The Ferris wheel was new, but people still muttered about it. People mutter about most things that are new, especially in a small town like Greenglen, where the closest thing to a town centre was a pub called “The Rusted Crutch” that had recently been gentrified by a chain into any one of the identical ten million pubs that littered the U.K. (same menu boards, same upholstery, even the same neon-yellow toilet pucks) and a rickety post office with an off-license on the corner.

Ted watched the rotating glass cubicles, their fluorescent lighting illuminating the figures huddled inside. “I don’t know, Nancy.”

“You never know. That’s your problem.”

She stubbed out a fag on stone lamppost that flickered an orange haze. Inside the glass bulb, there were a small pile of dead flies and a solitary live one, buzzing aimlessly around the inside.

“Do you think it knows it’s fucked?”


“The fly.”

“I don’t know.” repeated Ted. “To be honest, it’s probably just thinking about fly stuff. Getting away from frogs. Finding some fruit to lay eggs in. I dunno.”

“But it must have some idea it’s trapped, right?” said Nancy. “Surely it can see the pile of his mates underneath and he’s all ‘I don’t want none of this.’”

She flicked through the pack of Marlboro, the gold-flecked wrapper bristling above the image of someone having a tracheostomy and “SMOKING SERIOUSLY HARMS YOU AND OTHERS AROUND YOU” in red lettering.

“Don’t those images seriously put you off?”

Nancy flipped over the packet and stared at it.

Her eyes widened.

“Oh shit!”


“I haven’t got this one!”

Nancy took out a pair of craft scissors from the pocket of her flowing leather jacket. She cut up the picture and pocketed it.

“For the album?”

Nancy nodded, grinning.

Nancy Bolton collected the various pictures on the front of cigarette packets, the dying and the infertile and the injured and the wounded and the broke and the sad. She’d made a small little pocket album from supplies she picked up at Hobbycraft when she had a chance to take a trip out of town.

She was only missing “Osteoporosis 2,” “Erectile Dysfunction 5,” “Emphysema 1,” and “Severe Gum Disease 2.” She actually had that last one, but it was partly ripped and she wanted a new one for her collection.

“Bit macabre.”

Nancy shrugged and fiddled with her hair clip that was slowly falling out of her dyed red hair.

“Something to do.”

She pocketed the cigs and scissors. “Speaking of macabre, Henry’s coming.”

Ted rolled his eyes. “Must he?”

But even as he said it, he could see the silhouette of Henry as he staggered up the road. The boy never walked properly, and looked as if he didn’t eat. Pale-faced and never out of bed after 5pm, he seemed to consist on a diet of just video games and weed and rarely stepped foot outside of his parent’s ramshackle mansion high up in the hills.

Ted had been there once; he’d walked through the scrublands for 30 minutes and found the building. Windows boarded up, he still tried knocking. The door, the window boards. Nothing. There was no doorbell.

Eventually, Ted headed home. When he checked his laptop, there was a message from Henry:

“Can’t come out. Parents not in.”

“Hey, guys. What are we doing tonight?”

Nancy nodded her head in the direction of the wheel and then down at the cooler of beer in her left hand. “Not much else to do in this backend of a town, after all.”

She grinned at Ted, who felt a strange feeling stir inside him. Or it could have been trepidation at entering a glass box and rotating around on a rickety metal—

“You okay, Ted?”

“Yeah, yeah. Fine.”

“You look a little green, my dude,” Henry added, joining the two under the lamppost. It was a clear and cold night, with only a solitary fluffy cloud way overhead.

“I rushed dinner,” Ted lied. “So what do you think?”

“Oh, that?”

Henry looked up disinterestedly at the giant Ferris wheel. “I’ve already been on it about six times.”

Nancy raised both eyebrows. “Why?”

Henry smiled. His teeth were slightly uneven, and his breath smelled of moss. “As you said, not much else to do.”


The queue went down steadily, and before they knew it, the three of them were looking at a bored man in his late thirties with a paunch and a faded name badge that said “WILL.”

“You can’t take that on with you,” he said, incredibly bored.

“It’s not what you think.” replied Nancy.

“Well, I think that if I lifted the lid of that cooler, I’d see a lot of beers,” replied Will.

“So this is actually my brother’s heart medication,” replied Nancy, putting her arm around Henry. “It’s in syringes that we have to keep on ice because—“

“Just get on the fucking ride.”

After several glass booths had been emptied, they stepped into an empty glass booth and waited for the man to come around and make the mandatory checks. Nancy took a Heineken out of the beer cooler and opened it with her belt buckle.

She took a deep swig and toasted “WILL,” who raised a lazy arm and flipped her off whilst resting his head on his other arm.

