The Dark Lady Podcast
The Dark Lady Podcast

Episode 14 · 4 weeks ago

The Last Carnival


On Halloween night 1982, two teenagers go to a local carnival. The couple is stalked by a mysterious clown throughout the night. Things take a turn for the worse when one of the teenagers suddenly disappears.

When the Witching Hour draws near, she will whisper in your ear. Nightmares do come true. This is a horror fiction podcast featuring stories that will shock, disturb, and dismay. You're listening to The Dark Lady Podcast. Warning. This program is intended for a mature order, ants it contains material that some listeners may find disturbing. Some episodes may contain strong language and depictions of violence, blood, and gore. Audience discretion is advised. It is holloween night in Sunnyside, California. Brian Mills, age seventeen, is on his way to a local carnival to meet his dear friend Lucy. He drives to a five acre lot behind a strawberry field for one night, and one night only, the void comes alive with neon lights, white tents, and thrill rides. In the middle of it all was the Crown Jewel. The main attraction a fifty ft monolith of steel called the Underwheel. And if you look closely at this black ferris wheel, you will see one Yorick, the clown, riding high inside a shiny red gondola. Brian will learn firsthand that whenever this particular clown appears tragedy is soon to follow. This is the last carnival. H Every year on Halloween, Sunnyside had a Haunted Carnival. The carnival had been around since the nineteen fifties. City Hall and our local businesses would pitch in and put the event together. People love the carnival. It was a proud Sunnyside tradition. Personally, I was getting too old for these things, but the tickets were cheap, and it was better than staying in that night and passing out candy to little kids. My girlfriend, Lucy Ludgate, was new in town and she had never been to the carnival before, so I invited her. She said yes and told me to meet her at the entrance. I got there about a half past seven. I stood under the neon lights and looked at the crowd, admiring everyone's Halloween costumes. A lot of people dressed up that year, even the adults. I saw Count Dracula, the bride of Frankenstein, and a werewolf in a red flannel. I even saw an alien and a few ghosts. Yea. I looked up when I heard three sharp whistles. Is above my head the fireworks erupted, streaking...

...the night sky with bright red lights. The black ferris wheel started to spin slowly at first, then faster and faster. It was hypnotizing. The passengers laughed and screamed as they went round and round. They were too far up so I couldn't see them very well. But there was one person that stood out from the rest. Sitting in one of the red cars was a ghostly man dressed in funny white clothes. His skin was pale, like he had been bled dry, and there was something very wrong with his face. I don't think he had a face at all, just a black line for a mouth and two inky blotches for eyes. The dark spots on his face seemed to flicker and change shape at whim. I couldn't help but feel like he was laughing at me. Another sharp whistle broke my trance. I looked back down and saw Lucy standing by the ticket booth. She was the cute blonde with a button nose. Lucy was dressed in all white. She was wearing a satin dress and a long ruffled cape that was shaped like a pair of wings. When Lucy saw me, she put two fingers on her lips, then flashed the peace side. I waved and hurried over to her. Hey, Angel, love the wings. Thanks, I made it myself. I touched her feathered cape. The material was soft and malleable, not quite plastic, not quite foam, but somewhere in between. It looked like she had cut a hundred of them into feathers and stuck them together in a beauty, fully intricate design. What's it made of? Sheets of film packing, some wire and ribbon and lots of glue. That doesn't sound very arrow dynamic. No, I won't be flying anytime soon. Mm hmm, probably not. It's pretty though, Thanks glad you like it. I looked over my shoulder at the ferris wheel. The ride had stopped. It looked like they were unloading the passengers. The man in white was gone, what are you supposed to be? Huh? Lucy unzipped my hoodie. She stared blankly at my t shirt, clearly unimpressed. My shirt was black with a white rib cage printed across the chest. It wasn't a very creative Halloween costume, but it cost me two bucks at the thrift shop. It was money well spent. That's it. Yep, that's it. Are you a skeleton the zombie? Yes, yes, what do you mean? Yes? Which one are you? Does it really matter? Of course it matters. They're different. No, they're the same. What? No they're not. Yes they are? How because dead is dead? Zombies just have a little more meat on their bones. Gross. Hey, come back, I was just kidding. Whatever, Come on? Ah? Why is this line so long? It's like we're a Disney World mm hmm. I hope it's worth it. I hope so too. Had to argue with my mom all weeks so she'd let me come. You didn't sneak out again, did you? No? Actually she was the one who dropped me off. I could have given you a ride, I know. But you know what my mother would have to say about...

