Content warning: exceptionally brutal urban legend!
They were part of the old magic. As two Putti, they guarded the gates to, what some deemed, a rather hellish ride. Rather deceptively they stood there, with their fake halos, welcoming guests to their wooden slide. An appearance that made people think they wouldn’t reach such high speeds, when sliding down it. But clearly the devil had a hand in those 100 metres to the bottom. Each time people slipped into the jute bag to slide down, he pushed them just a tiny bit, so they would end up scared at the bottom. He loved teasing the thrillseekers of the Prater.
He remembered the old magic that lay here. One that is not easily forgotten. One that was born in excitement, mystery and a tiny bit of fear. Just a smidget. Just enough to make your hairs stand up. But not enough to make you truly afraid. This, he relished in, thumbing his nose, in front of any potential visitors, taunting them.
All three of them had been there since the beginning, when Nikolai Kobelkoff built the slide in 1913. They’d seen her and decided to move in straight away. They liked to tease their visitors. Tell them spooky stories, whispering in their ears, on the way up the tower.
On a particularly grey Autumn evening the “angels” told a visitor about a slat that had come loose. It stuck up, out of the slide floor and when a woman slid down, she ran into it at such high speeds that she got impaled and died. This was in the 50s, when the slide had just been restored, after it had burned down during World War II. The urban legend caught on quickly. And soon people were too afraid to ride. It was all a story of course, manufactured by their overly imaginative minds. But it was too late, the steps up the slide remained empty.
Soon they became lonely. No one wanted to slide down the Toboggan anymore. They were simply too afraid. The rascals never wanted it to go that far. Being slightly afraid was fine, the thrill was fun, but actual fear was too much. They lived off the energy of the thrillseekers. If no one was coming to ride, they would soon perish. It became dark around them. Something clouded their minds. They couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. They were without energy and their magic faded.
Years passed. Then, all of a sudden, someone came looking for them. As per usual, when the Toboggan was open, they had stepped aside to the left, so visitors could make their journey up the tower. This way they looked like only one of them was present. The other one was standing on the other side though, watching the visitors’ backs walk up past them. Even though the gate was open, they had given up that anyone might want to slide down that devilish thing. But then someone exclaimed, “I’ve got them! It’s the gate up there in between tower and bridge.” And just like that, they snapped out of it. The show-angels they were, came right back, cheerily inviting people in, for a fun little dance down the tower. “Come up, come up, and feel the wind in your hair, as you rush back down to safer grounds! But be careful, the devil might have a hand in this one!”