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Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival

Estimated reading time — 18 minutes

My mind often drifts back to Keyser’s Nook on crisp autumn nights such as this. Particularly my tenth year of existence, for it was the most horrendous of my life. 1996. It was the year that The North American blizzard bombarded the entire east coast. The year I became interested in the folklore of witches after watching The Craft. The year I learned the Macarena and the meaning of the word ironic from Alanis Morissette. But more than anything else I remember it as the year when I met pure evil, when Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival came to our humble town.

It was the twentieth of October. The air was thick and raw with the scent of freshly fallen leaves and dewdrops that morning. My best friend, Kelly, and I had no idea that a carnival was scheduled to arrive in Keyser’s Nook. We spent that morning like we had any other Saturday—clad in cozy pajamas with plates of blueberry waffles as we sat in front of the T.V. watching Goosebumps.

We had peace and quiet on the Saturdays spent at my house, for I was an only child. But on occasions, such as this one, when we stayed at Kelly’s, her little sister Clara buzzed about trying to capture our attention and distracting us from the frightful tales of R.L. Stine.


“I want to watch The Big Comfy Couch,” Clara whined.

“It’s not on!” we both shouted in unison.

She held a clunky VHS tape out in front of her. “I have my tape and Nana told me I could watch it.”

Kelly glowered at her. “Nana isn’t even here.”

“She called on the phone and said that by the time I finished watching it she’d be here to drop us off at the carnival.”

That got our attention.


“What carnival?” I demanded.

“There’s no carnival in town!” my friend chimed in.

Clara was gloating. Rarely did she ever hold a piece of information that we weren’t privy to. And on the scarce incidents that she did, it was never as juicy as the statement that she had just hit us with.

We’d missed the state fair that year and our little hearts had been shattered to pieces because of it. At night, I dreamed of sugary pastel blue and pink cotton candy swirled about white paper cones. Of barking carneys manning the controls of the Ferris wheel and mutant animals eating grass and hay from wooden troughs inside the museum of unnatural things.

How I had missed the sweet tastes of caramel apples and kettle corn, the way the breeze whipped through my hair as I rode The Scrambler, the sound of the gravel crunching beneath my feet as I made my way to the big top to see the hypnotists and magicians. Even the scent of the Cow Palace and horse stalls stirred a longing within me that I couldn’t seem to squelch.

The cold air blew through the wide-open living room window of the Carrington residence, bringing me back to reality.

“Are you messing with us, Clara?” I asked sternly.

“Nope,” she replied. “Nana says that Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival arrived in town last night.”

“What kind of carnival sets up at night?” Kelly puzzled.

“The Halloween kind!” her sister insisted.

My heart raced with enthusiasm. A Halloween carnival. Surely there was no better type of fall celebration that existed in all the world. And what a moniker: Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival.

I tried to imagine what Dr. Skelton must look like. A tall man, I was certain of that. Lanky and gaunt with an angular face. In my childish mind, I imagined that he looked quite similar to a skeleton. For what man with a name like his would be a burly stout man with sinewy muscles and squat features?

“Well, what about Jenna?” said Kelly. “Her parents are out of town and she’s staying here until next Friday.”

My throat went dry. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would not be invited to such an event. I had to go. I just had to.

“Nana is taking all three of us,” Clara declared as she pushed her way past us and slid her tape into the VCR. The sound of a rooster crowing came from the television speakers. A sun donning a clown nose rose over the giant green and white couch on the screen as Clara clapped her hands excitedly.

Without saying a word to one another, Kelly and I ran up the stairs and into her room to change and prepare for a day of adventure. We hadn’t realized that this day would haunt us for the rest of our lives.

The sun was a pale, buttery yellow that October morn, like a giant lemon macaroon surrounded by clouds resembling white spun sugar. The sky was an expanse of azure blue as leaves danced circles on the forenoon breeze.

