The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
A Carnival of Ghosts
by Marge Simon
So there was an argument
about something, you forget what.
Wife took the car, fled to her mother,
or maybe you dropped her off,
you can’t be sure, but never mind.
Now here you are, a free man
with nothing planned
on a warm summer night
pulsing with excitement,
a carnival has come to town.
You enter the gate expecting
the rush of joy you knew as a boy,
but you’re met instead with
a discordant roar in your ears
that makes your mind recoil.
The Kamikaze ride looms,
brightly colored flashing lights,
with screams & shrieks of passengers,
thrills in twirling baskets tempt,
but no fun alone, you pass it by.
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 skeletal 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
music from a glittering organ
charming the night, while
faceless vendors vie for attention;
hit the baby elephants and swans.
Around & 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, your wife
is waiting for you in the little boat, but
something is wrong with her neck.
There is blood on her dress, in her hair.
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
in the Carnival of Ghosts.
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.
This is great – the way you build the tension, that sense of wrongness, is masterful