After Amusement
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A small loudspeaker, suspended only by a fragile cord, hung high above the blasted ruins of the amusement park it once served. A long time ago, it had been part of an intricate system designed to play a hypnotic tune. Upon hearing its music, everyone in earshot it would be driven to madness and eventually find themselves dead. The reasons behind it all were a mystery, but the tune still played, until the day came when the park was shut down for good. Still the music played on, as rides rusted and trees overtook concrete. Still it played, luring unsuspecting and careless men and women to their deaths. Even when the men and women left to focus their efforts on something far more important, the tiny, jingling tune played, searching for victims.

Then the Blast came. And there weren't any victims anymore.

From a hundred feet in the air, it hardly looked any different. True, all the plant life had been incinerated from miles around, and everything had an ashen grey tint to it, but this was an old park, built to last. Most of the structures had barely shuddered when the shockwave rushed over them, and even the roller-coaster was still standing. It didn't even have half its support beams anymore! The Blast hadn't changed anything major. It had just made it a touch harder to find victims.

And there still were victims down there. Three men, coated in rags and ash, had wandered into the park last night, no doubt seeking shelter. What kind of shelter they expected to find in a long-abandoned, half-destroyed amusement park really couldn't be said. But people probably didn't act rationally after the apocalypse. They certainly didn't act rationally when they heard the music. And the music would play.

The speaker let out a few small, tinny bursts of static. It was always the first to activate, a good tenth of a second before any of the other speakers in the park got the signal to start playing. Now, with the cables frayed and corroded, it took the others a whole minute and a half to start playing after this one did. But it didn't matter; people only needed to hear a handful of the notes for the madness to kick in, and these men were sitting right below the speaker. Only this one speaker would need to activate in order to fulfill the purpose of an entire park.

Slowly, the notes began to play, sounding out a calliope tune in very slow motion. Admittedly, the sound quality was awful, and the timing between notes was all off, but it was OK. The speaker just needed a bit of time to warm up. It had been a while since the park had any visitors, and all the components were just a little out of tune. One of the men looked up, and another twitched slightly, looking at his companions in an odd way.

The cable holding the speaker snapped after ten years of tension, and it tumbled down behind the huddled group with a hollow clang.

One of them commented on the danger of the park. Another commented on the danger everywhere after the Blast. They all huddled a little closer together, and never heard any music.

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