                I
so wanted to say fuck it and just ask who the hell she was, but I knew that if
I did, I would be fucked…so I figured that I would try to ask some different
questions to find out who the hell she was. 
At the same time, we could hear the anguished screams of pain coming
from the left; I knew that they were going through hell and “The Voice” was
enjoying every moment of it!  I tried my
best not to pay attention to what was going on and concentrate on figuring out
who the person across from me was.  I
just sat…taking my time to formulate my words so carefully…then it hit me on
what to say.

                                “Kids
are funny…don’t ya think?  We all start
out as kids and grow up with the passage of time…that is one thing that we both
have in common.”

 

                                She
never said a word…just smiled and shook her head “Yes”.

 

                                I
remember thinking for a few minutes more…and then I came up with a different
strategy.

 

                                “Do
you have any questions for me?”

 

                                Her
smile immediately dropped to a stern look. 
I was almost sorry that I asked her that question, but I figured that we
needed to get through this awkward moment…somehow.

 

                                “Why did you do it?”

 

                                I
was dumbfounded…to say the least…what did she mean?

                               

                                “Do
what?”

                               

                                “Walk away when I needed you.”

 

                                Right
then I knew exactly who was sitting across from me…I couldn’t call her by
name…I knew better.  The screams coming
from the left ceased and the black box raised to show that the two people on
the left were gone.  The only remnants
left was scattered spots of blood.

 

                                “Ladies and
gentlemen…your two peers that were to your left have decided to leave…well…not
by their choosing…and it was WONDERFUL!!!!! 
I enjoyed it very much!!!!! 
Please continue your conversations.”

 

                        As
“The Voice” finished the woman across from me slammed her fist on the table and
exclaimed:

                                “WHY THE FUCK DID YOU LEAVE US YOU BASTARD!?”

 

                                The
only thing I could think to say was:

 

                                “I
didn’t know!  You told me to never
contact you again…so I was following your wishes.”

 

                                “You still knew…and you walked away.”

 

                                As
her words finished, the same type of black box that was lowered over the people
to our left began to lower over the two of us. 
There were no words that were spoken unlike with the others, so I had a
feeling that we didn’t break the rules…but I still had no idea what was going
on.  As the black enclosure finished
coming down the two of us heard:

 

                                “Congratulations…you
have managed to figure out each other’s identity without telling each other who
you are.  You have passed the test and it
is now time for both of you to drink.  In
one cup is a perfectly tart lemonade and in the other cup is a perfectly tart
lemonade with a special ingredient that one of you will find quite unpleasant.  Sir…you must make the choice of which cup you
will drink from.  You may pick up each
cup and look inside at the liquid, but nothing else.  Please know…it you do anything else, each of
you will take a sip from both cups.  So,
sir…which cup will you take?”

 

                        I
had a bad feeling about what was going to happen to the person that didn’t get
the actual lemonade.  Being a person that
has always loved science, I thought for sure that I would be able to know which
cup I should drink from.  To be quite
honest, I thought long and hard as I went back and forth from cup to cup
looking at the liquid…do I give her the tainted drink…or be a gentleman and
drink the tainted myself.  Once I had my
decision made…I place both cups side by side…then announced:

 

                                “I
WILL TAKE THE CUP ON THE RIGHT.”

 

                                “The decision
has been made.  Both of you, pick up your
cups and drink when I instruct.”

                                At
the same time, we both reached forward and grasped our chosen cup.  Once both of us had our cups in hand:

 

                                “On
three…both of you drink.”

 

                        I
can remember taking a deep breath and exhaling when:

 

“ONE…TWO…THREE…DRINK!!!!!”

 

                        I
can remember that we both put our cups to our lips and drank at the same
time.  As we both finished, we placed our
cups down on the table.  That is when I
saw her begin to cough & choke.  Her
body violently began to convulse.  She
began to foam at the mouth, like a rabid dog and at the same time she grabbed
hold of her chest with an anguished painful look on her face.  I could see that she was on the verge of
death…so I blurted out:

 

“I’m
sorry…I’m so sorry!!!!!”

 

                                As
soon as my last word exited my mouth, her face went pale and ashen and her head
hit heavily to the table.

