Short Story: Until It Pops

water gun game clowns

As part of the Dark Carnival, I created a short story and an illustration using The Water Gun Game as inspiration.

I was an early-adopter, so was able to choose from a wide range of topics. Always loving a challenge, I decided to select a random element of the carnival—one which wouldn’t necessarily be others’ first choice, one which would force me to get the creative juices flowing. It was impulsive, a way of pushing myself. When I requested the Water Gun Game, I had absolutely no idea how I would creep it out or what the story would become. No concept, no characters, no dark twist. Nothing.

I went into this project with three things in mind:
1) Treat it like a novel. Include the elements of a complete arc, conflict, tension, rich setting, 3-D characterization, heart, surprise.
2) Somehow twist those things into darkness.
3) Infuse emotion throughout. Make the reader feel something.

Please judge me.

This is my first horror(ish) piece. I believe I met my challenge to myself head-on, but the point of sharing our writing with others is to spark something new, fresh & alive within them. It can be caring, new thinking, anger, love, dreaminess, self-realization, fear, ickiness, or a myriad of other thoughts & emotions. The point is: our words should rub something raw inside the reader. Our creations should have an effect not easily forgotten.

Until It Pops can be found here:

Be sure to thank & follow the ladies who provided the venue & will continue to work through the whole month of October to share the Dark Carnival imaginings of my fellow carnies:

ADMIT ONE: Dark Carnival

The Dark Carnival


Darkened laughter, cackles, screams
Harmless fun, draped in night
Beneath the cotton candy fluff
A carnival which breathes your name


Step right up! Come inside!
Pen and Muse, and the carnies posing as writers & illustrators, invite you to explore the secrets of the Dark Carnival.
Every Friday in October, sneak close enough to smell the fried foods & feel the wind whizzing off the rides.
Step closer still, and let the tales of the creepy, eerie, strange, horrific & macabre seep into you.

Out of the kindness of my heart, I provide you this ticket for FREE Admission to the Dark Carnival.
The question you must ask yourself, is whether my heart has already been won over by its darkness.


Preview the topics, Writers & Illustrators.