The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 79

David Crandall hurried from one of his daughter’s favorite rides to another as he searched for Rebecca. So far, he had checked two but seen no sign of her. In the distance, he saw the Shadow Serpent looming over the carnival grounds. The large ride was the one attraction his daughter would not go near. It frightened her so much that when they drove past the park at night, she would close her eyes and say,

“Tell me when it’s gone, Daddy.”

Crandall had to admit the mammoth roller coaster did look terrifying. As the neon lights flashed and glowed, the soft moonlight cast a deep shadow, bathing the serpent’s head in darkness. After a moment of gazing up at the steel monster, he shook his head clear, telling himself it was the threat of Bonkers that made the place seem nightmarish. Little to do with the rides or the memory. But as the whistles of the calliope music seemed to fade away and the air grow silent and heavy, he felt himself becoming uneasy, unsure of himself.

“Am I being watched? Has Bonkers killed everyone and it’s down to me?” he thought.

Suddenly a cat bolted from a nearby trashcan, knocking it over as it bounded across the ground and disappeared behind a ticket booth.

Crandall jumped, clutching his chest.

“Stinking cat!” he cursed.

Just then his phone rang.

Reaching into his jacket pocket, he pulled out his cell and saw that it was Rebecca calling.

“Sweetheart, where are you?” he asked. “Captain Bonkers is here in the park. I can get you out safely but only if you tell me where you’re hiding.”

There was a long pause on the other end. Crandall could hear Rebecca breathing.

“I’m tired, David,” she finally said. “So tired.”

“Then let me get you out of here to some place safe so you can rest,” Crandall pleaded.

“I’m tired of going through the motions,” she wept. “I’m tired of missing my little girl. Tired of living without her.”

Crandall held his breath, frightened of what Rebecca might say next.

“Are you tired of me?” he finally asked.

“I never stopped loving you, David,” she said, “but I lost you. I lost you to King.”

“I never left, honey,” Crandall replied.

“Physically maybe. All I wanted to do was sit and miss my little girl. But all you wanted to do was save the world,” Rebecca said.

“What’s wrong with wanting to save the world?” Crandall asked.

“There’s nothing left for me in the world,” Rebecca replied.

“I couldn’t just sit back and give up. I miss her as much as you do, but I decided to live, make the world a better place. That’s what she would have wanted,” Crandall reasoned.

Crandall waited silently for Rebecca to respond. He knew she needed time.

“It’s that fighting spirit of yours I fell in love with. Funny,” she sighed. “In the end, it was the very thing that drove us apart.”

After a pause, she pleaded, “Please, my love, stop fighting. The harder you fight, the deeper the world sinks its claws into you. Don’t become a monster trying to stop one.”

“I won’t give up on you!” Crandall insisted.

“I love you too,” Rebecca said.

Before he could respond, the line went dead.

Overcome with frustration, Crandall pulled back his arm to throw the phone but stopped, deciding to shove it into his pocket instead.

“I’m not going to give up,” he protested.

His resolve renewed, Crandall started towards the kid rides and petting zoos.

“She always loved the baby goats,” he said, smiling at the sweet memory.

* * *

Ray had almost reached the Shadow Serpent when his phone rang. Before it rang a second time, he quickly pulled it out of his pocket and answered it.

“Yes?” Ray greeted the caller, keeping his voice low.

“Ray, I’m at the entrance of Sandpark Carnival and guess what I don’t see?” Richard Clay asked.

“That’s not how the game works. I’m supposed to guess what you do see. Now call me back and let’s try again,” Ray teased.

“Raymond!” Richard barked. “Why aren’t you here at the front gate waiting for me as I ordered?”

Ray paused then said,

“Well I was going to wait, just like you said, but Pete refused so I had to follow him.”

“Funny. I’m coming in to get you. And by the way, I called Deborah so have fun with that! Where are you anyway?” Richard asked.

Raymond looked up at the top of the Shadow Serpent. It was about a block away.

“I’m at the big rollercoaster, the Shadow Serpent.”

“Okay. Stay there. I’m coming to get you. I don’t want anything happening to you. I have my orders. I am to deliver you safely to Deborah so she can kill you herself,” Richard said.

“Understood,” Ray replied.

“I’m serious, Ray!” Richard complained.

“Just be careful,” Ray warned before ending the call.

Ray put the phone away and looked at Pete.

“Lead on. We need to move!”

Pete snorted then started in a trot towards the Shadow Serpent.

“Hold up,” Ray said, hurrying after him.

* * *

Moore and Seal leaned against the railing of one of the smaller roller coasters and waited.

“I’m not running through this park like some idiot in a horror movie,” Moore grumbled.

“Yeah,” Seal laughed. “Those horror movies only work because the people are stupid.”

“What kind of moron hears a creepy noise in the basement of an abandoned cabin and goes to look?” Moore asked, shaking his head.

“Right,” Seal agreed. “And if some shutdown mental institution is haunted, try using your brain and stay away. Common sense.”

Suddenly Seal saw movement out of the corner of his eye.

“What was that?” he asked, turning his head.

“I don’t know. Why don’t you go look while I get naked and take a shower?” Moore laughed, mocking a horror movie cliché.

Seal shrugged it off and settled back against the railing. A moment later, he saw movement again and jerked around in time to see a small white ball roll slowly to a stop a few feet away.

“What is that?” Seal asked.

“Go look,” Moore suggested, motioning toward the ball.

“You look,” Seal replied.

“Scared?” Moore teased, closing his tired eyes.

“You’re scared,” Seal threw back as he slowly approached the ball.

Stretching out his foot, he pushed the ball then turned it over. On the underside were written the words Ball Bounce.

“It’s nothing. Just a ball from one of those ball tossing games,” he said, bending over to pick up the ball.

When he turned around, he saw Moore leaning against the railing with his rifle on the ground. Both of his arms hung limply by his side.

“Moore?” Seal called out as he quickly dropped the ball and raised his rifle.

Moving closer, he saw blood pooling under Moore’s feet. A jagged piece of metal had been driven through his stomach, impaling him to the metal railing of the roller coaster.

Feeling the hair stand up on the back of his neck, Seal became aware of movement behind him. Before he could muster the courage to turn around, he was struck across the back of the head and slipped into blackness.

* * *

When Seal awoke, he squinted his eyes against the bright carnival lights. His head ached from the blow and his neck felt cold.

Straining to touch the wound on the back of his head, he saw that his hands had been bound. As he turned over, he was horrified to discover that the cold he felt around his neck was a thin wire fashioned like a noose. The other end of the wire was tied to one of the seats on a ride called the Falcon. The Falcon had a drop tower that flew up at almost 60 mph until it reached a height of 100 feet. Then it sat motionless for a few moments before free falling at the same speed it rose.

Seal’s heart raced, fear pumping adrenaline through his body, as he saw that standing by the lever of the Falcon was Captain Bonkers. Once Bonkers pulled that lever, the Falcon would begin to ascend, dragging Seal along with it.

“Please! Wait!” Seal pleaded.

Captain Bonkers cocked his head and stared at him through dead eyes. For a moment, Seal thought he might have a chance.

Then Captain Bonkers pulled the lever.

The last thing Seal heard was the hiss of compressed air just before the Falcon shot up.

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Published in: on November 19, 2016 at 9:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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