| Charles Morley sat up gasping for air, his eyes haunted by the bus that was carrying his nightmare so hastily away. |
Sighing deeply, he sat up looking over at the clock on the wall.
3:00 pm. It figures.
It was always the same lately, a lurid dream following him everywhere…
It began with the tolling of the church bells a few blocks away. As he listened to their mournful dirge, the sea above him churned with the turbulence of a mounting storm, as raven stained clouds twisted and knotted together in discord with the land below.
It was the middle of fall, the birth of Hallowmas; Samhain.
He was leaning against a wooden post on Third Avenue, watching as some kids lazily jaywalked while he waited for the metro to arrive.
That’s when he saw it.
A clown, or at least what appeared to be a clown, was standing directly across the street, leering at him.
Its misshapen form stood rigid amongst the trees; a wicked totem borne from the icy ground that separated them. An eerie scarlet smile had begun to spread across its face as it slowly waved at him. Entranced, he froze; holding his breath. While the street was still busy, he could tell that he was quickly becoming isolated and alone. All alone with the hungry ashen eyes that now beckoned him from the cold with a smile.
As it's chalky form stepped forward, he could see that it wore a crimson shirt with fading ivory sleeves and ashen gray ruffles, all tattered and spoiled with rot. On its feet, the dull black shine of oversized shoes were tapered to a razor sharp edge, completing a singular appearance that was devoid of any humor. Its hapless face continued to stare longingly at him, beaming with demonic reverence. It wanted him to look away, if only that it might at once appear beside him if he did, and it so dearly wanted to be beside him.
He knew that he should look away, but he just… couldn’t. As if knowing this, it grimly turned its bald head to the left while winking at him, a frigid breeze escaping it’s mouth...
”Laugh with me...”
All at once it smiled, making a slicing motion across its throat as a horn blew…
Silence snapped back at Morley with a crisp crack, jolting him awake again.
Jesus, at least I’m here now, I keep fading in and out…
He was so tired, tired of all of the stress he felt lately. His chest itched and he wondered why he couldn’t feel his right leg. He sat alone in the darkness and wondered why a clown would be haunting all of his dreams.
Morley’s clown, my own personal Punchinello from hell, great.
His head kept itching and he tried to reach up and scratch it only to find that he wasn’t sitting up anymore. His body was lying naked and cold against a smooth steel frame.
What the Hell?
He heard the scuffling of feet just outside of his door and…
“Which one is it?” Asked a young man opening the door to the morgue.
“Uh… That one...” The older man behind him said, pointing towards Morley. “I wish they’d stop messing with the bodies when they bring them down here.”
The younger man shook his head in disgust, reaching down he slowly raised Morley’s stiffening right arm back up, carefully placing it on to the gurney.
“Where’s the clown?” the younger man asked.
“Over there, against the wall. That was one sick bastard. Killed eight people with a bus he stole before the cops could get to him. It took a shotgun blast to the face to finally stop him. No open clown car for him.” The older man laughed as he began to wheel one of the other bodies out of the room.
“How’d they stop the bus?” the younger man asked.
“They didn’t, Morley there did it. He jumped right out in front of it before Sicko over there could take out some schoolchildren in the crosswalk. Must have surprised the son of a bitch because after he ran over our hero here, he swerved right into a brick wall. Cops got to him before he could back out. Too quick if you ask me.” He waited for the younger man to hold the door open as he wheeled the corpse out into the hallway.
Suddenly a whisper haunted the air around them.
“Laugh with me…”
“Did you hear that?” the younger man asked, his skin bristling with a chill.
“Hear what?” asked the older man annoyingly.
“Just… nothing. Forget it.” The younger man rubbed his arms while shivering, quickly closing the door behind them.
Moments later Charles Morley sat up gasping for air…