She Was Only A Clown Chapters 17 and 18

SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN is a special serialized novella presented in weekly installments every Saturday. Click here to read chapter 1, click here to read chapter 2, click here to read chapter 3, click here to read chapter 4, click here to read chapter 5, click here to read chapters 6 an 7, click here to read chapters 8 and 9, click here to read chapters 10 and 11, click here to read chapters 12 thru 14 and click here to read chapters 15 and 16. 


Chapter 17

Elwood was no longer inside the barn. For that he was thankful. But the feeling was fleeting, for only several moments later he realized he was no longer inside of his body.

His consciousness was traveling. He couldn’t see. He couldn’t even feel, but he was cognizant of a vast sense of distance and time passing. Washing over him, through him. This went on for what felt like aeons. Lifetimes. The lifetimes of entire universes.

And then everything stopped.

Somehow this state of stasis was even more dreadful than the nightmare in the barn, than the Nelson brothers, than the endless non-corporeal travel.

Was this death? Had the thing in the barn finally tired of Elwood’s defiance and ended his life?

No. Elwood was not dead. He knew this because even without a body or senses, he could feel… it.

It was still with him. It had brought him here to this outer blackness. To…

…Its realm.

A pinpoint of light appeared in the distant darkness. And then Elwood was rushing toward it. It grew impossibly large, impossibly fast and so bright Elwood believed his eyeballs would melt from the sheer brilliance of it until he remembered that he had no eyeballs because he had no body.

And then in the next instant, he hung suspended in space above a planet. It wasn’t like any planet he’d ever seen in school science books or even in science fiction shows on television.

This planet was black, the same black that formed the semi-fleshy body of the entity in the barn. At least that was Elwood’s first impression. As titanic, planet-wide tendrils roiled and whipped, Elwood realized that the actual world was underneath. Brilliant green patterns coursed across the tendrils like huge storms.

Then, after a time, maybe years, maybe centuries or millennia once there was nothing left below, the tendrils unwound and swam through the aether with the grace of some gelatinous sea creature, leaving nothing but crumbled debris in its writhing wake. A life ender. A planet eater. 

This is what I am.

The voice was everywhere. It consumed the entire vacuum of space. Elwood would have thought the voice was inside his mind if he’d had a mind to be inside of.

And then Elwood was hovering above another planet. This one much large than the last. This one contained a civilization far more advanced than Earth. Its gaseous oceans glowed a bright pink and enormous artificial formations enveloped the entire world, shifting slowly, each mega-structure a smaller part of a gargantuan whole.

Many space vehicles buzzed from the planet’s surface to various platforms and doorways in the mega-structure. Some flew out beyond the planet on some space voyage unbeknownst to Elwood’s disembodied consciousness.

And there, yes there, above even those monolithic, cyclopean formations was It. The entity. Hungry for a new planet to consume.

The vehicles passed right through its knot of blackness as it writhed out there in invisible silence. Elwood imagined he was able to see what the inhabitants of the planet were not.

The creature, the thing, occupied a dimension beyond real space. Its black tendrils snaking down through the cracks and crevices of the mega-structure, down into the vehicles and even onto the surface of the planet itself.

The tips of the tendrils touched the minds of some of the humanoid creatures busying themselves with various tasks all across the gigantic world.

This is where I live. In the minds. In the darkest corners of their being. This is where I speak to them.

Like you’re speaking to me now?” Elwood responded, not understanding how he was able to communicate without a mouth, or even a brain for that matter.

Yes, but you, you Elwood, are special. You are one of the chosen.

With that, Elwood’s consciousness drilled down to the planet’s surface where huge iridescent purple forests dominated the landscape and vast oceans of pink gas flowed with deafening waves hundreds of feet tall breaking on artificial energy dams built to keep the noxious fumes out of the impossibly huge cities with buildings that twisted up into spires so tall Elwood was not able to see their tops from this new vantage point.

All manner of alien species busied themselves on the streets. This planet was clearly some kind of intergalactic hub. Some sort of megatropolis. And here, where the entity had plopped Elwood’s disembodied consciousness down was one of its tendrils.

