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.