You’ve dared return to the Dark Carnival. How brave, yet foolish! Today, I can’t guarantee you’ll make it out alive.
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“The last place he was seen was at your food stand Ms. Rather.” He said with every bit of his naturally accusing nature.
“I don’t know what to say Detective Rollins. He worked quietly, he ate here sometimes, and he left. That’s as far as we get around here. Would you like to come around back? You are more than welcome to search my trailer.” I said to the short but stocky cop that thought he knew it all.
“I think I will take you up on that offer.” He said as he rounded the corner of my food stand. Trees covered the trailer from behind and the sides of my stand were covered by awnings, lawn chairs, and plain ol’ junk. He staggered through the piles of newspapers and broken arcade games to end up at my back door. The once green and white vinyl siding had been painted black and red for a more funhouse look and the old mats that had to be constantly taken up and removed were now looking a shade of black unknown to color history.
He stood at the back door, reaching for the handle to the screen. I met him before he could lay fingerprints down onto it. The cold metal I held in the hand that I precariously kept hidden, felt itchy. My palm began to twitch, begging for the kill. I could feel the adrenaline rising from within as he stood there, shocked that I had moved so quickly to the back door. I longed to watch the blood flow as I had with the person for whom he searched for. He was right. This was the last place he was seen and it would be detective Rollins last place as well.
I swiftly jerked the switchblade from behind and crossed it upon his neck. The glorious red substance that my anxious eyes longed for poured from his body. He reached for his gun but bled out before he could pull it from its holster. His body dropped to the floor of my back door with a resounding thud. His hand landed on my lacy black boot. I kicked it off and rolled my eyes at his pathetic existence.
I peeked around for on-looking bystanders but, luckily found none as I dragged his body within the hapless trailer. Inside I began my work, chopping and slicing and cutting. I had to have the meat grinded and processed before the carnival goers came at 2. Everyone ranted and raved over my hamburgers. ‘They had never tasted finer meats before’ they would say. Everyone except Josh.
I had grown tired of his constant complaints of the smell from my trailer. I loved the smell. The smell of death permeated it but, the candles in the front room kept it from my patrons. All they ever smelled was cranberry breeze and never the smell of their newly addicting source of meat. Josh was an antagonistic asshole who ran the Gravitron but now served the carnival goers in a new way. He was the missing man that the Detective Rollins had been searching for and had he only asked for a hamburger he would have found him.
I shower before the opening and put on my sexiest Goth looking outfit. Its red and black just like my trailer. I enjoyed wearing it because of the matching compliments I receive from customers. The other carnival patrons open their booths and food stands. I see the Gravitron has a new worker. I wave at him flirtatiously and he nods, sweeping his black dreadlocks across his broad shoulders as they bob back and forth. He jives to the music playing at his ride and I watch him as he moves his body gracefully to the beat.
It’s a long night with many strange orders, a burger with no cheese but extra lettuce or a corn dog without mustard. My feet are growing tired as I pace back and forth in my lacy black boots. I long for the TV in my trailer and the beautiful smell of death. The blood was there waiting for me to bathe in on the floor. It helps my skin look positively glowing. Everything about the human body intrigues me. I revel in the luxuries of my own body as I rub my own forearm to feel the softness of my own skin.
My body had grown weary and I felt ravenous, wanting to feel more of the adrenaline that came when I killed. My tummy growled from within and I stared at the fresh meat I had procured from the detective. I walked over and dropped a patty of him onto the grill. I watched as he sizzled on the grey, metal surface. It gave me slight satisfaction to watch him fry and I wondered if his spirit could feel the burn as I flipped the patty over.
After a few moments, it was done to my satisfaction and I place it on an empty bun. I wanted to savor the flavor without interruption. I close the window to my food stand and lock it down. After midnight, I never got many customers anyway and things were starting to look grim from the crowd. The late night revelers were out and ready to start up trouble that I wanted nothing of. I didn’t need the attention since my meat locker was getting a little full.
The first bite melts in my mouth as I squish him between my teeth. Knowing where the meat came from made it all the more delicious as I savored each bite. I coughed at the dryness from my throat and reach for a bottle of water. I wash down the dryness and keep eating. The last bite wasn’t far from my lips as I accidently bite my lip from my eagerness. I suck the salty liquid back into my own body, not wanting an ounce of myself anywhere but, within me.
As I place the last bite into my mouth, I feel a strange occurrence from within. The meat wasn’t settling well and my throat felt dry once again. I chewed on and swallowed the last bite. It remained in my throat and I started to cough. I could feel the meat pulsating within me and thought the detective mustn’t be happy. The meat was tough to cough up as it remained inside my throat. The air became thinner as I tried feverishly for breaths.
I felt the very life within me begin to wane. I fell to my knees and rammed my fingers into my mouth. I dug bread out but the meat remained, alive inside my throat. The detective would go down with a fight as it felt like the meat had a hold of my esophagus.
I struggled as the oxygen in my body depleted at an exponential rate. The blood drained from my face and I was drifting above my body. I looked down upon myself as I lay there dead. They were waiting there for me, watching as I died. All of the people I killed for meat and sport. The detective and Josh grabbed my ghostly arms and traveled me to a place only dreamt about in nightmares.
A native of Columbus, MS and married with 2 kids and 2 cats, Kim Culpepper’s work has appeared on Books of the Dead Press’s blog, the August issue of The Opening Line Literary Zine, on horror-writers.net, and writer.ly. She is currently searching for a literary agent to make her career soar to new heights and a publisher willing to take a chance on a poor Southern girl.
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