The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Ride of Their Lives
“About time they re-opened this ride.”
Jared glared around the staging site as they waited for their turn at what was being called “The Ride of the Year.” So far it had simply been The Wait of the Century.
“Oh, quit griping,” his girlfriend, Amanda, told him. “We’re almost to the head of the line now.”
The exit doors of the ride were straight across from Jared’s group of friends, and they could see the empty cars sloshing their way around the curve.
“There’s one improvement,” he muttered. “At least the people are getting off in a different place. No more confusion as to who is supposed to be in the cars.”
“Our turn!” Jared’s sister, Bethany, was jumping up and down with excitement. Her boyfriend, Caleb, put a restraining hand on her shoulder.
“You’re making the platform wobble. Cut it out!”
The platform was indeed wobbling, which none of them had noticed before. They were only too glad to scurry to the cars and climb in.
The doors opened, and they were pulled into the darkness beyond.
The first scenario was coming up soon.
“My favorite!” whispered Amanda. “That skeleton sitting on the treasure always scared me as a kid.” She looked ahead in excited expectation. “Wonder if they’ve changed it?”
She gave a small gasp when it came into view. There was no skeleton now—the star of the set was the body of a headless man instead of gleaming bones.
“Oh, yuck!” Jared exclaimed. “Who decided that was better?”
He was suddenly interrupted by a jolt.
“What? Now? What do we do?” Bethany was close to panicking.
But everything quieted down, and the ride went on.
The car glided up to where the ride curved around to the right. There was an alcove to their left, off of the course, that was dimly lit. Above the door was an “Exit” sign.
“Well, I guess if we’d had to leave—”
Jared’s words were cut off by Amanda’s scream.
The car had veered away from the ride, and was now heading onto the tracks toward the emergency exit!
Now on dry land, the car picked up speed, and it looked as if they were going to ram the doors. But just as they got to them, they opened without a sound, welcoming the terrified riders into a new blackness.
The car suddenly dropped straight down, and its occupants screamed and held on for dear life.
But the drop was short-lived, and they found themselves coming to a stop almost immediately.
The darkness was gone, replaced by the soft glow of torchlight. The dim fires cast shadows on aged, mildewed walls and bricked-over doorways.
The four friends got out of the car and goggled at what they saw.
“It kinda looks like…New Orleans?”
“Well, that makes sense. The ride’s scenario was supposed to take place there in the 18th century.” Caleb took down one of the torches and examined the graffiti that was splashed along one of the walls.
“Hey, I think the guys that run this thing won’t want you taking down their props,” Jared warned him.
Bethany looked down at the dust that coated the place. “I don’t think anyone’s been here in a long time.”
“Then how do you explain the lit torches?” Amanda asked.
Bethany was about to volunteer an idea, when suddenly four other people came running around a far corner. They were dressed in ragged garb and were filthy.
They stopped running when they noticed the young friends. One of them yelled something in French, and they took off again.
“Weird. They never had live actors before,” Jared said.
As the newcomers got closer, Caleb said, “I don’t think they’re actors. I remember my high school French, and they are not saying nice things about us.”
“What is going on here?” Bethany shouted.
“I don’t know, but we’d better get away from these maniacs!” Jared shouted in return.
They took off in the opposite direction, but were suddenly blocked by another group of ragged men and women. Some carried torches, but others held rakes and spears in their hands.
Before they knew it, Jared and his friends were surrounded. The filthy (and now smelly) strangers moved them down a dark hall. Flickering light danced at the end of it, and they could now hear shouting and the sounds of fighting. Fires roared, and cannons went off, as they neared the corner.
The peasants, for lack of a better term, pushed and prodded the foursome onto a cart. They shouted something, again in French, and the cart took off. People reached in between the bars to scratch at Jared and the others.
“What…why?” Bethany hugged Caleb tightly, in an attempt to get away from the clawing throng.
Someone shouted, and in his words Caleb could make out “Bastille.” Fear froze his spine, and in a moment’s time he was joined in his terror by his friends.
For, as they moved forward, they could see, black against the fiery sky, a guillotine. And it was very busy.
Fiction © Copyright K.R. Morrison
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Author K.R. Morrison:
Lydia’s faith in God is strong – at least on paper. But what happens when that faith is tested? Turned into a vampire by the worst – Vlad Drakul – she feels that God has abandoned her. But the opposite is true. God rescues her from a fate worse than death, and brings her into the plan He has for global redemption. With the help He sends, she feels like nothing can stop her. But when Vlad torments her again, and then her family, the temptation to run and hide is almost too strong to resist. Her answer to God’s call is the deciding factor in the battle that pits the angelic powers of God against the demonic powers of Hell.