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The Ghost of Christmas Past

A Nightmares Fear Factory Christmas Story

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the Factory
The shadows stirred, whilst fear ramped into anarchy
The traps were set and the hallways stilled the air
In hopes that an intruder would soon venture there

There were no children and there were no beds
Instead there were ghosts and severed heads
Screaming sounded high and walls could collapse
Settling its dear intruder into his forever nap…

It is Christmas Eve In the Nightmares Fear Factory, and the ghostly old carol echoed through the foyer, albeit slightly changed.

The traveller had come to Niagara Falls, Ontario, to celebrate Christmas a rustic, fun town near one of the Wonders of the World. Nightmares Fear Factory was one of the town’s biggest attractions.

As the traveller descends into the horrific interior of the Nightmares Fear Factory, he begins to understand why. The dark is thick, the halls are narrow and the air is filled with a vague whispering. The traveller has to move quickly; what feels like insects have begun to brush against his backside and arms.

The traveller jerks and stumbles, and the faint sound of Christmas bells begin to echo all through the Fear Factory.

Fog has crept in to the darkened halls, and no lights shone. The traveller finds himself in a narrow hallway. He begins to make his way forward, uncertainly.

The traveller doesn’t get far before he realises the walls are closing in, slowly grinding inward like pistons.

It isn’t long before the traveller has to turn sideways to keep progressing.

The path ends as the traveller’s shoulder pushes up against solid stone, smooth black stone looming where none had been before

In the ear facing back down toward the open, back toward the creeping fog, a cold voice whispers.

From stone walls, there arose such a clatter,
You cannot move, resist, nor solve the matter

The fog floods in, suddenly solid. It pushes the traveller into the join in the walls, hard, and as it does, those walls begin to slowly draw inward with the grinding sound of stone on stone.

The walls begin to press in on the traveller’s chest and back. They begin to squeeze. His lungs begin to labour. Soon he realises he can’t breathe.

Soon he realises he’s going to die.

And all through it, the ghost laughed, even as things began to go dark.

Then everything stops, and far in the distance, Christmas bells ring.

There will be another, soon. Merry Christmas, from the nightmares in the fear factory.

The hallways are still narrow, but they’re back to the size they’d been when he’d started walking.

The fog had gone, and the room was once again its dark, dank self.

The traveller shakes his head. Must have been something he’d eaten; a bit of undigested beef, a blot of mustard, or a crumb of bread, perhaps.

As the traveller walked, things began to darken, and lose definition.

Soon, he wandered through pitch darkness and a cold voice began to whisper.

The Dark steals the shine from the new-fallen snow
Eats the lustre of mid-day from all around.

The darkness pressed, and the traveller’s heart began to pound. He was lost. Lost forever, in the darkness of the Fear Factory.

Far in the distance, as though in echo of his thoughts, Christmas bells began to ring softly and the hallways slowly re-asserted themselves, emerging from the dark as though someone had slowly turned the lights back on.

Another comes soon, a cold voice whispers. Merry Christmas from the nightmares in the Fear Factory.

The traveller was about ready to leave this place.

He scrambled through the blackened halls of the Nightmares Fear Factory, and felt his mind beginning to melt. Everything took on a panicked, uncertain flavour. Walls twisted eerily. Shadows stirred. Fear ramped into chaos in his mind.

A row of what were probably supposed to be decorations made to seem like severed heads began to sing together, dripping crimson and smelling of rot; a ghastly, hollow echo of life. Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the house… they chanted.

The traveller was losing his mind, and a cold voice whispered.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
Mortal you are, afore I send you to the sky.

He turned to find a ghastly skull looming out of a dark robe, scythe held high. Though it may have all been in his mind. The scythe swept, rippling what was real as it did.

The traveller saw his death. Saw his tombstone, with his name upon it in a barren field of snow where no light shone.

Far in the distance, though, Christmas bells rang. The skull somehow grinned more widely as it began to fade away, and as it did, a glowing EXIT sign took its place.

Stumbling out of the Nightmares Fear Factory, the traveller looked up to find a star but instead found a sleigh, dragged by eight massive, red-eyed reindeer. Perched upon its back, an inhuman figure with an enormous sack shook a set of heavy bells and laughed.

As the crimson figure faded into the horizon, the traveller could swear that it tipped its hat to him, and he whispered his thanks.

And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Avoid the Fear Factory, the remnant of this night.
Infested with the ghosts of memories of blight
Death and dark and quarters tight,
Worry not now though, emerged ye aright,
Have a Merry Christmas, and to all a goodnight!”

Abraham Mortimer, curator of Nightmares in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

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