Prompt Day #131: Invent a really crazy amusement park ride. Or the most boring amusement park ride ever invented. Could it harbor a sinister purpose?
The rollercoaster towered over the entire park. The line waiting to be the first into the new park stretched out; rivalling horizontally the vertical height of the biggest loop the park used as its icon. A siren sound signaled opening day, the automatic gates opened and the crowd rushed in. There were many amazing and physics defying rides but the one everyone had come to experience was called Newton’s Nightmare. Tesla’s Coil was a spiraling Ferris-type wheel that took riders higher and higher with increasing circumferences and one would assume, increasing speed seemed to be the crowd’s back up if the line at N2 was too long.
Soon, the park was bustling, teens roamed in groups; boys rough-housing and girls giggling. Jerome Winslet and his buddies had camped out for three nights straight to get first dibs on the N2. They chose the first two cars for this once in a lifetime experience. Once everyone was buckled and the automated overhead voice reminded everyone to keep hands inside the car at all times, the ride began. Cheers rolled back the cars like an auditory wave as the coaster began the slow crawl up the initial hill. Click, click, clack it climbed. Hearts, responding to the adrenaline seeping into the riders’ bloodstreams, began to pound and digital readouts on the dash of each car blinked with that rider’s vitals while a small light beside those vitals glowed red.
At the crest of the enormous hill, the automated voice came through speakers explaining the physics of the ride and the clicking and clacking began again as the coaster inched its way back down the hill. The cheers changed to groans but the disembodied professor just continued to enthuse on the effects of mass and gravity on speed. Jerome turned to his friends and gave a very angry but confused look to his friends who returned their own version of the same. He then looked over to the Telsa’s Coil ride which he assumed must be way more fun than the educational horror they were currently locked into. It rotated around like the second hand of a clock being watched carefully by a child on the last day of school before Christmas vacation, spiraling higher and higher into a level of hell that had been invented specifically for this park.
“What the…” he mouthed to his friends and pointed to the coils. They nodded and shrugged. Jerome glanced down at his vital signs readout. It had stopped blinking and the light changed from red to green. He checked his car-partner’s readout which had also turned green. He leaned back and asked those behind him if theirs too had changed. They noted that it had. He wondered what that meant. The voice was still blah-blahing about the wonders of gravity and explaining that should they enter the upcoming loop at the speed in which they were currently traveling, all passengers would likely fall to their death once inverted but (and this was well timed because they had reached the base of the loop) to avoid multiple deaths, the coaster was rotated 180 degrees so it could stay upright and go over the loop.
“This blows” Jerome said to his car-mate who rolled his eyes and nodded. Just then, several buzzing noises began in no particular rhythm or intervals. These staccato alarms were followed by loud metallic clunks that Jerome personally discovered originated from new, more restrictive, snuggly fitting safety restraints.
“Yeah, like we need these.” Jerome muttered checking his watch to estimate how much longer he would be enduring this torture. The coaster had leisurely made it over the first loop before rotating once again 180 degrees. The next piece of track was another large hill preceding several loops each slightly smaller than the one before (the exact opposite of Tesla’s coils which gradually enlarged). The coaster began its slow, ‘I think I can’ trudge up the hill. Jerome’s seat partner was sleeping. Asleep! It would be appalling to anyone who wasn’t sharing the languid trip with him.
But then, Jerome’s car reached the climax of the hill, eased itself over the edge and without any warning from the suspiciously quiet Professor Tedium, it began to pick up speed. As the velocity picked up, Jerome noted the numbers on his vitals screen increasing exponentially until the Disney villain voice announced that the coaster was now nearing 200 mph and would be safe to enter the first loop without rotating. Here is where one would expect the crowd to applaud and scream, hands up in the air in the traditional “I’m a coaster pro” signage, but at 200mph no one could move. The vice continued midway through the loop telling them they had reached 10Gs, a point, interestingly enough, where all oxygen rich blood would be drained from their brains.
“This will be my final announcement until the ride has ended” was the last thing anyone on the coaster heard and understood. Jerome blacked out shortly after that.
Jerome awoke strapped to a gurney in a sterile white room. The sounds of monitors echoed in the large space. He tried to sit up, straining against the leather-like straps holding him down. He surveyed the room around him. There was no one else there. No other patients, no beds where they may have been.
“You are the first survivor” He heard a voice inside his head say. This was followed be sounds from the room itself. Scuttling, clicking sounds approaching his bed. Three gigantic praying mantis-looking heads bent over him. Their large black eyes rolling over his body and then hovering over his face.
“Where am I?” Who are you?” Jerome croaked
“You are in the Health-Cell or what you would call the hospital of our ship. We are scientist-ambassadors sent to your planet to study its lifeforms. We have been especially intrigued by your particular species.” They were speaking to him with some sort of telepathy. He had no idea which of the three was doing the mind-melding thing, so he tried to give each one an equal share of his eye contact.
“What are you going to do to me?” He asked
“We have been unsuccessful thus far in transporting your kind to our home planet for further, more in depth research. You, however, have been tested against the rigors of space travel and have survived intact. You have been chosen to return with us.” The mantis voice informed him
“No. No, I don’t want to go. I want my friends, where are my friends. Please let me go.” He said panicking.
“As we said, you are the first and only survivor. The park was our lab set up to test just that. You have been chosen by default. You will return with us. By further study, you will teach us what the strongest among you will most easily succumb to.”
“Succumb to?” He screamed “I survived your little lab rat maze just to be tortured until I do die?” this was all too much to process and for a moment he considered that this was all an elaborate hallucination produced by the extreme effects of the coaster.
“Your sacrifice will allow the survival of our entire species. Your species and our own have much in common; we too have utilized all our natural resources and have in the process of wasteful consumption, rendered our own planet sterile. Remaining on a dead planet would mean certain extinction. Unfortunately, the only other planet we have found viable for our civilization is the one you call home and we have observed your species long enough to know that should we attempt to come in peace, we would never be welcomed and likely be annihilated in response. Thus there is no use in making friendly contact. Time is short. Your survival means there will likely be others before the day’s end. Once you have all been collected, we will return for further study. Your fate has been determined and will be the same as all of your species. You, however, have the opportunity to see and learn more than any member of your kind ever has. That is your reward for survival.”
“Well, lucky me” Jerome said and closed his eyes hoping this was just an elaborate hallucination after all. If not, though, he would need his strength. He would wait; wait for the ride to end and the blood to return to his brain. Then he would know what to do but for now, he could only wait.