It had been nineteen years since Steven had been here. Now that he was, he wished he had never come.
The last day of that long ago summer was now vivid in his memory. As dusk had fallen, the breeze had carried the smell of popcorn, the air had been awash with brilliant colored lights, and above it all was the calliope music of the carousel. He had watched with wonder as those magical porcelain steeds paraded up and down, flashing past the elusive brass ring. He had only been seven that year, but he had been enchanted by this place. He could remember watching the teenage boys spend all their money trying to win teddy bears for their girlfriends, and he remembered how grown-up he had felt when his mom let him ride the Ferris Wheel alone. That had been a magical night.
Until he met the gypsy woman, that was.
She was the oldest woman Stevie had ever seen, and her wrinkled face scared him. He tried to sneak past the little fortune-telling booth, but she had whipped her hand out like a snake and grabbed his wrist. He had felt the iron strength of her grip, and she pulled him close, whispering a single sentence: "I will be here, when you come back." Her voice had been rough, like sandpaper on wet wood. One of her eyes had been a shimmering electric blue, the other was cloudy and gray. She stared into his face from beneath an overhanging hooded brow, and then grinned at him, exposing one very long canine tooth behind cracked white lips.
Stevie had felt his testicles try to crawl up inside his belly. He had pulled his hand from the old crone's grasp and run crying, all the way back to his mother's side. He wouldn't be consoled, and she had finally relented and taken him home.
Over the years he had actually forgotten about that day, at least on the top of his mind, where normal, sane Steven lived. Somewhere deep inside though, Stevie remembered. He had avoided carnivals, and even fairs, ever since.
He stared up at the window at the top of the old fun-house.
This place was supposed to be deserted, and from the looks of it, should be condemned. Weeds grew rampant through the cracked asphalt, and the rusting skeleton of the Ferris wheel stood like a museum dinosaur, watching over the crumbling remains of the roller-coaster. The carousel was gone, and this fun-house was the only building left standing; it's doorways showed only dark caves where doors used to hang. Above the faded, peeling words on the front was a single window, in which glowed a feeble light. As Steven watched, a shadow crossed that window, where none should be.
From somewhere within the old building, came that same gravelly sand-paper voice. "I knew you'd come back to me."
Steve tried to run, but his feet wouldn't obey. Instead, he found himself walking toward the open door in front of him. Horrified, he realized that he could just make out two eyes in the gloom, one cloudy gray and one electric blue.
© 2018 - dustygrein