The 2016 Clown Sightings

Last October, the world was affected by one of the single most bizarre cases of terroristic incidences in modern history.  Starting in the summer and increasing until the end of October, numerous cases of attempted kidnapping, murder, and robbery by men dressed in clown costumes were reported.  Many of these cases occurred in the United States, however over a dozen of other countries were affected by these attacks.

This consistency of attacks by men dressed in clown costumes sparked not only school closures, but also created a modern-day witch hunt.

It was mid-October when my next-door neighbor went missing.  He was twelve years old, and by this point of the clown-sighting phenomenon, it was quickly speculated that this was clown-related.  In the days leading to his disappearance, several town residents even reported having seen a man dressed in a clown costume walking down the highway along the tree-line of the forest on the south side of town.

When he disappeared, it was after school.  He simply went to school that morning, and never came home.  The school was only a few blocks away from home, so he walked almost every day that the weather was agreeable. 

During the time following his disappearance, when his mother and father were searching desperately for any sign of their son, I did my best to avoid them.  In fact, even though we were somewhat good friends, I haven’t spoken to them since the day their son went missing.  I haven’t spoken to anyone about that day, but as we near the anniversary of that day, I can’t keep quiet about it.

I saw what happened to their son.

I was walking my dog that day and saw him, even waved at the boy as he crossed the street.  If I close my eyes, I can still see that scene, like the image of a bright light that’s been burned into my retinas.  He’s walking along the tree line, about to take the shortcut through the canal road that bisects the trees.  I enjoy walking that same road, as many other residents of the neighborhood do, and so I followed him.  I don’t know if I’d actually intended on going that way when I initiated my walk, but suddenly the idea came over me to go that way – it was a compulsion I couldn’t ignore, like the need to drink water.

I crossed the street then, probably about 50 feet or so behind the boy, and made my way down the dirt road that ran alongside the canal.

I remember getting a sense of unease then, in a way I can only describe as the feeling a child gets when he KNOWS there’s something under the bed or behind the closet door.

I didn’t see the man until it was far too late for me to take action.  He was maybe three feet away from the boy, hiding in the brush, when he stepped into view.  He didn’t leap out and yell like they do in the movies, but simply stepped onto the road with a calm demeanor that sent chills up my spine and made the flesh on my arms roughen.

I opened my mouth to yell, but before I could, the man had grabbed the boy by the back of the neck.  My dog, whom I’d forgotten completely about, began to bark and snarl.  Without hesitation, I let go of the leash and bolted for the man in the clown suit.

The clown picked up the boy, who was doing nothing at all to save his own life, and carried him into the woods.  I was closing in then, but was still 20 feet away.  I bellowed my brains out to the empty forest, but nobody except the trees heard my cry. 

As soon as he crossed over the tree line, I lost sight of them.  I stumbled into the woods, the dry leaves cracking beneath my shoes, and found a sick sensation of disorientation coming over me.  I collapsed onto my knees and the world spun.  I felt the warmth of blood on my upper lip, then everything went dark.

When I awoke, perhaps an hour later, it was to the whine of my dog in my ear.  My eyes fluttered open, and I first saw my dog’s short snout, then as I sat up and my vision focused, I saw the clown.

It stood there motionless in the fading light, like a statue between the trees, and I saw blood dripping off its hands.  I tried to scream, but I couldn’t find my voice.  My dog whimpered and backed away with me, terrified of the clown just as I was.

It stepped forward and its hands rose to the mask as I scrambled to my feet, slipping over the dry leaves as I did so.

It grasped the green hair on the top of the mask, and pulled downward, and what I saw beneath the mask is something I wish I could forget.

Where its eyes should have been was nothing put pale, white skin, and below that was a lump of a nose that looked like it had been carved by an amateur sculptor.    Its mouth was smeared with blood and as its thin lips parted in a sick smile, I saw sharp, crooked teeth and a thin black tongue.

My dog whimpered again and pulled at my pantleg with his teeth, and I turned on my heels and ran.

I’ve never told that story to anyone – I didn’t think anyone would believe me, but it’s been a year now, and I think they might be coming out again - I heard on the news the sightings have sparked up again.

Don’t let your children out of your sight, and if you see a clown, run.

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