The Creative Writing Club that I am in is doing a horror genre for October. This weeks genre is Twisted Carnival...
The moon was full that night. It was always full. Each night as I left the hall of mirrors to remove my clown suit, I saw it, just peeking over the tops of the blackened, dead trees. I was not alone. There were my colleagues and friends with me, as I got rid of the carnival's remnants. The day had been long, with snot-nosed brats and annoyed parents yelling and screaming all day. I was tired.
My fellows turned to me and said good night, one by one, as they wandered off to find their berths for the night. I wondered if Bridget, the bearded lady, was able to get all of her fake beard off her face before she went to sleep. I wondered if Steve, the clown was finished cleaning up his pie mess in the main tent. Mostly, I wondered if the carnival would make it. There had been disappearances lately; many, many, disappearances. At first, it was merely a single child, lost during the dead of the night, just before the carnival closed. Then it was a set of twins, taken in plain sight. The first happened two months ago. The second three weeks ago. The third was just yesterday. It was a little boy. I saw him before he vanished. It was like a card trick; one minute it was there, the next it wasn't. The child seemingly vanished into the air; becoming misty and translucent before fading entirely.
It seems like life is a dream now. I feel like a cloud floating on the wind; drifting without a destination. I live each and day, though all days feel the same. I tell my brethren that I am happy, but I see them fade more each day. Like the child that faded from my sight, they fade in spirit after each day's work. The carnival is bringing them down. The children are breaking their spirits. The disappearances are making them scared. I look around for others and spot old Hilda as she sweeps the sidewalks free of trash. She is a sweet old lady. She was with us even in the beginning. She has always believed in us; in the carnival, but now, even that thought cannot bring up my thoughts, as grungy and depressed as they were. It had been issued. The carnival would have to close until the children were found; and they would not be. The carnival was gone, though the tents were still up. I felt lost with the realization that my home was to be taken from me. The manager said, with his portly stomach shaking, that it would only be temporary. I do not believe him. It is an easy thing for him to say, when he does not live within the carnival. He has his own house; we are his money makers, nothing else.
I look back to the front of the hall of mirrors tent. I still see the moon. I still see the child, vanishing before me. I am stuck upon that moment. It was like a haze had settled upon me in those moments. Me, with my blackened fingertips, black striped clown suit thick with soot from the rockets; me, with my blackened hair and eyes; I was there. The child looked at me before it disappeared. He was a small boy, colored in red and brown. His skin was darker than mine; much darker. He was not as pale by far. I seem unable now to look away. I wonder, is this my fate; to die seeing naught but my failure to cry out? I shake my head. The child is infecting my thoughts, no one will die, except me, and that will be with the circus.
The moon is still peeking out from behind the trees. I close my eyes and breathe deeply through the smoke of my mind. I see the little boy again. I reach for him this time. I reach and reach. I catch him. His innocent blue eyes turn to me. '
"Why do you stay?" he asks me. "Why?"
"The carnival is my home," I tell him. "It is my home and my life."
He told me I was dead. I saw him disappear! I am not dead! He must be haunting me! I backed away before noticing the smoke. It had not been my mind. There was smoke around me. Why? I look at the child again, but he has changed. He is a young man now. Why is he older? Why has he changed? I am the same. I have not grown. The moon is still full and peeking over the trees. Nothing has changed, but him. Why?
I turn myself once more. This time I see the flames. I had been talking with Hilda about the carnival that had burnt down last week just this morning; the carnival that I dreamt of. It had been bad luck. I dreamt of their screams and the blackening flesh; of not being able to move, even as they yelled for help. I lay there, on my bed, waiting for someone to loosen the spell; to break me free, so I could help. The moon was full that night too. It lay behind the tree, lightly hidden, in wait for the sun. But that was a while ago. This must be a dream. I smile and relax, turning back to the apparition.
"You are not real, so leave," I tell it. The boy looks at me and cries a single tear.
"When will you move on?" he asks. "You have been dead for years. You died in the fire that consumed the carnival. You died in your sleep. Wake up! See the world around you! You haunt an empty lot!"
I tune him out. This is a dream. I know it is a dream. The moon is behind the clouds now. This must be a dream. The moon never moves. It is sacred. It stays behind the trees until the spring. The autumn draws it low, making it perfect for the equinox; for all hallows eve, for Halloween. I turn once more, but he is gone. I feel tired. I should sleep. Children do not mix well with me.
When I awakened, I remembered going to get ready for bed, but not going to bed. Regardless, I felt refreshed. I went into the hall of mirrors, just like every other day. I talked to Hilda and ate breakfast there. We had eggs. She told of another disappearance. A set of twins had disappeared two weeks ago and they had found the bodies. There was a cannibal in the woods nearby, or maybe in the carnival. It could have been one of us, but we though not. We knew each other. I knew the carnival. The carnival was safe. It lived within its own time; never changing for others. After work, I left the hall of mirrors. I was caked in ash from the fireworks display. My black and white uniform drooped, as I turned and looked towards the sky. The moon was full tonight. I saw it there, peaking from behind the blackened trees. The smoke was once more heavy in my gaze. I caught a glimpse of a child in red and brown. He turned to me before he faded into the smoky mist. I saw fire in his eyes. I turned quickly. The carnival was gone. Nothing but ash remained. When I turned back in panic, I saw the hall of mirrors. It was broken and old; abandoned within a decrepit lot for years. I did not understand. Why was I destined to die within a broken husk? I knew I would die within the carnival, but I thought I would die in a rocket explosion; a firework malfunction. I closed my eyes and fell into oblivion.
I was walking from the hall of mirrors, when I turned. The moon was full that night. It was always full. Each night as I left the hall of mirrors to remove my clown suit, I saw it, just peeking over the tops of the blackened, dead trees. The night was chilled, but I was not alone. My colleagues and friends were with me, as I got rid of the carnival's remnants. I had seen a child disappear yesterday. He had death and destruction in his eyes. My friends were always with me now, as they looked out for me in my fright. I headed towards my tent. I was tired. It had been a long day…
So, what do you thank? Was it creepy/depressing enough to count as a horror/Halloween story?