Sewer Terror Ride by Crad Kilodney
Mom was hurredly doing her kitchen chores while Kimmy and Bobby dawdled over their corn flakes.
“Kids, I have an errand to do by myself, so Uncle Louie’s going to take you to Play Land for a while.”
“Oh, boy, rides!” said Bobby.
“How come Uncle Louie’s taking us?” asked Kimmy. Uncle Louie was their “weird” uncle, whom they didn’t see too often, even though he lived only a few miles away. Mom didn’t talk about him too much, for some reason.
“I have nobody else to look after you,” said Mom, looking vaguely unhappy. “Now, hurry up and get ready. He’ll be here any minute.”
So Kimmy and Bobby got ready and waited by the front window. When Uncle Louie’s old car pulled into the driveway, Kimmy announced, “He’s here, Mom!”
Uncle Louie looked pretty normal, except that he usually had this odd twisted grin. The kids once compared him to a criminal they saw in the newspaper.
The front door was unlocked, and he walked in. “Hi,” he said cheerfully, and the kids rushed to give him a hug.
“Don’t let them go on anything dangerous,” said Mom.
“Of course, not,” he said. “We’ll just have lots of fun, won’t we kids!”
So Uncle Louie bundled them into his car, and Mom got ready to go out on her errand.
Uncle Louie drove out to the main road and headed west. It was a pleasant, sunny day, and the kids joked and giggled in the back seat, anticipating a good time.
As they drove further, Kimmy said, “Aren’t you going the wrong way?”
“Yeah, Play Land’s the other way,” said Bobby.
“Never mind Play Land. This will be even better,” said Uncle Louie, glancing back at them with a strange look in his eye.
After a long drive, they reached a large area of ugly concrete buildings surrounded by a fence and marked by a big red-and-white sign: “Water Treatment Unit 3. No Trespassing. Danger.” There were large tanks painted grey, and lots of pipes, some old trucks, stacks of dirty barrels, and wide tracts of barren land without a tree or blade of grass in sight. The entire place looked deserted.
“What is this place?” asked Bobby.
“It’s fun, don’t worry,” said Uncle Louie, as he drove through the open gate. He parked in front of a plain concrete wall. “Just wait here, and I’ll buy the tickets,” he said. And he got out and headed for a door. A man in grey coveralls wearing some sort of face mask came out and met him half-way. They shook hands as if they knew each other, and then they went inside.
“I don’t see any rides,” said Kimmy.
“I wanted to go to Play Land,” whined Bobby.
Then Uncle Louie came out and returned to the car, smiling. He held some face masks. “Come on, kids, lets go. Here, put these on.”
“What are these for?” asked Bobby.
“It’s like a costume,” said Uncle Louie.
“This place smells,” said Kimmy.
“Yeah, so put these masks on so you won’t notice.”
He led the children inside, and the man in the coveralls led the way, through a long, dark passageway that twisted and turned and finally came to a platform sticking out over a channel about the same width as a subway track, through which flowed dirty, smelly water. Tied to the side was a sort of boat or gondola. There were paddles inside.
“Get in, kids!” said Uncle Louie.
So Kimmy and Bobby got into the little boat with Uncle Louie. Then the man in the coveralls untied it, and it began to float into the tunnel ahead.
“Do we have to paddle?” asked Kimmy.
“Only if we get in trouble. Don’t worry, the boat just goes by itself.”
The boat moved faster as more water flowed into the tunnel. Dim lights overhead provided scant illumination.
“It smells like doo-doo!” said Kimmy, unhappily.
“I don’t like this!” said Bobby.
“It’s fun, kids! Give it a chance!”
As the boat floated along briskly, the kids could see strange shapes in the water.
“It’s a dead dog!” Bobby cried out.
“There’s rats!” cried Kimmy.
Uncle Louie laughed a low, sinister laugh. “This is so cool, just wait!” he said.
Suddenly, there were strange screams and moans coming from somewhere. They passed little side openings covered by grates, and Kimmy screamed, “Someone’s inside there!”