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…congratulations…you have made it through this part of your “Fun Filled
Day” and are ready to continue.”

 

                        At
the same time “The Voice” was speaking, two of the druid like people came from
behind the woman and carried her away.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
please stand…take two steps back and relax. 
Once you step back you will be on the moving walk heading toward your
next part of your “Fun Filled Day.”

 

                        I
sat silently looking forward as the druid like figures carried out her
body.  Once the three were out of sight I
stood up and took two steps backward as I was instructed.  Next thing I knew I was slowly moving to the
left.  I looked back and noticed that the
black enclosure was now over the two people on the right.  I couldn’t hear any sounds…I just quietly
said to myself:

 

                                “I
hope they don’t fuck up…there has been enough pain today!”

 

                                I
thought I said it quietly enough that nobody else could hear me…I was wrong!

 

                                “Oh Mr.
Herring…there is NEVER enough pain…NEVER ENOUGH!!!!!”

 

 

                               

 

                               

 

 

                               

 

                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 5

 

                        As the moving walk I stood on slowly took me to my
next destination;

 

“Mr.
Herring…the finale of your “Fun Filled Day” is within minutes from now.  The last part of your “Fun Filled Day” will
be a ride that you have loved for years…but I bet after today, you will look at
with a whole new light!  Please remain
standing on the walk until it comes to a stop…a stop in front of              

 

The Torture Track.



 

                        As
the moving walk slowly took me, I looked to the sky and saw that the sun was
beginning to dip behind the clouds.  I
had no idea what time it was, but I knew that I had been at the Harris Carnival
for quite a while.  All of a sudden it
hit me…” The Torture Track” …what the hell could that mean?  My mind whirled on the different rides that
it could be and none fit the bill…except one…just one.  As the moving walk slowly came to a stop, I
stood in front of something that looked like it came out of the mind of a
madman.

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…welcome to “The Torture Track” …please step forward and have a seat in
the car in front of you and lower down the shoulder restraint.”

 

                        As
I got as comfortable as I possibly could in the orange colored seat that also
had a flat metal plate that my legs rested against, I reached up and grabbed
the yellow shoulder restraints and pulled them down.  The bottom of the yellow restraints rested
just below my chest.  Without warning I
heard a loud metal snapping sound and when I let go of the shoulder restraints,
they stayed in place.  I pushed outward
and the shoulder restraints never budged.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
welcome to the final part of your “Fun Filled Day!”  Please place your arms and hands on the arm
rests and…HEH…HEH…HEH… try to relax!”

 

                        As
soon as I put my arms and hands on the armrests, a metal clamp locked my arms
down and what looked like old-fashioned manacles locked my wrists in
place.  At the same time my legs were
locked in place against the metal plate they were resting against.

 

                                “Mr. Herring…please
do not confuse my Torture Track with any other roller coaster that you have
seen or rode on in the past…trust me Mr. Herring…this ride is nothing like you
have ever rode on.”

 

                        I
can remember just yelling out:

 

CUT THE
BULLSHIT!

 

LET’S DO
THIS!

 

CRASH
& BURN MOTHERFUCKER!

 

 

                                “The
Voice” gave a sinister laugh…then I heard the engine of the ride rev up and the
car I sat in slowly began to roll forward. 
I’m not sure how long it took before the speed of the car I was in was
at a “HOLY FUCKING SHIT!!!!” speed…but it didn’t seem long.  As the car I sat in curved to the left, I
began to slowly incline…you could hear the clicking of the chain underneath my
car as I climbed upward toward the top of the ride.  It took about 2 minutes before the car and I
finally level off…the view was extraordinary to say the least.  Once I arrived at the top, the car I sat in
stopped and I heard echoing through the sky:

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
you are now approximately 2,500 feet in the air.  I know that you have a fear of heights and
that thought brings me nothing but pure pleasure!  It is now time for you to learn the
rules.  Mr. Herring, please know that
there will be no Punishment for any deviation of the rules…because your total
experience on “The Torture Track” will be punishment…no matter whether you
deviate from the rules or not!  You are
going to be asked a series of questions, correct answers will cause very little
pain…which will piss me off!!!!! 
Incorrect answers will make me smile…you’ll find out why!!!!!   So, Mr. Herring…let’s begin!!!!!”

