I used to have a recurring dream about visiting an amusement park. The park in my dream was a bit of a drive to get to but still close enough to be considered local. It wasn’t recognizable as any park I’d ever been to in real life, yet these dreams were so vivid that whenever I woke up from them I had to struggle to figure out whether this was a real place I was remembering. For the most part the dreams were pleasant enough, but I remember one instance where in the dream I discovered a room at the park full of glass showcases filled with oddities of a disturbing nature, and I recall a distinct and very creepy feeling of being watched by something malicious as I made my way from case to case.
Around the time I had that particular version of the amusement park dream, I had fairly recently discovered creepypasta and had been reading a lot of them. One of my favorites was “Candle Cove” (you should click here and go read it — I’ll wait), and I was intrigued by the concept of a bunch of people who met on the Internet having shared memories of something that didn’t exist. Was it a shared hallucination, or was something supernatural going on?
I remember this little story reminding me of my dreams, for some reason, and this story of a young woman searching for her brother after he’d gone missing while searching for a theme park he remembered visiting as a child (but which nobody else remembered) began to take shape. And perhaps inevitably, another prominent Internet legend which had also grabbed hold of my psyche and refused to let go also helped to shape it–this story owes as much to Marble Hornets and Slender Man as it does to creepypasta and my own subconscious.
All in all, it’s a mashup that works, and it resulted in a short story that I’m actually quite proud of.