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It was a dumb dare, and he knew it. No one really knew for sure, but everyone suspected that Jimmy was afraid of clowns. Coulrophobia, was the official name. But Jimmy wasn't going to tell them that or he’d be considered an even bigger geek. Plus, Tom was an infamous prankster.
That is why at first he refused when Tom, Carlos and Harry invited him to go party in the old Abandoned Midway. Among the locals, it had a reputation of being haunted. Jimmy held his ground bravely until Harry told him that they would be taking their girlfriends along. And they also invited Tara.
Tara was this redhead cheerleader that Jimmy had a crush since the sixth grade. He also thought of himself so far out her league that he was in an entirely different universe. But lately, she started smiling in his direction when they shuffled along the hallways between classes. And out his league or not, Jimmy was not going to let a chance like this pass him by.
“The Midway” as it was called by the locals, was not a fun place. Local lore spoke about how the Bertolini Circus, that had its home base here, had fallen on hard times. It was hard competing with the likes of television, and when video games had finally become common, that was the last nail in the coffin and the circus went bankrupt.
The story goes that they were to make one last grand performance on the outskirts of town. However, one of the performers, a veteran clown called Ebil, had not taken the news too well. In fact, the thought of being jobless that late in life and in a field that was not exactly booming, drove him quite insane.
No one really noticed until he set the big-top on fire during the uncharacteristically packed farewell show. Many had died that night, either by fire, smoke or trampled by panicked crowd rushing out. But Ebil was not satisfied and decided to add to the chaos by releasing the wild animals, like lions, tigers and elephants while the attendants were busy trying to put out the fire.. The animals trampled and mauled a considerable number people lucky enough to escape the burning big-tent. But the most disturbing part of the legend is that Ebil was seen in the crowd, bashing people’s heads with one of the huge wooden mallets that were used in putting up the big-top, while laughing uncontrollably.
Ebil had gone most horribly mad, and he would be rotting till this day in the loony-bin if local Sheriff and his deputies put at least 30 bullets into his body. The number of dead had exceeded 200 men, women and children that night. It was not something the locals liked to talk about.
And since then, the place has been abandoned and avoided by the locals. But they do tell stories that say the ghost of Ebil still haunts the place, praying on transients and slow witted teenagers who dare to spend the night in that cursed place. That was the place that Jimmy was being invited to party.
Hormones won the battle over intellect when they dangled Tara in front of him. And so at twilight Jimmmy met his schoolmates at the edge of town and walked across field to “The Midway”. The tent-big tent had burned down to ashes long ago. But the rides, the funhouse and trailers were still there rotting away in advanced states of disrepair.
Jimmy had grown up with Carlos and Harry. They liked to pick on him every so often, but they were the closest things he had to friends, especially Harry. Tom was a new addition to the group, having moved to town only a couple years ago from up north. Then of course there were Harry, Carlos and Toms girlfriends, Dana, Jill and Heather. But the addition that most excited him was the possibility that Tara would join their little group and maybe even be his girlfriend.
She had been pleasant but quiet for most of the way there. But Jimmy, crippled by self-consciousness, failed miserably to start anything close to a conversation with her until they arrived. She then made a comment on how creepy that place was, and how in a strange way that she found it very exciting, and Jimmy agreed, trying his best to impress her.
The evening, though full of angst, seemed to be going real well for Jimmy. After foraging for some wood, they lit up a fire between the derelict gaming booths. They all sat around the fire while Tom went into his cooler and got a cold beer for each and everyone.
After drinking a few beers they sat, laughed and talked until they started pairing up and moving away for a little more privacy and make out sessions, until only Jimmy and Tara were left alone by the fire.
Deep down Jimmy suspected at least Tom was up to something. He expected Tom to jump from behind a booth with a flashlight on his chin or a mask or something trying to scare them.
But all these thoughts melted away as Tara started moving in closer and closer and they finally kissed. Sparks flew for Jimmy and the whole world could had ended right then and there and he would have never noticed.
