The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
Carnival of Specters
by Marge Simon
So there was an argument
about something, you forget what.
Wife took the car, fled to her mother.
And here you are, a free man
with nothing planned
on a warm summer night,
pulsing with excitement,
a carnival down the street.
You enter the gate
Expecting that same rush of joy
you knew as a boy,
but you’re met instead
with a discordant roar
pounding in your ears.
Beneath the cacophony, there is
a sense of isolation stabbed by time,
defaming Bradbury’s gestalt;
a magic dark and unsettling,
nostalgia by proxy.
A carousel of fiendish horses
revolves, strobe lights flicker
on the palsied faces of the riders,
pale hands clutching the poles,
bobbing up and down
in blissful madness.
You are captivated by
Setting the mood, a calliope plays
as faceless vendors vie for attention;
a charade of tempting games –
hit the baby elephants and swans,
around and around they parade
before the sights of your gun.
You think you hit them all because
the shill hands you a blood-soaked Teddy Bear.
In the Tunnel of Love, you find your wife
waiting for you in the little boat, but
There is something wrong with her neck.
She kisses your hand
You stagger past the wreck of a car,
a very familiar car, crumpled outside
the entrance to
The Hall of Mirrors,
where you find
reflections of yourself in multiples —
body under a sheet, toe tag with your name.
The raucous laughter isn’t yours.
There is no exit,
this is your last stop,
you’re just another prisoner
of a ceaseless nightmare
in the Carnival of Specters.
Fiction © Copyright Marge Simon
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from Marge Simon:
The Demeter Diaries
‘The Demeter Diaries’ is a record of love and longing and the inevitable horror that arises between the minds of Mina Harker and Vlad Dracula as they court one another in waking dreams. The dialogue, written in both poetry and prose, imagines a psychic connection that develops between the two even before Dracula arrives in England. As Dracula makes his way from Transylvania to Whitby on the doomed ship Demeter, the two would-be lovers transmit their thoughts across the waves and lands that separate them, alternately wooing and terrifying one another with the idea of love eternal and all the dark delicacies necessary to ensure it. Front cover art by Wendy Saber Core, interior illustrations by Luke Spooner.