“There is a strange scent in the wind.” A bespectacled middle age man looks to his son. “You know about your age a circus came to town. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemoium Shadow Show. They told people what they wanted to hear. Played on their desires. So Charles what is it you seek from your old man? ”
“You talk like Gramps. I wanted to get my allowance. The traveling show just came in. Since is so nice. Well, Jimmie and me….Well, it’s not a school night. So can i? Please” He drags his feet on the ground. His eyes focused on his father’s right hand. The hand that dishes out allowances.
“Supposing I give you what you want. When do you think I’ll see you again, my boy? There’s warm air but a storm brews nearby. Don’t want you carried off to Kansas. How would explain that to Mom? Well, I gave him his allowance and the wind took him away. She’d be awful cross.” His hand slides so very slow into his pocket. His eyes never leave his son. He sees some the thirteen year old he was. He knows Mr Dark is long gone, but still there is a sense.
“Thanks Dad. Be back by 10!” His heels kick up dust as he scrambles to his bike.
“Mom and I, we will come down. Maybe get a dinner of fried things.” He talks to a ghost.
The town fills the center park. Ferris wheels, glass houses, scrumbles, merry-go-round and swings fill the dirt with life. Sounds reserved for July inside the warm Autumn air.
A banner flaps in the breeze. Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show written in LED lights that sparkle like fireworks. The boys rush head on.
In the distance, a middle age couple leaves a car. Will, his age showing, beholds a dark past. The name is the same. The smell is the same. The evil had come back to town. His eyes see the dust raise. His eyes see a column form. The train noise of tortured souls begins.
In a flash, a twister tears at the swings. Catapulting dozens on a terror ride. Some thrown out. Some jumping off.
A hand burns at Will’s right shoulder.
“Mr Halloway, you remember me by chance. Mr Dark.” His voice sizzles against the soul. The smell of brimstone and cloves permeates.
“You! You came back to do this!” Will stares at Mr Dark. His tall thin build with stovepipe hat dressed in all black.
“Every 36 years, we return. Desires grow and need served.” Mr Dark turns to Anna Halloway. “Nice boy you have Ma’am. Hall of Mirror tickets for you both. ..After the weather clears. Maybe ten minutes.”
Mr Dark walks into the shadows.
Will and Anna stare at the disaster where their son once headed.
Written as part of a challenge called Photo Challenge demails are available at https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/photo-challenge-141/
The story is an extension of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes. Mr Dark also appears in the story the Illustrated Man.