Chapter Four

I was sitting at home, in front of the TV, bag of crisps in hand, when the phone rang. I wasn’t expecting it, and it was the land-line. That means two things, bad news or someone selling something. I swore as I stood up, and reached for the phone. I was already annoyed.

“Hello?”

“Mr Tylain?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“It’s your son, Michael. He’s been in an accident. We need you to come to the hospital as soon as possible.”

“What happened?”

“He’s okay. He was hit by a car, but it’s all been sorted now. He’s going to be fine, just needs to spend a few days here.”

I don’t remember the rest of the conversation. I grabbed Leah, and we rushed to the hospital. And there he is. Laying there, tubes sticking out everywhere. He’s asleep. Has been since the accident. They say he will probably wake up tomorrow some time. They say he’s very lucky. Then they say what actually happened. That he was dressed up as a clown and scared a couple of uni students. That one of them pushed him, and it was just an accident.

“So what have you done to them?”

“The students? We got statements, and then sent them home.”

“You didn’t arrest them.”

“They didn’t commit a crime. He dressed up as a clown. And considering what happened last week. Everyone’s on edge. It was self defence.”

“He’s a kid. He didn’t deserve that.”

“No he didn’t. But he should be alright. The doctor has said he will make a full recovery.”

I don’t answer. I just stand there looking at the policeman, knowing that he let them get away. They deserve worse. They should have known he was a kid. Look at his height. He was just playing a joke. It’s not like he could have known about the murder last week. He was just a stupid kid. And even if he did hear about it, no one knows who did it. It’s not like there was a video of a clown. He couldn’t put two and two together.

“I just can’t believe it. Look at him. He’s so small,” Leah says, nearly crumbling into my arms.

“He’s going to be okay,” I say holding her up. “They said it was just a bump to the head, that he will be fine.”

“I know, but just look at him. He needs to come home. I need to look after him. He needs us.”

“I know he does. He will be home as soon as possible. We will look after him.”

“Why would he does such a bad thing?”

“He’s just a kid. Doing what kids do. He saw a craze online and wanted to be part of it,” he sighs as he looks at the costume the police handed him. “Look, he probably got this from the attic, that’s where we kept his brothers after he moved out.”

“It is. I can’t believe he would go and scare people.”

“It’s not his fault. He’s just having fun. It’s there fault. They should have known he was a kid.”

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October – Chapter Three

I just can’t get over it. I didn’t even know her that well, but I can’t believe it. She’s really gone. I heard the rumours, but didn’t believe it. Just couldn’t. Not until I saw her empty chair. She’s never missed a lecture. The room is quieter than normal, even though the lecture hasn’t started.

“She’s really gone?” Louis says besides me. “What a waste.”

“I know,” someone else adds. “I just can’t believe someone would do that to her. She was so polite and nice. Didn’t deserve this.”

I look around slowly, noting a couple of people who sit near her are hiding tears. Beth didn’t turn up today. Not that anyone could hold it against her. She had been best friends with Lydia since school. Longer than most of us have been aware of each others existence. I feel like today should have been cancelled. Not because I want a day off, or because I was even friends with, but because this room is unbearable. None of us wanted to accept that one of us could just die like that. Not like that. No one deserves that.

Edward walks in and starts setting up at the front of the room. Everyone is silent. None of the normal jokes are thrown around, even when Edward struggles to get the presentation on the board as easily as any of us could. Just silence.

“Well, before we start today. I just want to say one thing. I know we are all struggling to believe what happened last Friday. And we will all miss Lydia. Other people have decided today should go ahead as normal, so here we are. I understand that it’s going to be awkward for a couple of weeks, but we just have to pull through. And I’ve been asked to tell you not to walk through the park when it’s dark. At least until the police have caught this maniac. And it would be best if you could all go around in groups. Just because how close this is to us.”

The rest of the lecture is just as awkward as that opening speech. We all sit there and listen, no one really speaks. No jokes are made. It’s all just awkward and uncomfortable. Eventually it comes to an end and something we’ve all been dreading arrives. Getting home. I pair up with Louis since he lives just down the street from me.

“Thanks for walking with me,” I say as we reach the half way point in the park.