As Kelly’s grandmother dropped the three of us off at the front entrance the air around us was sharp, thick with the scent of sweet candy floss mingled with the unwelcome stench synonymous with large crowds. But how I loved it so.

Tents gleamed bright red, ruby-like the candy apples on a stick being sold for three dollars a pop. Flags snapped in the wind, fluttering above flame-colored canvas. Rickety booths boasted the delicious smells of funnel cake and French fries.

Kelly, Clara, and I marched directly into the midway. Sideshow posters flapped on poles revealing a cat woman, a sorceress, a human pretzel, and even a two-headed goat. My heart felt as if it might burst with glee.

What a remarkable place this was! Not even in my wildest dreams could I have pictured such a perfect Halloween celebration. A man dressed as a vampire loomed high above us on gigantic stilts. An old Gypsy woman sat at her crystal ball, tarot cards in hand, ready to predict the future. I’d never seen anything so fascinating in my whole life. Until I saw the knife thrower.

A gentle breeze blew his long ebony hair around him like a halo. His piercing emerald green eyes focused intently on the apple perched atop his assistant’s head as he threw a small dagger right into the fruit’s center, pinning it to the board behind her. His muscular arms flexed as he reached down for a drink of water. He was a stunningly handsome man and my ten-year-old eyes goggled at the sight of him.

Somewhere in the distance a calliope piped out what sounded like “The Band Played On.” From behind us a deafeningly brusque voice roared to life, announcing the attractions awaiting within the sideshow tent.

“Welcome ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, to Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival,” he began. “We have such sights to show you! The sideshow of the sinister! Enter a world of the truly bizarre, a world of dark wonders that make your most depraved nightmares a horrifying reality!”

Kelly and I gazed at each other in wonderment as the pudgy man continued with his fiendish propaganda.

“Do you dare explore the shadows of the most wicked visions on the planet? Do you dare cast your eyes upon the cruel oddities of nature? Come face to face with monstrous beasts from the very pits of the underworld! Witness death-defying acts that pivot on the brink of doom!”

He took in a deep breath, his face reddened to the same shade as his thinning hair as he girded himself for his big finish.

“Prepare to leave behind the conventional world as a bystander of our demonstration of the demented! A debut of disillusionment so diabolical that those who enter are never the same again! Step this way! But remember, there is no turning back!”

Kelly and I were sold. But it took more than a little coaxing to get Clara to agree to enter the tent. So we decided to bribe her. But the bribe swiftly turned into blackmail once she’d realized that we would do just about anything to convince her to go inside. First, we had to buy her a corndog. Then we had to take her on the carousel three times. Next, we bought her a balloon animal giraffe that was handcrafted by the carnival’s own Trixter the clown.

His head was completely shaven but for a tiny powder blue ponytail that formed into a curlicue at the top of his head. The clown’s entire bust was covered in white makeup. His eyes were painted the same color as his hair. Black liner ringed the turquoise orbs then tapered into small teardrops that streamed down his cheeks. The ball of Trixter’s nose donned a tiny cherry-hued spiral. He’d applied an enormous smile with the use of lipstick. The garish grin soared from his chin to his cheekbones, white needlelike teeth decorating the expanse of crimson.

Trixter was terrifyingly inviting. It surprised us how Clara had taken to him despite his menacing appearance. Perhaps it was the squeaky voice in which he spoke or his mastery of balloon animal construction.

Lastly, Clara had forced us to play five games of ring toss and give her all of the candy prizes we’d won. Kelly packed three Ring Pops and two packs of Fun Dip into her miniature backpack as we made our way to the ticket stand.

At the entrance of the sideshow, a tiny man awaited us. He was eye level with Clara who was tickled pink to see an adult who was her size. The dwarf was an older man, probably mid-fifties, clad in a full suit. A white shirt with red pinstripes peaked from beneath his black jacket. He lifted a straw porkpie hat from his bald head and gestured with a bow.