This tendril was attached to the back of the neck of one of the alien beings which inhabited the planet. It seemed that the predominent species was a tall, slender yellowish creature with skinny limbs and large hands and feet. Their heads were covered with thick red fur that travled down their backs.

This was by no means the only species packed onto to the huge sidewalks, scurrying into the buildings and running across the glass-like streets, but there were more “yellows” than any other aliens.

The tendril connected to one such yellow who stood, dejected in an alley jutting off from the main throuroughfare.

Elwood could hear the entity speaking to the yellow through the psychic tendril. He could not decipher the alien language, but whatever the entity was saying was making the yellow more upset. It shuddered and cried, putting its head in its hands, shaking back and forth.

And then, as if coming to terms with its fate, the creature stood upright and pressed a series of buttons on a device attached to its wrist.

Instantly the form of the yellow changed. It was no longer a tall, slender alien, but now was hunched and gnarled. While still bipedal, it now resembled an insectoid porcupine with many spindly limbs jutting off from a shelled carapace. Strangely, there was greenish fluid leaking from decayed fracture points all over its new body.

The bug-thing staggered from out of the alley onto the packed sidewalk.

Mass chaos ensued.


Chapter 18

The original inhabitants of this planet were infected with a highly contagious virus brought to the planet by the yellow settlers. The entity was speaking directly to Elwood, narrating the insanity exploding on the streets below.

The crustaceans were sentient, albeit on the low end of the scale, similar to Earth’s primate species. They inhabited large swaths of nutrient and resource rich land near the gaseous coast lines. The yellows tried to systematically exterminate the species to make room for their mega structures as they teraformed the planet to be a natural gas refinement hub of their intergalactic empire.

Only the very poisons they used to eradicate the crustaceans mutated them into creatures like the one you see below. The green fluid leaking from its body is a symptom of a hideous disease that afflicts the bodies of the yellows which causes them slow, violent excruciating deaths.

The crustacean plague nearly wiped out the imported population of the planet and delayed plans for the gas refinery for hundreds of years until they were able to get the plague controlled and eventually eliminated.

The denizens of this planet have not seen a crustacean in nearly three centuries.

As the entity explained the strange history of the giant gas planet to Elwood, a wave of panic spread out over the alien population below. The crowd flared outward, opening like a flower trying to escape the yellow masquerading as a diseased crustacean. As they did this, many citizens were caught unaware, minding their own business, walking down the sidewalk, suddenly finding themselves trampled and crushed under a frothing mob.

Within seconds the panic reached the outer edges of the first city block. Aliens screeched and screamed, sending the message across thousands about the crustacean sighting. Waves of creatures stomped their fellow pedestrians and ran into the streets causing the blue-energy powered hover vehicles to smash into one another and mow down still more pedestrians.

In less than a minute blood flowed freely across the smooth glass streets and howls of pain and panic rang out for miles.

This, the entity explained, is the creature the people on this planet fear the most. It is the one thing that can illicit a reaction of panic and terror any time, anywhere in the world. This is the face of true fear.

As the yellow aliens and the other species ran, stomped, flailed and died all around the crustacean, a small group of brave aliens circled the thing. They each held small metallic objects in their hands. Elwood reasoned that these aliens were the police, or what passed for police on the planet.

Before any of the aliens could fire their weapons, the tendril attached to the back of the crustacean’s head, seemingly visible only to Elwood from his disembodied, omnipotent point of view, sprouted many protrusions out of the body of the crustacean the same way it had done with the clown girl’s body back on Earth.

Elwood was beginning to understand why he was being shown this scene.

The tentacle limbs darted out, skewering, slashing and mutilating the aliens with much the same precision and violent sadism as they had the Nelson brothers.

As these aliens lay dying, translucent tubers emerged from the tendrils sucking up a weird glowing energy that wafted off of the murdered bodies like steam from a pot of hot stew.

More tubers sprang forth from the larger tendril attached to the crustacean’s head and began to vacuum up the glowing energies rising up from the bodies of the trampled and mangled corpses strewn throughout the city block.