Both of us were hesitant to walk through this bit, but at least this bit is well lit. If we look out to the left we can see the police line. The flowers. We’ve both seen it, but neither of us mention it, or look long enough for the other to notice.

“It’s not a problem. We probably shouldn’t go alone. It’s scary enough out here, and it’s only the afternoon.”

“I know. It feel so much later than four. So quiet.”

“Hmm, just like the lecture.”

“Was that supposed to be a joke?”

“Are you saying you can’t tell?”

You’re an idiot.”

“Probably, but today’s been sad enough, awkward enough. Feel like we’ve had enough of that so far.”

“I know what you mean.”

We both walk in silence for a little while. It’s been a while since we both actually spoke. But that’s just life. At the start of the year we both spoke a lot, just because of how close we lived to each other. And then we found new crowds, ones we actually fit into. And then slowly small talks turn into passing hellos. Slowly the houses on the right meet up with the path and then it’s just the final stretch until the road. A sigh of relief. We pass a couple of trees and then a gust of wind blows through us, shaking the world around us. I turn around, thinking I’ve heard something. At first he’s just standing there, leaning against a tree. A clown. Someone a little shorter than me, in an obvious cheap Halloween costume. Bright colours beaming towards us. A wide smile, with a little bit of fake blood smeared around it. Hollow eyes. Is this what Lydia saw? Is this the person who killed her. I can’t believe he’s here again. This can’t be happening. I don’t know what I’m doing. Am I screaming, am I running. Or am I just standing still. The whole world spins. My feet are moving. The road is closer. Louis is next to me. The Clown follows. Knife in hand. What am I going to do. The road. Clown still there. I can’t run anymore. Don’t’ know where to go. I stop. Turn. Just push him into the road.

He flies backwards, and bounces of a car. Time slows as he glides to the ground, smacking his head of the pavement. I cover my mouth in shock. Everyone around me stops as well. Louis is holding me. Tears are running down my face. I can’t believe it. He’s dead. He’s dead.

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October – Chapter Two

“Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this,” Troy says to Michael.

“Why not?”

“That girl died. It’s been all over the news. I think it was a clown, I don’t think this is funny anymore.”

“Suit yourself. You don’t know for sure it was a clown so it’s still funny.”

“How is it? Someone died.”

“That makes it scarier. And then funnier.”

“We’re going to get in trouble.”

“We’re fourteen, what are they going to do?”

“I don’t know arrest us?”

“And we will be home before tomorrow. Just grow a pair. We’re doing this.”

“No, I’m not. You can, but I’m going home.”

“Suit yourself coward.” Michael shouts as Troy walks out of the bedroom.

Michael rubs the outfit that he found in the attic. It was his older brothers from a few years ago. He seen the videos online, people dressed up as clowns and scaring people. It’s hilarious to him.

“I can’t believe you’re such a coward,” Michael says, knowing Troy can’t hear him. “I’m going to do this, and you’re going to wish you were there.”

He sits there, looking at the outfit. He can’t believe it’s still there. No one will know it’s him doing it. There won’t be many out on the street tonight, not after that girl died. And it can’t be traced back to him. He just needs a weapon. He tucks the costume under the bed and head downstairs.

“Hi sweetie,” his mum says as he walks into the kitchen. “Can I get you something?”

“No. I’m good. Just getting a drink.”

“Ok, there’s some fresh juice in the fridge. I got it today.”

“Sure.”

Michael goes to the fridge but pulls out the Cola. He has no intention of drinking juice. He grabs a glass from the draining board and fills it, slowly. His mum leaves the room as he finishes. So he quickly grabs the largest knife he can find and shoves it deep into his trouser leg. No one will know, he keeps telling himself. No one will know.

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October – Chapter One

I don’t know if you’ve been watching the news. Not that it matters, it seems to be on everyone’s radar whether they have or not. Clowns. Everywhere. All over the world people are dressing up as clowns to scare people. At first I think everyone found it a little funny, apart from the person they were scaring I suppose. But now it’s everywhere. I mean it probably hasn’t happened to you, but someone in your city? Or town? More than likely. A couple of people have been arrested, I’ve seen that on the news. Kids scaring kids, adults scaring anyone. It’s kind of getting out of hand. I don’t think any of it’s meant menacingly, but it’s starting to come across that way. For some reason everyone seems to be scared of clowns. I’ve never seen one before today in any walk of life. Not at a party, or shopping centre, especially not at night.