...that. What would she say that you might do something stupid like crash the car. Well, that's not going to happen. Hey, I care about your safety. M How about this. When it's time to go home, I'll walk you back to the main gate. Then I'll stay with you until you get picked up. That's nice of you. Yeah, i'd like that. Good. I hope your mom won't mind as long as I come back to her in one piece. She won't mind. Twenty minutes later we made it to the front of the line. I handed the gate keeper our tickets and we headed inside. Ladies and gentlemen, step rawd up like moth to a flame. Don't be shy, win a prize. The carnival was bigger and grander this year than it was last year. There were over a dozen rides. I saw it till to whirl, and a carousel and a fun slide, and there were rows and rows of tents filled with vendors and mini games. What do you want to do first? You want to go on the ferris wheel? That ferris wheel? Yep, no, no way, why not? It's like a hundred feet tall, It's more like fifty whatever. I'm not getting on that thing. Are you scared? I'm not scared. I think you are. I'm not scared. I just don't feel like it. Maybe later, okay, maybe I'll think about it. All right. What do you want to do first? Um? How about uh, welcome to Foggi's house. Take a peek at the glass and see the spirits trapped within, and if you dare. We looked to our right and saw a carnival barker wearing a candy cane striped jacket. He was standing in front of a makeshift shack embellished with tall mirrors and golden frames, and in between the mirrors was a simple black curtain. Curious Lucy and I approached the man. Okay, how much for two one dollar? Uh? Ladies first, but one at a time. It's more fun that way. I'll see you on the other side. Mm hmm. I had to wait five minutes before the man let me in the House of mirrors. The lights were dim and there were no arrows or signs that pointed you in the right direction. There was only a seemingly endless maze of glass walls. Everywhere I looked, I saw my own reflection. I couldn't escape that stupid, bewildered look on my face as I tried to navigate through the dark and narrow passages. There was barely enough room for me to squeeze through. It was suffocating. If I stayed inside this place for too long, I knew that I would go crazy. Oh damn it. I accidentally walked into a mirror, banging my head against the glass. It sent me reeling backwards. As I stood there, cursing and holding my head. I heard someone snicker at me. Hello. The noise was faint, but I was sure that it was coming from behind. When I turned around, I only saw a grotesque picture of my face. It was stretched and distorted beyond cognition. I recoiled from my image and...

...turned back around. I held my hands out in front of me and kept going. There were so many twists and turns. It felt like I had been trapped in there for nearly half an hour. Still, I couldn't find the exit. When was this going to end? Who's there? There was no mistaking it now. Someone else was in the room with me. As my eyes searched the glass, I felt a cold breath on the back of my neck. Hello, little boy, What the hell? Man? The strange man had appeared out of thin air. He stood in front of me, blocking my path. He was a tall, slender man wearing loose white clothes that were twice his size. There was a black, ruffled collar around his neck. His sleeves draped down to the floor, hiding his hands. Black palms dotted his shirt and his nightcap. His face was caked with white powder, and his lips were painted black. He had shaved off his natural eyebrows and drew in two harsh lines on his brow. Two black diamonds were painted around his bloodshot eyes. He didn't blink when he stared at me, not once. Are you do you work? Here? Is this part of the attraction? I'm afraid not try again? What are you lost? No? No, that's not it either. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. Who are you? How should I explain it? I have a beginning, no end, and die end all things that begin? What am I? MA? You're taking too long? Just call me yorick yorick the clown whatever? Can you please move so I can get by? How are you doing that? How am I doing? What? Why is your reflection not showing in the mirrors? Oh? That old thing? I lost it a long time ago. Mirrors can't speak, mirrors can't hear, but they always tell the truth. So take a good look at yourself while you still can. I ran past him, knocking my head against the wall of mirrors at least a dozen more times before finding the exit. M Hey, there you are. Took you long enough. I thought I had to call the fire department to come rescue you. Hey, are you okay? There? Was a clown in there. There was didn't you see him? Mm hmmm, No, I didn't see anyone. I think we should go home. What why we just got here? Mm hmm. Can I buy you some cotton...

