One Day at HorrorLand: Chapter 21:
The family has just discovered that they can’t get out of HorrorLand, but mom is having trouble coming to terms with this:
“But that’s impossible!” Mom cried, raising her hands to her cheeks. “They can’t lock people inside an amusement park!”
Next you’ll be telling me they exploded our car on purpose! But surely amusement parks can’t do that either!
Luke astutely points out that this could be a joke like everything else has turned out to be. Color me surprised, but that’s actually a pretty reasonable conclusion to come to given all prior evidence.
Everyone tries to stay calm, and they decide they need to find an alternate exit.
“Hold on, Lizzy,” Dad said soothingly. “We just have to find one of those costumed park workers. They’ll tell us how to get out.”
“Uh . . . Dad . . .” I turned and saw Luke grab Dad’s arm. “Here they come.”
We all uttered astonished cries as we saw the Horrors crossing the plaza. Dozens of them. They moved quickly, with a steady rhythm. Silently.
Shit is about to get real!
Hundreds of Horrors surround the family. I guess it takes quite a few of these guys to keep this park running so efficiently.
“What do you want?” I repeated in a trembling voice.
The costumed Horror stared at us one by one. “I want to thank you,” she said in a cheery voice.
“Huh?” I uttered.
“I’m the HorrorLand MC. We all want to thank you for being our guests today.” She flashed us a warm smile.
The Horrors continue to confound me. Can you imagine trying to write a job description for them? I know it’s supposed to be scary and/or off-putting that they’re surrounded by these menacing-ish monsters and then they’re acting suspiciously friendly, but it just raises more questions for me about these guys.
It only gets worse when the Horrors explain what’s going on:
“You mean we can go?” Luke demanded, half-hidden behind my dad.
“Of course,” the Horror said, grinning warmly. “But first we all want to thank you for appearing on HorrorLand Hidden Camera.”
The dozens of Horrors behind her broke into applause and loud cheers.
“Huh? You mean this is some kind of show?” Dad demanded, frowning.
“See the cameras?” the MC asked. She gestured up to two tall poles in the plaza.
Raising my eyes to the top, I saw two TV cameras.
“You mean we were on TV?” Luke cried.
“Since the moment you arrived,” the MC replied. “Our hidden cameras followed you everywhere. From the hilarious scene where we blew up your car, our cameras were with you. And I know our home audience loved the terrified expressions on your faces and all of your horrified screams as you took our HorrorLand rides!”
Okay, for a second let’s consider this is actually how the book ends and that this is really what’s been going on. Why the fuck would they actually blow up their car? What network would approve those kinds of shenanigans when the risk greatly outweighs any potential rewards and are clearly asking for a lawsuit.
But then the Horrors explain that this show airs every week on The Monster Channel, so I guess they are governed by very different rules than you’re average network. The Horrors thank them profusely again and say that a new car is waiting for them in the parking lot. The family seems thrilled by this, so it appears they didn’t have anything of value in their old garbagemobile.
The family is directed to an exit, but all is not as it seems:
I reached the yellow door first and pulled it open. I stepped into an enormous room, with white walls that shone under the bright white lights from the ceiling.
“Is this the exit?” I cried.
As soon as we were all inside, the door slammed shut with a bang that made my heart skip.
Then all the lights went out.
“Welcome to the HorrorLand Challenge!” boomed a deep, frightening voice over a loudspeaker.
In order to leave, they have to complete some sort of obstacle course. That is actually pretty nightmarish. Props to this book for finally doing something that has some real menace behind it. Fucking obstacle courses!
Absolute chaos ensues as they’re chased around by a monster with other monsters shouting at them to keep running. It’s basically the Goosebumps edition of The Biggest Loser.
Then bird and pig-like monsters join the fray to boost those crazy ratings. This could basically be an episode of Black Mirror with all this social commentary on reality TV and the lengths people will go to just to make entertaining television.
For some reason, a fur-covered snake is now in the mix. This scene is tough to describe since it’s just the family running around as more and more weird creatures seem to appear out of nowhere to threateningly chase them.
More monsters loomed in front of us. Disgusting yellow lizardlike creatures with dark, flicking tongues like bullwhips. A hopping furry ball that roared as it hopped, sharp teeth poking out of three mouths.
Hissing snakes, enormous, buzzing insects with glowing red eyes, more grunting pig monsters. Then a giant bearlike creature came at us on two legs. It tossed its dark, round head back, and laughed like a hyena as its paws punched the air.
I landed hard on my stomach. My forehead hit the floor.
Dizzy and hurt, I looked up in time to see an enormous, elephantlike creature about to flatten me with its huge, furry back foot.
This room must be fucking massive! How is it accommodating so many of these creatures that are so scary they can only be described in comparison to existing creatures.
Lizzie realizes she’s not going to make it.
The monster starts to, very slowly, squash Lizzie, but then the buzzer sounds and it just walks away. It’s so well trained! I hope the Horrors are nice to their creatures.
The Horror host asks how many survivors there are, and another Horror reports that three out of five people survived. SHIT. That’s not good. This couldn’t possibly be another wacky Goosebumps misunderstanding!
“Nooooooooo!” I finally found my voice and let out a horrified wail that echoed off the walls.
“Excuse me. A slight mistake,” the deep voice boomed. “Make that five out of five survivors.”
“Five out of five!” the HorrorLand MC exclaimed. “A new record. We’ve never had a perfect score before. Let’s give them a round of applause, everyone!”
Whoever was responsible for that mistake should be fired immediately. We can’t stand for this kind of mistake at a world-class establishment like HorrorLand.
Lizzie is so furious that she ends up attacking the “HorrorLand MC” to try to rip off her mask to see her real face…