Friday, October 5, 2012

Mysterieux Carnivale - The Silver Ticket

I'll never forget the October I turned 13, the year the year two carnivals came to our little town.  One in the summer, just like it did every year, but the other one arrived with a blood colored sunset and lightening on the evening the first cold breath of autumn blew through our mountains.
My grandma looked out the window at the lake and turned white as a sheet.  She pulled a little medicine bag out of her pocket and made me put it on around my neck, said it would keep me from harm by the Dust People.  When I asked who they were she didn't answer me, she only muttered something in Sioux that I couldn't understand and made me swear not to take it off until the sun came up in the morning.  She also made me promise not to leave the house, but that turned out to be a promise I didn't keep...but I should have.

I was pulled down through the woods in that terrible blood red light by something I could not put a name to and was powerless to resist. 

And when I saw the ghost that haunts these woods, a spirit that is said to only appear in times of great danger to warn us, I wanted to run back to our cabin, but I couldn't make my feet turn in that direction.  They kept carrying me on down towards the lake, towards the sounds and scents of the carnival.  The closer I got to the lake, the more I realized that the carnival scent wasn't quite so sweet as I first thought.  Like the calliope music, there was something wrong, something off about that scent.  Under the sweetness was the smell of rancid, rotting decay.

When I got to the lake my friends were already there waiting for me.  They said they knew I would come, knew I wouldn't miss a chance for another carnival.  I said maybe we should just go on home because there was something really wrong with that carnival, didn't they see the red glow?
They looked at each other like they thought I was crazy and said they didn't see any red glow, they just saw a lot of fun waiting to be had.

And when I looked again, that's what I saw, too.

As we hurried down the steps to the ticket booth we could see people were having a fine time and I wondered why my grandma had made me promise not to leave the house. 

But when we got to the ticket booth that red glow was back...but my friends still couldn't see it.  And there was nobody in that ticket booth, but a ticket came sliding out of the window as if somebody, or something, was holding it out to each of us, waiting for us to take it...

A silver ticket that looked like real silver.  Each of my friends grabbed a ticket, but I held back, wondering why, when we had paid nothing, we would be given a ticket and a silver one at that.  The ticket moved forward, just a bit, as though someone were impatient for me to take it.  But I didn't take it, I ran after my friends and as I ran I heard from behind me an angry hiss and felt a burning touch on the back of my neck...but when I turned to look nothing was there. 

For a while, my friends had a fine time playing games and eating carnival food, but I could still smell that rotting scent under the sweet scents and I didn't feel like playing or eating.  And it seemed to me that people were leaving awfully early.  It was only 8 p.m. and the crowd had been considerably thinned, although I hadn't actually seen anyone leave through the only exit gate.  Then my friends wanted to play the balloon game. "Kids play 'til they win!" the sign read and they wanted a sure thing.  It was just one more thing about this carnival that gave me an uneasy feeling and I looked down at my feet trying to think of something I could say that would get them to leave with me.

When I looked up, what I saw froze the blood in my veins...but my friends said they saw nothing wrong and happily went to play the game.  I looked around, really looking with "both my eyes and spirit" as my grandma would say.  And with those eyes I glanced at my watch and saw that it was not a little after 8 p.m. as it should have been, but 3 a.m. - what my grandma said was "the hour of the demons." 

Terrified, I saw the things of the carnival for what they really were.  I ran to pull the little girls off of the possessed horses.

But the little girls vanished before I could get to them.  I couldn't see them, but I heard them crying for help...and then I became aware of other cries and screams.

The only people left were the carnies-who-were-not-carnies and one lone woman who seemed unaware that her baby had vanished.  As I was looking at her she also vanished, her scream merging with the others. I was alone.  The carnies-who-were-not-carnies glared venomously and hissed at me as I ran by them, calling for my friends, running for my life. 

I never saw my friends again, but I hear them and I wonder where that silver ticket took them.  I hear them every October when the dry leaves scuttling along the pavement make a sound like old, dry bones rattling.  I hear them when the first cold wind of October blows in with the scent of things sweet and things rotting on its breath.  I hear them when the sound of a slightly off-key calliope floats by in the dark of an October night at 3 a.m., the hour of the demons. 

I hear them. 

(Many thanks to Marfi of Incipient Wings and Anna of Frosted Petunias for hosting this blog party)!


  1. Oh your story was crazy scary!!!!
    New follower, follow me back?
    Here is my post!


  2. Isabelle, I'm so glad you liked it, thank you. Now I'm off to your blog to follow you back!

  3. Oh what a scary tale you told, I loved It! So inventive and unique, love for you to pop by my Carnival too!

  4. Totally freaked out now! thank you for sharing this post with me I am ready for a carnival blog hop x
    Please feel free to stop by mine too
    Julie x

  5. Wow! What a story!!! Love it, great pictures, hope you will visit, and become a follower,

  6. I am so glad the sun is coming UP as I read your scary tale.
    I would never go to another carnival on my birthday!

    Great images to go along, but your words painted all the pictures I needed.