...candy first? Okay? As we walked back to the tents, I kept looking over my shoulder. Part of me wanted to believe that I had imagined the whole thing, but I knew what I saw. I couldn't shake the feeling that Yorick was somewhere, lurking in the shadows, waiting for me. Walking up and down the row of white tents with Lucy helped call me down. We bought cotton candy and she convinced me to stay and play some games. We were at the ring toss booth for a good while. I won her a teddy bear that made her smile. Then she turned to me and said, I lied about the ferris wheel. What are you talking about? I was scared to go on it. I'm afraid of heights. It's okay, that's a normal thing to be scared of. So let's do it. Do what. Let's go on the ferris wheel? Really? Yeah, it'll be fun? Are you sure I'll be fine, as long as you promised to hold my hand. Of course I will. The ferris wheel was on the other side of the lot. We ran through the crowd and quickly got in line. When we got there, the carnies were almost finished loading new passengers onto the ride. When our feet touched the boarding deck, I started to get nervous. The ferris wheel was even more intimidating up close than it was far away. It was big enough to touch the sky. The ferris wheel had a name, the Wonder Wheel. We were lucky enough to catch the last car. Each car was big enough to fit four people. When we climbed aboard, no one else followed. It was just the two of us. The gears on the ferris wheel turned and we slowly ascended into the air. Lucy was trembling. She was nervous. She held my hand tightly and kept her eyes shut. Her wings fluttered frantically in the wind. Lucy, We're almost at the top. Ah, okay, it's really beautiful up here. Aren't you going to open your eyes? No? Why not? Because I don't know is it over yet? When we reached the highest point of the ferris wheel, I leaned over and gave Lucy a small kiss on the lips. She opened her eyes, surprised. I smiled at her, hoping she would keep them open. She smiled back at me and slowly turned towards the horizon. The lights from the city sparkled beneath us like stars. It is beautiful up here, is in it? Lucy kissed me back softly, and suddenly neither of us were afraid. I felt the wonder Wheel slowly descend back to ground level, completing the first revolution. Oh. I nearly bit Lucy's tongue when I heard Yorick's voice. I quickly broke away from our kiss and jerked my head towards the boarding deck. Yorick was in front of the line, waving at me slowly. He gave me a smug look as we began to ascend a second time. There's that fucking clown again. Huh, what are you talking about over there? Don't you see him? Uh? The lady and the devil costume? No, in front of her. I don't see a clown, Brian, there is no clown. He's laughing... me. Why is he laughing at me? Baby? Calm down? Our car kept climbing and climbing, and York kept laughing and laughing. Lucy was trying to calm me down, but I couldn't hear her. All I could hear was York singing. His voice made me sick to my stomach. What's going on? What's happening. When we reached the top of the ferris wheel, the ride lurched forward and stopped. Suddenly. It all happened so fast I heard a cable snap in The car in front of us flipped upside down eighty degrees. Lucy and I watched in horror as four people fell out of their seats. The passengers were young. They were teenagers like us. Three guys and a girl. The girl reminded me of Lucy, but her hair was black and she was wearing jeans and a plain white tea. Our eyes met for a moment. I could see the terror on her face. When she started to fall. Her arms flailed like she was trying to grab onto something, anything that would save her. As much as I wanted to help her, I couldn't. All I could do was sit there and watch helplessly as her body plunged fifty feet to the ground. Right before their bodies hit the floor, I closed my eyes. I tried, but I couldn't shut out their desperate cries for help. I felt their bones break when they landed so violently below. Their screams cut short. The silence that followed was the worst thing that I had ever heard in my life. Brian, we're going to fall. I opened into my eyes again when I heard Lucy start to cry. I used one hand to grab the side of our car. We were swinging back and forth slightly, but our gondolas seemed stable. No, we're not. It's going to be okay. Help me, I'm slipping. No, you're not. You're fine. Try not to move so much. Please, Brian, I don't want to die. Don't let me fall. Nothing's going to happen to you. I won't let you fall here. Hold on to me. I'm scared. Don't be scared. I want to go home. I'll take you home. I held on to Lucy and kept my eyes forward. I told myself not to look down. I never saw a dead person before. If I had looked down and seen their bloody, broken bodies, I would have thrown up. I heard the carnies running around and shouting at each other as they tried to help the fallen children and fix the ferris wheel. It felt like we were hanging in the air for an eternity. Eventually, the ferris wheel started to move again, and one by one they helped the remaining passengers out of the cars. Lucy and I were the last ones to get off the ride. I grabbed Lucy's hand and pulled her away from the wonder wheel. A crowd had formed around the area where the passengers fell. A wall of body surrounded the victims. There were too many people for me to see what was happening on the other side. All I could do was listen to the crowd murmuring to one another. This is terrible. I know, how could something like this happen? They're so young. Look look at his face. That's a bad way to go. Don't just stand there. Call an ambulance. Someone call nine one one. Oh, it's too late. He's already gone. Wait, I think the girl... still alive. I was not even possible. Let's go, Lucy, I'll take you home. I squeezed Lucy's hand and led her to the main entrance. The crowd got bigger and bigger as we flocked towards the gate. At some point. I turned around to look at her, but to my dismay, she was gone. It was like she had vanished into thin air. Lucy, Lucy. I ran against the crowd, screaming her name like a lunatic. I circled the tents and checked all the rides in seating areas, but she was absolutely nowhere to be found. I panicked for a little while, then forced myself to calm down. I remembered that Lucy was going to wait for her mother at the main entrance. She was probably already there waiting for me at the gate. No more than fifteen minutes had passed since the accident, and the fair grounds had already become a ghost town. It was eerily quiet. There was not a single person walking around. All the tents and shops were closed, and all the rides were abandoned. I had this horrible, sinking feeling in my stomach that there was something terribly wrong here. I quickly ran to the front gate. Before I could step outside, someone grabbed me by the collar and yanked me backwards. Where do you think you're going get off me? I broke free from your excrip and spun around. The clown blocked my path and stared at me with wide, unblinking eyes. Let me through, certainly, but not this way. You have to go the other way. What other way? The back gate? Yorick pointed at the black void behind me, towards the strawberry field. He was lying, there was only one way in and one way out of the fair grounds, and that was through the main gate. What are you talking about? There's nothing back there? It seems that way, yes, but I wouldn't say nothing is back there, because there certainly is something back there, and it's waiting for you. I don't have time for this. I have to find my girlfriend and get her home. Oh I'm sorry. Are you in love? My condolences? Yorick understands. You see, I was in love once and when I kissed her, my tongue that turned black. Ha ha ha ha. Oh you want to see, ah? Yorick parted his lips and a black tongue flopped out of his mouth like a dead fish. It dangled to his chest, were leasing a putrid stench that smelled of decaying flesh. As he mocked me, the gears inside my head started to click and I began to put the pieces together. Did you cause that accident. Do you know where she is? You took her, didn't you? Where is she? Where is she? Where is she? Where are you? I turned to run, but stopped in my tracks when the clown said my name, Oh, Brian, Bryan? My blood turned cold? How did he know my name? Brian? Your tongue Your tongue will chant black too.

