The Ferris Wheel

     Julie shivered as she approached the gates of the abandoned amusement park.
     “Are you sure this is ok?” She asked her friend Hannah, who was lighting up her third cigarette of the hour.
     “Yeah. No one comes here anymore, so it’s just us.”
     She passed Julie the cig as she slipped through the rusty gates, and Julie finished the cigarette and followed her friend into the dusty twilight.

     It was eerie inside the park. Dilapidated buildings and broken rides littered the area, and the girls smoked in silence as they walked down the once-vibrant boardwalk. When they saw the remnants of a Ferris wheel peeking over the horizon, Hannah paused and pointed at it.
     “See that? That’s where it happened.”
     The girls walked closer to the wheel, and Julie noted that a worn face adorned the side. It was supposed to be Micky Mouse, but it had taken on a more demonic appearance as the night fell. Hannah and Julie stopped beneath it and sat in the overgrown lane.
     “What happened here, anyway?” Julie asked as she handed Hannah a small flask of wine. Hannah took a sip before shrugging.
     “No one knows for sure. The story I heard is that Old Man Witters, the caretaker, was so fed up with the company that he sabotaged this Ferris Wheel to malfunction. It’s the biggest attraction of the park, so shutting it down would be financial ruin.”
     She took another sip as Julie leaned forward. “Yeah? What happened then?”
     “The day comes, and people line up to ride the Ferris wheel. It’s working fine, for now, since he wanted it to break around midday. So, people are riding it, and all the buckets are full. But the plan doesn’t work. Instead of breaking down, the Ferris wheel begins to spin faster and faster. No one can stop it, and the buckets fly off in every direction. Hundreds of people died, and the park was forced to shut down for good.”
     Hannah took a long drink of the flask as Julie stared, wide-eyed, at the Ferris wheel above them.
     “That’s terrible! No wonder my brother hates these things. They’re dangerous.”
     Hannah nodded and handed Julie the flask. “Oh, that’s not the worst part. After the park closed down, Old Man Witters felt so badly about the accident that he hung himself from the Ferris wheel. Now, his ghost roams this empty park as a punishment for his sins.”
     As she said this, the girls began to hear a slow, haunting melody coming from the funhouse across the way. Hannah gaped at it.
     “What the hell?”
     The girls jumped up and ran to the funhouse as the music increased. Lights poured out of broken windows, and there was a thin fog that crept over the rotting threshold. Hannah peeked her head inside.
     “There’s no one…wait…I see someone moving back there. HEY!”
     Hannah ran inside before Julie could stop her, chasing the figure and unaware that the funhouse was once again devoid of light and sound. She stumbled on a broken chair and paused to take in what surroundings she could. Hannah couldn’t see anything in the darkness, so she turned back when she heard Julie calling her from the doorway.
     “Hannah! Hannah, come quickly! Someone’s out here!”
     Hannah ran back to the door, guided by the glow of Julie’s lighter, and grabbed her friend.
     “What did you see?”
     Julie was pale. “Everything went dark when you went inside, so I flipped on my lighter. When I turned around, I saw a man standing under the Ferris wheel.”
     Hannah turned to the Ferris wheel and found herself gazing at a large man in overalls. He was staring at the girls from his place in the shadows, and they could barely see the outline of a rope trailing down behind him.

     Without saying a word, Hannah and Julie took off toward the gates and ran until their lungs burned and their legs ached. When they were beyond the gates of the amusement park, Hannah and Julie collapsed on the ground and began to giggle. Julie finished the flask as Hannah enjoyed one last cigarette before they brushed themselves off and headed home.
    Hannah and Julie never forgot about the night they saw Old Man Witters’ ghost beneath the old Ferris wheel. Even years later, after the park had been demolished to make room for new housing, the girls would go and sit where the Ferris wheel used to be, share a cigarette, and wonder about the afterlife.

     After all, if Old Man Witters could return as a ghost, why couldn’t they?

   _________________________________

For this story, I had to choose two photos from this selection and merge them into a single story. I chose the bottom two.

This is my interpretation. What’s yours? 

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