“Welcome ladies! My name is Cunckle, and I will be your guide through our attraction of the abnormal. Tickets please,” he said holding out a wrinkled hand that was decorated with a gaudy garnet ring.

As we handed over out tickets for admission, Clara stood between Kelly and I, reaching out to hold each of our hands. Even at eight years old she was too proud to admit that she was afraid. But a promise was a promise. And she held firmly to us as Cunckle guided us to the first exhibit.

Clara relaxed immediately. Behind the first enclosure, we were greeted by a goat with two heads. What a sight it was!

“Ladies, feast your eyes on one of the world’s only living two-headed goat,” the little man started. “Meet Will and Liam, also known as Billy goat. Born in the far off eastern city of Beijing, the twins were born with dicephalus parapagus dipus.”

Billy didn’t seem to notice that anyone was watching him. The goat simply ate chunks of meat from its trough and made small bleating noises of satisfaction.

“I didn’t know that goats eat meat,” said Kelly.

“Ah, normally they don’t,” Cunckle explained. “But Billy here is a special goat so we feed him a special diet!”

“What kind of meat?” I asked.

Cunckle smiled at us. “Whatever is handy. We carnival folk can’t afford prime rib. So we give him what we can get our hands on and he is happy to have it as you can see.”

The little man gestured back to the goat who had stringy chunks of pink meat in each of its mouths.

“Kind of looks like pork,” I observed.

“This way to the next exhibit,” Cunckle instructed as he used his crooked walking stick to slowly part a set of moth-eaten curtains that acted as dividers.

In the next room, we found a beautiful brunette with a Betty Boop hairstyle, sprawled out on a black velvet chaise lounge filing her nails into sharp points. One slender leg spilled forth from the slit of her leopard print dress.

“Behold! Maya the cat woman!” Cunckle roared. The woman simply smirked and continued to focus on her manicure. Descendent of the Egyptian cat goddess, Bastet.”

Her facial expression showed mock awe as she made an inaudible “ooh” with her pouty glossed lips.

“As you can see, she has the temperament of a cat and it seems she isn’t very friendly today.”

“Does that mean we get a refund?” asked Kelly.

Cunckle rapped his staff against the dirt floor harshly.

“Maya! Give these young ladies what they paid for!” he demanded.

Quick as a flash Maya was off the couch and face to face with us. Her claw-like fingers gripping the guard rail ferociously. We jumped back in surprise. She smiled viciously at us, revealing elongated canine teeth.

Our mouths dropped open as we took in this spectacular encounter. Maya’s eyes were a brilliant green. But even more amazing were the pupils. They were diamond shaped. Cat’s eyes.

She hissed at us, causing Clara to hug her sister tightly around the waist. The cat woman laughed wickedly as we rushed forward and into the next exhibit.

The man in that room was dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit. He sat poised in what appeared to be an electric chair waiting for us to come closer. A burly man in his early-thirties, rugged in appearance but soft in his facial expressions. Perhaps his features were softened because he could tell that we were frightened.

Cunckle walked over to an odd looking switch that was just his height.

“May I present to you, fresh from Sremska Mitrovica prison in Serbia, Vladimir Voltaic! The human lightning rod! Not even the most powerful electric chair was able to execute him!”

We suddenly became aware of the little man’s hand on the switch.

“Don’t try this at home girls,” he advised before he flipped it.

The hum of electricity buzzed in the air as Vladimir Voltaic sat unaffected in the hot seat. Sparks flew all around him and he remained unbothered. Finally, Cunckle flipped the device off and walked over to the prisoner, lightbulb in hand.

“Behold! The human lightning rod produces his own electrical current.”

With this, he placed the bulb into Vladimir’s mouth. It produced an immense glow and we clapped enthusiastically at the spectacle before us. What a mindboggling experience this was. We could hardly wait to see the next exhibit.