Whoa Jesus kid? What the hell do you have to help me? Someone is trying to He won't leave me alone. I need help. Okay, take it easy. What's your name, h Brian? Brian? Okay, Brian, my name is Hanson. I need you to take a deep breath and calm down. Good. Now, tell me what happened. I was attacked. Who attacked you? A clown? A clown? Yes, he called himself yorick? Okay? And where did this clown attack you? At the main entrance? I think he took my girlfriend. I can't find her anywhere Base one. This is portable nine on channel three. Please acknowledge god. Hanson used his walkie talkie to contact his superior ears. They said they would send a few security guards to the main gate. Then they told Hanson to bring me to the main office. Affirmative rond you that. Let's go kidding. Everything's gonna be all right. When you get to the office. You can call your parents. Will they be all right? Will? Who will be all right? The kids who fell off the ferrest wheel? Ferris wheel? What fairest wheel? The carnival hasn't had one of those in years? What? What is it? Why did you stop walking? Didn't you hear that? What? Yorick? He's laughing at me again. I didn't hear anything, son, I did. It's true, I heard him all right? Fine? Where was it coming from from behind that tent over there? Okay, stay here, I'll go check it out. Hansen left me all alone in the dark. I waited by the carousel and watched him anxiously. The security guard turned on his flashlight and disappeared behind a row of white tents. What the hell was that? Hello? The lights on the carousel suddenly turned on, temporarily blinding me. Then this stage started to turn m M, what the matter? Don't you like big pale horses? Step right up? Don't be shy, come on, come on up, up, Get on the horse, Brian, get on the horse. There's no more crying. Where you're going? Who no no, no, h Ryan,...

