tagRomanceScream Park Attraction

Scream Park Attraction


Author's note:

October 2017. I thought I'd take the opportunity to do a little cleanup on this story in honor of the Halloween season. Nothing substantial has really changed, mostly fixed a few syntax, punctuation and formatting issues. Comments and votes are always appreciated!

* * * *

"Now then, what do you want to be when you grow up, Andrea?" the teacher dutifully asked the next pupil seated in the circle. She was expecting the usual type of answer like 'model' or 'actress' or 'singer' or any of the other typical answers given by a second-grade girl. She was not prepared for the response she received.

"I want to be the queen of the haunted house. I want all the ghosts to fly me around the house so I don't have to walk, and I want to scare all the people in the neighborhood," the eight-year-old replied brightly.

Andrea McArthur laughed silently to herself at the memory from her childhood that she still remembered so vividly. She hadn't been a 'conventional' child, and had made a regular pattern of surprising her teachers and fellow students alike.

She wandered the path inside the Spectre Asylum, Silver Point theme park's extremely popular haunted attraction. Unlike many haunted houses the Spectre Asylum did not rely on gory imagery or shock-value scares, but instead was a family-friendly venue that could still scare the daylights out of even the stoutest of souls. Applied psychology was far more effective than shock.

Andrea was making her daily walk-through of the attraction of which she had recently been named manager. She shone her flashlight into the corners that were still shrouded in darkness, even though the work lights were full-on in preparation of opening for the day. She noted on her clipboard a couple of minor maintenance issues that would need to be addressed in the near future.

It had been eighteen years since she'd made that proclamation to her teacher, and now here she was, the 'queen of the haunted house', though as a child she would not have imagined how much paperwork would be involved.

With her long flowing red hair, trim figure and extremely fair complexion, she looked to be right at home with the eeriness of her surroundings. And she had always enjoyed a good fright, as long as it was not mean-spirited.

She had started working at the haunted attraction in college, and in fact was one of the first employees hired when Silver Point had first opened. Her keen eye for detail and her insights into how the guests experienced the ride had made her an indispensable member of the team. She had made several suggestions for improving the ride that when implemented proved themselves in the bottom line. The man who had designed the Spectre Asylum had been its chief of operations from the beginning and when he retired he hand-picked Andrea to be his successor.

Though some of her family and friends thought it was a peculiar career path, Andrea loved it. It offered her a perfect outlet for her particular brand of creativity, and it played nicely into her penchant for organization as well.

Once the daily checks were completed Andrea made her way to her office located in the center of the attraction. She grabbed the microphone at her monitoring station and hit the key-switch.

"OK, everyone, look dead! We're going to 'lights out' in 30 seconds. All stations report in."

The staff all loved her management style, even down to telling everyone to 'look dead' instead of the usual 'look alive'.

Over the next several seconds the speaker in her console crackled to life as the welcoming station, the loading station, the disembarking station, the security station and the engineering department all gave their go ahead to open for the day.

Andrea threw the lever from 'maintenance' mode to 'show' mode. The lights dimmed throughout and the sounds of assorted creaks, moans, and rattles filled the air.

She briskly walked down to the front doors and ceremoniously opened them to greet the customers who had already formed a long line outside. The late May mornings were crisp and bright and mercifully much cooler that the summer days that were just around the corner.

Andrea loved that, even in a management position, her work attire was not that of a smart business suit, but a long tattered gown suggesting the other-worldly atmosphere of the Spectre Asylum.

As the first wave of customers crowded in through the front doors she noticed that among the smiling faces was Jake Tucker, one of the park's staff photographers.

One of the services that Silver Point offered their customers was to have a photographer follow them throughout their adventures in the park. That way there would always be someone to capture all of a family's memories without them having to worry about missing a special moment, or wondering who would have to man the camera, and therefore not be in the shot.

It was a rather expensive service, but it was surprisingly popular.

"Bad morning to you, Lady McArthur," intoned Jake in his most foreboding tone. He rushed ahead to capture to looks on the faces of the family he'd been engaged to document for the day.

"A miserable day to you as well," Andrea called back to him, but he hadn't seemed to notice.

