I decided to go find a bathroom to freshen up before meeting Rox. I didn’t quite feel my best after the crab walk. I walked along a main thoroughfare, over the water bridge into the latter half of the park. There was a nice rest area with seating which should be safe from any man-eating vegetation.

The raging river deafened the night as the wailing riders screamed into the dark waters and out of sight. The water was pitch, but Global studios had done a great job of lighting the ominous creatures from the depths below. Tempted to remove my high heels, I came upon a scare zone featured on their website. This particular spooky looking corridor had too many plants for my taste and I was sure vegetation was going to try to consume me. Instead, I heard the distinct lonely cry of a far off train whistle. Turning the corner over top the bridge the train wreck scene complete with passengers, was there for all to behold.

The fog thickened. There were bodies, scads of dead bodies, lying all around. Some weren’t moving, but some dismembered body parts were. The steam engine’s light faded off and on creating darkness in the absence of the light. All I could hear were the dying gasps and moans of the actors. I had to keep reminding myself that these were only actors. Each of them would have a break in an hour or so, remove makeup at the end of the night, and sleep in their own warm beds. But it was hard to keep my wits about me with the wrecked carnage of the scene coupled with the loud sound effects from the train whistle. Even applying all my logic, my eyes kept telling my brain a different story. It played a trick on my entire set of senses. The special effects engaged my brain and the wheels turned once again. Wow, I knew this intensity was exactly what we needed in the game. Logic puzzling the mind, but the eyes overruling the logic.

Just then, a hand on the ground reached out and touched my ankle and I screamed. The zombie like characters were coming my way, knowing they had a “live one” and I ran through the dense fog towards the lighted breezeway up ahead to get away from the ghastly scene. A particularly gruesome zombie, which seemed to move all too fast for my taste, dragged a coal shovel along the cement creating sparks accompanying hideous scraping, grinding sounds from the concrete pavement. I kicked off my heels, grabbed them and ran. My skin crawled thinking what he could do with that shovel. My heart raced as I looked back onto the scene after I had reached a safe zone. The zombies and vegetation resumed their staged places and began the eerie scene all over again for the next unsuspecting set of victims.

A covered arbor terrace area set up for refreshments beckoned my salvation. I’d never seen so many people in one place. A human carpet weaving and bobbing to the ominous music blasting from hidden speakers.  I couldn’t even see the train wreck I barely escaped. With all of the excitement, I looked for a bench to sit down and checked the time. I looked at the time.  Forty-five minutes left before meeting Roxas behind the waterfalls. Marveling at the lengths the Halloween horror freaks went into  detail of their costumes, it reminded me of how people dressed their avatars in Exsanguinate.

There were all sorts of hideous monsters roaming the park; Frankensteins, Werewolves, Michaels, Freddies, Jasons, Buffys, demons. It was like being at a comic con or sci-fi con with trekkies, Animes, unicorns, giants on stilts, storm troopers, scream masks, vampires, vampire hunters, ogres, fairies, witches, elves, bounty hunters, dark gothic characters I couldn’t quite identify, and lots of ghastly zombie type Ghoulies. There were even these odd humanoid creatures with glowing eyes. They had white makeup on half of their bodies and black makeup on the other half like harlequins.

Women dressed in everything from Renaissance ball gowns to hardly anything. There were belly dancers wearing scarves with real snakes wrapped around their bodies. It almost flet like I was in a bad carney dream or something worse as the errie music played off key. My eyes enjoyed the scenery, but my brain kept telling me to scream and run like hell.

The music made my head swoon and I still really needed to pee. Pushing my way through the wall of gories, I heard a piercing scream cut through the night. People running at the top of their game. I wasn’t completely sure if what I saw was real. It was so fast, it was indistinct. It was almost as if I didn’t really see them at all. I shook my head and thought it would have been better to refuse that last margarita Ludovic handed me.

I looked for a place to sit under the T-Rex at the Dinosaur Park. The sounds of the extinct monsters, coupled with heavy native drumming, helped me get lost on this old world continent the park had created. The fog didn’t help in finding the bathroom, but the shrill cries of the tropical birds in hidden speakers definitely tested the bladder control. I could hear more laughter and happy sounds of people everywhere around me, but still, there was an instinctive overwhelming feeling of caution. I kept looking at every guy and wondered if he could be Roxas, especially if they caught my eyes or stared at me longer than comfort allowed.

Finally a bathroom! Margaritas out, costume adjusted, stilettos on, and lipstick reapplied, time to take on the world. I had just enough time to go check out a haunted house before I met Rox. It wouldn’t take but five minutes to get through and I could expend some more nervous energy before I saw him. Scared out of my ever lovin’ cotton pickn’ mind to go in to the haunted house alone,  I was even more scared to meet him.

I needed an immediate distraction or I wasn’t going to go through with this. Why was I so afraid of a haunted house, where I knew it was 300% percent safe inside because they can’t touch you? Why was I so afraid to meet Roxas? Hadn’t he been my guy for over two years now on-line? Hadn’t he been the guy I had shared so many secrets with on those late night gaming sessions? What in the hell were you thinking Cheyenne – why are you doing this to yourself?

I took a deep breath and decided to put one foot in front of the other and move forward into the first line I saw. I still had thirty minutes. I didn’t want to just be standing around looking like a doorknob when he showed up, even if I was a little late, it would be okay. Just keep moving.  

If I had to sit and wait, I knew I would explode. Pretty high on endorphins,  now was as good as ever to go face my fears. No guts, no glory. Who the hell said that anyways, I wondered.

I walked a few yards more and found myself in an ancient marble Roman statue garden. I could hear the waterfalls, and knew I wasn’t too far away from them. This would be the perfect place to kill some minutes before seeing him. There were fountains, gods and goddesses, sprites, gnomes and gargoyles of all shapes and sizes. I walked through the garden absolutely amazed at the detail on the statues.  I reached out to touch one. Its porcelain type skin was just too beautiful to not touch. My mind drifted away. I wonder what he really looks like? I wonder if his eyes are truly green? I wonder if he kisses the way he tells me he’s kissing me when we say goodnight.

At the moment I touched the gargoyle’s wing, the statue face changed into a scowl and it shrilled a screech at me worst than any siren I had ever heard. I fell back and landed in the cool, dewy grass and scrambled to get away from the gardens as fast as I could. Now I understood why people were running as fast as they could to get away from this place. Its innocence was the draw. The terror was from within. I had no idea these porcelain figures were actors posing as statues, they looked so incredibly real. Damn, these guys really were good.

I got past the last statue and the trees moved to block the exit. Three additional bushes scrambled to the base of the trees and completely blocked the exit. I took a deep breath and relaxed. This was just not my night.

“Okay you guys, I know you are park employees and my sister put you up to this, so please move so that I can leave.” They held perfectly still and didn’t move a muscle….err a branch. Just what I needed, trees with a sense of humor. What next? Would I find a shrub of Bleeding Hearts or Night Shade?

Deciding to take an alternate route, I continued to walk along the tall corridors and rounded the high dividing walls. It was hard to hear the mood altering music with the pounding water against the rocks and plants close by. The walkway made its winding path down  into some tunnels and before I realized it, people were lined up behind me and asking if I was going in. I guessed that this must have been a line to get into one of the haunted houses. There were about eight of them located throughout the park.
Overhead there was an old worn, lop-sided sign which read, “Creepy Caverns.” Okay, well that didn’t sound terrible. In fact, it was kinda lame, so I figured it would be safe to go in and look around and kill the last few minutes before my life changed forever. Immediately after entering the cave, I knew I was dead wrong.