Dark Skies Trampoline Park

📅 Published on March 12, 2022

“Dark Skies Trampoline Park”

Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 11 minutes

Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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I first heard the name “Gravity Sphere” uttered at an awards ceremony for my seven-year-old son Joey.

The assistant principal, a hefty forty-something woman named Huffner, was rifling through a jar that had small shreds of paper with children’s names on it so she could randomly pick a winner.

“What’s that?” I whispered to Joey as low as I could.

“Dad!  Only the coolest place ever!  It just opened up!  They have trampolines and basketball courts and giant playpens!  Like the ones McDonald’s had when you were a kid, I think!” he answered back.

“Sounds pretty cool,” I admitted as I secretly hoped he would win.

It had been a rough year for us.  First, we had to move in with my parents because of the pandemic, and then his mom left…Joey could use a win.  Honestly, we both could.

So I sat back alongside the other parents with eager anticipation to see if his name was picked.

It was not.  The disappointment on his face was immeasurable.

“Hey, no worries!  We can always go on our own sometime!” I told him as he headed back to class.

His face brightened up again.  “You mean it??”

“Sure.  I can scrounge up some money, and maybe we can go this weekend,” I told him.

It was a promise I shouldn’t have made.

To be honest, I was filing for bankruptcy and was still struggling to keep a job.  Working overnights at Walmart was not enough in this economy to even rent a small place where we lived.  And my parents…well, they’ve been extraordinarily kind to me for Joey’s sake.  But I can see the expression on my dad’s face hardening daily.  It’s like a ticking time bomb.

Still, I was sure that this place couldn’t possibly be that expensive.

That night after I tucked him in, I checked their website, and my jaw dropped to the floor.

Thirty-five dollars just for a few hours of being in the place?  I know that may not be much to some, but when you are at the bottom of the barrel and living on borrowed time…it feels overwhelming.

And below that it had all kinds of monthly subscription plans, waivers you needed to sign and more.  It was a headache just to look at it all.

I even tried to find a few cheaper places in the area, but all of them were doing the same song and dance.  Sign up for special discounts, they said.  Family plans on sale now.

It was just one big fuck you to the poverty class, wasn’t it? I sighed in frustration, closing down the laptop and walking outside with my smokes.

My only vice.  God help me even though I promised I would quit when Beth left, it’s been tough to break the habit.  I stood out on their back porch, looking up at the stars and wishing things would be different.

Then a ping on my phone alerted me to a special offer from one of the subscriptions I’d just signed up for.

Only the name didn’t really strike me as familiar.  Dark Sky Entertainment?  I was about to delete it, considering it spam, when I saw that they were offering two free tickets to their trampoline park for that Saturday.

It’s hard to turn down that kind of price.

I booked it immediately and kept waiting for that moment when they asked for credit card information, but it never came.

I had basically gotten lucky, I thought.  And I couldn’t wait to surprise Joey.

Somehow I managed to keep my mouth shut until the day of, and as we finished eating breakfast, I announced, “Didn’t we have plans today?”

His eyes got as big as dinner plates.  “Oh God, Dad, did you get us tickets??  To the Gravity Sphere??  For real??” he screamed excitedly.

“Well, it’s not the same place, but I bet it’s even better,” I told him.

He was so busy running around the breakfast table that I don’t think he was paying attention.

“Go get dressed, and we can head there now!” I told him.

My dad was leaning against the pantry, crossing his arms suspiciously.

“Relax, I got a coupon,” I told him as I showed him the email.

He squinted and then put on his glasses, peering at the images and commenting, “Seems like a lawsuit waitin’ to happen if you ask me.”

Mom rolled her eyes and told me to go have a good time.  “We should be back after lunch.  I got a little change to grab us ice cream from Sonic,” I told them both.

According to GPS, the trampoline park was only seventeen minutes away in the downtown area.

Not exactly the best spot for it since there was so much construction, so I opted to drive about three blocks away and park near the riverfront.  Joey was hopping like a bunny the moment we got out of the car.  But I still hadn’t spotted the place.

“Settle down and save your energy for when we get inside,” I told him as I checked the address. It had to be somewhere nearby.

I spotted an old-school arcade and decided to ask the owner where the place was at.

He smirked and pointed right behind me to an old black building with no windows.  The place looked abandoned.

“Wait, that doesn’t look like the website at all,” I told him.

“Appearances can be deceiving,” he answered with a shrug as he returned to the register.

I took Joey’s hand, and we crossed at the intersection as I searched for a front door.  The way the place looked so empty, it was giving me all sorts of weird vibes and I was considering just leaving.

But then I saw Joey’s wide, curious eyes searching and realized I was being silly again.  This place is harmless, I told myself.  Just need to give it a chance.

