Sammy Calavicci looked up at the haunted house. He was standing on 
line for a half-an-hour already, and his feet were starting to get 
really tired. He 
looked up--above the entrance way of the ride--at the bobbing witch on 
broom stick and the ghosts peeking out of the windows; even more 
ghosts, witches and goblins were painted on the wall separating the ride 
the place where people got into the black, high-backed carts at the 
start of the 
ride. And, he knew even more spooks were inside, since he was just in 
but his older brother was dragging him on the ride a second time since 
parent's agreed to it.
	"Angelo, do we have to go on again," Sammy asked his thirteen-year-old
 brother. He could still feel goose bumps on his arms from be scared.
	"Why don't you want to? Are you chicken or something? " Angelo asked. 
"The ghosts eat up chickens for snacks, and they're going to get you as 
soon as 
the two groups in front of us leave. By that time, the ghosts and 
mosters will be 
nice and hungry."
	"Angelo, I'm not chicken," Sammy defended. He tried not to act like the 
baby, wanting to be as brave as his older brother. But, right then he 
really did not 
even believe what he said.
	His big brother put his hands up to form wings and started flapping and 
making clucking noises teasing him.
	"Can you imitate a dog, too?" Angelo heard a young female voice say 
from right behind him. "I love dogs."
	Angelo turned around and spotted a girl he liked from his class 
behind him. He felt embarrassed at being caught while making fun of his 
brother, and he slipped his hands passed his baggy funny saying T-shirt 
straight into his baggy blue jeans. "Woof! Woof!" he said doing a bad 
 of a dog, trying to act cool at the same time. He took his hand out of 
pocket and slid it through his hair, which was long on top and shaved on 
bottom. "How's that, Mary?"
	"Pretty good," she lied, smiling at him. "I'm surprised to see you 
I thought you would be home working on that killer project we got for 
	"Oh, I had to be here. My brother's a dj for WOLZ.""
	"Your brother's a dj!" she said. "That's so cool!"
	"Well, I guess so," he commented, before the two of them broke into a 
conversation about  music and their day at the park. Angelo completely 
about his little brother standing next to him.
	"Hey, Tony!" Sammy called as he saw "his older brother" running up to 
them. "Tony's" face looking nervous and scared, as he tried to figure 
out what to 
	"Hi, Sammy," Sam greeted. "Sammy, you better get off that line for the 
ride. You too, Angelo." 
	"Sure," Sammy said, climbing over the railing. He was glad that he was 
told not to go on it again, instead of making up his own decision to 
leave. This 
way he didn't feel like a chicken, but only doing what "Tony" said 
	"Good ridance," Angelo said, watching his little brother walking away. 
	"Angelo, get off that line!" Sam yelled at him. "Everybody here! Get 
the line! The ride's not safe!"
	"Yeah, right!" Angelo said with an extreme teenage attitude. "Mom and 
pop said I could go on it.  I don't have to listen to my brother."
	"You have to listen! Everybody has to listen! The ride's not safe, and 
there's going to be a fire!"
	Nobody paid Sam any attention. Some might have mumbled to others 
around them. And, a worker tried to calm him down and also the people on 
But, nobody did what Sam asked. 
	Four black carts came up on the tracks where the ride started. And, the 
people in the beginning of the line, including Angelo and the girl he 
was talking 
to--who both shared a cart-- were helped into them. 
	Sam rushed up to the booth, just as the man behind in the control booth 
pushed the button starting the ride. "Stop the ride!" he told the man. 
"This ride 
is going to catch on fire, and --"
	"Look the ride is safe!" the man told him. "It's been inspected a few 
back. Nothing is ever going to happen here.
	"Now, I would be quiet and leave if I were you, before I call 
security," he 
said. His hand placed on the phone in the booth.
	"Don't call security," Sam said. All he really needed now was to get 
thrown out of the park. And, maybe, even get the station in trouble as 
	Sam contrived a plan. "Well, if you say the ride is safe, then give me 
ride on the next cart." Being inside the ride would give him a head 
start for 
saving everyone, but he hoped that the fire did not devour him before he 
could do anything about it.
	"First, you said that the ride is unsafe. Now, you say that you want 
a ride! If this is some kind of scheme to get to the front of the line, 
	The man thought about it for a minute, before calling another worker 
on the ride over to them.
				* * *
	Angelo sat next to Mary in their cart, her long blue fingernails 
into his hand. He bet that when he came off the ride he would see five 
indented marks in his right hand. But, he didn't care. It gave him a 
reason to 
hold the hand of the girl he had a secret crush on for the past month. 
guessed she felt the same way by the way she was sitting close to him 
squeezing his hand not wanting to let go for more reasons than the 
mosters and the way she laughed at all of his jokes.
	A ugly green-faced witch stirring a caldron lighted up in font of them 
as the cart neared. "Eek!" she squealed.
	"Don't be afraid. It's only Mrs. Peterman," he said, naming the 
cafeteria lady. 
