Lit Mag Short Fiction

Withered Teacups

“Don’t be such a baby” My voice echoes through the lot. I climbed up the rusted metal fence, emphasizing the squeaking and clanging of the wires. Nicole let out a steamy sigh and followed along. I dramatically jump off the top of the fence and dust off my gloves. “Yikes. Watch out for the ice.” Nicole slowly steps down the fence. We look out into the large theme park. For a second I thought we had jumped into some old, vintage polaroid picture. I scanned the grounds, The teacups had lost their magic and it was evident. Nicole inspected the faded flower prints. It was almost like the design withered away. She yelps when a piece of the cup falls to the ground when she grazed it. I chuckled to myself as she went red-faced. I looked up to see the tallest drop tower I have ever seen, I wasn’t sure if I could see the top. I shivered when I saw the seats of the ride hanging at a slant, imagining what the conditions of the ride were like for it to end up like this.

 “We should go, it’s getting dark.” Nicole fiddled with her fingers as she timidly spoke. 

“What? This is just getting interesting!”

 “I’m serious Alex. I don’t have a good feeling about this.” 

I rolled my eyes and turned on my flashlight. I knew Nicole wouldn’t leave alone in a place like this, and neither would I if I’m honest. The park was surrounded by a coarse set of pine trees and thousands of thorny bushes. You don’t know what kind of things there are out there. We continued to walk through the mossy cobblestone paths. I waved my flashlight from left to right as Nicole clinged to my backpack, looking like a lost puppy. I pointed it up at the sign above my head. “Mine Dash. At least we know the name of one of the rides ‘round here.” I smirked and stepped forward. Nicole grabbed my arm with the regular frightened expression. 

“Alex I-” 

“Oh quit it just admit you’re terrified.”

 “Alex ple-” 

“It’s just an old roller coaster, what’s the big-” Nicole grunted in frustration.. I’ve never seen her this panicked. She’s shivering, and it wasn’t from the cold.

 “I’m telling you, someone is watching us.” 

I felt shivers trail down my spine like a scale on a piano. “And what makes you think that.” I crossed my arms and peered down on her. Nicole stared at the expression painted across my face for a minute. It felt like time froze at that moment. Her expression went blank and she mumbled, “I hear the whispers.” I snorted in laughter, tears formed in the corners of my eyes. Nicole scoffed and shoved me out of the way and strutted into the cave. As much as she infuriated me in these situations, I couldn’t let her go alone. I’m not that awful. We followed the chipped, black, painted arrows on the wall in complete silence. I wanted to break the silence, but I knew she didn’t. We found ourselves in a rocky room with a line of minecarts waiting for us. They were the shiniest things in the room, in the whole park honestly.

 “Guess we were destined to try this out eh’?” I nudged Nicole in the shoulder. She stroked her finger against the surface of the metal, spotless.

 “Even if we were, the ride wouldn’t be able to operate, remember?” I agreed disappointedly. As we turned our backs, the slightest rustle was suddenly the loudest sound in the cave. My eyes widened and I rapidly whipped back around, ready to swat off whatever, or whoever, was there. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I peer into the drop of the rollercoaster, behind the overgrown vines and cobwebs, behind the darkness,  were scarlet dots darting back at me. 


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