The mind is cloudy, encased within grey, bland colors that do nothing but to deter the proficient part of itself that aids its human colleague. The abstract fog is almost always made up of instant emotions simply catharsed with spontaneous actions and receptors, ones that are normal for people to experience daily. However, this fog only forms on the exterior of the mind when its person chooses to process those emotions without thought, without any moment of dwelling.
To conclude, this extended explanation is birthed from the phrase of “clouding one’s judgement”.
Said phrase can also be related on a medical basis to the great Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst and founder of the Freudian theory (obviously). Freud emphasized the importance of the unconscious mind; a primary assumption of the Freudian theory is that the unconscious mind governs behavior to a greater degree than people suspect. Indeed, the goal of psychoanalysis is to make the unconscious conscious.
To put it more simply, seemingly trivial and insignificant observations of the five main senses actually affect a person’s decisions and ways of thinking potentially even more than a direct, mentioned thing. For example, a person may see a bird while on a walk in the park and acknowledge it with two of the five senses: sight and sound. But internally, the person may be later reminded of the bird’s dark blue feathers, and may purchase a certain decoration based off of those colors or overall appearance. (This would be an example of a short term impact.)
I would go on further to explain of the long term effects if this were a research or scientific paper based on the mind’s emotions; however, this is a story, an extended metaphor for such long term effects, and so I shall explain it in this way. This story will take a fictitious approach in order to inform the reader of such.
So really, let us see the results of you, the reader, and the dissimilar interesting protagonist….Sorry for unobvious jest, but even that might be a hidden point of this drawling theme, do you see where I’m going with this?
But while the protagonist may be dual to you in the subject of interest, they’re probably also dual to you in the other subject of direction. YOU, the reader, chose to read this story with a purpose, your next actions out of a mildly thought out plan - instead, for the protagonist, it was quite arbitrary.
He was a man of lethargic pleasure, was and still is, one that didn’t openly seek out something new each day and instead prefered to sink into routine. He managed to hold a job at the local gas station, a simple profession that came without the previous stress of obtaining some high degree. He thought of college degrees and Ph.Ds and such as nothing more than a symbol of superiority compared to others. Look, I graduated with this and that, you must bow before my society-placed dominance.
And plus, working in the mentioned convenience store allowed for quick interactions with people that instantly helped them in some way, no matter how minor. “How useful is your Ph.D now?”, he would think to himself.
Truthfully, some part of him grew bored each day as the monotonous repetition of it did just that - repeat. Over and over again. There was no complacency, no satisfactory feeling of accomplishment by the end of the day at ten o’clock when he gathered his few things and went back home. Not even each week when he received his paycheck.
It wasn’t a grand paycheck (as you already know); it didn’t have to be. As long as it got him through the year without any complications he was content with it. Most people find that type of lifestyle shameful, as it’s in no way assertive. But this man was content with just things balanced and regular, albeit with only a decent amount of enjoyment and happiness, rather than the uncertainty of day to day life and activities.
Which was why it was quite odd that he found himself that Tuesday standing just outside of the local carnival. The location was completely random, haphazard even, since he hadn’t been to one in ages. In fact, the last time he had been to one was when he was nine years old. At the current age of twenty nine, he fortunately hadn’t lived long enough to forget most of his childhood, and so this particular location managed to bring about a catharsis of of nostalgia within him.
The catharsis of mention was physically displayed by him loudly humming along to the catchy and cheerful theme song playing from large old-fashioned circular speakers from just above the entrance sign and ticket booth. He was excited.
After about ten minutes of waiting on line, it was his turn to approach the booth. He nodded at the person inside; he appeared to be in his early-twenties - the look complete with acne and some facial hair. All in all, he wouldn’t stand out in a crowd much, if he had taken off the comically large sequined blue and silver bow around his thin neck.