 

                        As
“The Voice’s” words finished, the car I sat in slowly began to roll forward
until I saw one hell of a downhill slant. 
Like a bullet shot out of a gun the car I sat in rocketed down the
decline toward what looked like a loop. 
As the car I sat in rocketed up the first curve heading toward the top
of the loop, I closed my eyes, scared to death when all of a sudden the car
that I sat in abruptly stopped.  My hands
were clenched into fists and my eyelids were tightly shut when I heard:

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…you must open your eyes NOW!
or do you need some assistance from me?”

 

                        I
immediately opened my eyes out of fear of what kind of assistance I would have
been given.  Right then I saw the world
upside down and to be quite honest…I farted!!! To this day I’m surprised that I
didn’t shit my pants!!! 

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
your first task is quite simple to say the least.  What time were you to be at The Harris
Carnival this morning?”

 

                                I
smiled as the question was being asked…

 

                                “10
am, I had to be here at exactly 10 am.”

 

“CORRECT”

 

                                Just
as that one word finished…I felt one hell of a Zap that went from my feet to
the top of my head!  It wasn’t a jolt
that incapacitated me…but I felt it!

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it is now time to continue:”

 

                        Without
warning the car I sat in completed the loop at what felt like 250 miles per
hour.  A curve to the right then had me
laying on my side, then up-righted. 
Ahead I saw what looked to be 3 corkscrew curves…each one had a voltage
box just to one side of it.  The first
box read, 10 volts…the second box read, 25 volts…and the final box read, 50
volts.  As I approached the first
corkscrew I readied myself for what I knew was going to definitely suck!!!

 

                                The
first jolt sucked harsh…but nothing that I couldn’t handle.  The second jolt made my arms and legs stiffen
for a second or two.  The third jolt made
my entire body stiffen…and I mean stiffen hard and I stayed that way for about
10 to 15 seconds.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
that was a shocking experience….HA…HA…HA!!!!!”

 

                        As
my senses slowly returned I saw another drop just ahead of me.  Just before the car I sat in came to the
drop, the car stopped and rocked my body back a forth just a tad.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
it is time for your next question…remember, a correct answer will piss me
off!!!!!

                       

                        “How
old were you when you gave Sarah Beth the sexual disease?”

 

                        I
just blurted out…”19…I was 19!”

 

                                I
figured that the car I was in would then move forward…but I was wrong.  Just then I heard:

 

                                EXCELLENT!!!!!

 

      I knew right then that I
had gotten the answer wrong…but that wasn’t possible…I was 19 years old.  With a puzzled look on my face I yelled out:

 

            “But
I got the question right…I was 19 years old at that point.”

 

                                 “Mr. Herring…your age is correct, but you didn’t
correct me!  What was the name of the
female?”

 

                        I
can remember yelling: 

 

“Brook!”

 

                        “That is correct Mr. Herring, but
that is not the name that I said.”

 

                        Without
warning I heard the sound of a saw rev it’s motor and as quick as the blink of
an eye, my left arm was gone, the only thing left was my shoulder. I screamed,
the pain was excruciating to say the least! 
Blood spurted from my severed limb and at the same time I saw the
restraint that held my arm to the armrest release and I watched my left arm
plummet to the ground and bounce to the side like a rubber ball.  Just like when I lost my pinky during a
punishment, a pressure bandage appeared over my shoulder.

 

                                “Wonderful Mr. Herring, absolutely wonderful!!!!!”

 

                        Once
again without warning the car I sat in jutted forward at what seemed to be the
speed of light.  I screamed in terror as
the car I sat in plummeted down the track. 
When I arrived at the bottom I looked around and saw what looked to be a
landing platform…so I assumed that I had survived “The Torture Track”, but how
wrong I was.

 

                                The
car I sat in continued to speed forward…with each turn of the wheels on the car
electrical shocks were being shot throughout my body.  Some hurt like hell…and some were kinda like
when you were a kid and stuck your tongue in between the two poles of a square 9-volt
battery…that kinda numbness filled my torso at different times.  The car I sat in began to slow down when I
heard:

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…the final part of “The Torture Track” awaits you.  It is time for your final question.”