Feeding, Elwood reasoned. The entity fed off the suffering and dying life energies of its victims.

As the diseased crustacean loped off, chasing the crowd of thousands, causing much more chaos and mayhem, Elwood’s consciousness floated upward as the entity changed his perspective once more.

Now he was high enough that he could see thousands and thousands of tendrils snaking down onto the planet’s surface, attached to other alien creatures wreaking similar havoc on a global scale. Even the citizens working on the vast refinery scaffolding that encased and orbited the planet were not immune to the entity’s puppet strings.

Space craft smashed into mega structures, causing massive explosions resulting in giant plumes of alien life energy to seep out into space, only to be sucked up by endless tubers snaking from the tendrils attached to the entity’s invisible body hovering, looming, leering over the impossible scene.

Elwood was witnessing the planet’s death. A helpless specter. A paralyzed god. Seeing all, able to affect none of it.

Time stretched onward, days, weeks, months, the chaos never abating. The entity growing larger and stronger with each terrified, pain-filled death until virtually the only life left alive on the planet, were the creatures whom the entity had used to instigate the world-wide genocide.

Elwood’s perspective was rushed back down to the surface. By this time, he’d become accustomed to being hurtled about like he was some film camera on an expensive Hollywood film set.

He was back in the city square. Back with the original crustacean who had started all of the bloodshed.

The tendril attached to its head pulled away and slithered back up into space.

The crustacean was surrounded by the dead. Heaps of bodies as far as the eye could see. Rivers of blood flowed so deep the ornate glass streets were no longer visible.

There, on top of it all, the crustacean pressed several buttons on its wrist. The hologram disappeared. The yellow alien hung its head, exhausted.

It knelt there, head in hands and sobbed.

Elwood imagined that whatever awful truths the entity had whispered into its ear were as bad or worse than the ones it had made Elwood endure back on earth in the barn as it impersonated his dead uncle.

Before he’s able to follow this thought through, the yellow alien begins to change again. But this time, it did not morph with the aid of its holographic technology.

It screamed in agony as its limbs began to fuse to its sides and its whole body began to stretch upward toward the sky.

Great rips and gashes tore open along its length and opened wide. There, inside them, were glowing green eyes. It’s skin turned from vibrant yellow to the deep, empty yawning black that Elwood could now only associate with dread.

In seconds, the yellow alien was no more. In its place rose a long tentacle spiraling up into space to meet with the host body. Across the planet, thousands of other tentacles did the same.

They are the chosen, Elwood. The entity cooed, like an adoring father. They are my children. They will live forever through me because of their duty and sacrifice. They remain within me. They ARE me. We are one in the same.

As you shall be.

And then Elwood was back inside the barn. Back in front of dead uncle Jeff.

And he knew what he had to do.

***

Be back here next Saturday, November 25th, for chapter 19! 

She Was Only A Clown Chapters 15 and 16

SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN is a special serialized novella presented in weekly installments every Saturday. Click here to read chapter 1, click here to read chapter 2, click here to read chapter 3, click here to read chapter 4, click here to read chapter 5, click here to read chapters 6 an 7, click here to read chapters 8 and 9, click here to read chapters 10 and 11 and click here to read chapters 12 thru 14.


Chapter 15

Why won’t you kill him, Elwood?”

Whatever nerve Elwood possessed before his dead uncle spoke was obliterated in that moment.

It wasn’t the balloon-like lips parting, cracking and bleeding that shattered his wits. It wasn’t even the frog-sized purple and blue tongue poking out from behind the teeth that did it.

It was the voice.

Uncle Jeff’s vocal chords must have been ruined when the rope broke his neck as he fell away from the loft railing because the voice that escaped those ruined lips was not the deep, jovial voice of Elwood’s most cherished relative.

It was the clown girl’s voice. Except it wasn’t that either. Not exactly. It was controlling Jeff’s shredded vocal chords the way it was controlling the girl’s.

I don’t want to kill,” Elwood said, finally, trying his best not to make eye contact with the… thing hanging over him like some dead effigy of of his normal life. “I’m not a killer.” He said the last part as much to himself as to the talking corpse of his dead uncle, as if saying it out loud would make him believe it.

