A beat up brown Cadillac pulled up the drive towards the front gate of Fantasy Land. Clare glared at Max.
“More people?” She kept her voice low.
“He’s the caretaker. Without him, we don’t get it in.” Max turned to her, his TV ready smile beaming. “I doubt he’ll stay long. The guy is terrified of this place.”
“I have a bad feeling about this.” She glanced back towards the locked gate. Even that beaten up sign made her stomach knot up. There was something not right about Fantasy Land. She had felt it as a child, and it felt even stronger now.
“Well, at least it will make for interesting TV.” Max shrugged, but Clare could see him flinch. He was scared. She knew it. He was putting on a brave front for his crew, but deep down he was terrified.
The car came to a complete, screeching stop, and a few moments later the driver’s side door opened. A man stepped out. He was short, balding, and most likely in his mid to late forties. He had a small build, slender shoulders and slim hips. He was frail.
“Jean! Right on time!” Max’s voice boomed, echoing off the trees that surrounded the drive. He raised his arms, making a big show of walking over to the caretaker.
“Mr. West.” Jean gave Max a half smile. Clare could sense that he was nervous. The man was practically shaking. “I brought the key. “
Max turned, motioning towards his camera guy. It was show time, and Clare wanted to get out of the camera lens’s crossfire. She ducked to the front of the van, and Brittany followed her over.
“I’ve never been on a TV show before.” Brittany was watching, eyes wide as Max and his crew played out their little drama with Jean. “I have shown up in a few, secret Vatican tapes, though.”
“Tell me you feel it, too.” Clare leaned against the front of the van. “Tell me that you can sense how dangerous this place is.”
Brittany nodded. “Most of these people aren’t going to make it out of this park by the time it’s all over.”
“That’s exactly what I don’t want to have happen.” Clare could feel her stomach tightening.
“They know what they are getting into.” Brittany gave her a light nudge with her shoulder. “You can warn them all you want, but in the end, whatever happens is because of their own choices.”
It sounded cold, but Clare knew Brittany was right.
“Okay, time to get this party started.” Max, with his crew in tow, started towards the front gate. In his hand he held the key that Jean had given him.
Jean hung back, but he followed the crowd, his head down. He didn’t look very happy at the prospect of passing through those gates, but he was going anyways. A totally broken and defeated man passed them, looking like he was about to walk into his own grave.
“You ready?” Brittany gave Clare another nudge.
“I guess so.” Clare took a deep breath, and the both of them joined Max’s crew as they passed through the gate, and entered Fantasy Land.