The boat moved faster and began to bounce off the walls. The stench was overpowering, even through the masks.
“Uncle Louie, I’m gonna throw up!” cried Bobby.
“No, no, it’s nothing. Just breathe through your mouth.”
A large shape moved in the dimness ahead of them. Kimmy screamed. Something sloshed in the water and made a low growl. Jets of steam spat suddenly from both sides.
“Hey, heh,” chortled Uncle Louie, “this is the greatest, isn’t it?”
As they passed through a totally dark section, Kimmy screamed again. “Something touched me! Uncle Louie, get us out of here!” And Bobby started crying.
“Relax, kids, it’ll be fine.”
From overhead, clumps of vines dangled in their faces. The children flailed at them with their paddles.
Up ahead was a lit sign with an arrow pointing right: “This Way.” Then the boat struck something and got turned left into another channel.
“Uh, oh, this isn’t the right way,” said Uncle Louie. The water level dropped, and after about 30 feet, the boat stopped. “We have to paddle, come on!”
“Can’t we go back?” cried Kimmy. And at that moment a metal gate came down behind them.
“Come on, paddle!” Uncle Louie commanded them urgently.
They all paddled furiously, but the boat kept scraping along the bottom. As they passed an opening with a grate over it, tentacles reached out from it. Kimmy screamed hysterically, and Bobby covered his head and cried.
On the right was another channel that was completely dark. “We have to go this way! We have no choice!” said Uncle Louie, as he pushed his paddle against the wall and directed the boat forward a few inches at a time.
“I can’t breathe! I’m gonna die!” cried Kimmy.
“It’s just nerves. Trust me,” said Uncle Louie.
The boat was now in the circular, pipe-like side channel, which was very narrow.
“It’s a person’s head!” Billy cried out, as they bumped against something phosphorescent in the water.
Then they heard heavy breathing as if from a huge, strange beast. It seemed to come from behind them. Uncle Louie struck a match, and they could see a metal rail overhead running along the tunnel. Uncle Louie grabbed it and pulled the boat forward. Suddenly they were sliding down a steep gradient, and after a brief but gut-wrenching drop, they found themselves tossed about in a strong current of churning filth, which swept them along rapidly.
“It’s okay! It’s okay!” said Uncle Louie. “We’re all right!”
The boat lurched in the turbulent water. Both children scrunched down in the boat, covering their heads and crying. After a minute that seemed like forever to the terrified children, the boat emerged into the open — and a 50-foot cataract spilling into a resevoir of filth! At the last moment before certain death, another man in grey coveralls like the first pulled a lever, stopping the boat just before it fell off the edge.
“It’s over, kids, come on, get out,” said Uncle Louie.
The children looked up and, seeing daylight and a narrow metal ladder, jumped up and clambered out in a panic, as Uncle Louie followed after them, chuckling. As he passed the man in the coveralls, he pressed some money into his hand, and the man nodded and said thanks.
Uncle Louie led the shaken children back to the car. They were still crying a little after the long walk back. “It was worse than a horror movie!” said Bobby.
“I’ll have nightmares forever!” said Kimmy.
“Now, now, kids, settle down.” Uncle Louie settled them in the back seat and took out his wallet. He took out two $20 bills. “This is for you — twenty dollars each.” The children stopped crying. Uncle Louie looked at them fixedly with a weird, fiendish smile. “You’re going to tell Mom you had a fun time at Play Land…understand?” The children looked at each other, then nodded and reached for the money.
Uncle Louie got in the front and started the car. “It was a fun ride…wasn’t it, kids?” They nodded submissively.
Bobby and Kimmy were silent all the way home. And when they got back, they saw Mom’s car in the driveway. She was back from her errand. They were already feeling better, since they now had money to spend on toys and treats.
And Uncle Louie assured them there was more where that came from, and that they would like the ride better as they got used to it. When they were older, they might even like it as much as he did.
by Crad Kilodney
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Crad Kilodney, P.O. Box 72577, 345 Bloor St. East, Unit 7, Toronto, ON, M4W 3S9
Crad’s new writing is now at CradKilodney.wordpress.com