The truth was, he DID want to kill Mark Nelson. He wanted it badly. More than anything he’d ever wanted in his life. It was only upon his post-coital sobering that he began to have doubts.

Here, now, inside his worst memory, he was having trouble remembering what had been so exciting about the prospect of murder. Almost like he’d been possessed by another entity. An entity he’d shot out of his cock along with his load all over the clown girl’s tits.

Elwood’s apparent defiance evoked unsettling laughter from dead uncle Jeff. The corpse threw its head back and cackled.

Do you really believe any of those people out there care about you? Do you think your parents would have missed you if Mark and his brothers had slaughtered you and buried your body in the woods?”

Elwood didn’t answer. He knew the truth without Jeff having to state it. But the corpse did anyway.

They hate you, Elwood. The people who brought you into this world see you as nothing but a burden. Worse, they blame you, rightfully, for Jake’s accident and for my suicide.”

Tears flooded Elwood’s eyes as his heart sank.

Do you want to know what they secretly think but never say aloud to one another?”

Elwood knew the answer. It was palpable in the air at his home. Every time he caught his mother’s passing glance when he walked through a room. Or the way his father turned his back to Elwood any time they were in close proximity.

They wish I’d never been born,” he said, choking back a sob.

That’s right. The people in this world who should love you the most wish you’d never existed. Then Jake would be normal. Then I’d still be alive.”

Stop!” Elwood screamed, shaking his head. “Just stop it!”

Anxiety pulsed through him as he cried. He shook all over. He was maybe only moments away from a complete mental breakdown. Not because the corpse of his uncle spoke lies. But because he spoke the truth.

Then why be afraid of killing Mark Nelson? Does he not deserve it for what he did to you in his room? Or what he did to you for years after in the school yard? He has done nothing to earn your compassion, Elwood. You mean nothing. You’re barely human. Join us. Finish him.”

Elwood winced at the accusation. Barely human. His whole life he’d felt less than human. Like a waste of air. Like a burden on gravity.

Why was he hesitating? Why wouldn’t he take the final step, cross over into the corruption? Embrace the darkness that was already projected onto him even by those bound by blood to love him?

It wasn’t some sense of moral obligation to humanity. A creep like Elwood was not fooled by such notions of ethical absolutism.

It certainly wasn’t an affection or empathy toward Mark Nelson. Elwood wanted him to die. Wanted him to die slowly and painfully like his psychotic brothers.

No, it was something much more subtle that kept Elwood from giving himself over to the weird entity that trapped him inside his nightmare.

It was the look in the clown girl’s eyes. Her real eyes, human eyes.

Before Elwood could think on it further, the corpse of his uncle Jeff lifted up, defying gravity, causing the rope around its neck to go slack for a moment before the bloated, wretched thing soard forward and downward, adding impossible length to the rope until it hovered just in front of Elwood’s face.

Elwood leaped backward in fright, but he knew there was nowhere to go. Indeed, a glance behind him showed that even the doors of the barn were being devoured by the slow creep of the black oblivion, consuming Elwood’s nightmare with a maddeningly slow pace.

Facing the distorted features of dead uncle Jeff pushed Elwood even closer to the brink of mental exhaustion.

At this distance, Elwood was able to see the gouges across Jeff’s fluid-filled neck cavity where he’d reached up and tried to claw himself free of the noose after he’d dived from the loft railing.

This echo of memory, this shame nightmare Elwood was trapped inside of did not spare his other senses either. He could smell the rancid shit and gore from where Jeff’s bowels had emptied into his pants, down his legs and onto the barn floor. Could smell the coppery congealed blood violently caked all across the features of the man Elwood had considered the only person who truly cared about him.

You will join us or you will die,” the corpse hissed.

I know that,” Elwood said, feeling like he was on the verge of emptying his own bowels had it not been for the fact that Mark had pretty much rendered that an impossibility at least for a few days while his guts healed. “I’m ready.”

Ready to kill?” the corpse asked, cocking its melon-like head.

