Funhouse, by Kelly Haas Shackelford

Image courtesy of Tshirt Factory @

Image courtesy of Tshirt Factory @

The entrance door slammed, echoing down the long hall of mirrors in Death’s Funhouse. Running away from the packed crowd, fear gripped me. Strobe lights flashed psychedelic colors. Wildly, they splashed across the backdrop of the distorted reflections of the troupe of clowns slashing my friends’ throats.

Looking around the funhouse at the other college-aged girls, frozen in place and screaming, I vowed not be that girl. Hearing more shouts behind me, I shoved myself through the horde of onlookers that had turned to watch the macabre scene play out around us in twisted images.

The sweet scent of cotton candy filled the funhouse. I shuddered, wondering if it was a ruse to form a false sense of security. Glancing to my left, I watched two clowns take out the head cheerleader at our college. My stomach churned as a spurt of red splattered across the mirror. Its liquid streaked down in jagged lines.

Sticky beads of sweat oozed down my back. Its sickening feel, drove me harder to escape. Frantically, I searched for the exit. No reprieve was to be found. Heaving, I forced myself forward.

In the screams bouncing around the tight corridors, I heard my best friend. Turning, a loud groan escaped me. A tall clown, with a blinking red nose, held a knife to her throat. I wanted to run back, but I knew death had tagged her. She had lost.

Ten feet away from me, an exit sign blazed victory, but six clowns stood ready. I stopped. My heart raced, pounding in fear. Sensing safety in numbers, I waited for others to join me. The clowns stared back.

“Little girl, come here, little girl,” the largest clown teased, his deep smoker’s voice rasped. He threw his head back in laughter. Then his cold eyes danced, locking onto mine. Opening his arms wide, he dared me to try and escape.

A group of ten frat boys darted past me. I squatted, duck walking. Hidden below the dancing strobe lights, I held my breath for fear of being detected. Beneath the cover of darkness, I pushed forward as player after player were eliminated.
Inches away from the door, I felt my hair yanked. My head stretched back, exposing the tender crook of my neck. The large, glaring clown had captured me. His breath stank of garlic as he whispered in my ear. “No one escapes, Death’s Funhouse.”

In horror, I watched his hand rise above my throat.

Instantly, I dropped flat to the floor, breaking free. I rolled the last few feet, ignoring the grit and grime, digging into me. Jumping up, I slammed against the steel door as its hinges moaned, releasing me to emerge victorious into the daylight.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have a winner.” The old carnival barker hollered, looking me up and down, searching in vain for fake blood.

I collapsed, gasping. My stomach knotted, threatening to heave up my funnel cake. Yet, I grinned. In five seasons of operation, I was the small town’s first winner.

The barker sulked over and hurled a $100 bill at me. I stared at my sweet reward for making it through Death’s Funhouse without getting my throat slashed by a fake blood squirting knife.

Whooping in triumph, all my friends gathered around me. “Come on, Bloody Mary’s on me,” I shouted. A fitting end to celebrate a bloody profitable night.


BIO:  I have been published in various venues such as Free Flash Fiction, The Old Red Kimono, Danse Macabre, Infernal Ink,  and Black Petals.  Also, for two years, I was editor of The Old Red Kimono, an award-winning literary magazine. For the last six years, I have run a Romance Enhancement Party Business…aka..toy parties sorta like Tupperware, but with batteries.

Posted on May 3, 2014, in Issue 13: Southern Fried Freak Show and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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