“Fuckin’ kids,” he muttered.

A klaxon sounded and the little glass booth began its ascent into the sky. Ted looked over at Henry, who was smiling widely. At him, at Nancy, at everything.

Nancy was laughing to herself as she sipped from her bottle.

Ted just felt queasy as he looked out at the small township, the trees and hills and the solitary ruins of Castle Bleek in the distance. There was also a black highway, denoted only by the pinpricks of light that ran gently across them.

The glass booth continued its ascent.

“Are you actually going to hang out with us tomorrow, Henry?” Nancy asked. “Me and Ted never see you that much.”

She pouted and Ted felt a strange flicker of jealousy in his stomach, as if a small selection of ice cubes had suddenly nested there.

Henry laughed, as if he’d just heard a particularly funny joke.

“I would, Nancy, but I need to stay home. You know how Mother worries me.”

Henry often talked about his bedridden parents, particularly his mum. Ted felt like asking, as he’d never asked why they never asked, but was interrupted as their little glass booth reached the pinnacle of the wheel.

The klaxon sounded again, but in a broken way, like an alarm clock with run down batteries. The siren died and the lights clacked off, suddenly.

In the darkness, two silver canine teeth extended. Ted heard the slick noise of the teeth running across the salivated gum line just in time. Just as he jumped on her.

Nancy shrieked as the darkened figure that snapped and snarled just centimetres away from her face stared at her neck with his black-marble shark eyes and clacked his teeth.

He kept trying, not even seeming to realise that Ted had his collar and was trying to pull him back, his pathetic strength no match for the vampire. Henry raised his arm and Ted felt his hands slip from the vampire’s collar and his head feel as if it were becoming filled with cotton wool. He fell back and the vampire’s psychic grasp worked its way around the inside of his head.

The vampire opened his mouth and—

A crackle of electricity as Nancy’s taser lit up the small capsule in light blue, showcasing the horrifying vampire as it fell backwards, snarling.

Nancy followed up by driving the taser hard into the chest of the vampire. The creature cried out in anger, its contorted and monstrous bat-like face twisting. Two bottom sections of the creature’s jaw distended outwards as it reached back towards the screaming girl.

Ted jumped on the back of the creature, wrapping his arms around it and trying, desperately, to jam his elbows down into its head. The creature howled in anguish as an elbow caved in its eye socket.

As Ted kept pummelling, the cries from the creature began to taper down. After a horrifying minute of continuing to jab, Ted pulled himself off of the creature that slid down onto the floor of the compartment.


Nancy swilled the last of the crappy beer around the bottom of the bottle. Glass bottles littered the floor. Ted and Nancy had smashed two and pocketed the shards, just in case.

The two lay at the foot of the plush seats. Ted fidgeted with the bottle cap, pressing it firmly into his hand to keep himself awake. He’s already made seven red rings about his palm, which he stared at in drunken interest.

It was 4:01 am, and the engineer didn’t seem to be coming. At around 2am, there had been a crackling through the intercom, but then nothing.

Nancy hiccupped as the few clouds in the sky roiled and something began to lighten over the horizons. The creature on the ground stirred, letting out a sickened howl. It tried to right itself, and in doing so, its form shifted back into Henry. He stared up at his two friends, and began the slow and gradual process to stand.

In a split second, he was floored again, screaming in pain as smoke poured off of his body and he frantically scurried into a darkened corner. His eyes, wide, fixed themselves onto the light point where the rising sun lit up the ride. In a matter of just a minute, the entire ride would be ablaze with light.

And Henry smiled.

He looked up at his friends, his visible eye still blood shot and frenzied. His other was bruised purple, but the lid flickered. Both tracked the beam of light that spelled death.

“I’m sorry, if it helps.”

“Doesn’t, really,” muttered Ted.

Henry laughed, his collar still leaking fumes. He began to stand.

“What are you doing?”

Henry smiled at them.

“Oh, you know. Just what I told you.”

He stood. Within a matter of seconds, his body continued to smoke and then caught fire. Both Ted and Nancy cried out as he stood, emotionless.

Nothing around the creature singed or burned as Henry turned to face the golden morning.

He opened his mouth.

“Oh, hello.”

He continued to stare into the sun.


His body sloughed into a pile of ashes.

The fire died down.

The two were alone.

The lights clicked back on, and the ride continued to turn.

When they reached the bottom and stepped out, a small maintenance crew stood before them. The owner didn’t apologise but instead took one look at the inside of the ride and then stared, angrily, at Nancy.

He lifted his arm and pointed at a “No Smoking” sign, just opposite the opening hours.