A lovely young woman in a ruby encrusted bikini smiled at us as we walked into the next exhibit. In each hand, she held small torches which she spun about creating fiery circles. Her auburn hair was streaked with blonde giving the illusion of flaming locks. The left side of her ribcage displayed what appeared to be red and gold scales. And as she smiled the young lady flashed a pair of vampire-like fangs at us.

“For your viewing pleasure, I present you with Blayze, half human half dragon! She was born with fire in her soul. Watch as she manipulates the flames to submit to her will.”

Blayze ran the torches over her tongue before closing her mouth over the fireball. With a mighty exhalation, she shot forth a stream of fire that was so close it almost singed our eyebrows. Again, we responded with thunderous applause. Blayze bowed in appreciation.

Entering the final room, I couldn’t help but notice how the atmosphere had changed immensely. Whereas the previous exhibits had a tinge of horror meshed with a lightheartedness, the air in this room hung heavy with hostility. A fog machine blasted a heavy mist that shrouded whatever was on the other side of the guardrail. Clara coughed and we heard the sound of rattling chains to the left of us.

Cunckle used his miniature baton to push us away from the railing.

“Stand back girls. This one can get a little nasty.”

The sound of running feet pounded against the ground as the metal restraints clanked. A ravenous growl was hurled at us as I laid eyes on the most hideous creature I’d ever seen. It was a man, but it wasn’t a man! Wearing only a pair of black shorts, he appeared to be in his early twenties. His face was that of a skull. His bald head donned an anatomically correct brain. His arms, legs, ribs, hands, and feet were all tattooed like the bones of a skeleton. The spaces between were covered with depictions of muscle tissue.

As the monster in front of us twisted and writhed on the other side of the gate I could see illustrations of spider webs on the inside of his ears. His shoulders and back were decorated with drawings of a spinal column and accompanying muscles.


The man’s tongue spilled forth from his mouth exposing the work of a true artist. A tarantula seemed to crawl over his tongue as he swiveled his taste buds and made the arachnid dance. It disappeared as he ran his tongue over his lips, a thick silver hoop hung from the frenulum skin on its underside.

“Why look, the midget brought me a tasty snack,” he said in a gravelly voice thick with a German accent. “I’m only a little hungry now. So, I’ll settle for this one.”

The beastly creature reached a hand out, attempting to grab Clara who let out a high pitch squeal of fright. Cunckle rapped the man on his knuckles with the stick.

“Jürgen! You leave her alone! The boss told you about grabbing people. You heard him, next time you do it you have to answer to him.”

Jürgen rubbed his reddened knuckles and pouted.

“This is Jürgen Roth—the illustrated man. Pay no attention to him, he just likes to tease kids.”

“That’s not so, zwerg,” he interjected. “I love little girls.”

We relaxed at the gentle tone in his voice.

“Especially with a side of grummbeerkieschelscher and a glass of lager.”

We recoiled and huddled together as he bellowed out a devilish laugh. Clara burst into tears, tore herself free from us, and ran out of the tent. Chasing after her, we abruptly ran into a man dressed entirely in black.

Donning a suit complete with matching vest, top hat, ascot, and leather gloves the man held out his hands to stop us in our tracks and crouched down to look Clara in the eye.

There was an air of elegance to the man. His eyes were a rich chocolate brown. His jet black hair was cropped at the base of his neck and a perfectly trimmed beard and mustache framed his friendly smile. He steadied his squatting form with a beautiful walking stick. The base of it was solid black but the head was that of a cobra. Sculpted entirely from silver, its eyes fashioned from two rubies.

Placing a hand on Clara’s shoulder he asked, “What seems to be the problem?”

The man’s gentle tone immediately caused our tension and fear to dissipate.

“Roth!” spat Cunckle. “He’s going overboard with scaring the kids again.”

“He said he was going to eat me!” Clara blubbered.

The knife thrower soon came over to see what all the fuss was about.

“He’s a bad seed, Dr. Skelton,” he insisted. “You should’ve gotten rid of him years ago.”

Dr. Skelton patted Clara on the back. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out what appeared to be three tickets.