The entrance ticket was $20.29. But since he hadn’t been there in a long while, he had no way to determine if the price was insanely high or cheap. But either way, it didn’t matter to him. He already had a prepaid ticket with him, and was only required to simply hand it to the boy in the booth and then take it back to scan for validity.
The sign he walked under only bore this one word - there was no title before it, no indication of ownership. It was just CARNIVAL. That was it. As it was just before noon, he expected the whole color schematic to be unintentionally bland, all white roof covers for each attraction with some deviants of blue, pink, green, and such. This assumption stemmed from the fact that it was day, and so all of the colorful blinking lights wouldn’t be on yet. However, he soon realized that his initial hypothesis was wrong, and that the colors on display now before him might even rival its nighttime counterpart.
It wasn’t just the tens upon tens of alternate shades of pink, red, orange, blue, and purple - it was the queasy scent of oil and sugar in the air, the screams and giggles of young children that could probably even be heard from outside of the gates, and of the texture of the ticket gripped in his left hand. Admittedly, the texture of the ticket would still feel exactly the same even if it were night, but the description of roughness still nevertheless added dimension into the whole experience.
He honestly wondered for a moment why he had not gone here sooner. This seemed to be very fun and enjoyable.
The reason why he had chosen to actually do something out of routine that day was not, unfortunately, because he had finally broken out of the abstract shell he had built for himself. It was just based on the decision of wanting to avoid work sometime during that week, whenever the chance stood up in his sight. He coincidentally soon found the opportunity to do so after one of his few coworkers handed him a ticket to the local carnival.
However, the free chance wasn’t a reward for good behaviour or because he had been working there for a while; it was quite random. She had an extra admission, and he was the first person to agree to new ownership of it.
He reflected upon this as he passed the first couple of food stands. He by no doubt knew of the persuasive intentions of their location - the people would first enter a busy, chaotic place and then see the food. This plan worked by the people seeing activities associated with energy consumption, to which their brains would subconsciously imply the connection to the conscious part of their minds. Energy to soon be used equals a need for food to fuel that energy.
But even though he had known of this advertisement ruse, he still found himself unable to resist the temptation of the candy stand and purchased a blue lollipop. He supposed it reminded him of the appetizingly bright candy rack just in front of the counter at the convenience store where he usually stood.
He suspected that he then spent three hours wandering around the entire area, although the phrase ‘wandering’ might be a general term for his gait and way of randomly choosing which ride to go on or which game to play, and not its usual definition of walking about without any clear goal in mind.
After a while he came across a sort of carousel, which was odd, since he specifically remembered already passing by the dusty lot it was in. It was branched off from the broad-ranging hot pavement which encased the grounds and wrapped around them, weaving in and out between attractions like a sleeping serpent. Every thing in this place was shining and flashing with pronounced vigor to draw the people into its funhouse and spinning carts and such, where they would by no doubt then have a lot of fun.
But this section was different.
Somehow it was in total contrast; it was as if all of the park’s dirtiness and filth had been scrubbed away to give it its current illusion, and that dirt and filth had then been dumped in one of the corners to the side, away from everything else. And to that side happened to be a carousel.
It was smattered very sparely in pink and white, the rest of its coloration dominated by black and brown stains. Due to all of this horridly decrepit description he had suspected the mechanics to be entirely frozen, corrosion completely overriding its silver gears and crown bearings, and for the dark canopy to be withered thoroughly. The horses gasped and groaned with each sixty degree turning of the ride, their dulling colors failing to entice in the usual magical aura of such a ride. In summary, it was working, regardless of the laws of physics.
It liked to disobey.
And there were other people on it; he gave a start as soon as he noticed this astonishing fact. Why would they chose to go on this, opposed to the many other choices of vitality and interest? Drawing nearer out of pure curiosity, he gave a horrid start when he suddenly noticed the operator’s drooping and grotesque appearance. The strange man stood, or rather, leaned beside his big mechanical box and stared.
