Trent dropped them off outside Old Anaheim, about ten miles from the California Sea Wall at what looked to be an abandoned amusement park. It was just before dawn and the rising sun cast a gloomy pallor on the ruins of roller coasters and decrepit buildings. Dark snake-like shapes of metal and wood twisted sinuously through the park, disappearing under piles of debris only to emerge again, almost eruptively, yards later. Overturned coaster cars spilled out dirt and rust ran down the hills in eerie rivulets, unsettlingly blood-like. Cherubic faces of cartoon characters stared down at Mara and Sam with hauntingly lifelike eyes, their faded smiles morphing into sadistic grins the longer Mara looked at them. She turned her eyes away with a tremor. What horrible place was this? She asked herself, feeling the inanimate gaze on the back of her neck like a crawling insect.
Gingerly she stepped over a life-sized statue, half-buried in the dirt, with only its vaguely mouse-like face peering up at her. The paint was chipping off the nose and eyes, giving it a maniacal glare. Suddenly it shifted under her foot and Mara jumped, getting tangled in metal wire and plant matter, before furiously wrenching herself free. Panting hard, she heard a low chuckle and turned around, wild-eyed.
Sam was almost doubled over, pointing at her with one hand, the other clamped over his mouth tightly in an attempt to restrain the laughter bubbling from within. She narrowed her eyes at him and shoved him roughly backwards. He allowed himself to fall, reaching out in a half-hearted attempt to grasp the side of a nearby ride car. Missing, he landed in a pile of twisted metal fencing and yelped briefly as one of the barbs caught his cheek.