The Documents of Hector Maze: 5.1

Near where I came out of the ferris wheel thingie there was a sign that said “WARNING: MOVING WALKWAY.” As people passed it they started gliding away at a steady rate, just like at the airport. What was odd was that the ground beneath them didn’t appear to be moving; it looked like an ordinary field of grass. This aroused my inner technophobe, who likes to feel that he has at least some idea of how things work. In this case the illusion was so seamless that I felt like a superstitious native suddenly confronted with a 747.

I decided to go in another direction, so I found a path that led off through a canopy of trees. Birds were singing overhead and the air was cool and loamy; within 50 yards I might just have well have been in a park somewhere, so cut off was I from the surrounding environment. But a minute later I emerged from the trees and in front of me a towering rollercoaster gleamed orange in the sun.

It was a wild labyrinth of twists and turns going up, down, left, and right, and underneath it was a long line of people waiting to get on. I debated whether to join them. On the one hand, I’m not that crazy about rollercoasters, and I’m not a big fan of long lines either. On the other hand, there I was. What did I have to lose, except my lunch—which was still in my backpack, so as long as I held onto it carefully, I figured I’d be OK.

I got in line behind a couple of teenagers who were so excited that they were vibrating visibly. From their conversation I gleaned that this was their third time on the ride today.

The line moved surprisingly quickly and it wasn’t much more than 10 minutes before I was strapped into my seat. The teenagers were in the car ahead of me and a college-age couple was behind me, so I was sitting alone, which was a good thing. I didn’t want anyone to witness the abject terror that it was quite possible I was going to experience.

The rollercoaster started off slowly but then, as it began climbing a slight grade, accelerated abruptly. Then it shot straight up into the air, quickly turned left, made a half-circle to its right, climbed some more and then plunged abruptly almost to ground level. Everyone around me was screaming but I was silent, though inwardly I was cursing myself for deciding to do this.

I saw a twist in the track ahead and suddenly we were upside-down, rolling along just a couple feet off the ground. We started climbing, still upside-down, and went through a dizzying series of loops and banks before finally turning right-side-up. We were very high up now and had a good view of Elasticland all around us and the water off to our left. There was long stretch of straight track ahead of us, so I relaxed into my seat for a moment.

My back was sore from being slammed back into the car so many times, but I forgot all about that when I saw that the track ended abruptly in midair just ahead.

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