The Carnival

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


A fun weekend at the Carnival goes wrong when a group of girls notice a particularly clingy clown hanging around them.

Submitted: May 16, 2018

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Submitted: May 16, 2018

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The Carnival

The neon carnival lights illuminate the dark and cloudy sky. Kids are squealing with delight on the teacups, teenagers are screaming with fright after being thrown around the Salt n’ Pepper Shaker, and adults are dotted around the perimeter, keeping all the fun inside. The bright colors of balloon animals, light up bracelets, and snow cones keep my eyes busy darting around from object to object as I finish my fried dough and gossip with friends. That’s when I notice the clown’s blood-red smile, ragged vintage jumpsuit, and crazy orange hair. I quickly look away and witness a cute toddler shoving his tiny mouth into a huge cone of cotton candy.

“It’s time for balloon darts!” my friend excitedly announces. This is my favorite game so I go first. I’m eyeing the green balloon right in the center with such concentration. My fingers are firmly and strategically placed around the small dart, and right as I’m taking a step forward and leaning into the throw I feel someone’s breath sharply exhale on my neck and then some pressure as a solid mass thumps into me and knocks the dart out of my hand.

“Hey!” I shout in a disgruntled and annoyed way before reaching down to pick up the dart. I assume the coward has already left and was out of earshot so I could continue complaining about the impudence of Americans today as I go to retrieve the fallen dart. That’s when I notice the largest, ugliest pair of red shoes I have ever seen. I grab the dart and stand up to see the owner of this hideous fashion crime and the person who bumped into me. This clown is wearing a horrific pair of dark beige pants that remind me of a potato sack. The ends are worn out to the point where pieces of thread are jumping out in all directions. His comically large shoes are a noticeable shade of faded red, most similar to a dusty maroon color. Underneath is an aegean blue long-sleeved shirt sprinkled with lime green polka dots of varying size. His face is painted a ghastly pale parchment white with the most disturbing red smile that looks as if a toddler put on lipstick for the first time. Not to mention his neon orange hair resembles a very curly nest. Yet his voice is low and almost suave as he touches the same shoulder he crashed into and makes direct eye contact, politely saying, “Excuse me, miss” before briskly walking away into the crowd. I watch him leave for a second all the while thinking about how weird that whole encounter just was.

“Eww, what a creep” my friend announces.

“Yeah, let’s get out of here” urges someone else. So we head over to the swings to get our minds off things. As the ride ascends, we feel the warm breeze push our hair back and scream with delight at being able to see over everything. My friends are in front of me and they’re videoing the whole thing. They turn around and she shoves her camera into our faces as far as she dares, while being careful not to drop it, in order to see our silly reactions. We can only smile goofily and giggle uncontrollably until the ride slows down and gradually lowers to the ground. Then we exit the ride and move on to the carousel to take some artsy pictures. Of course we look ridiculous, but my friend notices that right behind my seat is someone with unmistakable curly, orange hair. It was strange to see someone with hair like that so we zoom in. That’s when I notice the painted face and giant red lips that distinguish a clown. Why would a clown be playing at the carnival, shouldn’t he be working? And why is this clown all alone, there was nobody sitting next to him. He is seated with a straight back, hands in his lap, as if he was waiting at the doctor’s office, not having fun on a ride.  He stares slightly off to his left, the opposite side of where the view is, for the longest time. Then he turns his head completely forward, looks right at us, and waves. We never would have saw him if it wasn’t for the video, our backs were turned away from him. We’re a little confused and creeped out but it’s our turn for the carousel so we hop on.