But ‘stared’ might be the wrong term to use; he had no eyes.
Instead, his sockets and most of the circular area surrounding them were empty except for a viscous black paste filling them. It was quite horrifying. Of course, they had to be fake additions; his eyes must be somewhere underneath all that goop, they had to be. How else would the man be able to be operate the machine?
His face was also powdered white, the rest of his visible skin almost just as pale, kind of accentuating the makeup’s redundancy. The long, arched eyebrows and equally unproportionate moustache and lips emphasized the basic contrast of the negative colors on his face. They too, were topped with the same mucilaginous material as the eyes.
He found himself almost physically drawn to this morbidity, and could not help but to drag his feet and step a bit closer to properly stumble over to it.
Abruptly shivering irrationally at a sudden gust of wind allowed him to turn his body around just enough to see an entrancing woman pass him and beat him to the front of the line. She might have even glanced back at him, a coy grin pressed to her flirtatious lips in silent challenge for him to follow and join.
Of course, this might have purely been his imagination, and he did acknowledge that possibility, but nevertheless went and followed her towards the strange machine and man.
Said man pulled his lips apart into a wide grin as they approached. “Mrs. and Mr.,” he nodded to both of them. “Please enter quickly, lest you forget why you had bought your tickets in the first place.”
“Of course.” He gave up his paper with a smile, although that later action was only reserved for the lady.
Choosing the blue and silver horse just as the ride stopped and the other people got off, he did his best to ignore the mold and dirt on it and instead focused on the woman a few spaces behind him. She smiled back at him, and he then made a mental note to speak with her afterwards.
The man then turned a key and pressed a few buttons on his box and waved at his two guests as the carousel began picking up speed. He then wondered why he had given up his ticket if it was only for general admission, not individual rides and attractions. This realization brought him out of his head and thinking of the woman and back to his current setting. Regardless of his previous awe at the ride for still working despite the old and ugly state it was in, he now saw how damaged it was. His legs felt the dangerous vibration and his ears heard the bolts rattle above, thus making him slightly nervous. After two minutes of this, the ride stopped.
“Crippled, dilapidated, rickety!” he said outloud, but was unsure whether he intended for the operator to hear that outcry or not. “Crippled, dilapidated, rickety!” Shaking his head with displeasure, he moved to get off; however, that was not possible anymore. Staring questioningly at his fingers, and squinting as he did so, it was brought to his attention that the somewhat weak surface of his hand was stuck on tight to the pole and neck of his horse, as if they were glued on tight. What the hell?
As his heart raced his fingers then began to melt, as if someone had poured acid and other horrible chemicals onto them, and the living material was paint on a canvas left out in the hot sun for an hour.
The pain was unbelievable. And so was the horror of realizing and seeing firsthand what was happening his to disintegrating body.
The vision in his right eye failed as something fell over and into it. Leaning over to see what it was when it then fell into his lap, tears of disgust then also fell over his face once he saw that it was most of his hair and scalp. Although most of his mind was consumed with excruciating pain, he managed to come to the conclusion that since his fingers were now flimsy and barely there, that he would now be able to pull them off of the pole and escape. Gritting his teeth as he counted down the seconds until the bone would be showing, he let out a groan-like scream and felt his brain die.
The bones of his fingers were stuck to the pole. He couldn’t leave.
Desperation for any solution prompted a glance at the woman behind him, wondering for a fleeting second about her state. And she grinned back at him, a deep laugh reverberating from down inside her throat and stomach. A coy wave was all she left him before she instantly melted into a pile of sloppy goo on the floor and all over her horse.
Instantly the horses started screaming and bulking away from the poles that impaled them, sheer panic seemingly consuming their minds as well.
However, even this was still not enough to knock him off of the carousel; after a while his brain finished deteriorating and the last thing his ruined eyes could see was the man, the creature, leaning on his mechanical box, staring with his mucilaginous eyes.
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