Ready to die.”


Chapter 16

The corpse made an inhuman noise, clearly frustrated at Elwood’s defiance.

A defiance which surprised even Elwood himself. He figured, with what little fissure of sanity he yet possessed, that he simply had nothing left to lose. Putting him here, confronting the very worst possible moment of his life had clearly been meant as a way to weaken Elwood’s constitution. To test his mettle. 

This had succeeded greatly. Maybe too greatly, because now, with nothing to live for and nothing left to lose, grinning with a renewed sense of purpose, Elwood’s fear and anxiety began to melt away.

He was no longer fearful of dead uncle Jeff, nor of whatever otherworldly entity that possessed the memory of him.

This entity must have sensed Elwood’s growing bravery because just as Elwood found his courage, the corpse of Jeff started to come apart. Bits of flesh, hair and bone began to swim out from the body as though it were submerged underwater.

At the cracks in the seams where this detritus escaped, that now all too familiar black matter appeared pulsing with its rows of green eyes.

Within another moment, Jeff’s body was hovering again, but all across its perimeter like some unholy outline was the creature inhabiting it, like a ventriloquist controlling a dummy.

Tendrils squirmed out from burst gaseous sacs sending waves of noxious fumes into the air as Jeff’s body continued to rise.

His face which Elwood thought could not become more hideous split down the front, the two halves falling away like broken eggs, revealing the triangle face of the thing that had set all of tonight’s fantastic and horrible events into motion.

It menaced Elwood, soaring above still hanging on to uncle Jeff’s ragged corpse like a locust clinging to its shed skin.

Enough games, child,” the thing said, no longer bothering to use the mock voice of uncle Jeff. Its own synthetic cadence booming throughout the barn. “You will see.”

The thing snaked a tendril down from the rafters of the barn where it hovered and before Elwood could act, stabbed the sharp end of the tentacle directly into Elwood’s forehead.

And you will obey.”

***

Be back here next Saturday, November 18th, for chapter 17! 

She Was Only A Clown Chapters 12 Thru 14

SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN is a special serialized novella presented in weekly installments every Saturday through Halloween. Click here to read chapter 1, click here to read chapter 2, click here to read chapter 3, click here to read chapter 4, click here to read chapter 5, click here to read chapters 6 an 7, click here to read chapters 8 and 9 and click here to read chapters 10 and 11. 


Chapter 12

Elwood caught his breath and turned around, facing his rapist. His years long tormentor.

Mark seemed to have recovered, however much one could recover from a mortal wound to the jugular vein. With the sharp end of the sign post still lodged in place, the wound seemed to have stopped bleeding, the dark brown and black chunks built up around the sharp wood indicating coagulation.

Mark was still ghost-white, but he was now lucid, his eyes clear, and full of abject terror.

N-No, no! Get the fuck away from me you fucking monster!”

Elwood should have been elated that Mark now saw him as a threat. As a demon trapped inside a clown suit. Skitzo Cyko the killer clown. That’s what he’d wanted, right? He wanted to instill fear in the town of Hopp’s Hollow, if only for one night.

So why instead was he full of dread?

Elwood was sweating again. This time a cold sweat. His hands were shaking. He was terrified. Not of Mark Nelson. No even of the otherworldly creature behind him masquerading as a girl.

He was terrified to kill.

His murder boner gone, all of his lust for depravity had melted away. He didn’t want to hurt Mark. Sure he still hated the redneck bastard, still felt the searing pain in his anus from where Mark had violently penetrated him. Still felt the throbbing of his head where Mark had nailed him with the cum jar, intending to make him eat its contents before killing him out here in the woods.

But all Elwood wanted to do at that moment was go home. He wanted to hide in his barn. To shut out the world. To forget that it contained real monsters and real murderers. He wanted to read comic books and sleep.

He wanted to cry.

Surely someone had heard the utter madness emanating from the woods. They weren’t all THAT far from the roadside. Someone was bound to see the headlights from the dirt bikes or even the green eyes pulsing across the black skin of the clown girl’s true form.

