I walked in following the group that went in before me. Suddenly, immensely aware of the fact I was alone, all alone. I wondered why I couldn’t wait to go in here with Roxas? This would have been a perfect opportunity to cozy up to him, but he wasn’t here to hide my face intp his strong, broad shoulders or to crouch behind his back to protect me. Okay, so maybe I truly was a big chicken. They didn’t call these types of theme park events “Happy Summer Day Picnic for Chickens”. It was freakin’ Halloween horror nights.  My nerves on edge and the anticipation of meeting him escalated my heart rate by the minute.

It was black as pitch everywhere except for tiny little lights on the floor to guide us through the caverns. We moved pretty fast through the twisting corridors of the cave. One safety item I realized was missing in this haunted house. I didn’t see any red “EXIT” lights anywhere. Weren’t the rides supposed to let you get out if you couldn’t handle it? I also didn’t remember seeing any legalese signs saying,  “ … if you have any heart conditions, are pregnant or if you are under such a height you couldn’t ride this ride.” Maybe this wasn’t a ride after all and it didn’t need those kinds of disclaimers. But the screams in front of me told a different story.

Questioning where I was in the park or exactly what I was doing here gave me rise to consider my sanity…again.  How many other people did I know who do these kinds of stupid things for the sake of science? I knew there were ghost hunters and paranormal investigators, but they actually liked getting the hell scared of of them. Me, I just wanted to write a program. Why couldn’t I just hire someone to tell me what was scary. I suppose then it wouldn’t be real enough for me.

Fifteen minutes until Rox and all I could hear were screams coming from all around me. Not just screams of scared girls, but real screams of men in terrible pain. All I could think of to help calm my nerves was to keep imagining myself in his arms soon.

Finally, I grabbed a hold of myself and did what I was there to do. I watched other people and studied how they were reacting to the haunted house instead of focusing on my own fears. The sickened looks on their faces as they turned to survey the gory scene around the corner of the wall gave me insight as to what I might expect to see once I arrived.

One girl was so physically consumed, she fell back tearing through the line to get out and away from the gruesome sight, all while screaming at the top of her lungs. Line goers laughed at her, taunted her with profane names and the usage of the word “chicken” echoed off the walls. She pushed into people, desperate to get out and before I knew it she ran smack into me. Already unsteady in my stilettos, I hit the rough wall hard, twisting my ankle as she pushed me over to get out. People were so morbidly curious to see what had sickened the girl, they paid no attention to me. It was dark in the cavern and they all wanted to get their gore on. The couple behind me was dressed as a mermaid and Triton. You could tell his mighty sword was ready at the helm. I asked for their help, but the screams were too loud, and they were too busy kissing one another.

The course wall from the rock surface tore into my skin. My shoulder felt a little wet when I brushed off the dirt and rubble from my arm. I was bleeding and it stung as bits of rock were embedded into my shoulder. It stung to touch it. I used my costume to help brush off most of the damage. What good would a mummy costume be, if I couldn’t use it to wrap up an injury right? My ankle wasn’t so hot either. I limped through the line anxious to see why people were so consumed to get their next junkie rush of disgust to pulse through their veins.

I couldn’t help but wonder, at what expense to the psyche was all this fear? I wasn’t sure. One thing obvious to me though, when it comes to the flight or fight part of the brain, the humanity part of the equation leaves a person for a brief moment for self-preservation. If a person needed or chose flight, they would not care how or who was hurt, as long as they escaped the threat. This was evident by how the girl pushed me down and never stopped for a second to think about her actions or to help me.
I turned the corner while shielding my face to brace for a horrific view. These were just actors and there was nothing to be frightened of, or at least that’s what I kept telling myself. What I hoped I wasn’t going to see, were disturbing clowns or dolls with glass eyes staring at me, the real things that nightmares are made of. What I did see was a horror scene straight from the B movies where a person was being used for a Nazi science experiment with maggots eating out the flesh of a rotting, gangrenous leg while a crazed vivisectionist performed live surgery with rusty, dirty implements. I watched the faces of others as well as taking in the gory, meticulous details the stage manager prepared. It looked as if some people might hurl right then and there in the line. I noticed the interaction of the scene. It wasn’t only a voyeuristic experience, the actors engaged with those in the line. For the extra thrill of it, once the actors saw they might have a real winner, the crazed Nazi doctor would hit the patient’s leg with a gel filled sledge hammer sending blood spattering all over the crowd. Interactive gore. It was wrong on so many levels, and the crowd loved it.

