A Survivor’s Accounts of the Depraved Funhouse: The Balloon – Part Two

7 min read

I was a bit unnerved when I saw that it resembled a lot of the poster that advertised it; a gigantic pasty white face with large red lips stretched from ear to ear, a red painted nose, as well as fuzzy orange hair and two enlarged, pitch-black eyes with only two tiny white dots in the center of them. I remember my knees actually starting to shake when I looked into the eyes, they were that much more deranged up close; like they weren’t even human (like they were the Devil’s…). I looked up to see a bright red archway forming the words “HappyWorld” that connected with the two gigantic red eyebrows. “Welcome to HappyWorld”, Derek proclaimed as he placed a hand on my shoulder, startling me out of of my anxious stupor.

‘Oh, uh… yeah, looks awesome dude”, I bluffed in a botched attempt to mask my anxiety. “Where is everybody?”, I asked Derek, suddenly noticing a distinct lack of other patrons outside of the three of us. “Shouldn’t there be some kind of a line?”, I remember asking myself. “Maybe we’re early”, Liza chimed in, shrugging her shoulders. “Rock on, that means first in line for everything!”, Derek cheered. Despite the, albeit lax, allure of not having to wait in line for anything; I was hesitant.
“Hey man… I’m not so sure we should–”, but they just kept walking. “You comin’?”, Derek called out to me, still not seeming to notice my increasing apprehension. “Something’s not right here…”, I thought to myself, standing frozen as the behemoth clown’s abyssal eyes firmly fixed me in their dead gaze (I could’ve turned back…). The longer I stared at the structure,the more I began to notice the shadows’ menacing pronunciation around the eyes. I wasn’t feeling right at all about this anymore and, despite the disappointment I knew Derek would feel if I ran out on him, I just couldn’t–
“You okay, dude? You look like you’re staring at a ghost”, Derek called out to me, now just three feet away from the clown structure’s giant red lips. I broke from my staring contest with the clown structure and saw him and Liza standing there, looking confused. “Oh, y-yeah… sorry”, I stammered, failing once again to conceal the chilling anxiety that was working its way up my spine and into my voice. “It’s not too late, you know”, I thought to myself, “Just tell him that you hear Ma calling…”. “Hey, uh-”, I got no further before I was startled by the sound of creaking metal.
The two tiny white specks inside of the clown’s eyes were now glowing. The bottom jaw of the clown began to lower, distending until its mouth was wide open to reveal the entrance. Once the gaping maw was opened fully, I heard a buzzing whir as I watched a giant pink tongue eject from the inside. A deep, jovial voice then blasted from the entrance “Welcome to HappyWorld: home of everlasting smiles!”, before blasting some sort of vintage carnival music that sounded a lot like whoever recorded it did so from their grandmother’s record player that was on its last legs. “What were you gonna say, Linus?”, Derek called to me.

I looked at him (I could’ve turned back…), I saw the excitement on his face. “N-nothing, everything’s fine”, I lied; putting on a weak smile, “let’s go in!” (why didn’t I tell him…). “That’s what I’m talking about!”, Derek exclaimed, putting his hand up for a high-five. Keeping my smiling facade, I returned Derek’s high-five as we stepped on the giant tongue sticking out of the clown’s mouth. I felt another pricking chill crawl up my spine as the buzzing whir sounded again, causing the tongue to retract back into the mouth followed by the bottom jaw raising up to meet the upper* half, sealing the entrance behind us and trapping us inside of its dark entry corridor.

For about five minutes, we just stood there in the dark; I couldn’t see Derek or Liza, who should’ve been only inches away from me on my left and right. “Derek, is that you?”, I asked as my hands grazed what felt like someone’s shoulder. Before he could answer, my heart hammered in my chest as the deep, jovial voice from before boomed from all around us; “Welcome to HappyWorld! Are you ready to smile!”. “Hell yeah!”, Derek shouted from my right. Liza whooped and cheered from my left. I just stood in the middle, too jarred by the unpleasant mix of sensory deprivation as well as at the same time sensory overload, to give any response.

All at once, lights blinked on to illuminate a long hallway. On each side, there were two doors, each decorated with a clown face; two of them were female while the others were male, all decorated with the same matching red facepaint. “So, uh… what do we do now?”, I asked, my stomach still churning with perpetual anxiety. “Now, we go through each room to find the box containing the clown in each room”, Derek replied as he began to reach for one of the doors to open, “supposedly, “The Amazing Beliar” will be in one of them as well. And we’re gonna be the first to find him!”. “Wait”, Liza piped up before Derek could turn the knob of the door, “we gotta do this door first!”.

I looked over to see her standing in front of a door with one of the female clowns labeling it. “You always wanna do “Happy Frannie’s” door first”, Derek rebutted, “why don’t we change it up a bit?”. Liza frowned and opened her mouth to protest, but was cut off by Derek; “Think about it, maybe the reason we never found him is because we start in the wrong place, ya know?”. Liza stood in front of the door with her arms folded in annoyance. “Tell you what, how about we split up”, I offered, mostly just trying to get moving again.