 

                        After
everything that I had endured during that day…this final question was going to
be a piece of cake…at least that is what I thought.

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…if you answer the following question correctly, the car you are sitting
in will back up and you will be sitting at the landing platform where you will
be able to exit my Torture Track…and it will

 

FUCKING PISS ME OFF!!!!!

 

                        “However,
if you answer incorrectly…I will enjoy watching the car you are sitting in
speed down the final track and smash into a solid concrete wall, 500 feet from
you…where you will…
DIE!!!!!…OH how
wonderful that will be!!!!!”

 

                        I
was ready…so I yelled as loud as I could:

 

 

WHAT’S THE FUCKING QUESTION?!!!

 

 

 

 

                        “Mr.
Herring…why didn’t you get your shirt when you were 16 years of age?”  

 

START HIS CAR!

 

                                Next
thing I knew the car I sat in began to pick up speed.  Before me stood the solid concrete wall that
“The Voice” had mentioned.  My mind raced
for the answer to the question when I heard:

 

“400 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
have to admit that I was having a hard time concentrating.  The car I sat in continued to gain speed when
I heard:

 

“300 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                        I
remember straining my brain to remember the answer but at the same time scarred
to death because the solid concrete wall was getting closer and closer…and I
swear that the closer I came to the wall, the more I heard “The Voice” giggle
with glee and pleasure.

 

“200 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                At
this point I yelled out:

 

                                IT WAS
BECAUSE MY PARENTS SLEPT IN THAT DAY!

 

         I
thought that would do it…that would be the answer that would return me to the
landing platform.

 

“100 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
was dumbfounded…if that wasn’t the answer, then what the hell was?  My mind whirled on trying to come up with
another answer & at the same time I struggled to free myself from the
restraints that held me in the car…but the more I struggled, the more
electrical shocks I felt jolt through my body. 
As the pain I felt began to subside from the shocks that were delivered,
I heard:

 

“50 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
had no idea what more he wanted out of me…then out of nowhere I thought of
something else I could say when I heard:

 

“25 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

THEY RAN
OUT OF SHIRTS!!!!!!

 

“15 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                What
the hell could “The Voice” be talking about? 
I said about mom and dad & the fact that there were no shirts
left!  My eyes bulged more and more out
of my head as I saw the concrete wall growing.

 

“10 feet to
go Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
can remember yelling:

 

                                “I’VE TOLD
YOU ALL THAT I CAN REMEMBER!!!!!”

 

                        “Mr.
Herring…you know that there is more to tell!”

 

“5 feet to go
Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
can remember saying:

 

“No there isn’t, that’s all that happened.”

“4 feet to go
Mr. Herring”

 

                        The cement wall
was growing larger and larger the closer I came to it.  What more did “The Voice” want from me?

 

“3 feet to go
Mr. Herring”

 

                                I
sat silent…straining my memory to come up with something to say!  The terror inside of me grew as I saw the
massive concrete wall getting closer and closer.

 

“2 feet to go
Mr. Herring”

 

 

 

                                All
of a sudden one other thought popped into my mind…one that I did my best for so
many years to block out.  I went for
broke and yelled out:

 

                IT WAS
BECAUSE OF THAT ONE LITTLE BITCH…THAT ONE LITTLE BITCH THAT CUT IN LINE IN
FRONT OF ME!!!!!!!

 

                                Just
as those words finished echoing out of my mouth the car I sat in began to slow
down at a rapid pace.  That’s when I
heard a quite defeated:

 

 

 

 

 

DAM!!!!!

 

 

 

                               

 

                                Right
then the car I sat in began to back up and just as I was told…the car I sat in
came to a rest right beside the landing platform.

 

                                “MR. HERRING…GET THE FUCK OFF MY TORTURE TRACK…NOW!!!!!”

 

                                As
I stepped out of the car I breathed a sigh of relief…I was alive…I survived!

 

                                “Mr. Herring…step
onto the walk.”

 

                        As
I stepped onto the walk a seat appeared behind me, bumping into my legs forcing
me to sit down.  Next thing I knew I was
going at breakneck speed to what I was sure would be the exit to the carnival.

