Your little brother grips the belt loop of your jeans. You grasp your father’s shirt in your fingers. He leads you into the dark. You wind around this corner and that. Suddenly a flash of light reveals an ugly green face with bloody, bulging eyes and maniacal laughter fills the air.
Your father jumps, you jump, your brother jumps. Somewhere in the dark someone screams. Your brother’s grip on your belt loop tugs at your jeans. You continue walking only to realize you no longer have a hold of your father’s shirt. Your heart pounds and your legs feel like pudding.
“Hey,” you shout, beating the air, searching for something solid.
“Hey, yourself,” says your father’s voice in the darkness as he takes your hand.
A buzzer sounds and the floor slides under your feet. Your body tingles with adrenalin as you stumble forward. Your father catches you. The floor steadies. But now your brother no longer has a grip on your pants.
Fingers scratch across your neck and grab your ponytail. It’s your brother–you think. But no, he’s too short to grab your hair like that, and since when did he have long fingernails? You tell yourself that it’s not real, that this place is not real.
“Trevor, still with us?” asks your father.
“Well, someone is,” you reply, feeling hot breath on your neck. Trevor definitely isn’t tall enough to breathe on your neck.
The grip on your hair tightens. More maniacal laughter ripples through the air. A body presses into your back. Definitely not your brother.
Girls scream. Guys laugh.
“Can we get out of here?” you ask.
“Yep, the door’s right here.”
Snap! Sunlight floods over you. Your father lets go of your hand and you step out of the fun house at the Canadian National Exhibition. Your brother shoots out of the door, onto the platform and shouts, “Cool, can we do that again?”
You’re aware that a hand still grips your ponytail, so you reach around to the back of your head. There’s nothing there. You look around as the door closes.
There’s no one there but you, your father and your brother. Shivers run down your spine. Your father asks if you want to do it again. You shake your head because your words stick in your throat.
“Aw, c’mon,” pleads your little brother. “You know it’s not real.”
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Kellee Kranendonk is a Canadian writer, a wife, mom, and the editor of Youth Imagination Magazine. She’s been published most recently in such magazines as Voluted Tales, 365 Tomorrows, Aurora Wolf, The Fifth Di, 101 Words, and Flash Fiction Press. Her non-fiction has appeared on the Write Well, Write to Sell websites.