X wasn't sure what happened. To be honest, she wasn't even sure where she was. When she came to, she found herself in what looked like a near empty part of the park. Unlike the populated areas, this part of the park was in black and white; even the sky was an inky dark color. X shook her head. The sky couldn't be that, not even in a scary place like Horrorland. Looking to her left, she noticed a rather old large sign with the words PANIC PARK inscribed on it in big black letters.
She started to feel uneasy. There was something unsettling about being taken from one semi-usual park to whatever this place was. On closer inspection of the nearby rides and attractions, lots of them didn't make sense. The Tunnel of Hate, a carousel that was on fire, stopped windmills, and even a looming mountainous attraction that shook off large rocks from it's top every few moments; only for them to crash into pieces at the bottom of the mountain. X probably could've handled such an unusual park if it was out of commission, but there were sparse park-goers nestled here and there.
One of the creepy park goes came up to her. It was a very small boy in the black and white colors, with big shining white eyes. But, no, that couldn't be right. The little boy was semi-transparent. He also looked so sad; like any moment he could cry forever.
"I want to leave too."
Is all he said before holding up the only thing with color in this entire park; a pair of sandals, a folded up green skirt, a purple t-shirt, and her monster hat she'd grown so attached to. She took the items from the boy while trying to piece together what he meant as well as why Kal would send her here. Then, it finally hit her like a ton of bricks! How could she have been so foolish? The boy said nothing as X inwardly spazzed. He just stood and waited, then repeated himself.
"I want to leave too."
There was something about the way he said it; something that made her feel guilty. She didn't know why, but he just kept looking into her eyes unblinkingly with the wide sheens of black staring knowingly into her own orbs. Finally, she told him she didn't know how to help him leave. He said nothing, just followed her as she made her way to a bathroom stall to change into the outfit he brought; she had a sneaking suspicion this little boy was working with Kal.
Once she'd changed into the more casual clothing, she took a minute to look at the mirror inside the bathroom; it's the only place the little boy hadn't followed her completely. She took a good long look at herself. Over the past few days, months really, the problems she'd faced were usually solved by someone else rather than her. She realized that now. This whole mess happened because she started leaning on others for everything. For help out of the park, for help getting around, and for other things too. To say she had a moment of true disgust with herself was an understatement. She'd been utterly helpless by near choice in her own mind for what felt like forever. Look what it got her, placing her trust in the wrong people and ending up in a cage; a much bigger one; but a cage is still a cage.
X felt a shiver. She remembered the first time waking up in that crowded space and a similar feeling was starting to take over. No! The whole reason she started depending so much on others was how much trouble she got herself into with that wall. That's right, there was a wall! And she had a brother right? Hmm, she didn't like him much but he was still family. Oh! Her cousin! She had a cousin too! He used to come to the park all the time, but by then she'd forgotten who she was. She realized this was probably around the time the doctor horror would give her the shot with the strange syrum; it's probably what made her forget things; and it was probably starting to wear off. X looked in the mirror at herself, and was horrified over her actions for the past few months. How had she become so complacent? She was starting to think Gary was right for not wanting to be around her. She didn't want to be around herself at the moment.
By the time X was walking out of the bathroom, memories were still hurtling into her mind and reeling her thought process with guilt and questions. Of course, the little boy stood there, waiting, with his shining transparent eyes.
"Do you know the way out?"
The little boy asked hopefully. If X could answer at that moment, she would've told him that she didn't, but would be sure to tell him when she did know. Wait, mirrors. Kal said to find a mirror if she wanted to go back. She mustered the thoughts and memories in her mind to still for a moment. She could only spare enough time to ask "Funhouse Mirrors" before the little boy pointed towards the tunnel of hate. He cringed and looked towards the tunnel and her, before finally running away. X supposed whatever Kal promised that boy wasn't worth dealing with that particular attraction. However, she looked around and found no mirrors so supposed the other end of the park was through the tunnel.
She walked up to it and sighed as she stared at the empty gondola. Memories of traveling through a scary tunnel when she knew next to nothing about anything alongside Gary the other night floated back. Gary and Mickey had probably been the only two truly helpful people in the whole park. No, that's not true, until Kal's hormones went out of whack, he was also really helpful. So was Slappy, in his own way. She made up her mind she'd go through the tunnel, get to a mirror, and then give Kal a piece of her mind, thank Gary and Mickey properly for putting up with her, see if she can help either of them get out of the park too in some way, and then just walk out the front gates and go home; she assumed the party would probably be over and the gates would be open by then.