I’m walking home from University. Across the path, straight through the park. All the way into the bustling Kettering Road. It’s the easiest way of getting back home. My Mum told me to walk around the park when it’s dark. But lets be honest, no one listens. It’s pointless. I’m about half way across. It’s six in the evening, 2nd October. It’s dark, the world around me is slowing down for the day. The cars are stretching themselves thin, less people lining the streets, no one at the playground in the middle of the park. It’s alone time, forced and literal. No one I know walks this way home, they either stay in the dorms, have cars or  a bus to catch. I’ll be home soon.

“Lydia,” a voice carries from behind me through the weekend.

I stop, thinking that maybe someone is calling me. My mind isn’t exactly at scary clown at the moment. Not that it should be there, that would be weird. I can’t see anyone, the whole park is empty. The wind moves past. Maybe it was in my head. I turn to carry on walking. A tinny sound echoes from behind. I turn to see a slightly crushed coke can bouncing its way towards me. It stops a few metres short. I hesitate a second, while my heart tries to escape. Eventually I catch up and let instinct carry me away from the can. Someone is there, behind one of the trees. The chill in the air, intensifies as I speed through it, cutting through the sudden harsh gust. I can hear something behind me, but I don’t want to look back. That’s the mistake they all make, slowing for a second to see if they’re safe. It’s not a clown, but enough other evils lurk here. It’s not all dress up.

The road in front of me, is getting closer and closer. I can almost hear the beeping of the traffic lights, smell the inviting scent from countless takeaways. So close to being safe, and that’s when I look behind me. At the clown as he glides across the grass towards me. Who is it?

“Who are you? Stop it,” I shout as I stop and turn around. “You’re not funny. Just go away.”

He says nothing, but slows to a walk, constantly getting closer and closer.

“This isn’t funny, so you can stop it now. Dave? Mark? Who is it? It isn’t funny.”

I start to walk backwards, for no real reason. I’ve seen the news, I know this isn’t real. It’s just someone from class. That’s all. He doesn’t stop it. Slowly one of his hands raises and shows me the knife he’s holding. I look around desperate, still backing up, there is no one else. I can feel tears starting to run down my face.

“Please? Just stop.”

He says nothing. Just carried on getting closer. I don’t know what to do. Why won’t he just stop, take off the mask and we can laugh. I might hit him, but we would laugh afterwards. I turn away and start making a dash towards the Kettering Road, knowing that no one will hear me. I have to get closer. They will have to unmask if I can get to the street.

I don’t look back this time, there is no point. He’s behind me, probably running. That’s all I need to know. He can be as close as he likes. I’m going to make it to the road. I’m going to find out who it is, and then I’m going to straight up, kick him. As hard as I can. That’s all that’s going to happen.

My weight shifts and I fall to the floor with a thud. What’s happening, I can’t move. He’s on top of me. Please just get off, you’ve won. I feel something sting my back. The sting turns to pain. He pulls the knife back out and drives it in again and again. All I feel is numb.

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23

It’s been a while since I posted an update, but I have been writing near enough every day. This morning I hit 25000 words in the new novel I’m working on. It’s currently titled The Broken Pocket Watch. But I’m not sure if I’m going to change that.

My plan is to finish this story, and then edit From Within (Fragmented Sequence book 2), which will then be released in some form. Either on this blog or as a kindle book.

Last weekend I went to the London Film and Comic Con, which was a brilliant weekend. The top floor of the convention was dedicated to YALC (Young Adult Lit Con), and I watched a couple of talks from authors over the weekend. The most memorable one was about horror. I went to that one because Darren Shan and Derek Landy were talking. Alex Scarrow and Dawn Kurtagich were also talking. And I ended up buying books that were written by Scarrow and Kurtagich. The talk was interesting, and gave me new things to think about. And a list of older horror books that I now want to read.

Next Monday I turn 23, which is a strange feeling.

Thanks for reading,

Ashley

 

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