I know what I saw that day, I know someone was in the house, because, after all, if my dad hadn’t unlocked the front door, then who had?
She didn’t have the attentive gaze of someone checking up on us. No, there was something more aggressive about it. Something almost predatory.
They weren’t human: they were demons. Demons using the carnival setting to masquerade among the living. The more I looked at the crowd, the more otherworldly creatures I saw. The old woman in the wheelchair? A fiery beast on a chariot of thorns. The duo hitting on a pregnant woman? They were feathered beasts with crooked yellow teeth.
I cut the engines, trusting my ship’s forward momentum to take me the rest of the way to the stranger. I didn’t want to risk overshooting and having to turn around. I had the strange feeling I’d only get one chance.
I’m not sure how long it took me to realize something was off. One minute, I was second-to-last in our little procession, the next, I noticed the absence of Christine’s footsteps. When I turned around, she was gone. Not off in the distance or taking a break, just … gone.
“Let me out!” I shouted, “The Clock Man’s going to get me! Please let me out!”
There was no answer from the other side, not even the sound of Tommy and his friends laughing.
I remember hearing the sirens and seeing the ambulance’s lights in the distance, but my focus was elsewhere.
I could see it moving. The separation, I mean. Slowly, like the motion of the sun setting on the horizon. It was subtle, but it was definitely moving down. That’s when I realized that humming sound from this morning was getting even louder.