I used to live in the Lower Queen Anne region of Seattle, just a few blocks from the Space Needle, which has a little park around it- lawns, a fountain, sculptures, a theater and museums- a little park which is remarkably safe after nightfall. There is also, in the same complex that has all these great museums and verdant lawns, a sad little failing fair, which is deserted enough in the daytime. It was a great hangout for me and my friends after dark. We used to climb to the top of the roller coaster, smoke a little pot, and talk about the sort of trouble we could get in if we actually had the nerve, which we never did.

It was nice. We were so high up, we could see all the city lights glittering like deep-sea fish, and there was a lovely feeling of wrongdoing coupled with the almost certain fact that nobody cared we were there.

One day we decided to do shrooms instead. It was a good idea at first. The pretty lights and cool, crisp air became a religious experience. Then, all of a sudden, SNAP- something changed. We all felt it. The air wasn’t cool or crisp anymore. It was musty and humid and had a horrible, somehow familiar smell. The lights started to move about in a very unusual manner, sort of lurching and bobbing and above all, approaching. We didn’t see anything actually come into the little patch of fair that we were looking down on, but the lights around it were far, far too close together.

Obviously, we started to freak out. Me and AnneMarie and Brian perched up on that coaster ledge like our lives depended on it, but Eric broke off running. He made his way down the coaster with the grace of an ape, and lunged over the fence, and rushed off into the middle of the sane and healthy-looking concrete. There was a huge chirring sound, which was distinctly insect-like and seemed to come from no direct source, but rather from every molecule of the atmosphere that surrounded us.

Then- SNAP. The city was back to its normal, peaceful self, and the three of us were still up the coaster, beginning to shiver a little in the drizzle. 

We never saw Eric again. I moved to the country soon afterwards. You can visit that roller coaster in Seattle, but somehow I suspect the same thing could happen in any city. Anyone in a densely populated area with a lot of lights could experience just such a SNAP. I know they like population centers. I don’t hear the chirring out here in the country.

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