Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
Fog shrouds the buildings, wraps the antique streetlamps. We can see nothing. The monsters sweep us blindly through the maze – devils and demons, banshees and goblins, witches, warlocks, vampires and cretins – festival costumed creatures lurching drunkenly through the labyrinths. Or are they?
“We’re walking in circles!”
Deserie clutches my arm. Thunder rocks the rain lashed streets, lightning flares.
“Look for the church!” I shout above the chaos. “Try to spot the steeple!”
Deserie seems an apparition herself, pale, frenzied.

We had been lost in the mountains, driving dizzily through the dusk, in the ancient black, Bentley which the hotel had provided for us, when we saw the lights of a city flickering in the valley.

“Shangri La?” I quipped.
“Dunno about that.” Deserie studied the tour guide by the interior light. “Whatever it is, it’s not on our map.”
“Maybe the map’s as outdated as our ‘vintage’ loaner car?”
“Nothing’s as old as old Bentley.” Deserie patted the dash. “Maybe Noah’s Ark.”
The car was a riot. It was a mystery it ran. I immediately nicknamed it: “Our Honeymoon hearse.”
Night fell swiftly, as we descended the steeps. I wrestled the black shadow down the long winding roads, between the snow capped mountains with their bends and sweeps. The chasms were treacherous. We held our breaths. The city in the valley seemed nestled in death. My joke got less funny. We reached the bottom with our fingers cramped, amazed that we made it, civilization at last.
We parked near an old church on a narrow, cobbled lane – a grim, gaunt structure with a tall bell steeple. But the roller coaster ride was not over. Bonfires, lanterns, fireworks lit the streets. The old city was mobbed. There was a carnival or some sort of festival in progress.
“One big party.” I ‘Groucho Marxed’ my eyebrows at Deserie, after I danced around the Bentley and opened the passenger door.”
“That was your vow.”
She gathered her skirts and slipped out.
“Life in the fast lane.” I crooned. “Life on the edge. The trip to nowhere.”
“I think we found it.”
Jugglers, acrobats, magicians mingled amidst the throngs, vendors, fortune tellers, phantoms on stilts – everyone was costumed, everyone was masked. It reminded us of Mardi Gras or The Day of the Dead, or that one Halloween night in Greenwich Village when everyone turned out. But there was something disturbing about this festival. The revelers seemed too strident, their fervor directed, madly, at itself, as if madness was what they were celebrating, their march a lockstep into hell. Like bats in a belfry they swooped and swarmed us in the night. My pockets were picked. Deserie’s purse was snatched. Before we knew it, everything was gone – identification, money, even the keys to the car. We were swept up in a maelstrom which made no sense. The streets had no names, the shops no signs, the buildings no numbers, the clocks no hands. There were no policemen, except the costumed kind. The revelers wouldn’t talk to us. They didn’t seem to speak at all.
Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

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