October 31, 1996
“Come on! Let’s go get some candy floss and then let’s go to the clairvoyant, I want to hear my fortune told!” Sandy said to her best friend Cherry, having to yell to be heard among the flock of people swarming around them, bumping into one another, moving every which way.
They were at a local travelling funfair, which only comes to Llanelli on Halloween, where all the snacks and rides there were Halloween themed and the dress code for admission was, of course, fancy dress.
Clouds of fake smoke enveloped the fairground, leaving a rich, smoky smell that hung in the air, along with the overpowering smell of melted sugar and the meaty aroma of burgers being barbecued.
The place was inundated with people costumed as grim reapers, demons, evil clowns with crimson and orange tufts of hair and enormous red noses, evil fauns and even one guy with the peculiar mask of cupid and strawberry blonde curly hair.
Almost mesmerized by the man with the Cupid mask approaching her, and neglecting to swerve past him, Cherry mistakenly went headfirst into his chest and stumbled backwards, taking her best friend Sandy whose linked arm was in her own, with her.
Both women tumbled toward the cold, loose gravel, with Cherry scraping her exposed arm, and Sandy landing on her arse with a loud scrape.
The man in the Cupid mask immediately bowed down and outstretched both hands to the women.
“Oh, fuck, I’m so sorry, are you okay?” Cupid asked, his voice muffled by the mask but genuinely worried and remorseful.
“I’m fine and sorry, it was my fault, I wasn’t looking, just zoned out”
Cherry replied, embarrassed, and took Cupid’s left palm while Sandy took a grip of his right and climbed to their feet.
“Cherry! What the fuck?” Sandy demanded, staring at her friend angrily, suddenly softening to concerning upon meeting her face, which was now flaming and flushed.
“It’s fine, I get it, vast crowds freak me out too,” he added and removed his cupid mask, beaming at Cherry.
Cherry’s mouth fell in awe as her face went an even deeper shade of maroon red, dazzled by his sharp blue eyes and a friendly smile.
“So sorry again,” She said and unexpectedly ran away, toward the candy floss stall with Sandy trailing behind her.
“Hey Wait, Can I-” Cupid asked after her, but then he was gone, gobbled up by the multitudes of bodies clad in fancy dress.
“Cherry, what’s wrong? Why’d you just run away like that?”
“You said to get candy floss” Cherry replied, as normal as she could, acting as if nothing had happened.
“You know exactly what I’m talking about, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing!” Cherry said with a hollow smile, reaching the empty candy floss stall, where a guy costumed as Satan sold candy floss, nuts, burgers and a selection of refreshments, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
Two bags of candy floss, please,” Cherry asked the employee who said nothing in response, his face unreadable behind his grotesquely pointed red veil, simply taking two bags of orange and black coloured candy floss and passing them over.
Cherry reached for her purse in her front jean pocket, only to be stopped by the man in the Satan costume.
“No, you’ll pay later. Put the purse away” He asserted in an exceedingly optimistic and cordial fashion, which starkly contrasted with how he acted when Cherry had first asked for the candy floss.
Unnerved and slightly spooked, Cherry put her purse away and studied the man.
He gave nothing away, only that of the devil smiling warmly from the face on the goblin-like, ghastly red mask.
“Happy Halloween!” He cried heartily and turned his attention to another customer.
“Sandy, that was weird, did you think so?” Cherry asked, slightly unnerved.
“Haha, God no!” Sandy said, laughing. “He was just some perv trying to flirt with you, and the rest was spooky Halloween bullshit, I’m certain they are all told to say the same thing to everyone.
Just relax. Now, can we go and visit the clairvoyant?” Sandy asked enthusiastically.
“You don’t believe in that fake bullshit, do you?”
Cherry asked in a mock disgusted manner, running a hand through her candy red hair and turning to Sandy, whom she had also linked arms with, and made a disdainful pout, her red lips scrunching playfully, her emerald green eyes mockingly accusatory.
“Haha, of course, I believe in it, its fate, clairvoyance has been practised for centuries, and in most cases, the readings have been accurate for people,” Sandy responded, with a warm and maternal laugh.
Cherry noted that with Sandy’s golden blonde hair, the laugh that had brought out her blue eyes, and the thought that Sandy was going to be a magnificent mother one day.
