Funhouse is a 500-word, horror flash fiction piece about a trip to the fair gone wrong.
Content Warnings: Death and violence.
Mirrors met mirrors in an illusory replication that tunneled infinitely. They surrounded the girl with hundreds of her own fearful eyes, each stare of her reflection an ode to a judgment that she didn’t yet understand. Meaningless repetition obscured the ways in and out of the funhouse. So she walked with her hands and promised herself she’d follow a single wall until she found her way out. Hand over hand, she went like an alien creature traversing some strange world until the mirror in front of her gave to open space, and she leaned forward into a new hall she didn’t know existed.
The light disappeared into the depths of the long, mirrored hall. She stepped toward the darkness, and when she struggled to see her reflection, a belled jingle interrupted her frantic breathing, and at once, her heart dropped to the very pit of her stomach. Carnival music echoed between mirrors until it washed over her, and she shivered. She kept one shaking hand on her guiding wall as she stepped toward the growing sound of the music. Cartoonish giggles erupted from the space beyond the pervasive blackness in bursts between sardonic joy and gurgling laughter, distinctly inhuman. The excited fit rose into an eerie cacophony of pure madness that gripped the girl as she went closer, driven by dread and curiosity alike. An orange light grew at the end of the hall, and it flashed across her marveled face. She saw exaggerated shadows of some tall, limber abomination with puffy balled hair, a round, protruding nose, and smacking, hungry lips. It stacked uneven boxes until the shadowy tower stood as high as it.
When the girl's foot tapped the bottom of one of the mirrors, the boxes fell over, and the sound crumbled into a catastrophe of bouncing springs, buzzing alarms, and zipping sounds. And then it all went quiet. The head of the thing turned to her, and the orange light faded out, dispelling the creature's umbral form. A squeak like a dog's chew toy resonated nearer to her in the funhouse's broken geometry. The sound came again but closer. And again. She wanted to run, but her mind no longer understood direction, and she stood there dumbly with her hands out, touching the cold glass, and she kept her head down, and her eyes closed tight. Her feet shuffled. She heard it breathing above her like a low engine, then a squeak right there in front of her. She opened her eyes and looked up.
The violent fire from a match broke the darkness and birthed from that sudden light a huge, painted smile that extended past the confines of its face and teeth in with several rows. Its drooping eyes stung redder than the tips of fire, and a mucusy ball of a nose dripped thick, bloody goo that splattered across the infinite reflections around her. It snarled and blinked its spider-lashed eyes before devouring her and giggling foolishly as it crunched her shattering bones.