I tugged on the white leather as I held the mask up to my face. Droopy eyes and a big red nose; a clown mask.
Halloween was just a few short weeks away. I desperately wanted to be the scariest clown at our annual Scarefest block party. I had gone to at least five different Halloween shops looking for just the right costume, I was about to give up on my search. Each costume was the same as the last, nothing original.
I set the mask on the shelf, then headed for the door, filled with disappointment.
“Hey, kid! You looking for a good clown costume?”
I looked up as the store manager eyed me down from the side of the building.
“Yeah, I don’t see anything unique though. Thanks, anyway.”
The guy was puffing on his cigarette, blowing smoke circles in the air when I saw him reach into his pocket and pull out a black business card.
“Here kid, not a lot of people know about this shop. They only take clients who are referred to them.”
I peered down at the card, it read, “Moe’s Masks and More!” I flipped to the back of the card, and there was a quote that read, “Evil lurks in every thread, those who see will be filled with dread.”
Intrigued, I looked back up to the manager, “There isn’t an address or phone number listed, sir. What kind of business card is this?”
The manager let out a long blow of smoke, then shot me a sly smile. “Referral only club. They don’t want just anyone getting their hands on their special costumes. You know how to get to the old cemetery, kid?” I nodded my head. The manager dropped his cigarette to the ground, then stomped his shoe on top of the bud. “Go to the very end of the cemetery, you’ll see the woods just below the hill. The shop is located right in that pit. It’s a little pop-up shop, can’t miss it.”
I stared down at the business card and re-read the quote, “Evil lurks in every thread, those who see will be filled with dread.” A flicker of excitement jolted through my veins.
Horror had always intrigued me from a young age. I guess my fascination began when I was much younger. I would be sitting upstairs, listening to the screams lingering in my ears as mom and dad fought. Dad was always out of town for work, and mom was stressed about having to take care of me, alone. Horror was an escape for me. The adrenaline of being scared took me away from whatever was happening downstairs.
The thought of being able to scare other people was a whole new level of excitement for me. I had to go to this shop.
I hopped on my bike and pedaled as fast as my legs would go. The cemetery wasn’t too far from here, I could see the entrance from the road. The brakes of my bike screeched as I stopped at the front of the cemetery. A big arch held the words, “Buckle Berry Cemetery” in big iron letters at the top of the entry way. I pushed my bike forward and pedaled through the grass. Orange and red leaves shot up my tire as I swerved past each tombstone
along the way.
I parked at the edge of the cemetery, expecting to see the little pop-up shop that was promised to me. I laid my bike on the grass and peered over the hill, sure enough, I saw a black tent standing.
I pulled apart the black curtains that masked the inner treasures from the rest of the world. I took a few steps in, and twirled in a circle as I noticed all the different Halloween get-ups. The tent was dimly lit with the smell of dried rose petals.
The room was filled with ghastly creatures. A black satin cape held a green witch head the size of a watermelon; grey stringy hair covering the eyes. A giant eye ball bulged out of a clay-red mask. The glassy look to the yellowed eye almost looked a little too real. My eyes immediately fell on the killer clown costume in the back corner. It almost looked as if it were hiding in the corner, peering out at me, just waiting for me to find it.
The red hair from the clown mask tickled my fingers as they grazed the ends; it felt as thick as straw. The face of the mask was white, with a big blood red nose on the end. Sunken black sockets were sewn in for eyes with blue diamond’s coming out the sides.
“Want to try it on?”
I jumped around to find an old man standing behind me. He was wearing a black suit with lanky arms and legs that hung out the ends. He stood, perfectly straight as he stared me down. I glanced up at the killer clown, then looked back to the man, “Yes, please!”
The legs and torso of the jump suit had a yellowish gold color that almost looked to have an antique fade to it. The arms were an emerald green diamond pattern with navy blue etched between each line. Two big white puff balls stuck out of the chest.
I reached for the mask to pull over my head. The leather felt warm on my hands, almost like the mask had been sitting out in the sun all day. The mask was inches from sliding over my forehead when I heard the man behind me, “Well, it looks great. It’s all yours.”
“How much for the clown costume, sir?”
The man bent down to my level and with a smack of his grey lips said, “No charge. Just be sure to return it in once piece. Ha!”
