The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Tiffany Michelle Brown @TiffeBrown @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

03_img_janShape, Shift, Switch
by Tiffany Michelle Brown

She’d told him to meet her at the Ferris wheel, but Travis was having a hard time finding the ride in the dark. Sure, it was a metal behemoth, but it was usually lit up, colors undulating, beckoning folks to climb aboard and take flight. Travis stared up, hoping to spy an outline of the wheel etched upon the night sky, but all the squinting just gave him a headache.
He’d figured there would be safety lights strewn throughout the park, something to guide workers through the metal graveyard during off hours. Well, he’d figured wrong.
Travis activated the flashlight app on his phone and let the beam explore. A popcorn cart sat quiet nearby, smelling of fake butter and burnt kernels. Arcade games surrounded Travis, plush animals of all varieties and sizes staring down at him with black button eyes. The Scrambler with its giant spider-like arms was to his left and just beyond it…there it was, the Ferris wheel.
Travis reached into his pant pocket to make sure the note was still there. The note the cute red-headed girl with silver eyes had handed him earlier in the evening while he was waiting in the line to buy tickets. The note that invited him to the Ferris wheel at 4am and provided him with detailed instructions for sneaking into the venue. It was clear that this girl was an amusement park B&E expert, which made Travis instantly like her. That and the fact she’d approached him.
The redhead hadn’t stuck around to see how Travis would respond to her invitation. She simply disappeared into the crowd. Travis couldn’t wait to see her again.
As Travis began moving toward the Ferris wheel, a high-pitched whine reverberated through the air around him. He stumbled and his Converse kicked up dirt.
What the hell was that?
Travis turned around, swung his phone in front of him to illuminate the grounds, and tilted his head ever so slightly, listening hard for more sounds in the dark.
The sound came again, and Travis frowned. It was unmistakable this time, the sound of a horse whinnying. Was there an animal loose in the park?
Travis looked at the time on his phone: 3:52am. He was early. He cast his light toward the Ferris wheel once more. Travis couldn’t make out a figure near the ride, and no one called out to him. She wasn’t there yet.
Another whinny met his ears. It was a sound of distress.
Travis decided he had to investigate. He wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he didn’t.
And if this went right, he’d have a heroic story for the red-headed girl. Bonus.
Travis started in the general direction of the whinnying, throwing his light here and there to retain his bearings. He took a sharp right at a bank of restrooms, gasped, and dropped his phone.
The carousel itself was normal, painted in swirls of gold, blue, and red, lined with rows of fiberglass animals that rose and fell on gilded poles. But one of the horses, a tan steed with a carrot-colored mane, was very much alive. It whinnied and stomped and shook its head in frustration. To Travis’s horror, a golden bar impaled the horse right through its midsection, pinning the animal to the carousel.
Travis felt bile rise in his throat, but he swallowed it down and stepped forward.
How could something like this have happened? Could he free this poor animal? And would it survive if he did? There had to be a way.
If he investigated and couldn’t do anything, he decided he would call the police.
Travis approached the horse slowly, his hands raised in front of him in a sign of surrender. The horse’s eyes caught his, black as night, wild, and impatient.
“Easy,” Travis said. “Easy.”
He stepped up onto the carousel and reached forward. When Travis’s fingertips made contact with the tan flank, a violent energy pulled through his arms. He careened forward and was pushed flush against the steed. Wind screamed around him and he had the disconcerting feeling of being sucked through a straw. Travis cried out, but there was no sound. He tried to flail. He tried to move. But nothing worked.
Resigned, he screwed his eyes shut, grateful it was something he could do.
As quickly as it had started, the wind died out. The energy around him settled. He could hear his heartbeat in his ears.
But something was wrong. He felt strange. Heavy. Tangled up. Like his body didn’t quite fit anymore.
Travis opened his eyes and saw her then, the red-headed girl. She stood before him with a pained expression on her face.
“I’m so sorry about this,” she said. “It’s just been so long and…” She looked down and picked at a fingernail. “Honestly, living in an amusement park isn’t that terrible, as long as you follow the rules. Pro tip, though you’ll probably ignore it, don’t try to leave. It’ll hurt. Really bad.”
What was going on? This girl didn’t make any sense. Living in an amusement park?
Travis had so many questions. He tried to speak…and that’s when he noticed he wasn’t him anymore.
“You’ll catch on with the shapeshifting soon enough. It’s easier than you think because it’s just energy transfer. And you’re a carousel horse right now, but you could be a car on the rollercoaster or a toy at one of the arcade games or human you…as long as you do it here.”
The girl stepped up onto the carousel platform.
“The shapeshifting part is easy. You’ll get the hang of it.” Her silver eyes clouded over with sadness. “The hard part is luring someone here after hours to take your place. You see, someone always has to be here. The park, it’s just so damn hungry. I think it needs youth to sustain it.”
She paused and looked around. “It took me a year and four days. So many people just…didn’t show up.”
The girl leaned forward, and Travis — that was still his name, right? — attempted to back up, away from her touch. A grating noise poured from his now-animal throat. He couldn’t get away. That damned golden bar held him tight in place. It didn’t hurt him, thank God, but it didn’t give him many options either. Whinny. Stamp. Twist.
Despite Travis’s attempts at escape, the girl managed to place her hands on either side of his head. She smiled, leaned in, and kissed his nose.
“But you’re pretty cute. I’m sure you’ll manage a switch in no time.”
Fiction © Copyright Tiffany Michelle Brown
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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About Nina D'Arcangela

Nina D’Arcangela is a quirky horror writer who likes to spin soul rending snippets of despair. She reads anything from splatter matter to dark matter. She's an UrbEx adventurer who suffers from unquenchable wanderlust. She loves to photograph abandoned places, bits of decay and old grave yards. Nina is a co-owner of Sirens Call Publications, a co-founder of the horror writer's group 'Pen of the Damned', and if that isn't enough, put a check mark in the box next to owner and resident nut-job of Dark Angel Photography.
This entry was posted in Authors, Dark Fiction, flash fiction, FREE, Horror, Ladies of Horror, Writing Project and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Tiffany Michelle Brown @TiffeBrown @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

  1. Marge Simon says:

    Top notch story, Tiffany!!

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