When they merged onto the interstate, everyone felt they had left a reoccurring nightmare for good. No one talked. Only the sound of the engine rumbled as Brandon shifted from third into fourth gear.

Jeremy knew magic hadn’t been defeated, only delayed. He hoped it would be hidden for a long time.

Brandon dropped everyone off and it felt like the next week would return to normal. It did and the following month went by without exception. The summer came to an end and school started. Fall became winter and the New Year was right around the corner.

Carnival Productions was at work, constructing a building where The Pharaoh once stood. The arcade was tall and pointed at the ceiling like a sanctuary of amusement.

On opening day, red banners hung from the tower of Carnival Productions. Students waited in long lines on red carpet that twisted around the block. Jeremy decided to take Sissy. After hours of waiting, they entered the golden doors.

Harvey served customers behind the counter at the concession stand, filling drinks and buckets of popcorn for excited teenagers.

Jeremy decided to say hello. “It’s nice to see you’ve found a line of work similar to one you had in Carnival Town.”

Harvey looked confused. “Do I know you?”

Jeremy knew that if you lived in Carnival Town long enough and suddenly left, it would be like waking up from a dream you couldn’t remember. “Never mind,” he said. “You must have one of those faces.”

“What will you have?” Harvey asked.

“I’ll take a popcorn and coke. Just out of curiosity, who runs Carnival Productions?”

“I’ve never seen my boss. Perhaps he’s eccentric or hiding his unsightly features, but the check I get in the mail is a generous one.”

Jeremy walked Sissy into one of the theaters to watch a circus flick. Out of habit, he looked at the projector room. A tall figure changed the reels. Jeremy felt a sinking sensation in his stomach and the movie rolled.

The End


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