She wondered if Jake was merely playing his part for the benefit of the family, or whether he actually cared to acknowledge her. She had admired him from the day she first saw him.

Though not terribly tall at about 5' 11" he cut a most masculine figure. His shirtsleeves were always perfectly rolled halfway up his substantial biceps. His blue uniform slacks looked perfectly tailored to fit his robust thighs. His jet black hair always looked freshly-cut, and the part was unfailingly razor-straight. His bronze-toned skin was in perfect contrast to his dazzling smile.

It was clear at a glance that this was a man who could have his pick of any lady he fancied. And Andrea knew from painful experience that men of Jake's sort were far more likely to be attracted to the beach-bunny type.

Unfortunately Andrea often found herself the romantic target of the emo or goth guys. Her light skin and lean frame were usually mistaken by the moody brooding sorts, but they were just not her types at all.

No, Jake was the sort of man she would like to be with. But for all he had going for him in the looks department, it was the way he interacted with people that she found most appealing. He was always kind, respectful and engaged, which was an even bigger turn on for Andrea. Kids loved him, parents loved him, everybody loved him. And that was part of her problem. His manners were so good that she couldn't tell if he actually enjoyed being around her, or if it was just part of his work persona.

She watched Jake disappear into the darkened antechamber, his lens expertly trained on his assigned group. There was often a substantial tip to be had for the photographer who was able to candidly capture the guests' adventures.

Andrea spent the next several minutes shepherding guests into the Asylum for the scare of their lives. Instinctively she knew the timing of the ride well enough to realize when Jake would be emerging from the exit so she made her way to the disembarking station.

The cart that scuttled Jake and his charges thought the haunt soon emerged from around the corner. Three kids were laughing their heads off while Jake, grinning from ear-to-ear snapped away with his camera.

"So sorry to see you made it though alive," Andrea said in her unnatural tone, never wavering from the character she maintained in front of guests.

"The ride was pretty spooktacular, right guys?" Jake called out, eliciting a cheer from the youngest members of his party. And instead of pausing to make some more chit-chat with Andrea as she had hoped, he was off instantly, his shutter clicking all the way.

She couldn't blame him, really. Of course Jake was on duty and in fact owed his full attention to his party. So she set herself off for the remainder of the day as 'queen of the haunted house'.

* * * *

Jake arrived promptly for work on a sunny Tuesday morning in June, as he always did. In the staff common-room he checked the daily roster to see what his assignment would be. The park rotated the photographers through four main assignments to keep them from getting burned out.

Jake's favorite was the 'Follow Me' assignment since it allowed him to stay all day with a single group. He enjoyed getting to know the people and used his keen insight into personality to know which types of shots would be most appreciated.

Few photographers worked 'Follow Me' with as much enthusiasm, only taking the recommended shots they had been taught to capture during their training.

Another assignment, known as 'One-Shot Wonder', was where a photographer was to be stationed at a popular location in the park, offering to capture Silver Point's most iconic picture opportunities for families who could not afford the follow-me package. Most photographers preferred this assignment since there was far less walking involved and essentially you just took the same shot all day long.

There was also the assignment of taking publicity photos for visiting VIPs and dignitaries, or taking staged shots for Silver Point's marketing materials. This one was known as 'The Pub'.

The last assignment was the one that few took on with any enthusiasm at all. It was the Service and Maintenance detail, which everyone referred to simply as 'S&M'. The photographer would be dispatched to designated locales to document things like worn parts on a ride, a broken or bent railing on a stair banister, and any of dozens of shots with no artistic merit whatsoever. These shots would be relayed to the maintenance department to assist them in prioritizing and following up on the park's many repairs that were needed each day.

Jake's face sank when he saw 'S&M' scrawled next to his name on the roster. He didn't draw this detail very often, but everyone was required to do it periodically in an effort to 'keep things fair' among the staff.

He reported to Tina's office to receive his punch list. Tina was a thirty-something woman who was clearly used to seeing things done and done her way.

"Tucker!" she called out. "Sorry, boy, you're on S&M today. Here's your list. It's a big one today."

