Soft sunlight glints off rides and merry go rounds, merry jingles floating through the air. The bustle of the carnival goes on around you as you stroll along, enjoying the day.
It’s breezy, yet the breeze is warm and butter-soft, gently wrapping your soft silk dress around your legs as you walk, the taste of ice cream on your lips and contentment in your heart.
You’ve always loved carnivals, loved the life and crowds and energy of them. Children rush past, made energetic by cotton candy and excitement. In the golden sunshine you see mothers rubbing sun screen on protesting children, teenagers shrieking with glee on the rides, or holding hands nervously with each other, delighting in their first taste of closeness with another. Young men cast appreciative glances your way, and you blush softly.
The sun continues to shine down upon you, the sounds and smells and sights blending together into a patchwork of sensations, the scent of cotton candy, happy shouts, a warm breeze…
Sudden freezing cold.
You pause, icecream melting onto your hand unheeded. In the warmth of the summer day, its easy to pass off that cold as a figment of imagination, yet it was so sudden, so intense and so real that your mind can find no explanation.
You try to shrug it off and enjoy the day, and soon you are happily watching a group of children learn a life lesson on trusting the carnies who say every ball wins a prize, even as cold wind buffets the back of your neck.
Your head jerks up, and sudden horror begins to crystallize in your brain as something invisible and unseen slips away, visible only by a sudden rustle in the grass. You shiver, the warm happiness of the day fading fast.
You move away, going faster then normal,frantically rationalizing to yourself.

You’re dehydrated.
You’re heatstruck.
You have an overactive

As you rest by the hot dog stand, the seller pauses in ladling another scoop of onions onto a hotdog and asks if you’re alright. You not and assure him you’re fine you’re not and just tired. He nods and smiles, inquiring as to whether you’d like a hotdog. You decline politely, your stomach churning too much for food cold fingers stroke down your face.
The horror on your face is obvious, and you bolt, the sellers worried cries fading into the background. There is something after you, seen in the corner of your vision, no longer invisible but faster than your eyes can follow. You see…you don’t know what you see, details too faint, too strange, too OTHERLY to identify. Noone else can see it, you know that. It seems to pass them with no notice, normal life continuing around it.
You are the target. It wants you to fear.
Shouts and complaints follow you as you run blindly, sick horror filling you. You bounce into someone who grabs at you, swearing. You flail desperately, breaking free, almost screaming as the smell of its vile breath draws closer (how can no one see this!) light reflecting off unseen teeth (I don’t want to die!) harsh breath panting in your ear (God help me!) as it draws closer.
Something strange is happening to the crowd. The sounds blur together, becoming a sinister mockery with a muffled, underwater quality, the tinkle of the merry go round a vile parody. The faces seem odd, paler, melted, mingling with the bleeding colours of the rest of the carnival in a ghastly palette. The appetizing smells now churn your stomach, similar enough to taunt, yet wrong enough to terrify.
Your legs are tired, the air seeming to thicken and condense, as if you run through water. The creature has no problems. It’s gaining.
As you feel it behind you, you make the last mistake of your life. You turn and look. Before you can scream, your mind shatters as you get your first good look. It reaches you.

The carnival continues on.

Credit To – Christine Dell

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