Traveling Carnival

For the uninitiated, a dark ride is an indoor amusement ride in which guided vehicles travel through specially lit scenes. If you’ve ever been through a ride like the “Tunnel of Love” or Disneyland’s “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you know what we mean. A dark ride doesn’t have to be literally dark, but often darkness is used to conceal what comes next.

Life is very much a dark ride.  Our future is concealed by the veil of time. It offers unexpected thrills around every turn. Sometimes the surprises are happy ones, but often they are terrifying.

Our flash fiction assignment for this week was inspired by the season and the classic novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Writer Ray Bradbury combines horror and fantasy in a story of a traveling carnival that comes to a small town one October. The carnival leader, Mr. Dark, fulfills the townsfolk’s secret desires … but at a price.

We asked our writers in the Cafe to channel their darkest thoughts and write a short story for Halloween. They have been thinking about carnivals and the strange awful things that could be lurking in those traveling shows.

So climb aboard. Keep your arms and legs inside at all times. This is a dark ride.

“Calliope” by Jack Campbell, Jr.
“Midway Mark” by Larry Jenkins
“Confronting the Past” by Amanda Jaquays
“Fera Profanum” by Kevin Wohler