By R. Patrick Murtha

"No, it was really creepy, Mom!" Jenny finally sobbed over the phone.

Just last month she and her husband Mike had finalized the plans for their first house, their "Dream House," just 2 years after they'd been married. Everyone was absolutely thrilled with their success and their buying a new house; everyone, that is except Mike and Jenny.

"It's a brand new house! These things are supposed to happen in old mansions and castles! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO US?!" Jenny now lost it totally. Despite her Mother's attempts to calm her down, Jenny cried openly now and Mike came over to the couch, sitting close and putting his arm around her lovingly while looking over her head at the wall.

"Oh shit!" he breathed, not wanting his new Mother-in-law to hear but failing. He could hear her alarmed voice squeaking through the phone.

"Honey! Jenny! What'd Mike say? What'd he..." and Jenny, with wide eyes screamed, throwing the phone aside like it was red hot.

"NOOOOO! OHHH God! Not again..." she sobbed, burying her terror in the arms of her husband.

"OooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo." A sound split the living room with its unearthly presence. "GEEEETT OUUUUTTT!! GET OUT!!" the disembodied male voice now screamed, overwhelming even the false calm that Mike tried to hold.

"Come on Jenny, this way!" Mike now acted, jumping up while pulling Jenny by her arm. Vaguely, he was aware of something else behind the voice…something like...what? He couldn't be sure. Something from long ago, something familiar yet eerie in it's benevolence. But he had no time to consider the finer points. His wife was now hysterical, bumping into Mike and nearly knocking the both of them down.

"What is it Mike, WHAT THE HELL DOES HE MEAN!?" she screamed as the voice seemed to get louder and mocked them in response.

Now, a female voice, first distant, then becoming louder by the second laughed at their terror, "RUN!" she cried, sounding a lot like the bully that had continuously terrorized Jenny in Junior High school, stealing her lunch money daily. This emotion now welled up in Jenny as the two of them headed for the front door.

Mike, now just as terrorized as his wife, looked back to where the sound seemed to come out of. "Oh GOD!" he cried, clutching Jenny and now pulling her ahead of him as the sight nearly stopped him in his tracks. Two forms seemed to shimmer now out of the wallboard, just to the left of the fake rock fireplace. First a man's shape shimmered into being, translucently moving towards the two screaming newlyweds. It was followed quickly by a wildly maned woman, her arms waving wildly as she seemed to float above the floor just behind the man...the both of them now moving quickly, quietly upon their prey.

"Leave us alone!" Mike screamed, protectively pushing Jenny ahead of him, but what could he do against THIS or THEM he thought, nearing the panic level of his wife. They headed for the door as the female apparition, apparently in response to his cry, laughed hysterically, her face almost, but not quite, coming into focus, now just 10 feet from the stumbling couple.

"No we WON'T leave you alone!" the disembodied voice cackled, then, almost as an after thought screeched, "This is too much FUN! HAAAHHHAAAAHAHAAA!" and she seemed to dive toward the couple just as Mike pushed Jenny out the door.

Mike, covering his face in terror, fell over the threshold, the two charging ghosts now nearly upon them. "NOOOOO!!" he cried like a little boy getting beaten up by his big brother. And there, there was that weird familiar sound again...the sound of a...a CARNIVAL! Calliope music could be barely heard and then, just as the ghosts were about to pounce, Mike swore he could hear another voice, somewhere just behind the malicious ghost voices, almost mechanical in nature...saying...saying...

"Your time has expired...your time has expired..."

In a parallel universe, Tim and Sandy, laughing and giggling like little children then moaned out loud.

"No! Not yet!" Tim laughed heartily as he reluctantly took off the goggles and stepped out of the machine. His girlfriend and he had saved up for weeks, having seen the ads on T.V. about the new attraction at Bisneyland. "Ubiquity" they called it. "The most advanced virtual-teleportation yet devised!" And indeed it was!

"I ought to get laid tonight!" Tim giggled to himself as he helped Sandy out of her machine. The next two people were already just behind them, their eyes wide with wonder and anticipation as they watched the reaction of Tim and Sandy as they left the area, roped off to the exit as they hugged each other with playful glee.

"Did you see his eyes?!!" Sandy giggled wildly, hugging Tim tightly as they half walked, half ran to the exit. "I want to go again! Do we have enough?" she asked finally, the sun now nearly blinding the two of them as they hit the doorway outside.

"That'll have to be next time honey...sorry, but 40 bucks apiece for 15 minutes is pretty steep, you know?" he stated sympathetically, making sure she wasn't too upset…but she wasn't.

"Oh that's ok, but that was so COOL!" she laughed, leaning into his barrel chest, standing on tippy-toe and kissing him wetly. "I'll just have to work harder and hope the tips increase...but that was SO FUN!" she laughed as they stumbled to the next ride.

"Yeah, oh yeah," Tim laughed to himself, "This kid's gettin' LUCKY tonight!"

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R. Patrick Murtha © 1999