The clown suit hung lifelessly in my closet that night. I grabbed the sides of the suit, and pulled it out to admire my new possession. A small tear accompanied the stitching just between the flaps of cloth holding the left side together. That would be an easy fix. for a free clown suit, that was nothing. I grinned at the suit one last time, then shut the door to get ready for bed.
Just as the last bit of toothpaste swirled down the bathroom sink, I heard a knock on the door. I turned around to see mom standing in the door frame with a stern look on her face. “Now, don’t make me have to tell you twice.” The clown mask hung from her hand as she held it in mid-air. “Sam, the kitchen counter is not the place to leave your belongings.”
“But, but. Mom.”
Her arm stretched out as the clown mask looked me in the eyes, “No buts about it, Sam. Keep this in your closet.”
I held the heavy mask in my palms. The black eye sockets stared back at me, taunting me. I chucked the mask into the closet and shut the door.
I tossed and turned in bed that night. I kept getting the feeling that someone, or something was watching me.
The next night was no different. I tossed and turned, from left to right, stomach to back. I laid staring at the grey ceiling. Enough was enough, a downed some Benadryl, and let the sweet syrup drift me off into a deep sleep. Halfway through the night, I remember waking up, half hazard to the sound of a door shutting. I opened my eyes, still hazy from the Benadryl, but didn’t see anything. I rolled to the other side of the bed and tried to drift back to sleep when I heard it again. I turned my head to the doorway and saw the back of my clown suit walking right out of the door, leaving my bedroom.
I felt goosebumps rise on my arms, surely, I wasn’t dreaming just then. Was my brain playing tricks on me from the medicine? My body felt like 100 sand bags were weighing me down. I let my head fall to the pillow and drifted back to sleep.
The next day my mother reported the same odd feeling of not being able to sleep. She too felt like someone had been watching her.
Remembering my odd dream, I dashed to the closet and opened the door. Hanging from the hook, right where I had left it, was the clown suit.
I decided to take the suit to the local seamstress. Although the tear was small, I still wanted it fixed to prevent it from ripping further.
Just as I was loading up the suit onto my bike, the neighbor’s dog came running at me full speed, in attack mode. Sabra, a black lab that I had known for as long I could remember, the sweetest dog on the block, was foaming at the mouth, ready to pounce.
I threw my bike in front of me when Sabra grabbed the arm of the clown suit and started to pull. “Sabra, no! No!” I tried to calm her down and tell her to stop, but she was in a trance.
I could see Patty and Lee, our next-door neighbors, running out to the lawn, leash in hand. “We are so sorry, Sam. Sabra hasn’t been acting like herself lately. She was up all night barking at your house. Oh, I hope she didn’t keep you up all night. I think her old age is finally getting to her.” I grabbed the suit off the ground, slobber covered the arm. “That’s okay, she is still a sweet old girl in my book.” I reached down to pet Sabra. Normally, a windshield wiper tail and wet kisses would accompany Sabra, but she just stared at the suit, growling.
Tornado sirens roared through the heavy night air as thunder and lightning lit up the sky. I rubbed my eyes as I forced myself out of my deep slumber. Another strike of lightning ripped through the Earth as my room lit up with flashes of light. That’s when I noticed the flicker of yellow. I turned my head to look up, another piercing flash of lightning lit up my room. I saw the unthinkable. I could feel my pores break open into a cold sweat as fear washed over me. Standing in the corner of my room was the clown suit, feet and hands stuck to each wall as the mask stared at me.
Eyeballs glowed in the dark, another quick flash of lightening and the clown was on my bed, face in front of mine. Heat radiated off the mask which was only about a foot from my face. A huge smile spread across the masks face, and the eyes, those eyes. White eyeballs with dark pupils sat in the black sockets of the mask, just staring at me.
The arm of the clown reached for my neck. The white glove wrapped each finger around my neck. The threading pressed into my skin with immense pressure.
Just as I was about to let out a horrified scream, I heard my mother making her way down the hallway.
The clown glanced at the door, then contorted towards the closet. Just as my mom entered my room, the clown was perfectly tucked away, once again, in the closet.
“Sam, there is a tornado coming, we need to go to the basement. Hurry!”
I was frozen in fear, unable to speak.
I used all my force to get out of bed, glancing one last time at the closet as I left the room. We sat in the damp, cold basement as the stormed rolled on above us. I wondered if dad had known a tornado was hovering above our neighborhood. He was probably still working at this hour, or at least that was his story for mom.