“Me and Derek can do this one, and you can do that one; we’ll meet back up in the middle”. Liza rolled her eyes and said “whatever”, with an exasperated sigh of annoyance. “Hell yeah; you and me, bro!”, Derek exclaimed, putting his hand up for a high-five. I heard Liza whisper “dorks”, as I, still trying not to let on that I wasn’t feeling right about HappyWorld anymore, attempted to return the high-five as reassuringly as I could(it was our last high-five…). “H-have fun”, I muttered rather weakly. Which was then immediately followed with Derek teasing her saying; “Yeah, have fun, Chowder-head”.

Liza stuck out her tongue and gave Derek the finger; to which Derek shot back with two “fuck-you’s” of his own, forming his face into an expression of exaggerated surprise and retorted “Sit on ‘em and spin”. I couldn’t help but actually snicker at this, both out of amusement and as a last-ditch effort to try and void the anxiety from my thoughts. Finally, she turned the knob of the “Happy Frannie” door. I’m willing to swear on my life, though, that before she opened the door; she turned around and winked at me, smiling.

Once Liza disappeared into the room; Derek turned to me, grabbing the knob, “You ready, dude?”. “Uh… yeah!”, I replied; feeling a bit of the nervousness washed away, just a bit. With a huge, excited grin; Derek said “On three: One…”. “There’s nothing to be afraid of, its just a clown, right?”, I told myself, the image of the creepy red clown face from the poster assaulting my mind. “Two…”, Derek said. “The clown won’t hurt me… right?”, the huge, dark marble eyes with the two tiny glowing white dots in their center and the giant gaping red maw of the structure burrowed itself into my mind; the shadows further accentuating its ominous visage.

I was imagining that I was being swallowed whole by the funhouse. “Maybe its not too late to turn ba-”, “Three!”, Derek shouted as he threw the door open in excitement; ending my thought dead in its tracks. Inside; the room was dark like in the entrance, save for the these dark orange L.E.D. lights peppering small areas. Quickly, yet hesitantly, I stepped inside; Derek following close behind. The door slammed itself shut with a thud, making my heart pound that much harder in my chest.
For a drawn-out momentum we just stood there; consumed in an all-encompassing darkness that was only penetrated by the three dimly shaded orange spotlights hanging side-by-side in front of us. After a few seconds, my eyes adjusted to the darkness enough to make out the shapes of doors under each of the three spotlights. One of them had a yellow frowny-face ornament hanging on the front while another was decorated with a smiling face. The last door had a more abstract expression: two “X” shapes for the eyes and an “O” shaped mouth. I had no time to ponder what the doors led to, however, before the booming voice rang out again, “Welcome, before you are three doors: one leads to a dead-end…”, a vintage sounding recording of disappointed groans played out, “another door will lead you into a maze to find our special friend: Happy Jack-o!”, this time, it was the sound of children cheering that echoed from all around, “ the last door leads to a special Secret surprise anyone bold enough to enter…”, this was followed by a crowd of exaggerated “oohs” and surprised gasps.

“Secret surprise”, I wondered before the voice boomed out “Good luck and, most importantly: remember to smile!”, followed by the disjointed carnival music from before. “Follow me”, Derek said as we approached the door in the middle with the smiley-face. Before I knew it, I was following Derek to the smiley-face door. Before he could even grab the knob to open the door, I piped up; “Wait!”. “What’s up?”, he asked, staring puzzled at me with his hand still reaching for the knob of the smiley-face door. My mind was racing between the nauseating senses of paranoia and dread that this godforsaken place continued to assault me with, and the possibilities of what the “Secret surprise” was. “Let’s try this door first”, I suggested, pointing to the door with the shocked expression hanging on the front. “Whatever the secret is; this is the door it would be behind, right?”, I reasoned to myself as I told Derek that that’s the door where we may have the strongest possibility of finding “The Amazing Beliar”.

For a second; Derek stood there, pondering my suggestion. “Maybe we should split up too. You take that door, and I’ll take this one. This time, I was the one weighing options. “Did I really wanna do this alone? What about Derek, was I really gonna make him do this alone?”.

Before I could actually voice any of these thoughts, however; Derek was already in the act of opening the smiley-face door. I watched Derek close the door behind him and disappear into the room (why didn’t I follow him? Why couldn’t I have gone through that door? I’m so sorry, Derek…).
For a moment that felt just shy of an eternity, I just stood there in front of the door; my body quivering like somebody shoved a fucking time-bomb down my throat. “What’re you afraid of?”, I wondered, trying to rid myself of the cold dread that had burrowed it’s way back into my head with twice it’s original magnitude. “This was what you wanted, right: what you were looking forward to: the chance to be the first to see “The Amazing Beliar” in the flesh?”

Read Part One

Read Part Two

Read Part Three

Read Part Four

Read Part Five

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