“There, there, little one,” he whispered. “We won’t let him hurt you. And we certainly aren’t in the habit of upsetting our friends, are we, Fane?”

The knife thrower shook his head. “Certainly not.”

Dr. Skelton handed each of us the small scraps of paper.

“Please, accept these tickets as my apology. We are having a special show as a prize for those children who won tickets at the high striker game. Consider these a gesture of goodwill. From us to you.”

Clara smiled softly. Clearly all was forgiven.

“Those tickets include a spectacular show complete with a free ice cream cone. Will we see you there?”

Kelly’s sister looked at her pleadingly. My friend nodded her head in agreement.

“We’ll be there.”

“Stupendous!” chortled Dr. Skelton. “The show starts in ten minutes over at the big top tent. Better run along and grab your seats.”

We were surprised to find that only three other children had acquired tickets. Surely this was a special circus attraction if only six kids were present.

Trixter was the first to appear. Pushing a rickety cart with squeaky wheels, he began handing out cones topped with bright orange scoops of ice cream.

Clara and Kelly downed theirs quickly. But the bitter pumpkin flavored ice cream didn’t sit right with me. Its chalky aftertaste left something to be desired. So after three bites I let mine fall under the bleachers.

Blayze was the first act to take the stage. In each hand she held a flaming fan and did a mesmerizing dance to The Cult’s song “Fire Woman.” Soon the fans were replaced by devices that looked like balls of fire tethered to strings. Her charismatic movements were captivating. Soon she ran two small torches along her tongue before blowing a plume of flames at the audience who promptly responded with applause.

Next, Poppy-Jane Pemberton—the human pretzel took the stage. It was almost impossible to believe that anyone could be so flexible. Laying on her stomach, she twisted her legs overtop of her head and, with a pen poised between her toes, she drew a picture of Trixter holding balloons. It was incredible. As she sat upright with her arms twisted behind her head and used her feet to light a match and a cigarette, I began to grow tired.

It had been a busy day and I longed for my bed as I watched Poppy-Jane bring the cigarette to her lips using just her feet. She blew smoke rings of varying sizes before taking a final bow and clearing the platform for the magician.

The Astonishing Alchemy was strikingly beautiful. She was a tall, slender woman of Asian descent. Her long black hair hung like a cathedral-length wedding veil, sweeping across the ground with each delicate movement she made. Her first trick was indeed astonishing.

Alchemy danced and twirled to the rhythm of Donovan’s “Season of the Witch.” With each turn her fringe dress and velvet gloves changed colors. First a bright aquamarine. Next, a coppery russet, before swiftly transforming into a lovely shamrock hue. Candy apple red, indigo, canary yellow, violet. Every move transformed her outfit into a new shade of the rainbow. We couldn’t believe our eyes. She followed up with several sleight-of-hand tricks and finished with a vanishing act.

At this time a large wheel with a girl strapped to it was pushed into the ring. It was soon followed by Fane, carrying an array of knives with him. Looking around I noticed that the other children appeared to be drowsy as well. We’d all had a big day and it seemed that the moment that we had a chance to sit down it caught up with us. The backdrop of the wheel was painted white with a red spiral, like a hypnotist’s twirling disc. As the woman attached to it began to spin, I could feel myself drifting off to sleep. Surely a quick nap wouldn’t hurt.

I closed my eyes for the briefest of moments thinking nothing of it. Little did I realize that this would be the biggest mistake that I would ever make.

I was awakened by the sound of disembodied voices. Certainly, I must’ve been dreaming, for the conversation made no sense. I could hear Dr. Skelton’s voice.


“We don’t have a lot of time left before that stuff wears off and we still have two more.”

“I’ll tell the others to pack quickly so that we can make a clean break for it,” said the heavily accented voice.

“That’s another thing. How many times have I told you not to grab for the kids?” Dr. Skelton scolded. “The last thing we need is to have the cops sniffing around because some redneck saw you trying to grab them.”

