I blinked, and my surroundings transformed. Whereas a moment before I had been spinning upward into a pale blue sky, now I found myself and the ferris wheel in near-darkness. It appeared that we were in a large underground cave, the walls of which I could faintly discern at a distance of several hundred yards.

I was nonplussed. This was an unexpected development, and a part of me wanted to freak out, particularly when I thought I saw something move and thought of bats. Yet I felt oddly calm. In any case, there wasn’t much I could do about the situation at the moment, so I decided to relax and see what happened next.

I tried to look around at my fellow passengers to gauge their reactions to this turn of events, but the lack of light prevented me. Their voices merged into a low murmur from which I could glean nothing intelligible; something about the setting discouraged loud speech. So I slumped back in my seat and tried to concentrate on my breathing.

The wheel continued to turn at the same measured pace. As the minutes ticked by and my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I began to be able to make out a mottled pattern on the distant walls, and then what seemed to be pictograms of some kind.

I squinted my eyes to try to make out more, and suddenly a shaft of light fell on the top of my head. At first it was just a narrow band, but gradually it widened into a five-foot-wide column of light that the movement of the ferris wheel carried me out of. I looked up; the light seemed to be emanating from the ceiling of the chamber, or whatever it was that we were in.

Then, in addition to the wheel’s spinning motion, the wheel in its entirety began to move upward toward the light. As we approached the ceiling, I could make out a circle of sky above. Just as I once again reached the top of the wheel, the rotation stopped and I was popped through the hole into the sunlight.

Next thing I knew, I was being helped out of my seat by a new guy in a silver jumpsuit. I was back at ground level but the path in front of me looked completely unfamiliar. As I tried to get my bearings, my fellow passengers were one by one rotated into the opening and liberated from their confinement. We all stood there for a minute trying to figure out what the hell had just happened.