	The cart stopped right in front of the witch. 
	"Mrs. Peterman, what are you making?" he joked, pretending to talk to 
the dummy. "Bug stew, uh, I mean beef stew. Love that."    
	"Uh, Angelo, I think something is going on here," Mary said nervously 
as she finally let go of his hand.
	"Hey, there's no problem. They said everything is safe," he said. He 
faked a yawn, stretching his hands over his head so that he could place 
right arm on her shoulders. "Just enjoy the ride, Mary."
	"Angelo! I'm serious here. Your brother said the ride's not safe. 
Maybe, he's psychic."
	"My brother's not psychic," Angelo tried to assure her.
	The lights flashed off. And, the entire place was pitch dark without 
a light in sight.
	"Then, why did the lights just turn off?" After a brief pause, she 
"Uh, Angelo, I think I smell smoke coming from somewhere."
	He sniffed the air, and realized that she was right. "Houston, I think 
there's a problem!"
						* * *
	Sam was glad that the man had given him the next cart as he asked, 
actually the man just wanted to please him to get him out of the way and 
disturbing customers. 
	He sat in the cart somewhere in the middle of the ride's tour through 
witches's dens, ghost's houses, monster's caves, and vampire's castles. 
the scarcest thing was right up ahead of him. In the land of fake 
spooks, real 
sparks of fire were starting to brew from one of the cages which held a 
covered mummy.
	Sam remembered that a fire had once devoured the roof of his childhood 
farmhouse and part of the top floor, when he was eleven. It was also 
caused by 
faulty old wiring, or as the fire department had stated a mouse chewing 
faulty old wiring. He still remembered how he was stretched out on his 
 in his room, reading a high school science book he had taken from his 
 room when he first smelled the smoke drifting down from the attic. He 
God that the only victims was parts of the house itself and some of the 
	Now, he was faced with the start of a more severe fire. One that would 
leave real people as victims in its wake.
	He immediately got up from his seat. He went to several carts 
in front and in back of him, managing to get the people out of them and 
out of 
the entire ride through the emergency exit nearby, before the lights 
turned off. 
Still, many people remained on the ride.
	"Sam? Sam? Where are you?" Al called through the darkness. 
	"Over here," Sam called back.
	Al picked up the flashlight near his feet, so that he could see around 
him and give light to his friend. "Sam, you're half done. There's nobody 
down in that direction, just a bunch of empty carts," Al said relieved 
as he 
pointed toward the area where Sam just covered. But, his tone was full 
excruciating sadness as he remembered his son's ashes and bunt remains 
being found in the wreckage. The once jovial, laughing child dead at the 
age of thriteen. "You got Sammy and the some of the others off. But 
Angelo still gets killed along with two other people."
	"I'll save him, Al!" Sam promised the boy's morning father. "Just 
help me."
	"I will, Sam," Al said with all of his heart.
	Sam looked at the wall of fire coming from out of the cage and 
expanding almost straight to his cart. He tried to get through the 
flames dancing with the heat of hell threatening to give the ride-goers 
scare of their lives. When Sam got to the other side of the cage, he saw 
the fire had spread more quickly on this side then on the other.
	He walked to the carts, making his way through the fire. He was glad 
to see that some of the carts did not have people in them, either the 
people had 
left through the exits already or the carts were left empty at the start 
of the ride. 
	The first cart he came to--which had people in them--was Angelo's.  
Angelo sat there modified, paralyzed and unable to move. The young 
girl next to him tried to get him to move knowing that the flames were 
not that 
far away. His eyes were full of fear staring straight ahead of him into 
darkness, and his body was tense, unbudging and shaking with terror. 
	Sam put his hands under the boy's legs and behind his back, and 
picked up his heavy body. "Where's the exit?" he asked.
	"I don't know," Mary said. "We were going to look for it, when 
he got up."
	Al's depressed expression lessened. But, he still knew that even though 
best friend was carrying his son, it didn't mean that his son would not 
die in the 
blaze. He saw his terrified you son. "You found him!" Al said. He turned 
his son and his son's childhood friend. "Don't worry, kids! 'Tony' will 
save you. 
I know he will," he said trying to comfort him. He wished with all of 
his heart 
that his words would come true and definitely not the memories he had of 
son's death.
	"The exit's over here, Sam," Al said, leading them further down the 
corridor until they reached the exit. 
	"Come with me,"  he told Mary.
	The group walked out the exit outside, until Angelo was safely 
with his family outside of the ride. Kelly and Albert rushed over to be 
at their 
son's side, scared and worrying that he would not be fine, Sam knew 
that he would be. 
	"Sam, he's going to be fine now," Al said truly relieved. His face 
into a smile, and his depressed look was gone. "Sam, you did it!" Sam 
saved his 
son for him! "Thanks, Sam."		Sam turned around  and started to rush 
back into the burning building. "There's still another person in there," 
commented as he started to rush back in through the emergency exit. "I'm 
going back."