She waved the papers in front of her and scooted around behind him and held the lists for them both to peruse. Of course she didn't need to do this, but it was a convenient way for her to get close to the handsome photographer and press her ample breasts into his shoulder.

"You'll be spending the morning over at the HVAC department then you'll go to concessions. After that you'll do the rides."

Jake tried to wriggle out of her pseudo-embrace but she caught his wrist and purposefully jammed the list into his hand. She looked him directly in the eye.

"If you're able to get done early you can just come back and hang out here. I won't send you on any other assignments," she said with just enough ambiguity to stave off a sexual harassment charge.

"Wow," said Jake. "This does look like an awful lot. Well, we'll just have to see how long it takes."

He clambered out of Tina's office and made his way to the equipment checkout room. S&M detail always got the oldest gear since it didn't need to look as ship-shape as what was used for the guests.

His morning was spent photographing such exciting subjects as broken fan housings and worn drive belts. This was followed by taking amazing photos of leaking deep fry vats and cracked handles on lemonade dispensers.

Photographing ride maintenance was at least a bit more interesting. He climbed to the crest of the highest hill on the park's most popular roller-coaster to take pictures of the flags that were beginning to fray from the nearly constant winds at that altitude.

He climbed under the drive mechanism of a thrill ride known as 'Cage Match' to document wiring that was beginning to come unbundled.

The park was renowned for its safety record and it was due in no small part to their diligence in documenting their maintenance.

Finally he made his rounds through the "dark rides", where the attractions were completely enclosed within various show buildings.

"Dragons of the Realm, come in," Jake called into his two-way radio.

"Fire-breather one, here!" called the female voice in return.

Jake's ever-present smile vanished. It was the unmistakable voice of Brittany, the manager of the medieval ride featuring gallant knights, damsels and dragons. Brittany was a real looker with a tiny waist and a ripe bosom, but any attraction he might have felt toward her was instantly dispelled by her ... what was the polite euphemism? ... stupidity.

Brittany led Jake through the attraction as he dutifully documented each item in need of repair.

Brittany never seemed to even be aware of her customers. Her gait was decidedly twenty-first century and she never even tried to affect the mannerisms of a medieval princess. Instead she trudged through the attraction, often blocking the guests' views of the ride's features as she jabbed her finger toward every item on her maintenance list.

She also never failed to laugh at anything that wasn't funny as she grabbed Jake by the arm and pressed herself into him.

She had been at least the fourth woman that day to fairly throw herself at him, but Jake pressed on, trying to finish as quickly as he could.

After taking the last shot on Brittany's list they stepped outside the service entrance, an area unseen by park guests.

"So, Jakey," Brittany began in her best flirtatious voice, " I was thinking, maybe sometime you and me could--"

Jake's hand was resting atop his radio, where his fingers knew each control without looking. He deftly twisted the squelch knob bringing forth a burst of static, hoping to simulate an incoming call.

"I'm on it, boss," he said into the radio without actually keying the mic. He changed channels and keyed the mic for real. "Spectre Asylum, come in, please."

He was greatly relieved to hear Andrea's voice respond almost immediately.

"Spook-one," she replied. "Go ahead."

"S&M ready for you. I'm just leaving next door at 'Dragons'." Jake hoped that Andrea would pick up on his subtext and meet him at the adjoining door, effectively rescuing him from the awkward advances of the buxom blonde.

Brittany was not sharp enough to take a gentle brush-off and draped her arms around Jake's neck and yanked him in for an unwanted kiss just as the side door to the Spectre Asylum popped open. Andrea's heart sank to see the lip-lock and she turned her head back inside. She didn't want to be caught barging in on an intimate moment. She pretended to call out to another employee within the Asylum to buy a few precious seconds.

What she did not see was Jake throwing Brittany's hands off him and jamming his finger into her pert little face as he made his displeasure known in no uncertain terms.

When Andrea again came outside she saw Brittany flitting back inside and Jake striding briskly toward her. She figured by his crimson countenance he was plenty embarrassed at having been caught in a smooch, so she acted as though she had seen nothing.