The floor slippery from all of the red jelly water, I clung to the wall for support. I knew my shoes were going to get ruined. I was ready for a change of scene, to get some fresh air, sit down and relax before meeting Roxas. I needed to find another ladies room. Agonizing screams came from the patient. The actor’s voice was going to be lost for days if she kept up that kind of velocity with every gut-wrenching cry of pain. Admittedly, I was shocked at how real the special FX effects makeup looked in the yellow tainted light.  Maybe the scream was also a special effect and it wasn’t her real voice.

Trying to keep logical was one way to stay focused. If I had let my imagination and senses take over, I could have easily been the one running back through this line as well. Who imagines this stuff up anyway? What sick mind could envision a scene so ghastly? Someone had to think it before it could be performed. I guess I had to study it before I could program it, I was no worse offender either. My mind was just as sick.

Bound and determined to continue and conquer my own fears, we moved steadily forward and I could hear the evil doctor and his  screaming patient engage the next set of victims. Happy to move on to a new scene, the next room I saw a woman reenacting the movie where the young girl is demoniacally possessed. She must have enjoyed her venue simply because she got to hurl green vomit at the people in line. I quickly scooted back towards the wall again and hovered behind the love bunnies who were making out behind me. I tried to keep it safe and stayed glued to the back wall. It felt better having something at my back and I was more than happy to let people gang up in front of me to get a closer look.  Already bloody and dirty, I didn’t need green pea soup on me also.

The young girl spoke in tongues and performed rather vulgar, sexual things with her nightgown. I wasn’t sure if this was an amusement park or a porno theater at this point. The demon possessed child continued to throw insults as well as hurl more green soup vomit to any insulter who came near. When they engaged her, it was game on. People pushed and jumped to get away from the green goop causing major line calamity and people were getting pissed. After the sputum shower, which most people received, we could hear the rushing water up ahead. Anxious to get out and find a bathroom, I needed a drink to clear out the bile caught in my throat from the gore. The green actress continued with her nasty, demonic insults to the next in line. She was  especially good at being a demon. It creeped me out that she was so convincing. Kinda waited for her head to turn 360 degrees. How does one audition for these kinds of roles? She might actually be a great model for the blue suit. They pay people to do this? I bet Dakota would love this.

Almost out, or so I thought, we next were emptied into a spacious, open cavern which was dark  enough to where I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. It bothered me that I didn’t have a wall to protect me as I was pushed forward into the room. No idea if anything would be at my feet, my nerves worried me about falling. I might trip and get trampled on in here. Horrific screams all around us in 3D sound caused my own breathing to hitch it up a notch just to control the fear. Knowing it was part of the act, I took in slow inhales to remain calm praying that this nightmare would be over soon enough. I wondered how much time was left. Would he be on time? Would I be late? When would I be done with this madhouse?

It wasn’t long until most people turned on their cell-phones or iPods in order to have a flashlight to help see. I, too, pulled out mine and held it down by the floor. The room itself was completely black, except for the foggy haze that just hung around the floor. A rush of air immediately filled the floor with a cool, dense fog. This must be what we could see lingering from the group before us. The fog thick as thieves, my shoes were no longer visible. A brilliant white, intense light erupted at the far end of the room accompanied by a train whistle. Its haunted lullaby becoming louder by the second.

The floor vibrated as the train approached. The direction of the light coupled with the vibration of the tracks encouraged people to scramble to get away from the oncoming death engine barreling towards us. The train flew past us with the sound of the horn passing, but left me with the loud clackity clack of the cars passing by. This particular room must have been outfitted with a theater surround-sound system strategically placed for visual and audio effects. The sub-woofers in the floor vibrated for a surreal effect. I could feel the anticipation from people as to see what was going to happen next. There were whoops and hollers of appreciation from this hungry bunch of scare hunters. They wanted more.

In figuring the haunted allure to this room, it seemed to me it induced a variety of sense deprivation. The human mind had trouble understanding if the train was real or not. Self preservation would move people away from the sound and the vibrations in the floor. Another light approached from the right hand section of the room and the train whistle blew again. This time people moved sooner, but an additional train came barreling at us from the left hand side. The trains were going to collide and we were caught in the middle. Thunderous roars of screeching brakes on metal wheels and tracks, sent people screaming and running in all directions. When in reality, there was nothing in the room with us… or at least that’s what I thought.