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Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Scary Ride

My Halloween story for 2018. Enjoy!

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“Mom, can I go?” I held out a flier to her. It read, “This Halloween, ride the Spookiest Roller Coaster you’ve ever rode in your LIFE!”

My mom scanned the flier. “Stephen, is Greg going with you to this?”

I nodded. “Everyone will go there. I don’t want to be the only one in school who hasn’t gone.”

She shrugged. “Don’t see any reason why not. But, be back in time to take your younger brother out trick-or-treating. Okay?”

“Oh, I guess.” Though I’d rather spend the evening with my friends. But I couldn’t tell mom that. I smiled instead. “Thanks, mom.”

“You’re welcome, son.” She returned to cooking dinner. Was that a hint of a smile I saw on her as she turned away from me?

I pulled the phone from my pocket as I walked into the living room. I called Greg. When he answered, I said, “Hi Greg. I’m in. Mom gave her okay.”

“Me too. But only if I was back in time to help with the dishing out the candy.”

I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, my mom wants me back in time to take my brother out trick-or-treating.”

“Bummer.”

“Yeah, but it is what it is” I smiled. “Though, she didn’t say exactly when I had to be back.”

He laughed. “Be careful. When the clock strikes midnight . . .”

I chuckled at his attempt at humor. “What? Will I turn into a vampire?”

“Or worse, a ghost.”

“See you later, Joker.”

He continued laughing. “Bye, Casper.”

The line went dead.


# # #


The entrance appeared to be a standard “scary” ride entrance. A simple sign that had letters dripping “blood” that said, “Scary Roller Coaster: The Scariest Ride of Your Life!”

I pointed at the sign. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

Greg brushed his auburn hair back. “Yeah, these rides rarely live up to their hype.”

After several minutes, we finally entered the carts. Attendants came along to ensure everyone’s bar was locked in place and seat belts were snapped together.

Over the loudspeaker, a cackling voice said, “Enjoy your scare!”  The ride lurched forward and we entered a dark hole that the rails wound into. In the darkness I heard the clanking of the chains as the carts were pulled toward the top of a drop.  The tension grew greater with each second that brought us nearer the drop that we couldn’t see.

Finally, with a flash of lights, a giant stood on the top of the tracks as we sped past his legs. He reached down, barely missing the last cart as we careened down the first big dip. A dozen or so ghost lit up the dark as they flew just above us. Over the loudspeakers we could hear “Ohooooooooooo” and laughing, mixed in with screams from people in the carts.

Then the whole place lit up with sparks. Screams came from somewhere deep inside the building. Then everything grew dark. The coaster continued on its journey in silence, but nothing else happened for a few seconds. Then light once again lit up the building and died off quickly. The ghost came back to life, glowing as before. Except, this time, they brushed against me as they flew by. And the feeling was like nothing I’d ever felt before. A deathly coldness numbed my body where they had brushed against me.

As the roller coaster reached a new peak and started to dive into a new dip, a row of traditional monsters appeared beside us and reached out. Except this time, they were grabbing people.  They had problems pulling anyone out belted in as we were. One person in front of me screamed as the monster pulled so hard on him, only to have him slip from his grasp.

This was either a very convincing acting job, or something had gone terribly wrong. The facial expressions of the monster appeared genuinely disappointed at not pulling the guy out of his seat. One thing was for sure: these were not robotic monsters.

Then the lights darkened for a few seconds. When it reappeared, a vampire sat in the seat right in front of me. The vampire leaned over and sunk its teeth into the neck of the person sitting next to him. I screamed, by reaction to what I was seeing.  Then the vampire turned its head and looked me in the eyes. These were not the eyes of a robot, but of a real person, who now had the blood of his last meal dripping from his teeth.

His stare sent shivers down my spine. Then the lights went out again. Someone tried to nuzzle in between me and Greg. I couldn’t take it anymore. As the coaster continued rolling through banks and turns, I undid my seat belt and lifted my bar. Centripetal force kept me pinned in.

The lights came on and Greg no longer sat there. But the vampire did. He started to reach over toward me. About then, the coaster went through a twisting roll. I barely had time to grab the bar before I fell out of my seat. The vampire, however, wasn’t so lucky. He fell downward. As the cart came out of the twist and started going up, I worked my way back into my seat and buckled back in.

My heart was pumping now. But it raced even faster when I saw a bat flying beside the coaster. As it attempted to move toward the cart, I kept batting it away. Then as if it willed it to happen, the lights fell dark again. I kept swinging my arms wildly in hopes I would keep the vampire away.

The lights reemerged from the darkness and my heart froze. The coaster careened toward a “track under repair” sign, with the frayed edges of the track hanging over a precipice. I started frantically trying to get my seat belt undone. I pulled on it frantically, but nothing would give. As the end of the track approached, I braced myself. I hoped mom would understand why I missed taking my brother out, assuming I even survived this crazy ride.

The cart blew through the sign, which busted into fragments. Then the cart sank, but I felt something pull me up and out of the cart. When the lights came back on, I looked up and saw the vampire, holding me with his hands, flying through the air.  I was doomed to become a vampire!

We landed on a platform a little ways off. Then he let go and smiled.

I said, “Don’t you want to drink my blood?”

He shook his head. “Nope. I enjoy a good beer now and then, but no blood.”

I stared at him. My eyes, no doubt, betrayed my confusion.

“That’s because,” he said, “you’re on ‘You’ve Been Had’!”

I blinked. “What?”

A door opened up to the side of the platform and everyone yelled, “Surprise!” Cameras surrounded me.

Greg approached me and said, “We got you good, eh?”

“You mean, this was all an elaborate set up?”

“With the help of some good actors, yes.”

I breathed in deep. “Everyone on the cart was an actor?”

Greg laughed, “Several, not everyone.” He pointed at me, “You should have seen your face! We’ve got the whole thing on video.”

Mom’s face popped up in the crowd. “Which we’ll have fun watching over and over again. Now, Stephen, let’s get on with trick-or-treating.”

I pointed a finger at Greg. “I’ll get you back for this, if it is the last thing I do.” Because, I thought, the ride almost was the last thing I would ever do.

“One things for sure,” Greg said. “This was the scariest ride of your life.”

I breathed a sign of relief. My heart still pumped hard from the experience. “On that, we definitely agree.”