Funhouse

Nicholas and Angelina were sitting in the lounge room on Saturday afternoon completing an assignment for class. It was not long before Nicholas’ brother, Daniel, came from upstairs and began pestering them.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“Homework,” Nicholas replied bluntly.

“Can I help?” Daniel asked.

“No, it’s ok. Thank you, Daniel,” Angelina said in her soft voice.

“I’m hungry.” Daniel spoke again.

“So?” Nicholas said.

“Can you make me something?” Daniel asked in his sweetest voice.

“Can’t you do it yourself, I’m trying to concentrate,” Nicholas said more annoyed than before.

“But mum said that you have to take care of me. So make me lunch.” 

“FINE! Sorry Angelina, I’ll be back in a minute,” Nicholas said to Angelina whilst standing up.

“It’s ok. I’ll just start on my maths until you get back,” she replied and got her maths book out of her bag.

After returning from the kitchen five minutes later with a now quiet Daniel, Nicholas sat down to continue his assessment with Angelina. After what seemed like only a minute, Daniel returned to pester them some more.

“What do you want?” Nicholas asked slowly losing his temper. 

“I’m bored,” Daniel said, staring at his brother intently.

“Go play video games or something,” Nicholas replied, going back to his work.

“But I want to do something with you,” Daniel said as he dramatically draped himself over the side of the lounge.

“I’m busy,” Nicholas replied through clenched teeth. 

“Pleeeeaaasseee?” Daniel asked with puppy dog eyes.

“FINE!” Nicholas yelled, slamming his book closed. Taking a deep breath in while standing up, he continued. “Fine. What do you want to do?” 

“I don’t know. You choose,” Daniel whined.

“What do you mean you don’t-” Nicholas took a deep breath in while grabbing the bridge of his nose. After a moment he continued, “OK. I have an idea.”

“Really?” Daniel questioned.

“Yeah. However, we have to go for a drive. Deal?” Nicholas held out his hand.

“Deal,” Daniel said excitedly, taking his brother’s hand and shaking it.

“I have to make a call first,” Nicholas said before walking into the kitchen. “Angelina can you come with me?”

“Uh, sure,” Angelina said, slightly confused while standing up and walking towards Nicholas.

As they got into the kitchen, Angelina turns to Nicholas and asks, “What are you planning?” 

“I have an idea, but I need to see if Phoebe, Lucas and Sophia are up for it. Can you hand me the phone please?” Nicholas finished with his hand out towards Angelina.

“Sure. Can you at least tell me where we’re going?” Angelina asked, handing him the phone.

“Not yet. Daniel might hear us,” he said as the phone picked up with Phoebe on the other end.

“Hello,” Phoebe said.

“Hey Phoebe, it’s Nicholas. Are Lucas and Sophia home too?” he asked.

“Hey Nick. Yeah, they are. Why?” Phoebe sounded just as confused as Angelina did.

“I’m taking my brother and Angelina out. Do you guys want to come with us?”

“Let me check. One second,” Phoebe replied as she put the phone on hold to ask her siblings. “Hey guys! Can you come downstairs?” she yelled to her siblings.

When her siblings came downstairs, they did not seem too impressed. 

“What do you want?” Lucas asked, clearly annoyed with his book in his hand, using his finger as a bookmark.

“Nicholas called and asked if we wanted to go out with him and Angelina?” she informed her siblings.

“Sure.” Sophia said. “Let’s go”

“Hang on, I have to tell him first.” She picked the phone back up and took it off hold. “Hey Nick, are you still there?”

“Yeah, I am. So, yes or no?”

“Yes. We are all in.”

“Awesome. Meet me outside your house in 10 minutes.”

“Okay. Do you want us to bring anything?”
“Just a torch.”

“Ok. See you soon. Bye.”

“Bye.”

Nicholas hung up the phone and gave the thumbs up to Angelina, who smiled back. It was not a very confident smile. Nicholas could see that she was nervous. Angelina had acute anxiety and had to know a lot about where she was going before she went. As Nicholas had told her nothing, she was feeling very uncomfortable. Nicholas could see that.

“Hey,” he said, so that Angelina would look at him. “It will be OK. I would never do anything to put you in danger. I promise. If you’re uncomfortable, I can drop you off at your house,” he continued while putting his hand on her shoulder.

“No. it’s OK. I will be fine. Thanks Nick. Let’s go before your brother ruins our project.”

“What do you m-” Nicholas was about to ask Angelina when he walked into the lounge room. His brother was jumping on the lounge and was about to step directly onto their project.

“DANIEL STOP!” he yelled as he sprinted across the room towards his brother. 

“Why?” Daniel whined as he jumped off the lounge.

“Why? YOU ALMOST DESTROYED OUR PROJECT! That’s why!” Nicholas told his brother, as his face turned a deep scarlet.

“Jeez, sorry. Can we go now?” Daniel asked unapologetically.

“Yeah. We are running late anyway. Hurry up, let’s go.”

They got in the car and were about to leave when Daniel had to go to the toilet. After five minutes and more anger from Nicholas, they were on their way. After a few minutes, they were at Phoebe’s house. Nicholas honked his horn, and a second later Lucas came out of the door, closely followed behind by Sophia and then Phoebe, who closed and locked the door behind her. They came jogging down to the car and Lucas opened the door. Nicholas was lucky that the car had seven seats, otherwise they never would have fitted. 

“Hey, guys,” Nicholas smiled at them in the rear view mirror. 

“Hi. Soo, where are we going?” Phoebe asked.

“It’s a secret. You’ll know when we get there.” Nicholas said with a wink.

The drive was long and silent. It was unexpected because Daniel had been so excited to go out and was talking so much at home. The fact that he was silent made Nicholas nervous. Looking in the rear-view mirror, he saw that Daniel had fallen asleep. ‘This is great,’ he thought to himself.

Phoebe and Sophia had music in and Lucas was reading. Angelina was not much of a talker in car trips and she was looking out the window, so it was nice and quiet. After a fifteen-minute drive, they had arrived at the place. Daniel must have felt the car stop and woke up. 

“We’re here,” Nicholas told the others as he pulled up the handbrake and pulled the keys out of the ignition, opening the driver’s side door to get out. 

“Where are we?” Daniel asked while yawning. Everybody was out of the car and waited for Nicholas to reply.

“Welcome to the Funhouse. C’mon,” Nicholas told them while gesturing towards him and jogging towards the entrance. 

As they all arrived at the entrance of the Funhouse, a strange feeling fell across all of them. Like they were being watched. 

“It looks closed,” Lucas, pointed out.

“It’s always open,” Nicholas said with a grin.

“What do you mean?” Lucas asked again.

“Just trust me and follow. Get your torches out.” Nicholas said while slinging the backpack off his shoulder and handing Angelina and Daniel a torch each. As Nicholas handed Angelina her torched she whispered in his ear.

“Nick, are you sure about this? It says that it is closed. We can come back another day.”

“It’ll be fine Angelina, I promise. Ladies, first.” He pulled back an old part of the fence and gestured to Angelina.

“If you’re sure about this.” She sighed and went through the hole.

 

These stories were written in our Factory Feedback program, which was created with, and generously supported by, the Dusseldorp Forum.