Every night, I had nightmares of that figure, that horrid entity with that frozen smile pasted on his face. I've remembered him for as long as I could remember. Every time I had that nightmare, I would wake up drenched in sweat, panting and trembling. I can still remember a time before all of this had happened, however. It was all so long ago...
Many years ago, when I was only a little boy, I had loved visiting the circus. Every year, the circus would come into town and my mother would often take me there, and I'd have a blast watching the jugglers, clowns, acrobats, and tigers. Watching the entertainers with their vast array of skills and athletic prowess almost made me feel as if the circus were a magical place.
So, as usual, when I had heard that the circus was coming to town yet again, I naturally became very excited. Unfortunately, my mother had informed me that she could not attend this year. Despite this, my mother knew how much I loved the circus, so she managed to coax my older sister (who was a teenager at the time) into taking me.
To be honest, I don't think my sister enjoyed my presence very much. She was very rebellious and didn't get along with my parents. She treated me very poorly as well. My mother only enticed her to take me because she had paid her.
Regardless, I was only a child at the time, and I was oblivious to these harsh realities of life. I honestly didn't care who would be my chaperone to the circus; I just wanted to have fun.
The day we left for the circus was a lovely, fall day, if memory serves me right. I recall the day being beautiful, not too hot or too cold, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I remember seeing that large, red and yellow-striped tent and the large line of clamoring, excited children and parents. I clutched my sister's hand as we stood in line.
I slowly looked around at all the kids. They all looked so cheerful and happy, chattering about all the performances they were hoping to see. I noticed one little girl eating a pink, puffy ball of cotton candy. I tugged on my sister's jacket.
She looked down at me with an annoyed expression spread over his face. "What?"
I pointed at the girl. "Can you buy me some cotton candy? Please?"
She suddenly made a confused face, as if I had asked something absurd.
"Are you nuts? I'm not spending my money on that. We're just here to watch the freaks and leave."
She then turned away from me. I frowned a bit and looked down to the ground. It wasn't a bold request, but I cheered up when I remembered that I was at the circus to see all of its wonders.
Finally, after a while, we were next in line for our tickets. I looked up at my sister again. This time, she had her headphones on. This was several years back, so she was listening to her personal stereo. To get her attention once again, I tugged on her jacket.
She pulled out one headphone and groaned.
"What do you want NOW?" she inquired angrily.
"Look sis," I said, smiling and pointing at the ticket vendor. "We're next! Hurry, buy our tickets!"
My sister rolled her eyes, pulled out the money, and handed it to the vendor. The vendor handed us our tickets, smiled, and said, "Enjoy the show, you two!"
"Yeah, thanks," uttered my sister as we both entered the large tent and took our seats. We both sat down on the front row. A lot of other kids were running around, laughing and cheering with their siblings, friends, and parents.
I looked over at my sister, who had her head leaned back in her chair with her headphones on. I tapped her on the shoulder, and her eyes shot open in anger. She ripped off her headphones and said, "If you bother me when I have my headphones on one more time..."
"Isn't this fun, sis?" I asked her, smiling, hoping to get a more kind response.
"No, stupid, it isn't. I hate this place! I'm only here because mom made me. Now shut the hell up and wake me up when this crap is over!"
She put her headphones back on, leaned her head back once again, and closed her eyes. I swallowed a lump in my throat and sunk into my seat, saddened by her words. I never understood what she had against me. I only wanted her to have fun with me.
I just sat there quietly as I watched the other kids playing and having the time of their lives. And that was when I noticed something in the corner of my eye; To my sister's left, there was a dark room that I had never seen before. And what was even more puzzling, was that I saw a glowing pair of white eyes in the shadows.
I turned around to see if any other kids noticed it, but they didn't. I looked back at the room where the glowing white eyes were, but they were gone.
For reasons I cannot understand, I felt like they were beckoning me. As if I needed to follow them. I looked at my sister, who still had her eyes closed with her headphones in. I slowly got out of my chair and made my way into the darkened room.
Inside, I saw nothing but pitch blackness. I could only see a small light on the ceiling with a chain attached to it acting as a light switch. I stood on my tip-toes and pulled on it. The light was dim, but at least it was better than being in the dark.