"Hi Jake. Glad you're here. I only have a few things I need shot, but can you get them in the low light?" her cheery voice belying her disappointment.

When she saw Jake with Brittany it was the exact scene that one might expect to see; toned, handsome man kissing little blonde cupcake. Sadly, Andrea too had come to expect such a thing and silently checked off 'handsome photographer' from her miles-long mental list.

"I'm pretty sure I can. This lens may be old, but it's fast!" Jake stammered, trying to make conversation about anything but Brittany.

"Good. We've only got a twelve-second gap between cars on this ride so you'll have to be quick in order to not be seen."

Andrea was definitely being all-business in an effort to spare them both any awkwardness.

Jake followed her from room to room as she expertly ducked them into the shadows at regular intervals to avoid their presence being known to the guests.

Even in the half-light of the haunt her light grey gown accented her slender curves, particularly her perfectly heart-shaped derrière. Jake had always been a sucker for redheads and seeing Andrea's hair cascading down almost to her waist and wafting in the gentle breezes (courtesy of the many fans concealed throughout the attraction) was having the unintentional effect of turning him on. He adjusted his belt battery pack to hopefully hide his erection that was beginning to emerge.

As Andrea led him through the darkened chambers and corridors, she would occasionally take Jake by the hand. Not in a flirtatious way but simply to guide him through the more precarious parts of the ride. Consequently the innocence of the gesture had proved to be so completely innocent that it aroused Jake all the more.

They sat crouching below the ride's cart path as Andrea described the repair on the other side that needed to be photographed. Several times as Jake was about the squeeze the shutter Andrea grabbed him by the head and pulled him down into the darkness, whispering, "Cart!"

The next cart would drift by as its occupants took in the creepy sights surrounding them. After the third or fourth attempt to capture the image he needed for the maintenance department Jake and Andrea got a bad case of the giggles.

"I don't think I'm gonna get the shot," laughed Jake, falling against Andrea's shoulder. She stifled her own laughter and leaned in against him in return.

Suddenly neither one of them really cared about getting the shot anymore. Jake looked directly into Andrea's deep green eyes.

"This is the first fun I've had all day," he whispered. "Thanks."

"It's my pleasure, Jake."

"Look, I don't know if this is the appropriate place to mention it, but..." he drew a deep breath. "I've always hoped for an opportunity to tell you that I find you incredibly attractive."

After having seen his encounter with Brittany Andrea's ire awakened immediately, though she kept her voice to a whisper as they were still in hiding.

"Yeah? And how many girls have you said that to? Today, I mean. I don't want to make you keep too high of a count."

Jake was taken completely aback.

"Wha ...?"

His mind flashed back to the incident outside of Dragons of the Realm.

"Do you mean Brittany? Dumb-as-a-post Brittany?"

"Well, her among others, I imagine."

"No, no, no! Let me assure you that what you saw was her assaulting me! Please believe me!"

"Well, I don't know. You two together are picture-postcard-perfect after all. Anyone would say so."

"Andrea, that girl means less-than nothing to me. I was trying to escape from her and that's why I called you on the radio. That's why I told you I was right next door. I hoped you would come out to meet me. Unfortunately right when you did Brittany grabbed me. Didn't you see me chewing her out?"

"No, I didn't see that."Andrea thought for a moment. "But how do I know you're telling the truth? Why should I believe that you really find me attractive?"

Jake thought for a moment. In a swift movement he slid his belt battery pack firmly to the side.

"Because I've been chasing you around in the dark for the past half-hour doing my damnedest to keep this hidden from you!"

His erection was bulging against the royal blue fabric of his uniform trousers. The ghostly green ambiance from the ride's lighting outlined it perfectly.

"Really?" whispered Andrea. "That's because of me?"

"Yes, it is. Andrea." Jake gulped hard, summoned his courage and continued. "I've been mad for you since the day we met over a year ago. I've just never said anything because I hoped someday you'd pick up on the signals I've been trying to send, but obviously failing at. And ... well, ... I've just been scared to death that you would turn me away."

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byFlibber_T_Gibbet© 9 comments/ 9008 views/ 19 favorites

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