	Albert caught up with him and grabbed on to his arm when Sam was 
still a good distance away. "No, you're not, Tony!" the worried father 
grabbing onto his arm. "Two of my sons were in there, and are now out. 
way do I want one of them going back in there."
	"Listen, Sam!" Al agreed with his other self. No way did he want any 
harm done to either his son . . . or his best friend. "Ziggy says that 
your going 
to leap any second now. You already did you mission."
	"How could I when somebody else is going to die?"
	"You're going to die, if you go back there," he heard the worried 
and the worried best friend say at the same time. "And, no way do I want 
that to 
	"Ziggy gave you a choice. You could either save everybody in the 
house. Or you could save Liam. You choose to save the people on the 
	"I had to save Angelo," Sam stated. 
	"You know your a real hero for that," Albert said gratefully.
	"And, Liam's --" Sam whispered to Al. 
	"Also, in there," Al finally comprehended. "Ziggy knew you would choose 
the bigger thing--especially because of my boys--and that meant you 
would have 
to do everything. Better go brave those flames to finish your 
assignment."  Al 
turned his head to the side to look behind him. "That was some mean 
trick, you 
know that!" he scolded Ziggy angrily. 
	Even though Al gave him permission to go, Tony's father still had a 
protective grip on his son's arm. "Just let me go," Sam said. He 
understood fully 
Albert's feelings, but also felt that there was probably another family 
who would 
get hurt when the victims was taken.  "I have to --"
	"What you have to do is be here with your family!" He pointed out the 
fire trucks and firemen trying to fight the blaze and save the remainder 
of people 
inside. "They have firemen saving the day! I don't want there to be 
another victim."
	"Al, just leave me alone!" Sam said, trying to break free of the grasp.
	Sam was surprised to hear Albert calling him that instead of his son's 
name. Albert was surprised that he had just called "his son" that. But, 
by the 
way he was acting right now, "Tony" really did remind him of his best 
a total Super Hero in the making. 
	 He looked into his son's eyes. But, for a moment, saw not the brown 
eyes of his son, but the green eyes of his best friend who was trapped 
He somehow learned for certain--although he could not see and tell for 
that the man next to him was not his son but really was Sam. 
	"You can't always save the day," Albert commented.
	"I can always try."
	"Always the idealist boy scout, huh?" he said. He let go of Sam's arm.  
"Sam, just go on. Knowing you, you would probably go as soon as I had my 
back turned to you for a second. My wife will kill me for this, though."
	"Thanks, Al," Sam said as he rushed back toward the building.
	"Only one thing, keep safe, will ya?" he called to him.
					* * *
	The fire inside of the ride glowed in colors brighter than the inside 
Al's closet. The walls and carts were engulfed with flames. The metal 
held the ghosts and the ghouls was starting to melt in places due to the 
temperatures of the fire. The witches, demons and vampires were glowing 
and coved with the light of destruction. On the wall next to Sam, a huge 
ten-foot tall mutant fly was zapped with fire and reduced to ashes. 
	Sam leaned again the bug's cage. The smoke filled his lungs, and 
he tried hard to catch another breath. He constantly coughed as his eyes 
were blinded by the thick black clouds. 
	Al was right next to him, telling him where to go and asking him if 
he was ok. 
	But, Sam could hardly do anything. He could not hear his friend. He 
could not see him. He tried to move on, pushing himself to go on to save 
last victim of the blaze and to escape.
	He wanted nobody to die.
	He had no idea how far he went in the dark, flame-lit hallway, when his 
body could not take anymore. He collapsed on the hard metal track. 
	"Sam, get up!" Al yelled at the semi-conscious man. He knew Ziggy and 
his instincts were right. Sam really was going to die in the fire!  
"Please, Sam! 
Get up!"
	"Can't Al!" he coughed, before he felt his senses disappear. He could 
not smell the smoke, or see his surroundings, or hear the timbers and 
of the ride coming apart around him.
					* * *
	Liam spotted the exit door left open when Sam barged back in. He was 
finally relieved that he could escape from the hell around him. The 
nervousness and panic which overwhelmed his body and mind finally 
to subside but was still left on the same mode, still stronger than 
	Liam rushed toward the open door, not watching his step. He wanted 
so much to leave. But, the devil's destruction around him wanted him to 
even if meant making him trip over a large plank which fell to the 
ground from 
the ceiling above. His body fell to the ground with a almost paralyzing 
						* * *	
	The strong will to live was too much. He had to get up. No doubt about 
	The man pushed his body up from the ground. His strength immediately 
returning in a stronger force than ever. He rubbed the smoke away from 
his eyes, 
walking toward the door. 
	He turned and saw another body lying nearby. No way should another 
person die in the fire he wanted to get out of. He put his arms under 
the other 
man's arms and dragged him out of the exit door into the safety of the 
fresh air outside. 
	The paramedics nearby rushed over to them, placing the body on a 

(c) 1997, Summer