She let out a breath she didn't know she was holding and stepped into the empty gondola. X took one of the oars and braced herself as she rowed past the entrance of the Tunnel of Hate. It didn't seem like much of a ride. It just looked like a sewage tunnel at best. X disliked the murky greyish bricks and the dark greyish water flowing below the black gondola as she rowed. As she got further, alone with her thoughts, X's mind wandered to less savory things. She thought about Kal's sudden hormonal switch like some love-sick teenager. She didn't even do anything to make him like that! She didn't understand what she'd done to cause him to go all lovey-dovey and crazy and she loathed herself for whatever stupid thing she did to make her friend go all out of whack. She thought about Gary too; and the hole he'd dug. Stupid. Did he really need to do such a mean-spirited thing to prove a point?! She was also mad at Mickey; but she didn't know why she was mad at Mickey; it was probably because she was the only person in the world she could think of whom had to have anything resembling a real friend. Was that jealousy? Great, another thing to make X angry with herself. Also, if she could remember everything else? Then why couldn't her own name pass her lips?! It was unnerving!!!
She started ripping at her shirt's sleeves; hating the deep purple color despite usually being so attracted to it. She tossed her hat into the water a few times because she started disliking how still the water had become; she hadn't noticed she'd stopped rowing. Everything, everyone, and every thought was driving her absolutely bonkers with anger. She was of no presence of mind to notice anything more than her own inhibitions and a tiny mean sounding laugh.
What looked like a boy with grey skin and a darkish hat rowed up to her. He had a better hold on his anger; he'd had quite a long time for practice all things considered. Ray Thurston was, for lack of a better word, using Panic Park goers as snacks. He didn't have to feel too bad since technically they were mostly already dead. His grey skin was stained with an inky black substance that might've otherwise been red and a suspiciously unmoving transparent adult phantasm lay still by him in the gondola.
If X had bothered to look into the still waters she currently detested so much, she'd see rows of these phantasmic bodies with no regard to age, weight, or gender floating closer to the sides; this was Ray's favorite place to 'eat' in private. The smell of young, fresh, complete blood was too intoxicating for Ray. If it hadn't been for the fake horn hat Slappy had warned him to watch out for, the girl might've ended up another body in the tunnel. Thankfully, Slappy had suspected something like this might happen and warned his 'friend' ahead of time. Instead, Ray snickered at the lunatic girl and pushed her gondola using his oars until it reached the end of the tunnel before pulling his own transport back into the darkness.
X's thoughts finally calmed down as she left the tunnel. There was the vague scent of blood and a blood-curdling laugh coming from behind her and she decided whatever that little boy was scared of in that tunnel; he'd been right to be so. As for X herself, she didn't have any more time to hate herself. She needed to find the funhouse mirrors! Those were her way back to Horrorland! She never thought she'd even so much think the words 'back to Horrorland'.
The other side of Panic Park was much of the same. Everywhere she looked was inky blackness or grey patches with lots of white patches and unusual attractions. There was of course the tunnel exit, a hedge maze, oh, and the funhouse she was looking for off in the distance! Unfortunately, there were also more unmoving windmills. She disliked the windmills the most in the Panic Park; as every time she passed one, a single blade would creak foreward slowly as if attempting to start up. It unnerved her more than the still lingering scent of blood on her nose.
Like the rest of the park, the entrance to the funhouse was anything but fun. As a matter of fact, it was probably the scariest entrance X had seen in her entire life; which was saying something because she'd seen an entrance that was likely to try and eat her without a moment's hesitation before. This entrance though, it was almost unreal how eerie it was. The front building was shaped like a clowns face, with the mouth drooping and boarded up windows where the dimples closest to the lips would be. The top lip was above the entryway and protruded forward while the bottom lip made up the walkway into the attraction; it's tongue poked out to the side and lay as some added aesthetic. It's eyes were circular windows with black tints over them. The clown had no hair and it's makeup was smeared with the whole paint job peeling in various areas.
It was a little known fact that X feared clowns. She didn't mind something like a class clown or a person who just enjoyed being funny in general. But she'd read too many stories in the news and in books of people who chose being a clown as a profession to be vile individuals she shouldn't trust. Sure, everyone knew X as the scaredy cat, but she'd kept her clown fear closely guarded; otherwise they would start hiring clowns left and right or wearing those eerie masks they sell at Halloween stores. Yes, she knew she was being paranoid about it. No, she didn't care.
X was want to turn around and forget the whole thing. Walking into that clown head would be akin to someone walking into the belly of the beast. She didn't want to go through it; but she knew it was the only way. Her strides were slow. It took her twenty minutes to get past the entrance; which would've taken someone without her particular fear twenty seconds.
Inside, the decor was no better. Most of the mirrors were covered by a dark tape or boarded up or smashed to bits with tiny pieces littering the dusty ground. In addition to the broken mirrors, the funhouse was littered with wax figures that had been partially melted. If that weren't enough, some of the clown figures were missing body parts. One had it's head melted completely off while another had it's leg ripped off. X's breath was hitched. She could hear nothing but her heartbeat. Past all of these frightening displays, was a single mirror in the back of the room that wasn't broken or covered. The mirror itself was being held up by a melted wax clown that had no nose and four fingers. It's eyes were shut and it sported a wide grin with an old cigar aptly placed at the side.
