Author's note:  Written by friend over Skype, reposted by Cullvion with owner's permission.

When I was a little boy, Mama always brought me to the circus. I loved the trapeze, the lions, but especially, the clowns. They made me laugh when I saw their round noses, and still do. I'm 18 now, and starting college. I thought I'd have one more joy before school started. So, I went to the circus. The circus was just how I had remembered: just a big old tattered tent, creaky and rotten wooden stands. This was one of the worst circuses ever. But it had a place in my heart, plus low prices. The show was great: people swung quickly on ropes, tigers bounced back and forth with the crack of a whip. But finally, came the clowns.

Fat and skinny, short and tall, this circus had it all. With the last of the pies thrown, and the last of the blunders blundered, it was time to go home. Everyone had left, except for me, and the performers. I was hiding in the stands. Finally, the lights went off. But I heard no footsteps, but I still heard laughter. The performers hadn't left yet. But could it be the same people? The tent was too dark to see. Suddenly, one spotlight flickered on. The place was very eerie. It was abnormal, and something about it shot fear throughout me, then I heard a laugh.

I could see a man. He had a weathered black suit and a torn top hat on. An irritating ring, that could have only come from a microphone, sliced through the air. “Ladies and gentlemen,” I heard his crisp voice announce, “welcome to the night circus.” He looked up at me. His face wasn't right. Webs of twine were sewed over his eyes and his mouth, yet they still remained open. My heart jumped in terror.

“For the first act, we will have our lion tamer do what they do best,” the voice rang again. Free show? I thought. Through the opening in which all performers come in came the lion tamer. He was the same from the first show. Wait, was he? I observed him closely, and to my shock, I noticed his skin was torn in some places. But, where the incisions were made stuffing was withering out. He took a knife that was in his belt, and tore open his own chest. Suddenly, three stuffed animals, lions to be exact, sprung from his cotton filled gape. They moved like real animals, but were only a foot tall and made from fabric. Next, a rusty cage collapsed into the middle of the tent. Inside was a girl, no older than 14.

She was grimy, and wearing a filthy burlap. She looked directly at me and whispered a silent help. A sweet salty clear tear slowly ran down her face, like it was reluctantly walking to its demise. The lions got vicious. They sprung into the deteriorating cage, and revealed teeth like daggers. They cut into her marble white skin. Her cries echoed through the air and I could feel her pain. I expected a bloody corpse, and I got one, but mixed with the blood was cotton stuffing, soaked, red cotton stuffing. My eyes subconsciously widened and my jaw dropped. I wanted to leave, but something was keeping me there.

The next act was not the expected trapeze, but a sword swallower. He was actually normal. He proceeded to thrust his arm in his throat, and pulled out a claymore. He then shoved it back into his throat, and pulled out, and in, repeatedly. I cringed so hard. He finished, and he bent down in my direction and showed me his throat. It was as if a buzz saw got stuck in it, but straight, deep, oozing cuts lined his esophagus. He curled into the fetal position and chucked up a stream of blood. No human could possibly have as much blood as I had just seen. The next thing you know, he stopped moving, and it felt like you could feel his breath slowly fly away from his brittle body.

“And now, for the finale, comes our wonderful clowns!” the ringmaster shouted one last time. Out of the gloom came an 8 ft long leg, one of an insect. It was quickly followed by seven more, and from the darkness came a spider. Aside from being the largest and wettest goddamn spider you have ever seen, one more thing was off, and that was its head. Most spiders have spider heads, but no, this one had a dirt, dusty, clown doll head. Now I could only see its body and the start of its legs in the dim light. A scratchy voice slithered out of the thing.

“I need a volunteer,” it whispered in the voice of a 4-year-old girl.

Its limb shot forward and into my chest. I flew out of the tent and into the night. I ran into the gloomy field. Then, I saw the thing lurch towards me. Instinctively, I rolled, and saw a dark spire thrust into the ground where my head was. While I had the chance, I crawled into a trench. My lungs were pulsing rapidly, mimicked by my heart. The thing slowly crawled past me, and at that moment, when my brain convinced me I was safe, its head quickly turned into my direction. I was too out of breath to run. I felt a sharp pain in my arms, and sure enough, the monster had its limbs in my mine.

“Give me a C,” belched out the monster. Suddenly, it used another limb to carve into my chest.

“Give me an I,” belched out the monster again. Another letter, more pain.

“Give me an R,” and, like an exact-o-knife, the pain returned.

“Give me a C,” and the black leg grimly, with no remorse, carved into my skin again.

“Give me a U,” it said. I was surprised I wasn't dead yet.

"Give me a S,” and that was the final letter, I knew. No more pain, now more sorrow, no more life. Its head rapidly morphed into that of a real, human clown.

“And what does that spell?” it asked, one last time.

“Circus,” I quietly murmured.

“Perfect,” it said in that of a 30-year-old's voice. And the last thing I ever saw was its black spire thrusting into my face, and, for half a second, blood.

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