No, you're going the wrong way. You're going the wrong way. You're going the wrong way. I ran until my legs gave out and I fell to the ground. The world was spinning. I was about to lose my mind until I heard someone crying. M Her voice was soft and sweet. I picked myself up and followed the cries. It was coming from behind a potted apple tree. Behind the tree was a little girl with blonde hair and a button nose. The child was dressed in all white. She was wearing a satin dress and a long, ruffled cape that was shaped like a pair of wings. When she looked at me, I spoke without thinking. I said, Hey, Angel, love the wings. Claire Claire. The little girl ran towards a man and a woman standing by a lamp post. They must have been her parents. Something about the child's mother was very familiar. She looked like Lucy, but she was older, and she walked with a limp. Her voice was like Lucy's, but she sounded sad and stern. Still, I was drawn to her. Claire, what did I say? Don't want her off on your own? Mommy? Who's thatman? Why is he following us? Stop? Dragging your feet. Let's go. Oh, Lucy, you didn't have to snap at her like that. Come on, she's only six. That's right, she's only six. She's too young to go on rides. You and I both agreed no rides, honey. Come on, it's a merry go round. So so the recommended age is five and up. We could have gone on the ride with her and she would have been just fine. John, it's not going to happen. Just drop it. I I'm sorry, Claire. Daddy and I have to talk alone. You can do one o thing before we go home. Can I get a balloon animal? M m h yeah, yeah sure, han uh here you go, kiddo. Thanks, Daddy, stay where I can see you. What the hell was that loose? This isn't like you. Please talk to me. What's wrong? Is there something you're not telling me? John? Okay, I lied to you. I've been to this carnival before. It was twenty years ago. I was a teenager. I was dating this guy named Brian Mills. We went to the same high school together. God, I haven't said his name in years. He took me to the carnival for a date and and we had a good time. We played some games.

Then something happened. It's okay, go on. We got into an accident. I don't even remember how it happened. One minute, I'm getting on the ferris wheel with Brian, and the next thing I know, I'm on a hospital bed with a shattered pelvis. Jesus, they said the ride malfunctioned and our car flipped over. I should have died, but I landed on a goddamn hot dog stand. It broke my fall. What um? What happened to Brian? He didn't make it? Babe? What Why didn't you tell me? I didn't want you to worry. I just wanted you and Claire to have a good time. You know, Hey, hey, clear, come here, don't cry. She was a really nice kid. What happened was so unfair. I know. I was stuck in that hospital for months. I couldn't go to the funeral. I just wish I had a chance to say goodbye mom Dad. Look she made me a daddy bear. Wow. Wow, wow wow. Look at that. That's excellent craftsmanship right there. Look at it. He loose Lucy? You okay, yeah, I'll be all right, Daddy. The man is still here. What do you say, are you ready to go home? Yeah? I'm beat, Tell you what, how about you and Claire wait for me in the front and I'll get the car. Look, he's crying. Are you sure I can drive if you're tired? No, it's okay, I can drive. Look his head is leaking. Okay, Claire, we're going home. Hold on to Mr Teddy and make sure he doesn't blow away. I followed Lucy and her family to the main gate. This time, I knew better than to step outside. Lucy and Claire waited by the ticket booth as John left to get the car. Claire looked at me anxiously as I watched them. I didn't mean to scare her, so I smiled that Claire and gave her a little wave, thinking it would make things a bit better for her. That h that didn't seem to work. Claire screamed and hid behind her mother. M hmm, hey, what are you doing? Did you have fun? Yeah? But the monsters are scary. That's all right, that's a normal thing to be afraid of. Everyone is scared of something, even you, even me. What are you scared of, mommy? I'm scared of losing you. Come on, girls, as they drove away in their white van. They're outside mirror somehow caught my reflection. Lucy saw me and spun around. We locked eyes one last time. I smiled at her,...

...then held two fingers against my lips. Then I flashed her a peace sign. I put my hands in my pockets and waited until they disappeared into the distance. It's time, I know. Did you have a good time? I did. It was the best night of my life. Good, good, good. I'm glad. Are you ready to go to the back gate? Yes? Yes, the back gate and then what happens? Only one way to find out. I guess you're right. I tossed my head back and gazed at the waning crescent moon for a moment. I saw the wonder wheel and remembered how it lifted me up so high that I almost touched the sky. I smiled without saying another word. I followed Yorick into the void. We faded away into the night. Brian Mills exit left another passenger in the fairest wheel of life, Gone too soon, but never forgotten. He is the bitter sweet reminder that all good things must come to an end. Thank you for listening to the dark Lady Podcast Until next time, Darling, Bye bye,.

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