Written by: Scotty
Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show
Fantoccini, Marionette Circus, and Your Plain Meadow Carnival.
Best friends William Halloway and James Nightshade spied this sign being waved around their small town, a carnival, but this late in year, being October and all. Something had to be wrong, but none the less the boys were going to attend and see all that the freak show would provide. Being born just days apart, these two were joined at the hip, and nothing would ever change that. On their walk home, the devised a plan to see the carnival setting up, but nothing could have prepared them for what a little bit of sneaking around would manifest from the carnies.
The carnivals calliope (steam organ) was beckoning the young men to come down, playing its seductive tune, but when the boys arrived to watch the set up, no one was playing, the cold wind was shrilling off of the pipes causing the alluring sounds. The boys, although a bit freaked out, stayed and watched as more of the carnivals set up came to life. With the tents being erected, rides being unloaded, and the freaks all heading to their appropriate areas, nothing looked out of the ordinary, until one sheet of canvas was unloaded off of the train, and it seemed to be eyeing the boys. It was getting late, so the boys decided they would leave and hit up the new attraction in the morning.
Have you ever wondered what happens in a carnival, how their performances always seem to be the same from year to year, how your ticket taker never seems to age a day from the last time you saw them? Something Wicked This Way Comes will be more than willing to answer your questions of why this seems to happen. The young friends Jim and Will are exposed to the carnivals secrets first hand and put into situations that no teenagers should ever be privy too. They are joined by Charles Halloway, Will’s father on their quest for knowledge of this carnival that seems to have alternative motives other than just entertaining the townies.
Being pursued by one of the carnivals proprietors, Mr. Dark, The Illustrated Man is on the hunt for the two boys. Sending his carnival brethren out into the town to find the children that threaten his very existence, there seems to be little chance of escape for the two friends. The carnival is always looking for new acts and attractions, any new one will do. Many colorful characters join the hunt, but it will only come down to Mr. Dark facing off against his new found enemies.
This story is an altogether home run! Bradbury takes your common love of the carnival, adds some magic and evils it up a bit, Boom, you have a classic horror story. This was hard to put down once the boys are discovered mulling around the carnival site. The searching by the carnies and the instant retaliation by the boys is epic. You also have a father opening up to his son, showing him that getting old is not a bad thing. This one is a classic and definitely has my seal of approval, so get out and read this now and never look at a carnival the same way ever again.