We finally found the entrance, and I pushed the glass door open to let him run in first, my eyes adjusting to the dim lighting.

“Certainly going for the secret hideout look, aren’t you?” I asked the old woman behind the counter.  She looked like she was on oxygen and hated her job.

“Can I help you?” she rasped.

I showed her the email, and she gave me a faint nod, telling us to wear wristbands inside.  They reminded me of Fitbit bracelets.

“Blue is the color you want to see; red means you need to come see me, got it?” she said.

“Do they monitor heart rate or something?” I asked even as she buzzed us in, and Joey was already running to check out all of the attractions.

“Hold up, buddy!” I shouted as I followed through the double doors, immediately finding myself in complete and total darkness.

“Joey, just wait a second so I can see where we are going!” I said.  There was actually some light, I realized; several places on the wall, I saw iridescent disco balls that dazzled around aimlessly and gave off this eerie pall to the entire structure.  The entire place was huge, with obstacle courses, a ball pit, a roller rink and of course the bouncy mats that Joey had fantasized about.  I caught sight of his silhouette over there already and squealed for me to join him.

“All right, all right!  Hold on.  Let me get my shoes off,” I told him.

It was beginning to look like my reservations about the place were wrong, I thought as I sat down and slipped off my shoes.

Then I heard a little girl crying.  Parental panic mode set in, and I zeroed in on her.  She had just fallen off the obstacle course, it looked like, and her parent was rushing to help her.

The only way I saw them at all was the wristband.  Hers was red and the parents blue.  So it was like the old woman had warned; the bracelets could detect if their customers had hurt themselves, I realized as I looked down at mine.  Pretty fancy, I decided as the parent quickly escorted their injured child to the front desk.

Finally getting ready, I ran over to join Joey and immediately did a cannonball onto the first trampoline.

For the next ten minutes or so, it was pure adrenaline and fun.  I did my best to keep up with him, laughing excitedly and jumping back and forth.  But it was quickly becoming apparent that my age was catching up with me, and I had to sit out.

“Dad, it’s no fun without you!” he complained.

“It’s fine; we only have about an hour left anyway.  Go on,” I told him as I rubbed my sore muscles.  Joey didn’t have to be told twice; he ran off to the obstacle course.

I sat there for a moment, trying to take stock of my body as a stranger sat down opposite of me, just close enough to make it uncomfortable.

Although it was difficult for me to see, I could tell this was a woman, and I mentally wondered if she was about to flirt.  It wouldn’t be the first time being a single dad got me a date, I thought. Instead, just as I was about to engage with her in a short conversation, she grabbed my hand and whispered, “Don’t let him out of your sight.  Not for a second.”

For some reason, I looked down at her wristband and saw it was red.  Then I heard Joey scream.

I shot up in an instant and tried to see where my son was.  The place was too damn dark.

There were so many people too, but I felt that I simply had to find him and make sure he was ok.

Soon I climbed over another barrier of obstacles and found him on the ground, clutching his knee and wincing in pain as I checked to see how bad the injury was.

“Let’s get you out of here,” I suggested as I lifted him up and carefully moved to the edge of the jumping pads.

Once on the carpeted flooring, I checked it again, wishing the building provided us with better lighting as I whipped my phone out and used that light instead.

His wristband was bright red, glaring in my face as I took him to the front desk.

“I need to get my son to a clinic; I think that he injured himself on your equipment,” I told the receptionist.

She looked across the counter to our wristbands and shook her head.  “Can’t let you out if that is blinking red,” she commented.

“What do you mean?  My kid needs medical attention.  I don’t know if he broke something or not,” I snapped as I helped Joey to his feet and moved toward the front door.  The entranceway buzzed an alarm as we went to the parking lot, and he kept crying, worrying me that he had, in fact, been injured a lot more than I realized.  I checked my phone, calling his pediatrician.

“Don’t worry, bud,” I told him as I was careful with his body to get him in the car.

As we got to the clinic, I paced the waiting room, Joey kept looking at me with big tear-filled eyes, and I kept trying to tell the nurse to hurry.  The clinic wasn’t busy.

They got him back for x-rays and bloodwork a few minutes later, and I sat down, trying to relax. I should never have taken him there, I thought to myself as I checked the reviews for the place.

Should have known this was a mistake when I saw the two star rating, I thought angrily.

Then I saw a few disturbing posts that made me pause.  Parents complaining how their children weren’t the same after they had visited the park.  Distant and cold.  Almost acting like strangers to their own family.

Some even posted that their children were completely different people.  “Not my child,” one woman said.  “It’s a fake.  Something inside that park is replicating them.”

It sounded like X-Files shit.

The doctors called me to the exam room, showing me Joey’s slides.  And it suddenly occurred to me I was looking at the bone structure of a child that wasn’t mine.