I observed my surroundings, and I noticed that there was a long, narrow hall. I thought maybe this was a place strictly for authorized personnel. The walls of the hall had a few posters of old circus performers and sideshow freaks dating back to the 1920s (which were drawn by hand) and who most certainly weren't alive anymore. I slowly began walking down the hall, studying the posters and their designs. As I ventured further in, the sounds of the children slowly died away, and it began getting eerily quiet.
I then turned to the left as the hall led me to another area. It was an old storage room filled with old, outdated props. There were old, dusty mannequins of clowns and ballerinas with large, lifeless grins on their faces. There were statues of horses that were taken out of merry-go-rounds that didn't function properly anymore, and old black and white photographs of old performers.
I slowly scanned the area, and I saw my reflection in a mirror that had accumulated its fair share of dust. It had a few cracks here and there, but was otherwise a perfectly good mirror. As I studied it for a moment, I saw, a few feet behind me, those glowing pair of white eyes. Except this time, I could almost make out a body, even though the figure was hidden in the shadows. It quickly hid behind the wall of the hallway. I whirled around to get a glimpse of it, but by the time I looked, it wasn't there.
I just stood there for a moment, and then I had thought it would be best to get to my sister before she noticed I was gone. Just as I was on my way out, I heard something. It sounded like...music.
A very faint music. And to be honest, I recognized it.
It was the tune of The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. I heard it all the time during Christmas, But where was it coming from? There were no jukeboxes or radios in sight. This may sound strange, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say it was playing inside of my head.
I exited the storage room with that haunting little tune still playing. I looked to my left, and there I saw it.
Those glowing white eyes and that shadowy figure. This time they were down the hall. I felt the need to follow it for some reason, so I ran down the hall chasing it.
When I was halfway down the hall, the music suddenly stopped. I don't know why, and when I reached the end of the hall where I had seen the creature run off to, as I stopped to catch my breath, the music started up again, only this time, it was much louder than before.
What I saw sitting in the middle of the room, I know I'll never forget.
It was a tall, thin man sitting on a bench with his legs crossed, one ankle resting on top of the other leg's knee. He had his hands together, each hand's fingers going through the spaces of the other hand. He had on a black and white tuxedo with a bow-tie and a rose pinned on it, and he wore very well-polished dress shoes.
Despite this man's very formal appearance, I noticed something very wrong with him. At first, I had thought it was just the poor lighting in the room. And then I had thought he was wearing some kind of mask that covered his whole head.
This man's head had the appearance of a pale, crescent moon. I rubbed my eyes to verify whether or not my eyes were playing tricks on me. But no, my eyes were correct.
This moon-headed man had a razor-sharp pointed nose, an enormous toothy grin spread across his face, and his eyes were wide, gleeful, and glowing that ghostly-white color.
I couldn't believe it. Was I dreaming all of this? No, I couldn't be. Surely I wasn't...
His eyes were fixated on the wall in front of him, at nothingness, with that frozen smile still there. I had contemplated on saying something, calling out to him. But something told me I shouldn't.
Then, almost as if he could hear my thoughts, his moon-shaped head slowly began creaking towards me in a slow, tedious manner. Our eyes finally met. His soul-less, glowing white eyes remained anchored on mine, his grin never fading.
Should I run away? Should I talk to him?
After a grueling minute, I mustered up some courage, and my timid little voice choked out, "Who...who are you?'
For another second or two, the moon-headed man didn't utter a word. He just sat there, still with that spine-chilling smile on his face. Then, in a whispery voice that was reminiscent of a snake's hiss, he answered, "...Moooooooon...Faaaaaaace..."
For that reason, I've come to call this bizarre entity, "Moon Face".
As soon as Moon Face said this, he shot up from the bench. He was even thinner than he initially appeared, skeletally-thin, and very tall as well.
I then began to get very nervous. I slowly began backing away. But then, in a way I'll never understand, Moon Face began hovering in the air in a very disturbing fashion. As he slowly glided his way towards me, his movements reminded me of a snake slithering through the air. He did one last loop before landing a few feet in front of me, still with that haunting smile on his twisted face.
I stood there, shaking as I stared at this supernatural stranger before me.
"...Cooooooome..." hissed the moon-faced entity at me. "...Don't be afraaaaaaid...we'll be friends..."