As luck would have it, Jimmy’s suspicions were not unfounded. The guys had indeed planned to scare him. The whole thing had Tom’s brainchild and got everyone to play along. He even managed to convince Tara to play along and keep Jimmy distracted. Harry, who was the tallest would put on a clown suit and mask and come running towards Jimmy, screaming and waving a plastic mallet. Tom the architect, would be hiding in the bushes, ready to film all this so they could post it on YouTube later. It would be epic! Guaranteed to get at least a million hits, so Tom had said.
Harry, Carlos and the girls met up behind a booth, giggling with mischief, and trying real hard not to be heard. Harry and Dana went a little further so Harry could get dressed up. Harry picked a hidden spot behind a booth and put on his red and yellow clown-suit and then sat down to put on the over-sized shoes. He stood up and felt a strange sensation, as if he was being watched. But after looking around, he brushed it off as excitement for the prank ahead. As he slipped the rubber mask over his eyes, he felt a chill travel up his spine. That was the last thing that Harry ever felt.
Dana saw the clown in the bi-color suit turning around the corner from behind a booth. She thought about how scary that mask looked. It was a typical Bozo face, but twisted in a demonic expression and a gaping mouth filled with pointed teeth. Harry was doing a great job at doing the scary walk too, she thought. She came closer, to wish Harry good luck on the prank. It was then she realized that whoever was behind that mask was not Harry.
He just felt wrong when she touched him. The clown reached out and grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her closer. She tried to scream, but the clown forced a plastic chicken down her windpipe, choking her. She tried to run and warn the others. But deprived of oxygen, her body gave out just a few feet away and she fell to the floor. She could hear a maniacal high pitch laughter as her vision faded to black.
Jill was the first to see him, as Carlos and Heather were busy making out. She let of a terrified scream, put her hands to her face and did a little pantomime impression of being terrified. The couple looked up, tried not to laugh and started acting scared too. They thought the prank was still on. They realized it was for real when the mallet came straight down and cracked Jill’s skull wide open.
Carlos tried to confront the clown to protect Heather. That did not go well. The mallet came down hard, square in the middle of his chest. His ribs made a popping sound as they cracked and fell to the ground, blood trickling from the corners of his mouth.
Paralyzed with horror Heather watched, as the laughing clown jumped on top of Carlos. He danced and crushed her boyfriend's body using his over-sized shoes. She snapped out of her trance and ran towards Jimmy and Tara. There was nothing fake about the look of terror in her eyes as she ran away screaming.
Tara still thought it was all a big joke and rolled down laughing as Jimmy got up and ran back to town screaming at the top of his lungs. She realized it was not a joke when she looked up and saw that the clown had pounded Heather’s head flat against the asphalt with his very real mallet. Her brain was still processing what exactly was going on as the mallet came down and turned it into pudding.
Tom tried to run. But he tripped over a rotting wooden beam that was on the floor. That gave the clown, now laughing harder then ever, more than enough time to reach him. Tom was grabbed by his ankles, lifted from the floor by vice-like hands and tossed after being spun around a couple times. He was still stunned when the clown decapitated him with a wire from behind.
The laughter of Ebil the Clown echoed in the night. Jimmy was found the next morning, babbling incoherently and smelling of urine by a deputy who was called to answer calls from the terrified dwellers of the neighborhood he had wandered into. He babbled almost incoherently about The Midway, in between bouts of wailing and insane laughter.
As soon as they received the call on the radio, the deputies in the area drove to the old, abandoned midway. There they found the bodies of six local teenagers. There they found the bodies of Carlos Ramirez, Heather Grey, and Jill McEntire, all killed by blunt trauma to the head. Dana Wilson killed by asphyxiation due to a foreign object being introduced into her larynx. And Harry Vincent, wearing a clown-suit and no visible scratches or bruises on him. He apparently died from a heart attack, by the look of sheer terror frozen on his face.
But the worse had been Tara Johnson and Tom Salanger. The killer had attached the head of the latter to the body of the first with a huge, rusty spring. Essentially turning them into a human bobble-head. This gruesome detail had been kept from the media.
Jimmy lived on, committed to padded room in a sanatorium in Jacksonville. He hasn’t stopped screaming since. Except to tell everyone that Ebil the Clown visits him every night to mock and torment him. And then he starts to scream again.
Written by Booboofinger