  7. Great spooky story... kind of a metaphor for life? Thank you!

  8. What an amazing tale. I really enjoyed every scary detail. I am so glad I accidentally learned about the mysterieux carnival, I am having so much fun.


  9. This was absolutely fabulous and scary. Reminds me when I was a young teen and some of my friends and I would be on our bench swing out back at night and we would tell stories like this ... one would start, then stop and the other would take over. We came up with some good stories...sorry we didn't write them down.

    Happiness always,

  10. That was some story. It had me rivited and I'm really glad it's light out because reading this in the dark would have given me nightmares. Well done.

  11. What a fabulous story - great job!

  12. definitely spooky! Carnivals always have that underlying sense of the terrifying and macabre, wonderful story!

  13. Brilliant!!! perfect scarey carnival story :-) Debi x

  14. Flutter Before You, Pippinsnest, and Victorian Tailor, thank you, I'm glad you liked it! (And, Victorian Tailor I'm already following you :D )

  15. Dogsmom and Moonlyf, I'm glad you liked it, thank you. Moonlyf, thank you for becoming a follower, I'm now following you back.

  16. Wonderfully spooky story and pictures, I loved it!! I'm a new follower and really look forward to visiting your blog again :-)


  17. Hello, Dear! Wonderfully scary post!!

  18. Angela, thank you, I'm following you back...

    Anne, I'm glad you liked it!

  19. WOW, that was some story, had me sitting on the edge of my seat hanging on your every word. Wonder if I'll sleep tonight? LOL

  20. I love your story! brrr....gave me the chills..Please stop by my blog, Ivory Pumpkin, I'm having a little giveaway.


  21. I sooooo enjoyed reading your creepy carnival story! Thanks for sharing it!
    Thank you for the lovely compliment on my digital art as well.

  22. Very scary -- just perfect! :)

    Maybe you want to come over to my carnival.

  23. Victoria, THAT was SPOOKTACULAR!!
    I have been a follower for a long time, but I haven't been here in a while. I forgot how much I enjoy your blog, and the kinship I feel with you and your roots, and beliefs...wish were lived closer so I could learn from you!

    I am fairly new on my "new" spiritual path, which is one I asm carving out from the old ways of my ancestors as I find far it is the French, German and NA(Cherokee we believe)I am wanting to explore the most.

    This tale was a feast for my mind's any good story! I truly enjoyed it!

    Are Dust People real?

    Please come visit my booth!

    Thank you and brightest blessings upon you and yours!

  24. I love it all..very creepy...yes indeed.

  25. Wonderful tale and fabulous images.

  26. :D I Love your story and photos illustrating it. So much fun! I love good stories (and books) !!!!!!

    Here is my silver ticket...I think I'll stay awhile and read it again!


  27. Great story, couldn't stop reading.
    Perfect for Halloween. I love Stephen King and this was a little like his stories.
    Hugs Jackie

  28. Susan, the Dust People are real, but that is not their real name. They are an Oglala Sioux legend, but we never say their real name because to do that would be to draw them to you. We don't even call them the Dust People, I made that up because I didn't want to get too close to their real name, which sort of makes me feel silly, but on the other hand...

  29. Such an imaginative story, wow....very cool. Thanks for sharing it.


  30. I absolutely got goosebumps and could hear the strange calliope tune in my head! What a wondrously dark and wicked tale you weave. I just love it and now I will always be freaked out when the clock strikes 3! This was simply spooky fun. Thank you for creating it and sharing with the carnival :)


  31. Anna, thank YOU for hosting the carnival blog party!

  32. I loved your story and post. We have a lot in common. I'm Mex-Itali (mexican-italian), and also from California. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm now following yours.

  33. Oh my, your story had chills running up and down my back! Absolutely wonderful Mysterieux Carnival. I happy I'm reading this by the light of day!!!! Great job.

    The French Hutch

  34. Lady O, thank you for becoming a follower, I'm now following you back.

  35. Something wicked this way comes... What a spooky story - I enjoyed it very much, thank you!

  36. What a fabulously, spooky, carnival tale! It really gave me the creeps!
    Perfect for the carnival blog hop!
    Teresa in Central California

  37. Teresa, I'm glad you liked it. And thank you for becoming a follower, I'm now following you back!

  38. You are an excellent writer! You should turn that story into a book :) Feel free to visit my carnival. Have a good day!

  39. What a wonderful post!
    Your storytelling skills are incredible!
    Thank you for taking us along to your super spooky carnival...

  40. What a fabulously fun tale! Thank you!

  41. Dearest Victoria,
    As you were drawn to the carnival lights,so too was I drawn in my your haunting tale. I could also feel the breath on my neck and just wanted to run. However, truth be told how exciting it would be just to get close enough to hear the music and see the lights of that creepy carnival. Waiting til 3AM.....
    I am running a little late for my party but I would love for you to visit.

    Wishes and Whimsy
    Wendy from Wonderland


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