Carousel Horse

The Last Ride

The small town of Waverly, nestled amidst the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, was renowned for its peaceful allure and tight-knit community spirit. Beyond the town's borders, concealed within foliage and towering trees lay an abandoned carnival. Once a source of delight and merriment for Waverly residents, the deserted Waverly Carnival stood in silence overshadowed by tales of spectral apparitions and unsettling sounds.

On an autumn day, Emily set out with her companions, Jack and Sarah, to explore the forsaken carnival grounds. Despite growing up listening to legends of its haunted attractions and enigmatic vanishings, they were resolute in their quest to uncover the truth. Armed with flashlights and fueled by curiosity, they navigated through the forest on traces of a dirt trail they could barely see.


The entrance archway that had once gleamed with lights and festive banners now stood as a weathered skeleton veiled in creeping ivy. Stepping inside, a chill permeated the air as an aura of unease enveloped them. Time seemed frozen within the dilapidated rides that were entwined with vines and decay. The towering ferris wheel cast a foreboding shadow against the darkening sky as its seats swaying gently in the evening breeze.

"Guys, let's go to the funhouse!" Jack proposed tentatively, his voice tinged with excitement and nervousness.

The carnival funhouse used to be one of the best known attractions with its mirrors and maze-like corridors. Now, it loomed ominously with its once inviting entrance now swallowed by darkness.

As they ventured inside, their flashlights flickered and casted jagged shadows against the walls. The uneven mirrors were grimy, distorting their reflections as they walked by. Suddenly, as Emily looked around, she felt a chill down her spine. A shadow reflected behind her when she peered into the mirror behind her. She felt her chest tighten with fear, but when she turned around there was nothing.

"Did you hear that?" Sarah whispered softly as she slowly backed into Emily.

They all paused, listening intently. Beyond the silence, faint laughter could almost be heard through the halls; an echo of the carnival’s history. As they continued on cautiously, their footsteps reverberated on the creaky floorboards.

In the next room, they stumbled upon a photograph lying on the ground. It was torn, but they could still discern the faces of carnival workers gleefully posing. Among them was a clown figure at the edge of the group with a large, red grin painted on its face. Emily felt a surge of unease as she recognized the clown from the stories she’d heard.

"We should get out of here," she suggested nervously.

Jack hesitated for a moment, then ventured further into the funhouse, driven by curiosity. Emily and Sarah, though hesitant, followed his lead.

As they entered the next room, they saw it was filled with puppets. Their lifeless eyes stared ahead as the eerie atmosphere enveloped them. The puppets began to move in a manner accompanied by creaks and whirs. A melancholic tune from a music box echoed through the room sending shivers down their spines. The trio stood frozen in fear as the shadows danced ominously around them. Their breathing stopped as they tried to see if their mind was just playing tricks on them.

Suddenly laughter pierced the air, louder and more menacing than before. The darkness seemed to come alive as Jack’s flashlight sputtered out, leaving them in pitch darkness. Panic surged through them as they frantically searched for an escape route.



In the midst of chaos, Emily felt a hand grip her arm. She let out a piercing scream before realizing it was Sarah who stood beside her visibly shaken. They eventually found Jack at the exit, visibly shaken and breathing heavily with terror. The laughter seemed to creep closer then further they ran from it, as if the source of the laughing was waiting for them at every step. Finally, though it seemed like miles away, they reached the safety of the forest.

Trembling with fear, each of them made it to the edge of the woods hoping to leave behind the haunting memories of whatever waited in that funhouse, watching and laughing. They made a pact never to return to that place again; a pact they knew they would never forget. Emily couldn't shake off the sense that they had disturbed something that night – something that would forever haunt them.

Years went by. The friends drifted apart yet the memory of the carnival never ceased in their minds. Emily often pondered whether the carnival was truly haunted or if their imaginations had deceived them.

One evening, almost a decade since their time in Waverly had passed, Emily’s phone rang, jumping her out of sleep. It was Jack. After all these years, she didn't realize she still had his number in her phone.

“Jack?” Emily’s voice broke as she softly answered the phone.

“Emily?” Jack’s voice sounded distant. As he spoke, the phone seemed to crackle with static.

"I saw it again," he murmured softly. "The clown is here."

The call abruptly ended, leaving Emily with a fear that clung to her like a wet jacket. It dawned on her that the carnival’s grip on them was far from loosened. The enigma remained unsolved with echoes of laughter and shadowy figures imprinted in their memories.

Gazing into the darkness of the night, Emily could hear what sounded like a faint laugh slowly growing louder inside the doorway to her pitch dark bathroom. Frozen in fear, Emily turned on her phone’s flashlight. As she raised the light, she saw a large, red smile staring right back at her before the flashlight suddenly went dark.




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