Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Funhouses

"Please don't go inside," Carly muttered under her breath to a cluster of teenagers who joked with each other on their way to the funhouse. "It's not safe don't go in."

"What'd you say, lady?" one of the teens asked.

"I said, may I see your tickets," she said, lying through her teeth as her boss ventured over. They'd kept her under tight surveilance ever since they discovered her discouraging people from going into the funhouse. But they couldn't fire her, because then the secret would get out. Only her binding employee contract kept her bound to the power of the denizens of the funhouse and kept the secret safe.

"Sure, here they are," the teen said, showing her the tickets.

"I'm sorry, these are counterfeit," she said, examining them until her boss had left.

Or until he'd hidden behind a cutout of a ghost. He sprang from his hiding place and snatched the tickets from her grip.

"These tickets are quite alright. Please enjoy the funhouse!" Carly's boss said brightly. After they went into the funhouse, he turned on her with a storms behind his eyes.

"You little dumbass. Those tickets are fine. Do you know what happens if we stop letting people into the funhouse?" he said.

"We retain our pride and our humanity?" Carly replied, speaking loudly to cover the sounds of crunching bones. At least the visitors weren't alive long enough to yell, she took some comfort in that.

"No! You know better. Your ass is on the line just the same as mine and I'd appreciate it if you remembered that when the next visitors come through."

Carly remembered. If she stopped luring people into the funhouse then the ghoul that lived within would emerge and crunch her bones. She'd torched the old funhouse her first week after she'd joined up with the traveling carnival and a ghoul had emerged from the flames and crunched her leg bones so that now she had to rely on a pair of shiny steel crutches. The ghoul had also taken up residence in her apartment while the carnival carpenters rebuilt the funhouse.

Now she did what she could to dissuade people, but every night she had to clear the corpses and dump them in an isolated field or forest. It's why the carnival never traveled to big towns.

While Carly dragged the remains of the day's visitors from the funhouse, including those of the teens, in the moonlight she saw a dark figure hop the carnival's fence. She froze and crouched as best she could with her crutches. The figure moved among the carnival rides before stopping at the funhouse, the largest single building. It walked around it once, bent down, and then Carly saw a book of flaring matches illuminate a hooded face.

"No, don't-"

Carly's cry was cut off as the accelerant that the arsonist had poured around the base of the funhouse caught and the flame shot around it like a laser, licking up against the wooden walls. She heard the unholy rattle of the ghoul within. Soon, the ghoul emerged from the funhouse, screeching at Carly and running towards her, his teeth gnashing.

"Hey, man," the arsonist said. The ghoul spun around and then charged at the arsonist, who pulled out a massive shiny pistol and with a report like a battleship cannon blew the ghoul's head clear from its body.

"Thank you!" Carly said.

"No need to thank me," said the arsonist. He kicked the ghoul's corpse.

"Sometimes they're just playing dead. Anyway, I hate ghouls. They ruin the reputation of all traveling carnivals, even though those owned and operated by werewolves only lose one or two visitors a year," the arsonist said, taking down his hood to reveal a wolf's head.

"Are you hiring?" Carly asked.

The Moral: when visiting a traveling carnival, wear a suit of silver mail.

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