 

                                “Are
you letting me get outta here?”

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…just keep your ass where you are!”

 

                                I
sat as the seat took me past the different activities that I had endured
throughout the day.  Just before the
chair came to a stop I heard:

 

                                “Mr.
Herring…there is still one more thing left to do during your “Fun Filled Day”
and that is to visit…” The Gift Shop.”

                                As
I stood I looked at what seemed to be a small storefront that had different
posters depicting happy families on different rides.  As I stepped inside the shop I saw things that
I’ve never seen in a giftshop setting before.

 

 

CHAPTER 6

 

                                Walking
around the inside of the Gift Shop I was amazed at how many “Normal” things
they had for sale…that is until I closely inspected some of the items.

 

                                “Mr. Herring,
Welcome to the Harris Carnival Gift Shop. 
Here you can browse many different items that have to do with your “Fun
Filled Day” and I have to be honest…the prices are quite reasonable.”

 

                        As
I looked at the different items I came to the realization that I didn’t have
any money on me…just plastic…and there wasn’t much money on them either!  I saw a table that had a variety of snow
globes on them…some miniature all the way up to ones that had 6-inch bottoms
with glass orbs about 9 inches in diameter. 
I remember picking up one of the medium size globes and what I saw
inside made my jaw drop…because what I saw inside was a plastic figure that
looked exactly like me and I was sitting on the swing just after my pinky was
severed off.  The look of pain on my face
drew me back to that moment.  I put the
globe back on the table when I heard:

 

                                “Awe… Mr.
Herring…not for you?  Well, feel free to
continue to look.”

 

                        I
decided that enough was enough and I wanted the hell out of there.

 

                                “I’M NOT
GONNA BUY ANY OF YOUR SHIT…LET ME LEAVE!!!!!”

 

                        “Mr.
Herring…if that is your wish…then:

 

 

 

“FUCKING
LEAVE ASSHOLE!!!!!”

 

 

 

 

                        Without moving an
inch, I somehow was standing back on the moving walk.  I saw ahead of me a set of doors that had
square boxes in the middle of them that read one word:

 

EXIT

 

 

 

                                As
I went through the double doors I breathed a full sigh of relief…finally it was
time for me to return to my car.  I
looked to my left side and glanced at the area where my left arm had been
earlier on that day…and then the moving walk stopped.  I stepped outside and looked across the
parking lot to where my car was parked. 
I have seen a lot of beautiful things in my life…but I knew that seeing
my car in front of me was the most beautiful thing in the world.  As I made it to my driver side door I turned
around and looked toward the entrance to the park when I heard:

 

                                “Drive
careful Mr. Herring…you don’t know who you will be hearing from in the future.”

 

                        I
climbed inside my car, started the engine and made my way away from where I
supposedly had a “Fun Filled Day.”  My
mind retraced the day and everything that took place…and to be quite honest…I
don’t remember driving home.

 

                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 7

 

 

                                So,
there you have it…my entire “Fun Filled Day” … 
I used to be addicted to all of the scratchers…now they scare the shit
out of me!  I still get the bullshit
cards with the areas to scratch off in the mail…I rip those bastards into
shreds and throw them in the trash.  But
you wanna hear something funny…it has been 10 years now since my “Fun Filled
Day” and each year without fail…I have received a telephone call…each year on
August 1st at precisely 10:00am. 
Each call has been the same…just 8 words…8 words that have haunted me
for the past 10 years.  Today is August 1st
and the time is 9:59am…if all goes the same…my phone will ring in 1 minutes or
less. 

 

“RINNNNNG!”

“RINNNNNG!”

“RINNNNNG!”

 

                                As
I look at my watch I see that it is 10:00am…as I pick up the receiver with my
right hand and place it against my right ear:

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hello Mr.
Herring…I am still with you!”

 

                        “Why
are you calling me?  I don’t know what
you want but I know that you are the same person that has called me each year…Tell
me who the fuck you are or quit these fucking phone calls”

                                The
silence was absolutely deafening!  I
waited for a response that I had a feeling would not be coming…so I just yelled
out:

TELL ME WHO YOU ARE OR FUCK OFF!!!!

 

 

PUNISHMENT!!!!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE END

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