The funhouse was quite save for X's slow steps as she made her way through. She'd gotten maybe four steps in five minutes when something peculiar happened. Out of the corner of her eye, she thought she saw something move. No, she told herself. It's nothing. There's nothing in here that can move. It was yet another twenty minutes before she got to the mirror in the back. She was only a few steps away from it but the clown holding it stopped her from making the final stride. It couldn't hurt her right? She took another step. Her heart pounded. Nothing happened. She sighed in relief and walked up to the mirror; touching it and stroking her fingers over it as it became a liquidy substance to her touch.
Suddenly, the clowns eyes shot open and it grabbed X with it's four fingers. "Don't go yet!" It cheered in a rhaspy voice as the mirror it had been holding shattered to the ground in thousands of pieces. X didn't wait to think of a better plan. She pulled her hand away from the skeleton, grabbed a piece of broken glass, and started pushing herself into the mirror and out of this horrible park.
Kal sweatdropped as he tried to think of a way to get Mickey to stop asking questions. She kept following him during the rest of the party and demanding to know where X was; with Kal lying and saying he wasn't sure where she was, that she'd probably gone home. Naturally, Mickey didn't believe him. Kal had taken into account that Gary might be a problem but he'd never counted on Mickey being a problem as well. He didn't like lying to her about this; but he reasoned by tomorrow that X wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world other than Horrorland; it's the safest place in the universe compared to Panic Park. All he had to do was wait.
He didn't have to wait long. There was a terrible crashing sound and everyone looked towards the front foyer. There, crouched on the ground, was X. She seemed to be fighting a clown that had it's unusual hands wrapped around her throat. She sputtered and choked before finally throwing the thing to the ground and running as far away from it as possible; specifically running to hide behind Mickey. Mickey herself walked up to the wax clown, calmly took out a knife, and stabbed it a few times where a chest would be. Instead of blood gushing or intestines oozing, all it did was break up some dried wax. X shivered as Mickey returned and hugged her to keep her calm. "Shh, it's alright now." She let X know before letting her go.
X looked between Mickey and Kal before sighing. She was still shivering, she was obviously terrified, but she faced Kal and stood tall; trying not to shiver as she did so. "I'm going home Kal. I'm going to walk through the gates and I don't think we'll ever see each-other again. You need to accept that." She told him curtly before walking up to him, with anger evident in her eyes...and then hugging him. Kal stood in place, confused. What had happened? This wasn't what he wanted. It seemed almost as if she read his mind. "I know you think sending me there would've made me want to stay here. But, all it makes me want to do is grow up and face what I'm really scared of. It's kind of ironic but I can't do that in Horrorland." X admitted.
She turned to Mickey and hugged her. Thanking her for all she did for her. She walked over to Gary and thanked him too. Gary couldn't look her in the eyes. He handed her a map in his back pocket. "I..want you to have this X. It used to be Kal's. I don't want his filthy germs anyway." X looked at the map, noticing the circles and indention. "I, uh, I sold you out. For this. I shouldn't have, but I probably would've done it again since I don't know you that well." He admitted. X smiled. "It's alright. You put up with me enough the past few days. Nobody can fault you for wanting to get me out of your hair." She laughed before acting like she was going to touch him on the shoulders, and then pulling her hand away quickly as a joke. Both she and Mickey joined in the teasing of 'I'm not touching you' for a minute before she gave Mickey one last hug and then talked to Gary a little while to see if there was any way she could help him get out of the park. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be. Finally, she made her way towards the doors, as an announcement overhead was letting everyone know the gates were back open.
Kal's voice gargled as he ran up to her and held her close. Like he was more than just a friend. He kissed her suddenly; stealing her first kiss. It was sudden but not entirely unpleasant. Both she and Kal blushed their respective dark green or crimson when it was over. It felt..right..but at the same time... "Kal, I can't accept your feelings." She admitted. She wanted to, but she didn't know how to recooperate them after everything she'd been through thanks to him and Horrorland. He looked down, not willing to say anything to her face. His own was covered by his orange locks as they dangled over his eyes. "I know X, but I had to show you just how much I wanted to stay." He admitted.
X smiled at her friend. He, Mickey, Gary, and Slappy were probably the first real friends she'd ever had; and she was sad to have to leave them already. "Hey, I'll come visit someday...probably not though." She halfway reassured him before finally leaving the building and running through the gates. All the others dispersed to go about their night except for Kal. He watched as Kal's figure became a tiny dot in the distance until finally it became nothing more than a spec, and then nothing of her was left; nothing except her loved plush hat that had fallen off in the fight with the clown. He dusted it off and picked it up; holding it close and hoping beyond hope that the girl he liked would come back one day.
Finally, Kal decided to walk back to his own haunted house; leaving Slappy alone in the foyer of where the party took place. He looked around boredly, then down at the broken compact mirror he'd brought just in case. He thought he deserved some kind of thanks but had received little to no recognition from anyone. It annoyed him, but ultimately it didn't matter. He could finally go back to his important matters; mainly involving one young girl of his own to worry about by the name of Amy.
"Some of us never learn!"