There were strange squishing noises filling the air along with a strange chewing sound. I struggled to open my eyes and had trouble moving. The tent was barely lit. All of the circus lighting was gone. Several old-fashioned lanterns illuminated the tent. Dr. Skelton continued.

“We got a great haul this time. It’s hard to come by ones so young. Normally we can get our hands on a twelve-year-old, maybe ten. But this one has to be six or seven and that one can’t be older than five.”

When my eyes finally opened I was witness to the most horrifying, the most atrociously evil sight, that I had ever, or would ever lay eyes on. Next to Dr. Skelton’s feet was a metal bucket filled with ice, topped with several small organs. Kidneys, hearts, lungs, and even livers. In his hand was a small scalpel, covered with the blood of one of the boys we’d shared the bleachers with earlier. His dissected body lay in pieces on the cart that the ice cream had been wheeled in. Dr. Skelton was removing one of the boy’s arms from his torso.

Kelly lay next to me, unconscious, unaware of the horrible fate that awaited us. Clara and the other two boys were gone. But where had they gone? There were no bodies. Not even a lock of hair or stitch of clothing.

That’s when I became cognizant of the chewing sounds again. Now that I was more aware of my surroundings I noticed that the chomping was accompanied by familiar bleating. My stomach churned as I watched Billy the goat eating what was left of Clara.

I wanted to scream but no sound would come. Even more so when Will and Liam began to fight over the piece of meat that had been Clara’s left cheek. I recognized it from the small jagged scar she’d obtained when she’d scratched it on a branch falling from a tree last summer.

I had to rouse Kelly. The men were distracted by their conversation. As I continued to shake my friend I noticed movement at the other side of the tent. The other carneys were coming in, bogged down with their props and costumes, ready to pack up and leave.

Hastily, I lay back down to avoid drawing attention to myself. Through half-open eyelids, I peered over at the flurry of activity. They were packing everything they could get their hands on near the opening of the tent. No doubt planning for a quick getaway once they’d disposed of us.

But there was no way that I was going to let that happen. They might have already taken Clara but they weren’t getting their filthy hands on Kelly or me. Not without a fight. Maya’s voice broke through the commotion.

“I’m not riding with him again,” she shouted. “He won’t keep his hands off me. Let him ride with Blayze!”

“Oh no you don’t!” grumbled Blayze. “The last time he rode with me I was ready to set a torch to him. The man’s got more hands than an octopus! Let him ride with Poppy-Jane.”

The illustrated man’s voice entered the conversation from across the tent.

“Now there’s an idea,” he said with a chuckle. “I love a flexible woman.”

“The three of you knock it off!” Dr. Skelton’s voice rang out loud and clear. “You will ride with who I tell you to ride with or you can stay here and take the blame for this!”

He pointed to the tub filled with organs. They all quieted and went back to arranging their items.

“That’s what I thought,” he said.

Kelly stirred beside me. Her eyes fluttered as she began to come to. Holding a hand over her mouth I shushed her as quietly as I could.

“We have to get out of here. I’ll explain later.”

“Where’s Clara?” she quietly asked.

“She’s not here. No time to explain. Can you move?”

She rolled onto her side slowly and flexed her arms and legs.

“Kind of stiff. But I can move.”

Suddenly there was a loud clamor. The pile of boxes and bags that they’d been compiling fell all over the place. Costumes, the electric chair, the chaise lounge, ropes and string lights. Everything lay sprawled around the tent. We could hear the human lightning rod cussing as he tried to sit his prop chair back up.

Whether it was fate, divine intervention, or just dumb luck I’ll never know. But one of Blayze’s fuel bottles rolled over to where we laid. I advised Kelly to follow my lead then grabbed the bottle and made for the other side of the tent.

Because of the commotion, the group had almost overlooked us entirely. But it was the illustrated man who noticed us running for the small opening at the side of the big top.