Of course, we’re taking more pictures and being our usual carefree, silly selves. The ride starts and we already begin talking about where to go next. As we talk and spin and laugh, I swear I hear footsteps. I look around but don’t notice anything out of the ordinary. The noise disappears. I curiously peer over my shoulder just for a second and that’s when I see it. The horse behind me is occupied by the same strange clown I’ve noticed all around me today. I signal my friends that this is getting too creepy with a complex array of eye squinting, head gesturing, lip reading, and eyebrow raising so we make a plan to get out of there as soon as possible. The second the ride slows down, we bolt off the carousel, run through the gate and make a beeline for anything far away from here. After what feels like a mile, I turn around quickly to make sure everyone’s behind me but I can’t find anyone. I reach for my phone but the battery is dead. Dread fills my body from head to toe and I can feel the panic settle in and overtake my body. My face flushes and I start sweating, my hands and legs begin to shake, and I just stand in the middle of the carnival with a scared, lost look on my face. But now is not the time to freak out. I have to leave or hide somewhere, I know the clown is following us. So I shake off the fear that’s controlling me and use it to fuel my search for safety.

I walk around cautiously, my eyes darting around from point to point, trying to spot anything suspicious. I come across the tent where all the acts perform; the magicians, dancers, and yes, clowns. Immediately, I decide to stay far away from there. Yet as I’m walking away I feel someone staring at me. All I can see is a dark figure in the shadows, so I pick up my pace. I glance over again and spot the orange-haired clown peeking behind a food cart, and looking straight into my face. His painted smile mocks my fear and sends me running. I can hear the loud thump, thud of the clown’s heavy shoes despite my head start. I beg myself not to turn around but I have to. I swivel around and search for the clowns, instantly regretting it when I spot him. He’s so close to me. I don’t know what to do. My legs are tired, my heart is pumping so vigorously, and I’m practically wheezing. Hurriedly, I duck into a tent with a dark entrance hoping they’ll miss me. I wait in the dark for awhile, say a little prayer, and assume they passed. I take a couple steps in and explore. I reached the Fun House filled with trick mirrors. I’m just glad he isn’t in here with me. I meander through, more calm, but terrified that he’s still out there with my friends. Even still, I try to leave swiftly because the the trick mirrors make me feel so trapped. That’s when I see the glint of orange in the corner. I stop dead in my tracks. My heart is pounding so fast I feel like it’s being shaken to pieces. I nearly flatline when I notice its reflection in the mirror. The clown is somewhere behind me, and I’m looking at his reflection over my shoulder. I freeze in fear and open my mouth but no scream dares come out. He inches closer and closer. I feel his presence crawling towards me as if it’s happening in slow motion. I feel an unmistakable grip on my shoulder and know exactly who is behind me. My neck shutters as it feels that eerily familiar breath against its skin. I start to run for it but immediately crash into the mirrors and fall down - hard.

I can hear the shatter of glass viciously drop to the ground and delicately break into a thousand more pieces. Time slows down again as I try to get my bearings. There are little pieces of mirror lodging themselves into my arms and legs. I immediately notice that my hand is right next to a particularly large piece of glass. I quickly scan the floor for more. Suddenly I have an idea and not much time to execute it. I must act quickly. I regain my voice and start screaming horror-movie style. Then I grab the shard of glass and take advantage of my adrenaline to throw it at the clown as hard as I can. I stand up hastily, frantically trying to run out. I know I’m at least mildly successful as I hear surprised shrieks and groans of pain. I start to run and see that my arm is dotted with blood splatter from what must have been his wounds. Luck is on my side as I scamper through the all the wonky mirrors and make it outside.

I’m still so panicked and utterly confused about what just happened. My whole body is shaking with fright and my sweaty hands are burning with the cuts I inflicted from holding the glass shards. All I know is that I need to leave this place. Suddenly, the cloudy night sky opens up and lets out a waterfall of rain that pours down on the carnival. It washes away the blood dripping from my elbows and the pieces of debris still stuck all over my body. I stare out at the blurred, bright lights from the carnival rides and inhale the mixed aroma of fried treats and damp grass. I carefully listen to the muffled sing-songy tunes emanating from the ferris wheel and ice cream trucks. I even hear the excited shouts of my friends yelling out to me and instantly perk up. Somehow I know I’ll be okay. I just survived a freaky near death experience and am currently chatting with my friends like any other Saturday night. I feel indestructible, like there are a limitless amount of challenges and hardships I have the power to overcome. I’m going to be just fine.


 


© Copyright 2018 Emma Samaniego. All rights reserved.

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