The thought warmed her, as she, though she wouldn’t reveal this to anybody, not even Sandy, had always wanted a son.
Not a daughter, but a son, and Cherry didn’t know why.
They strolled to the makeshift tent housing the clairvoyant, its pink silk curtain opening and closing like a grotesque mouth as people entered and exited.
It sat next to the entrance of the fairground, housed in between a giant wheel and a firework display.
The ride was called “Heaven and Hell”.
The Giant wheel brightly shone both orange and black as it ran its course, lifting off at speeds of about fifty miles an hour, whirling wildly three hundred and sixty degrees, swinging upside and down, before plunging to the ground and suddenly stopping, rounding itself right side up, concluding the ride.
While in motion it illuminated a gigantic orange and black spooky pumpkin smile in its centre, where it cackled a devilish laugh, its eyes blazing a blinding demonic red.
Cherry looked up at the people clad in fancy dress screaming with euphoria and delight as they ascended higher.
With the people being dressed as evil clowns, demons, evil fauns, witches and vampires, it looked to Cherry like a flock of sinners ascend to heaven, only to plunge straight to hell.
The Pumpkin then seemed to shift its evil gaze and close its flaming eyes on Cherry.
She halted, a nasty feeling now occupying her stomach and yanking Sandy back as her emerald green eyes found the pumpkin’s blood-red ones.
“Ow! Why’d you stop?” Sandy asked, a look of pain flowering on her face as she unlinked her arm with Cherry’s.
“Sorry,” Cherry replied quietly, “I know psychics are full of shit, but what if she predicts death and bad fortune for us both?”
The pumpkin let out an evil cackle, accompanied by Sandy’s own, whose unlike the Pumpkins, was loaded with kindness and positive humour, whereas the pumpkins laugh was packed with horror and sadist glee.
The hurt expression left Sandy’s face upon seeing Cherry’s, who was deathly pale and looked almost ill.
Sandy’s face was rapidly replaced with maternal compassion and sincere concern.
“Come on! We both know its bogus, it’s just a laugh, no one believes in it. Peoples fates, good or bad, are just coincidence” she soothed, putting a reassuring arm around Cherry.
This made her feel better, somewhat, a deep shade of red flushing her cheeks, mortified to have been so spooked.
She shook the dreadful feeling aside as they both opened the pink silk drapery and had their fortunes told.
As the giant wheel descended, the pumpkin gave out another demonic gleeful laugh.
“Ah yes! Come in you two!” The Psychic cried mystically, sitting behind a large clouded crystal ball and wearing purple garments.
“You first!” she cried, pointing at Cherry, and directed her to sit down before her.
Cherry sat and waited, wholly sceptical of the woman before her, smirking.
“You will never have a son!” The psychic cried loudly, her eyes tight, both worn and wrinkly hands on the ball.
There was no way she could have known that. Cherry thought, astonished.
The smile immediately left Cherry’s face, it reverted from red with colour and life to an opaque white, her jaw-dropping open, frozen.
“You will never have a son,” The psychic continued, “for you’ve missed your chance with Cupid, and therefore your chance at motherhood”
A vile fiendish hand wrapped itself around Cherry’s heart and pressed, as tears fell down her face.
She didn’t know why, but the feeling and the conviction in the psychic’s tone made her believe it to be true as she remained glued to the chair, powerless to leave as the psychic continued.
“For Cupid will soar to heaven, or so he thinks. He’s actually descending straight to hell”
“Fuck You” Cherry hissed through tears, and this insult unglued her from her chair.
She rose like that of a corpse summoned by a necromancer and rushed outside, skimming past Sandy without a second glance.
“It’s too late! I’m sorry!” The psychic hollered after her.
Cherry ran outside where the first person she locked gazes with was the man in the devil costume, locking eyes with her and pointing up to her direct left.
He was pointing at the giant wheel, now ascended forty feet high, where she saw the man with the Cupid mask in the middle seat, strapped in and howling in laughter.
Cherry suddenly realised what the psychic had meant by seeming to enter heaven but descending to hell instead, as the wheel dangled upside down, ready to plummet.
“Oh My God, please don’t crash” Cherry pleaded shakily, tears spilling down her face, hoping against the devil himself that it lands safely, as the giant wheel dropped down to earth.
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