“It’s amazing to see how much he has changed since last he has been here,” the pediatrician said.

I looked at Joey, feeling confused and scared.  He looked just like my son.  Was I letting some weird internet conspiracy influence my brain?

I thanked the doctor and took Joey home, keeping an eye on him all night.  He didn’t speak to me.  He acted like he didn’t even want to be near me.

It felt like we had just met, and he was treating me like an invader.  I kept thinking about the trampoline park.  What if there was something bizarre to their operation?

As I got Joey ready for bed, I decided to check some of the stranger reviews and see if anyone else had these sorts of misgivings.  Surely there was a logical explanation.

But my son felt so cold.  I didn’t feel comfortable around him.  And even my mom complained that something was off.  “Are you sure he didn’t hit his head?  He isn’t acting right,” she told me.

As I went to my room and read stranger and stranger descriptions of these children, I became worried for my safety.

In some cases, the parents worried the children would try to hurt them.  In other instances, people posted missing person reports, claiming it showed that the children had, in fact, tried something deadly.

I felt a chill run down my spine as I realized Joey had gotten up from bed and was watching me in the hallway.

Was this my son?  Was this real??

I got on my knees and told him, “Are you having nightmares?” The child said nothing.  Just staring at me.  Or staring through me, to be honest.

I stepped away from him and then guided him to his bed, this time making sure he was tucked in and then closing the door firmly.

I was being paranoid, I told myself, trying to figure out why my son was acting strange when clearly he had just suffered a traumatic injury.

I went back to my room and closed my phone, trying to get some sleep.  I told myself I would be safe.  But then I worried about my parents.  What if he hurt them??  What if I was wrong and something was seriously going on here?  Somehow I managed to close my eyes.

But sometime during the night, I felt cold feet against my back.  The child.

At first, I tensed up; it had been years since he slept here.  As a toddler he often had nightmares. Did the incident at the trampoline park frighten him?

I slowly put my arm on him to comfort, trying not to overreact.  This was how it was supposed to be.

Then I heard a noise at the door.

“Need to go back,” a voice said.

I felt sudden dread cover my body as I tried to get a look at whatever was in my bed.  Then I rushed to the wall to flip the lights on.  The room was empty except for Joey.  He was lying there, looking cold and confused and as distant as he had the past day.

A cold sweat dripped off my neck as I looked in the mirror of my bathroom.  Joey was staring at his reflection like it was a predator.

I closed the bathroom door and held his hands.  “Please.  Please talk to me.  I can help you.”

He reached for my hand and mimicked the motion of jumping as though my palm were a springboard.

“The park?  You want to go back?” I asked.  He nodded silently.  He looked like he was about to crack.

I didn’t know what else to do.  I couldn’t sleep.  I had to get this resolved, and I figured maybe going back there would be the answer.

I got my keys, and we left right after 2 am.  I was telling myself the building wouldn’t be open, but to my surprise, it was.  It seemed more foreboding than it had the first time.  More unfriendly and dangerous.  It gave a supernatural vibe.

I saw a dim light near the reception desk, and the same woman was still working.  She didn’t seem shocked to see us.

“I knew you would return him,” she said confidently.

I led the child inside, and the moment we were in, he let go of my palm and went to play.  The park was empty save for us.  There wasn’t even any music playing.  It felt like a graveyard.

Except for a single figure on the opposite side of the bounce pads, sitting there, watching Joey.

I sat directly across from them, noticing they had a child with them too, but I couldn’t see their faces.  Why were they just sitting there?  Why were they here at the same time as me?

I was beginning to get uneasy from being watched by them as Joey ran over toward their end of the park.

Instinctively I got up and moved toward them, to make sure they were safe to be around.

I saw there was a child.  He was wearing a blue bracelet, and he got up and exchanged places with Joey.  Then the boy ran toward me.

It was Joey.  It was my Joey.  I can’t explain how I knew, but I did.

As he clung to me, I looked at the shadowy silhouettes in confusion, realizing that both wore the red bracelets.

I couldn’t see if they looked like me and my son anymore.  But they disappeared into the shadows a moment later.  Joey was just clinging to me, afraid to let go.

I comforted him and went to the front desk, staring at the woman that ran the show.

“What was that?” I asked, too frightened to believe any of this actually happened.

“People say they see different things.  So you tell me.  What was that?” she asked.

I looked back inside, this time seeing shadows dancing and playing across the trampolines, waiting to replace more eager souls.

Realizing that Joey and I were very lucky, I took his hand and left.

“Dad, I don’t want to ever go there again,” he said anxiously as we got in the car.

I couldn’t agree more.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by Kyle Harrison
Edited by Craig Groshek and Seth Paul
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Kyle Harrison


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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