With those words, Moon Face began slowly walking towards me with his hands outstretched. It was there that I noticed he had long, black claws protruding from his finger-tips.
"...Come alooooooong, boy. Don't be afraid. Join us...join us....join us..."
When he chanted those words, his eyes began glowing even brighter. By now, I was becoming scared out of my wits. I slowly began walking backwards again, when suddenly, I felt a a lifeless, plastic hand land on my shoulder. I nervously glanced up to see the mannequins, previously lifeless dummies, with the same burning white eyes as Moon Face, uttering, "Join us...join us...join us..."
I frantically looked around to see the mannequins of clowns, acrobats, and ballerinas slowly moving towards me, attempting to box me in and preventing any chance of escape.
The music of The Dance of The Sugar Plum Fairy suddenly became very distorted and mutilated, and the chanting of the mannequins suddenly grew volatile, aggressive, and more menacing. I then saw blood beginning to stream down their eyes like tears.
I turned back to Moon Face, and what looked back at me I could never be prepared for. His eyes now took a glowing red appearance, while his smile grew even wider with teeth that looked more like small dagers that have been bleached perfect white, his back was hunched, and saliva dripped out of his revolting grin. Suddenly, he roared a demonic growl, and he lunged at me...
And right there is when I wake up screaming and sweating every night. This has been happening to me for the past fifteen years. I've tried everything I could to get some psychological help, but to no avail. Until finally, I decided to uncover what the hell has been the root of all of this.
I visited my sister a few months ago. When she opened the door to her house, she threw her arms around me, gave me a kiss, and started shedding tears of joy. It had been so long since we've spoken. It was good seeing her again. She said she had missed me very much.
I had asked her about that day so long ago, the day I had went to the circus. She had said I had wandered away when she was listening to her music. She had told me that when I returned, I was as pale as a ghost, shivering, and speechless. When she asked me what was wrong, I collapsed onto the floor with my eyes open, as if I were in shock. She had become hysterical and called an ambulance. She said she couldn't eat or sleep for three days knowing that I was in the hospital being treated for an unknown ailment.
When I returned home, I had "regained my sanity". She had asked me what had happened. I had told her what I had seen, and she said I must have been imagining everything I saw.
It sounded like a plausible response, but it was so real.
I said my good-bye to her, but I still wasn't satisfied and decided to investigate some more. I then did some research into the circus that used to come around when I was kid, and then I caught something that interested me.
Apparently, there was once a very famous performer associated with the circus back in the 1920s. His name was Monroe "Moon Face" Facil. According to the website, Monroe was a very skilled hypnotist, magician, and was very knowledgeable in the field of Oneirology, the scientific study of dreams.
I tracked down his name, and I discovered that his former wife still lived in my town, although she was in a retirement home. I visited her, telling her who I was and the information I sought.
She had informed me that all of that was true, and that he was a man who never liked being lonely. And he also suffered from schizophrenia.
The story is, according to her, that he would often throw violent fits of rage. And when she asked him what was wrong, he'd say that demons from Hell would demand him to join them by killing himself. She said the "demons" drove him to the point of where he went mad and committed suicide.
She said she had went out to do some errands and left him home. When she arrived, she found him dead in his room.
He was lying on the ground with his throat slit and a very bizarre grin on his face. For reasons unknown to her, he had a phonograph in his room playing "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" on a loop. He had written "JOIN US" on every corner of the walls in his own blood.
When she had informed me of those things, I remembered my nightmares. And what was the most interesting part, is that she had told me I wasn't the only who had these nightmares and came to inquire this information from her. A pattern she's noticed, she said, is that the people who's nightmares her husband haunts are those who "feel lonely".
I remembered that day at the circus with my sister. I did feel lonely that day when I saw all those kids with their friends and families and feeling neglected by my sister.
But now I feel like I have the answer to this age-old mystery. My sister and I now maintain a loving sibling relationship, and we speak to each other every day.
Due to the fact that I've discovered why I've had these nightmares and my sister is now a major part of my life, the horrible memory that had manufactured itself into a chronic nightmare has ceased.
However, occasionally, in my dreams, I still do see a tall, shadowy figure with a crescent moon-shaped head and glowing white eyes lurking in my dreams, watching me with a hypnotizing gaze...