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Roadside Attraction

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Uncle Roger, whom I barely knew, left me with some stupid tourist trap I had never heard of until the reading of his will. I still have no idea why. My other relatives always changed the subject every time I tried to bring it up. But not with shame or disgust, they were just as oblivious as I was.

I had originally planned on trying to sell it, if possible, or maybe even just leaving it abandoned, but, for some reason or another, I eventually worked up the will to make the two-hour drive to the middle of abso-fucking-lutely nowhere.

And then, after an endless stretch of highway, I found it: “The Shack of Living Horrors.” It was some kind of shock attraction, as the name implied. It didn’t look too impressive from the outside; just some mangy backwoods building decorated with a single, gaudy neon sign.

Beyond the cash register, the inside was little more than a dimly lit corridor housing several exhibits on either side.

The theme here appeared to be human oddities. Each exhibit featured an admittedly impressive display of craftsmanship and animatronics.

The displays housed characters such as “The Boneless Boy,” little more than a glistening wad of flesh with a few hairs poking from its surface; it would shudder every now-and-then as if it were in pain. Another freak was “The Breather.” It was a human head and a dangling set of lungs behind a glass display case. Its eyes nervously darted back and forth behind its dumbfounded expression, and its lungs slowly churned. Then there was “Splatterman,” one of the more gruesome exhibits. It was another human head, this time with a pumping heart where its chest should be. Its skin appeared to be sliced and peeled back in neat, precise cuts, with the ends tightly wrapped to a square, metal frame, like a morbid spider web.

I admit, the exhibits were a little unnerving at first, but after a while, I started to spot the carefully hidden power cables along with a few other details that hinted towards their artificial nature.

I continued down the corridor, occasionally glancing at the attractions, each more extreme than the last, until it reached the point where it felt as if they were trying too hard. Then I saw it: the “grand finale,” you could say.

They called her “The Flayed Angel.” She was a full-bodied nude woman, pinned to the wall like a butterfly, with several mirrors placed around her, angled so that visitors could see her back. It completely lacked skin, and her entire spine had been removed. Her ribs had been pulled out, and expertly snapped into multiple fragments, arranged to look like a pair of wings, and held in place by metal fixtures. The subtle, geometric bulges on her torso suggested that there was some foreign structure inside her to keep her from collapsing. Her eyes, lips, and fingers twitched subtly; it was barely noticeable.

After completing the tour, I returned to my car and quietly drove home.

Since then, I’ve been paying to keep the Shack around, though I never visit it. People ask me why I even bother. I normally wouldn’t care about preserving a few animatronic models that no one will ever see. But The Flayed Angel was different.

She had no cables.

Credited to Chiropto Necrolus

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