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Carnival

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The sky was empty. Not a single cloud was visible in the shadowy darkness. It was a perfect night for a carnival. I was elated to go and hang out with my friends after a month of being grounded from anything and everything. Gerald and Joseph were picking me up around 8:30, although I deduced it would be closer to 8:45, as Gerald has always been a cautious driver. Sure enough, he showed up at 8:46, right on time.

The glowing neon lights surrounding the event ignited my excitement. It seemed strange to me that there were only a few other cars in the parking lot, but I speculated that I was just being irrational, since I had been cooped up for so long. We were greeted at the front gate by a rather rotund man standing between two symmetrical towers. 'Welcome, welcome!' he sneered. 'You're gonna love it so much here it'll be impossible to leave!' Joe and I shot each other glances, knowing we were both pondering the same thing. Gerald was wandering off towards a massive building. 'I love these things!' he exclaimed as he wove his way through the sinuous line leading up to the event. We all made our way up to the entrance, and just as we got through the door a gate swung closed, barring us in. My stomach dropped when I saw what was in front of me. A skull was suspended from the ceiling with an ancient iron chain.

Joe's face was shriveled with terror. I wanted to yell but nothing came out. Gerald was silent too. I tried to convince myself it was an illusion, but I knew in my mind that it was as real as I was. We were in grave danger. A grisly voice came from speakers overhead. 'Welcome to the Hotel California.' I barely made out the contour of a stout, portly man making his way to a gated section of the room. He yanked on a rusty lever that lifted us off our feet. I was headed straight for the ceiling. I landed with a thud, Gerald and Joseph landing shortly after. This isn't possible, I thought to myself. Either the building had turned upside down or gravity had been shifted. I tried to think rationally but nothing made any sense. 'Preposterous!' Gerald shouted. A giant amorphous figure appeared before us, speaking with a voice so low it threatened to blow my eardrums. I managed to make out a few words. 'You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.' it said. Gerald approached me, seeming calm and collected. He began to sing, 'On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.' I was perplexed. Everything was spinning. All of a sudden, I returned to consciousness. I had fallen asleep while listening to an old Eagles album. Relieved, I made my way downstairs to explain to my mom why I had been grounded way, way too long.





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