It was 2008 when my then-girlfriend, Corinne, and I went to a carnival not too far away from home. It was one of those week-long ones, where they construct a ferris wheel and a small roller coaster, complete with a circus and a house of mirrors. I drove us there and ate cotton candy, rode the ferris wheel, saw the “weird attractions,” nothing out of the ordinary. We saw a “haunted house” and decided it would be fun to go in and see just how bad and kitschy it was. We were right. Dusty ghouls, peeling paint, “scary” werewolf masks and zombie masks that popped out when you walk past them. We had a good time. When we left, the sun was going down. She lived about 15 minutes away from me, in the city, so all I had to do was take the freeway and zip on out. I dropped her off and kissed her good night.
That night I got a text message from Corinne.
“hey, thanks for tonight :)”
I responded. “of course!!!”
“do u miss me right now?”
“come sleep over”
“i can’t, u know i have to wake up early tomorrow”
I didn’t get a response from Corinne for about 10 minutes.
“can u come here quick?”
“pls come here now”
“corinne r u ok?”
“just come now”
“r u in trouble?”
I tried calling her, but she hung up.
“don’t worry just come here”
I left my apartment and headed for her place. I tried calling her again. No answer.
“i’m on my way,” I texted.
No answer from her.
I pulled off the freeway on to the exit and decided to grab something to drink.
At the convenience store, I saw Corinne on the store’s landline.
“Hey,” I said.
She looked confused.
“Hey, baby,” she said. “What are you doing here?”
I was the one confused this time. “You asked me to come here.”
“What do you mean?” Corinne looked scared.
I showed her the text messages I received from her.
She looked at me with fear in her eyes. “I was just calling you to tell you that I lost my phone.”
“Were you at your apartment?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I left after I couldn’t find my phone.”
I looked at her with fear enveloping my body. Someone followed us home and they had her phone.
We called 911 and the police swept the area. They found that Corinne’s locks had been messed with and they found her phone in the kitchen of her apartment with white paint around the casing. Two knives were missing from the kitchen. Later that evening, a clown was reported to have been seen running towards the freeway, towards the carnival, but no suspect was ever caught.