“It’s in here,” Michael called to his brother.
Robert looked distastefully at the field, then down at his polished boots. “Just so you know, these are new,” he said. “Why didn’t you tell me it was in the middle of a field? I would have worn something more appropriate.”
“Stop bitching and get a move on. I can’t believe we’ve found it,” Michael said, and disappeared through the doors into the barn.
“Are you picking up anything?” the producer asked. Robert hadn’t bothered learning her name. They’d been filming Most Haunted Attractions for seven years and had a new producer every couple of weeks. Names seemed pointless things to remember.
Robert shook his head and, with a sigh, stepped carefully onto the churned grass.
“What’s the story here?” Jason, the cameraman, said. The harsh lamp shone in Robert’s eyes and, distracted, he lost his footing, new boots sliding into wet cow droppings.
The producer waved Jason away “Leave the questions for inside. Concentrate on the establishing shots, yeah?”
Jason grunted and looked like he was going to say something until the producer fixed him with a hard stare. He wandered off to do as asked. When the producer handed Robert some wet wipes, he felt a little ashamed at not remembering her name after all.
“Thanks,” he said.
“Will you be able to do this?” she asked.
“It’s only cow shit—”
“I meant the ride. I know the history.”
Robert asked himself the same question every time they filmed one of the “Mansion of Horror” rides, but as with all the others, he doubted this would be the one.
“Hey, I’m a professional,” he said and almost believed himself. “Let’s see what we find inside.”
“Hurry up,” Michael called.
“Supposed we should hurry,” Robert smiled. “Don’t know how long we’ve got until we lose the light.”
Jason was already at the doors by the time they reached the barn, the camera in front of his face, lamp cutting through the dust and darkness. A pair of the crew held open the doors to allow filming, hugging the wall to remain out of shot. Jason beckoned Robert forward and Robert obliged, starting his usual opening monologue.
He stopped when he saw inside.
The interior of the barn was far larger than Robert had been expecting. At its centre sat the attraction they’d driven hours along half-formed roads to see. It rose up from the scattered hay like the mansion of its namesake. Its metal frame painted to look like broken, wooden awnings. Crude ghosts and witches peered out through crumbling windows. The whole ride was remarkably well preserved and Robert felt vindicated to have remembered every detail with such clarity considering he’d last seen it back in ’69. It even sported the same Help Wanted poster Michael had replied to all those years before.
The last time Robert had seen his brother alive.
“You took your time,” Michael said. He pointed to the ride’s double entrance. “I’m in here.”