“They’re getting away!” he shouted, taking off after us like a shot.

I knew that Kelly was still groggy and that the chances of him catching us were very good. When a human being is faced with danger there are only two courses of action: fight or flight. I chose both. Popping open the cap to the fuel bottle, I sprayed it in a long line then threw one of the lanterns into the stream.

I pushed Kelly beneath the small opening of the canvas and waited for the illustrated man to come closer. The flames grew higher and higher as he approached. My child’s mind did not register the difference between justice and vigilante retribution. Fury welled up inside me at the thought of Clara being taken apart and fed to that vile goat. I had to take it out on someone and he was only a few footfalls away.

Raising the plastic bottle into the air, I sprayed what was left of the fuel onto him. The mineral oil had just coated his face and torso when the flames took to him and the screaming began. When I ran out of the tent I met Kelly on the other side we could hear the ruckus.

Items were being knocked over, flames were spreading, people were screaming. Even the goat let out terrible wails as we stood in the midway and watched the fire carry them back to hell where they belonged. The fire department soon arrived but they’d been too late to help anyone.

Apparently, Jürgen Roth had run headlong into the crowd of his fellow carnival workers, catching everything in his path on fire. Their premature packing had worked against them. It blocked their only exit and they were trapped inside the inferno. I was glad.

The cold autumn wind returned seizing the scraps of sideshow posters that lay on the carnival grounds. It carried them up toward the stars that sparkled like points on a giant compass guiding our way home. As the moon watched, Kelly and I made our way through the trees and back into town. The town clock struck ten o’clock at night. The fire showed in the far-off west as we shuffled home silently.

Unable to face what had happened to Clara, Kelly’s family moved to another state not long after the night of the fire. We tried to keep in touch. But what could we really say to each other? That night had changed both of us forever. As soon as I turned eighteen I left Keyser’s Nook and haven’t returned since.

But the nightmares still continue, even in my waking hours. Because you cannot destroy evil, it simply changes forms. At night when I lay my weary head on my pillow, I can almost see Maya’s cat eyes watching me. I can still hear the barker calling out the sideshow offerings and smell the sickeningly sweet cotton candy. And worst of all I can still taste that horrible laced ice cream that was the catalyst to my loss of innocence forever.

I can’t help but think of Clara as I lay here dying, awaiting a kidney transplant that will possibly never come. My actions brought about the demise of all those carnival workers who were harvesting organs. And now it seems that I will meet my maker because of an organ that I desperately need but can’t get. Now isn’t that ironic?

CREDIT: Christina Durner

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8 thoughts on “Dr. Skelton’s Harvest Carnival”

  1. I really liked the story as it seemed like the characters were all regular people rather than supernatural entities. but how did they have a meat eating goat?

  2. I don’t know why the hell you guys are disliking the ending, having read a huge portion of the stories on this site, I am glad to say this is completely original. I was expecting something to happen inside the tent from the show, so you gave me a lot of tension. Great story, awesome ending, keep writing please. :]

  3. Wow. While first reading through, I was taken aback by the vocabulary utilized, as it felt like a child shouldn’t have such a strong grasp of grammatical structure or metaphor, but the ending made sense of it.

    I think what struck me the most was remembering my own childhood and going to carnivals and haunted hayrides and the like. Your descriptions of circuses and carnival workers brought forth the memories of those times vividly, including the sensations of sugary candy on the tongue, smells of livestock and treats, and sounds of rides whirring and children laughing.

    It also brought to mind all the oddities that are put on display at such carnivals. Usually only 1 or 2 oddities are real, the others being cheap imitations like a plush dog head fixed on either side of an otherwise-normal dog. But I have also seen some “authentic” sideshows, and the feeling of awe and fear inspired by them was nearly tangible when reading through.

    I must admit, I didn’t catch the twist(s) in the story and thought it was going to border on the supernatural, but the ending and the very last twist at the end made the story that much better. I gave you a 10/10!

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