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  • Bhavishya Bajaj

The Haunting of the Town Fair: Part I

It was the 14th of November, 1988. On the occasion of children’s day, the entire town of Lockwood was celebrating with fairs and organizing little rides for the young ones. Peter lived on the west side of the town. Most eleven year olds would have enjoyed the opportunity to visit the fair, but Peter chose to stay in his morbidly dusty basement playing cards with his friends instead.


Meanwhile, Dennis Twitty and Daisy Rowse both went to the fair and enjoyed themselves. After having a capital time, they were forced to cycle home as darkness descended across the world and stars marched into the sky. A bit heavy-hearted to leave, they cycled across the quiet road; chattering away at the evening's delights. The Lockwood Woods were as shadowy and peaceful as ever, until something eerie and unnatural resounded from the heart of the darkness. The sound groaned with the wind, seemingly growing louder. Dennis and Daisy cycled faster, eager to get away from the increasingly creepy woods. The looming trees swayed in the wind, and pale wispy ghosts danced in front of their eyes as they breathed in the cold winter air. An old hut greeted them warmly by the road, and no hesitation was shown in taking refuge there. The air was colder in the hut as they crouched in a dusty corner in the darkness, as a single strand of silvery moonlight crept under the door. The wind whistled through the cracks in the door as a dark figure blocked the light and Daisy screamed as the door began to creak open and the hut sank into draconian darkness.


The curtains of darkness were drawn open again, only to show an empty hut and two clean silhouettes across the dusty floor; the only remaining evidence of Dennis Twitty and Daisy Rowse.


***


The next day, the entire town of Lockwood was gathered at the centre of the town, two children who had gone to the town fair were missing and were nowhere to be found. All the guards at the town fair were interviewed but no one even heard a scream or cry for help and didn't see anybody they did not know walk into the town fair. The Lockwood police department had a crowd of press and news channel reporters. Three search parties were sent out but in vain. The families were worried sick! The police grabbed some evidence when they found a little mask lying in the middle of the forest, it had the names ‘Daisy’ and ‘Dennis’ written on it. These were the two children who went missing.


Peter read about the kidnapping case in the newspaper and felt extremely disturbed by even the thought of getting kidnapped. It had been less than a day since the disappearance and the families had already received three threat messages from three unknown numbers. Halsey Hoyles, along with a friend who landed in Lockwood town just the day before the fair, found the bloodied bicycle of one of the children lying in the middle of the forest.


When the police interviewed her asking her why she was in the forest while knowing that there was a killer on the loose she replied, “ My parents stay here in West Lockwood and well my birthday is only two days after Christmas so I visit them every year. I had gone for a trek but I got lost in the woods at night and while figuring my way out in the morning I found this broken bike with blood all over it!” The police believed they had reached another dead end, and sent the bicycle for inspection in the lab, but the only information it offered them was that it was indeed Daisy’s. Meanwhile, another case of a missing child came into the hands of the police department. Everyone was now extremely on edge. All the odds were against the police and the thin ray of hope had disappeared in the cold dark room.


Aiken Law, the police commissioner appeared on television to give a set of instructions to the town when the fourth child in two days had gone missing. He said, “A strict curfew will be put on the town of Lockwood since the disappearance of children, we all need to ensure the safety of ourselves and our family members. Not a single individual shall be seen on the street after five in the evening and before nine in the morning! Only with permits will people come out. Strict action will be taken against all those who do not abide by the rules!” All schools were on vacation, all shops were closed, windows were slammed shut and doors were locked. An entire week had gone by, fourteen children were reported missing. Peter was tired of sitting at home all day and having nothing to do. Not even playing cards was enough of a distraction now. He thought that he could afford to go out for a walk for just five minutes, it could not amount to anything anyways. Unable to resist the temptation of the cool night breeze, he sneaked his way out, never to return.


In the morning, when his parents couldn't find him they immediately went outside and searched the entire neighbourhood, but Peter was nowhere to be found. His mother couldn't stop crying. The police found a little mask at the centre of the town which had the name ‘Peter’ written on it.


The newspaper articles were filled with columns upon columns about the missing children, the last line of which aptly described what everyone was already thinking.


‘A terrible curse has befallen this once tranquil land.’





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