This is a carry over from the previous Friday Fictioneer.
To a normal human eye, it was a trick of the eye and was passed off as:
“It was an especially hot day.”
“There was something in my eye.”
“It was my child’s imagination.”
It was . . . It was . . . It was . . .
In actuality, it was no trick. For only one special ride a week, at the height of the whirling, all customers disappeared for less than half a second. The customers reappeared into the fantasy world of their choice for an unbelievable week’s vacation then returned as if they’d never left.
Tommy had first seen it when he was three, but he was too little to explain what he’d seen. He saw it again when he was seven, but his mother and father insisted that he’d imagined it. He knew he hadn’t.
Then he began to hear other accounts of people laughing at what they thought they’d seen. There were stories on the playground. By the time he was twelve, his investigative talents had begun to form.
Tommy started a journal. He took notes on all stores heard. He figured out what day and time the incident occurred.
He staked out the ride for an entire week, just to make sure.
He spied the riders and eavesdrop on their conversations. He heard the ride’s caretaker explicitly explain why no one should ever speak of what they’d experienced, but some just couldn’t keep quiet.
Of those people, some gathered at a local dinner to quietly share stories. Some told the most intimate of relationships. If their stories were believed, the confidant would buy a ticket for the special ride.
With very careful questioning, Tommy was able to get riders to confide in him. By the time he was seventeen, Tommy had gathered some unbelievable tales. He didn’t believe any of it. Somehow the ride’s caretaker had chemically induced people to believe they’d experienced a fairytale.
Tommy had seen them disappear. He’d filmed it and played the film back one frame at a time and there it was, four frames with nothing on it.
It was time for Tommy to experience the ride for himself.
He had to be 18 years old and it would cost him a $1,000.
He saved his money and told everyone for his next birthday, instead of a present or a gift card, he wanted cash.
The day was here, his 18th birthday, he’d paid his $1,000, and was standing in line. He sat in his chair, was trapped in and soon after the ride began — he wished he’d not eaten the extra large hamburger and fries.
In all the years he come to the carnival, he’d only come to study this ride, he’d never been on one. And just as he was about to loose every thing he’d eaten that day, he found himself standing in a strange land.
It was the greatest week of his life. He understood why he couldn’t tell others. They’d lock him away for the rest of his life. He also understood why people gathered together to share their experiences. Tommy couldn’t wait to join a group and tell them all about his adventure.
As soon as Tommy returned, his hamburger and fries came up and spattered on the riders behind him. Two of them became similarly sick, as did others behind them.
Vomit strayed from the riders onto the ride, the caretaker and out over the crowd. Some of them became sick. It took a week to clean up the mess.
Tommy never eat another hamburger.
To read more of my stories, click on Short Stories.