Harlequin Diamonds and Red Rubber Shoes

For the month of October, Sundays are now known as “Scary Story Sundays” and I will treat you to, you guessed it, a scary story.  This one I wrote today because, well, clowns.  What better way to begin October?

Here are some lovely pictures I took at the Circus Museum.  I realize I took no pictures of clowns although there were plenty around.  I wonder why?

Alternate title:  The Red Clown

     “I really wish you weren’t taking me with you.”  Anna said pulling on Dezzy’s sleeve to try to make him slow down.  Instead, he wrapped his hand around around her wrist and pulled her along over tree roots and under branches and through piles of pine needles.  “But what that article said about the clowns!”

“Anna.”  Dezzy stopped and held Anna’s shoulders in his hands.  He knew his younger sister well enough to know he better squash it before she had a melt down.  “That was a Facebook hoax.”

“How do you know?”

“I saw the same article for like three other towns.  People just change the name of the place and make everybody think it’s about them.”

“So,”  Anna put one hand on her hip, a clear sign that Dezzy was not going to like what his sister said next.  “when are we going to talk about how dangerous it is for you to be taking me with you to go meet your drug dealer boss?”

“Geeze!  Anna!”  He covered her mouth with his hand and held onto her when she squirmed.  “Keep your voice down or the clowns will find you.”   She stopped squirming with an eye roll and he let her go.  “Besides, when you talk like that you sound like mom.”  Anna’s face contorted into something really unhappy and Dezzy felt a bit of creeping shame.  “Look, yea, if I didn’t pay Chico for the product I’ve sold, he’d stomp my balls, but I got his money and if I meet him on time there’s nothing to be worried about.  Anyway, you’re hanging back.  You two won’t even see each other.”

The look on her face was pure terror at the thought of being left alone but he said: “Come on,” and kept moving.  She let him get five steps away with out moving, the only defiance she could bear before chasing after him.  They trudged down a gully and over a wooden foot bridge over water that smelled like decay and all the while the sun was setting, fast.

“Where are you gonna meet him?”  She whispered because…she only wanted her brother to hear her.  Things seemed different when darkness fell on the park.

“At the mausoleum and stop whining we are almost there.”

Why there?  She groaned.  Why they had dead people where you could see them, in a park, she couldn’t tell you.  Her class came here on a field trip once and her teacher confirmed that there were really dead bodies in the stone coffins but they were behind two rows of bars so no one could get to them.  It was the guy that donated the park and his family or something.  Two stone bird dogs things sat on either side of the tomb and Anna absolutely hated it there.  She wondered how many other parks had dead people.

They traveled through another copse of trees before Dezzy told Anna to stay put.  “He wont like it if he sees I brought you here, so don’t fuck around, ok?”  Dezzy was agitated.  Anna could tell and Dezzy had to admit it to himself, but only himself.  And he wasn’t going to go poking around his mind, or his sixth sense, to find out why.  He stormed off, wondering why he was storming off, to the mausoleum.  Leaving the cover of the trees didn’t make him feel better.  He knew what it could be like if Chico was in a foul mood.  Dezzy really didn’t want to take this moment to questions his life choices or how he got to this place.  Chico wasn’t there and he was always there first.  Dezzy got the sense he dealt with several deals throughout the day and pretty much hung around the park for hours.  Dezzy pulled out his phone and responded to Chico’s text a coded fp830 with the two letters “at.”  It meant he was here, Forest Park 8:30.

Anna was contemplating moving from the spot she was told to stay.  It was getting darker and nearer to the edge of the trees, there was a small paved road and a big street light.  Then she heard it.  Squeka, squeaka, squeaka, squeaka.  That’s it.  It stopped.  It was gone but she swore she heard it.  She could see Dezzy through the trees and he looked around, as if he heard it too.  She refused to think about what it sounded like and moved, crouching low, toward the pool of light cast by the street light.

She thought she heard another sound, too, and the closer she got to the edge of the road, the more sure she was, she could hear the tinny, electronic music that could only come from a cell phone.  Was someone hiding in the trees there is the dark with her?  She jumped at the thought and looked around, squinting into the dark.  She was stumbling now but trying to make her way to the light when she stepped on something that gave like something spongy but also snapped under her foot.

She looked down to see a pudgy hand connected to a inked arm and the rest of what there was to see was covered in leaves and darkness.  The rest of the body, she knew what she was seeing, fell outside of the pool of light.  She kept staring at a Woody Woodpecker tattoo but she wanted to move away.  She thought she’d scream, like in the movies but instead she just struggled to breath and stumbled out of the forest.  She could see the mausoleum and on one side of it, her brother and the other side…

She tried again to scream, to warn him, to save him but just stumbled toward him, and the clown, with her hand out stretched like a zombie.  Dezzy, who was hyper vigilant, was darting glances everywhere and, thank god, saw her.  He began to take off toward her when the clown, Anna could see his orange suspenders and diamond patterned pants, moved away into the bushes.  Dezzy heard the sound again, squeaka, squeka, and Anna was silently begging him not to go and look.  Dezzy heard her prayer because instead he just ran for her.

When they made it out of the park it was Dezzy who threw up onto the side walk.  There were a few people across the street and a couple who were walking by and inspecting these strange kids, out too late at night.  They felt safe now, out of the park and among the city.  Anna explained, in a hushed hitching voice what she saw.

“That was Chico,”  Dezzy said and cast a glance behind him into the park.  He was thinking about the money in his pocket.  He thought he saw a white face floating in the darkness and he pulled Anna away, toward home.


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