“On the night you turn twenty years old I’m going to find you and kill you,” whispered the clown. I would never forget my sixth birthday party. Those words forged of hot breath from a man wearing a red plastic nose would never leave my mind. At a minimum I have heard that voice repeating those words once an hour every hour everyday of my life.
Oh, that voice! A sing-song voice. Think Bing Crosby singing I’m dreaming of a White Christmas while some one messed with the record’s speed.
The next thing the clown did was let out a “Gyhuck Hyuck Hyuck” Then he made balloon giraffe. I urinated myself and the party ended shortly after. That’s how I remember it.
I was too frightened to hear the kids taunt me for the next month. I’m sure it went something along the lines of Pissy Pants or Baby Pee Pants or Pee Boy. I didn’t hear their taunts because the fright of a clown waiting to kill me muted my world. The urination related insults were soon replaced by taunts of He’s the weird kid who doesn’t talk followed by no insults at all.
I was treated as if I was invisible. Children know when something dangerous is close by. Like knowing when a bear is nearby in the woods. Sometimes it’s best to pretend it’s not there. The same approach didn’t work for me. I couldn’t pretend the clown wasn’t there. It was inescapable because the distance in this instance was time.
I didn’t sleep for a week after my sixth birthday party. I mean that completely literally. You hear people say I was so scared I didn’t sleep for a week. I take this to mean they were kept up for an hour after watching The Exorcist. I was six years old and crippled by fear. The clown stole my childhood. My early years were spent waiting for that “Gyhuck Hyuck Hyuck”.
Things changed when I was sixteen. Who knows why? Maybe because I was older and the new hormones that coursed through my veins filled me with fortitude. Maybe it was that I only had four years before the clown came for me. I decided I would no longer waste away. No. I would get him first. It had been ten years since my sixth birthday party and for the first time I felt excited for the future instead of dreading it.
The problem would be finding him. Clowns are as shifty as their appearance. Who knew what new makeup my monster had donned. I can’t even remember what he looked like. When I try to picture him it’s as if my mind is squinting underwater. There was one and only one solution: kill all the clowns.
If there were no more clowns, no clown could come and get me. It sounds crazy, but the logic is sound. This is what I set out to do.
It wouldn’t be easy for two reasons: First, there are a lot of clowns. I couldn’t even guess at how many and I don’t even want to try because of the second reason. As you can imagine I am frightened of clowns. That’s not a unique fear, but to be fair, my fear is justified. I was going to have to compartmentalize my fear and recycle it into the will to kill. A robbed childhood and a friendless existence were the logs I’d throw onto my homicidal fire. Once stoked, I would kill my first clown, then a second, then... as many as it took. Hopefully, my first kill would be the one from my sixth birthday, but if not I’d chalk it up to practice.
Autumn is a time for clowns. There are lots of harvest festivals and fairs for them to stalk. I set out to the Hilltop Harvest Festival, which I was sure would be infested with those milky faced ghouls. They closed off Main Street and strung lanterns that criss-crossed from building to building. Near the dunk tank, where that star jock Dale Hargrove sat egging people on to try their luck I heard the laughter of children. Laughter of children can be joyous or sampled for cheesy horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street. This night the giggles were the heralds of my monster.
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WATTY 2016 WINNER of the HQ Love Award! Strange Yarns is a ball of tangled tales. Twisted, knotted, and intertwined. Like Tales of the Crypt, the Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. Strange Yarns is not just a collection of ghastly tales, these are...