I looked towards the basement entry and gasped. My eyes shot to my mother’s. Could she see what I saw? “M-mom…” She was trying to get ahold of dad, but as usual, she couldn’t reach him.
Her pointer finger slowly pointed up while her face stayed put on her phone. I glanced back to the doorway of the basement. I saw the clown mask slowly wrap its neck around the frame of the door, eyeballs wide, staring directly at me.
A loud boom of thunder rattled the walls of our house. I could see the arm of the clown dangling, hanging lifelessly below the mask. The white glove attached to the arm slowly rose in the air, with what looked to be a knife held firmly between its palm.
I let out a petrified screech, my mother looked up from her phone. With one fast, swift motion, the clown chucked its knife straight for my mother.
The knife landed in my mother’s right shoulder. She let out a loud scream as blood trickled down the blade. I looked back to the clown, and I see it standing in the door frame, with another knife in its hand.
I let out another scream as the clown contorted itself into flips and cartwheels to make its way towards us. The legs and arms of the suit swayed back and forth as different parts of the cloth bent and twisted.
A yellow-goldish antique color parachuted over my face as the clown lurched over me. The blade of the knife hit just inches away from my left ear. I could hear the floorboards splinter as the clown drug the knife along the wood. I tried to roll to the side, but the clown grabbed me by the hair and started to tug.
I could feel strands of my hair leaving my scalp. Suddenly, I saw my mother squabbling towards the clown, bloody knife in hand. She rammed the knife into the right arm of the clown.
The clown didn’t move, it just froze for a few seconds. A few seconds is all I needed though, I scrambled away and we made a run for the stairs.
My mother’s eyes were filled with shock, her shoulder still bleeding profusely.
“Sam! What was that? We need to call the police, now!” I knew that the police wouldn’t be able to help us. What would we tell them, that a killer clown costume was after us? I quickly slammed the door to the basement shut, and wedged a door beneath the knob.
“Mom, there is something evil in that suit.” I could tell my mom was losing far too much blood to keep it together.
Tree branches whipped against the windows as the storm carried on outside. It was too dangerous to drive to the hospital, and we still had this killer clown locked in the basement.
I started to panic.
I grabbed a towel from the bathroom and pressed it against my mom’s shoulder. I grabbed my phone to call dad; but still, no answer. I knew I had to be brave. I brought this thing into the house, and now I had to make it leave. I grabbed the baseball bat from my bedroom and proceeded to remove the chair blocking the basement door.
Lightning lit up the basement stairwell as I walked down the steps, baseball bat held high. I stopped right before the doorway, listening for what was happening behind the other side of this wall.
I stepped out, feet wide, in the doorway of the basement. I had both hands holding the bat above my head, ready for this thing to attack. Except, I didn’t see a killer clown in the basement. What I saw laying on the floor had me even more confused than before, an empty clown suit. I let the bat fall to the ground and ran for the suit.
Two weeks have gone by since the whole clown ordeal happened. My mother ended up needing 15 stitches to her shoulder, dad finally showed up to the hospital when the last stitch was being placed.
Dad had suggested that I return the suit, but to no avail, the pop-up shop was no longer there. I knew my parents thought I was lying to keep the suit, but I swear I couldn’t find that shop to save my life. We agreed to lock the suit up in a trunk for the time being.
Both my mother and father believe that it was an intruder that came into the house that night. I would probably have believed this story, that is, until I noticed something that made my knees buckle beneath me. Just as dad shoved the trunk away, his sleeve came up just high enough to notice a cut in his right arm.
Not noticing what I had discovered, dad winked at me, then patted me on the shoulder, “Oh Sam, you and your mom really do cause me quite a bit of trouble.”
I watched dad leave the room, then stared down at the trunk with the big metal lock hanging from the clasp. I took the key and slowly opened the lock. The clown mask rested on top of the gold antique fabric, smiling back at me, looking eager.
I wasn’t going to let my dad hurt my mom anymore. I grabbed the mask and slipped it over my head. I felt the heat radiating off the mask onto my skin. I ran my fingers across the satin suit, and proceeded to step inside.
I always wanted to be a killer clown. I think I found my chance. After all, I wanted to be the scariest clown at our annual Scarefest block party.