And what would Elwood say should someone crash through the tree line and find him standing there, covered in blood, body parts strewn across the clearing? That a monster girl killed her rapists while he stood on and jacked his pecker in anticipation?

His breathing became more shallow as he considered what had happened with a clear head. His fingerprints were all over the sign post stuck in Mark’s neck. His cum was dripping off the clown girl’s tits onto the ground. His blood and shit was caked on Mark’s dick. His DNA was everywhere. He was fucked. Everything was fucked.

Elwood’s panicked thoughts were broken as Mark tried to get to his feet. The sign shifted, causing the wound to rip back open, sending him crashing back to the ground, yelping in pain, putting both his hands back up to his neck to keep himself from bleeding out.

Elwood turned back to the clown girl, no less freaked out than he had been a moment before.

Her human eyes shifted up to meet his gaze for the first time. This was somehow more unsettling than her true triangle face. There was a presence behind those eyes. Not the alien weirdness of the rows and rows of pulsing green eyes that washed over the pitch black skin of her real body. No, there was something human behind her eyes.

Like there was a real girl in there.

One of us?” This time when she spoke, her preternatural voice from beyond was more forceful. This time her question was a demand. It was time. Elwood had to kill Mark Nelson.

C-can I just go home?” he said in a small voice, like a punished child knowing that the answer would already be no.

The clown girl cocked her head, seeming not to understand the request.

I-I thought this is what I wanted. I thought I wanted to be an evil killer clown. I…even believed it. But,” he looked back at Mark who now possessed a glimmer of hope in his eyes. Like he was only just now considering for the first time that he might survive this awful night.

I-I won’t say nothin’ I swear!” Mark stammered, desperate now that he thought he had a chance to live. “I’m sorry I fucked yer butt, Elwood! I really am! An’ I’m sorry my brothers did that stuff to your girl. They… they was bad people but they… oh god. They’re dead! They’re all dead!”

The dirty hick broke down sobbing, unable to process further the insane events he’d taken part in.

I just want to go home.”

Elwood couldn’t think of anything else to say. He would just wait for the clown girl to maul him like she’d done to the Nelson boys or maybe, if he was lucky, to just disappear like she’d done when Mark first showed up in the woods.

But that’s not what she did. Instead, she reached through the jagged smile of the clown mask over his head and touched Elwood’s face.

“Home.”

When Elwood opened his eyes, he was no longer in the woods. He stood instead directly in front of the double doors of the barn. He was home. Except he wasn’t.

A sense of dread hit him immediately.

He hadn’t been magically transported home like he’d requested. He hadn’t escaped the violent nightmare in the woods.

He knew exactly where he was.

It was no longer night. It wasn’t dawn or morning either. It was almost sundown. It was no longer late October. There was no chill in the air. It was summer again.

Elwood had just wandered outside looking for uncle Jeff. Jeff must have come outside earlier that afternoon. He’d been spending more and more time in the barn recently but always came inside around dusk to feed Jake. Jake wouldn’t take his food from anyone else, not since the accident. Jeff was forced to feed him baby food because he wouldn’t chew or swallow normal food anymore. He would just spit it all over the kitchen or pick it up and throw it if he was in the middle of one of his many angry tantrums.

Elwood could still hear Jake inside banging his helmeted head against the wall screaming to be fed.

But when he turned to look at the house, he saw nothing but a swirling black vortex lined with those same patterned green eyes pulsing and rippling in perfect rows across the spiraling maw of… what?

Memory, Elwood concluded, turning back toward the barn. The clown girl wanted Elwood to relive the worst memory of his life.

She wanted him to find uncle Jeff hanging dead by his neck. Again.


Chapter 13

As the sun sank below the horizon, Elwood stood staring at the barn doors. The left door was slightly ajar and the breeze kept clanking it shut only for it to slowly creek back open, as though beckoning Elwood to walk through and claim his prize. As though mocking the inevitable.

Elwood stood there a long time. The vortex behind him slowly crept forward. Even his perifreal vision now swam with swirling blackness and the ever present strobe of green eyes.

The house behind him had been totally swallowed by it, as would he if he didn’t step into the barn soon. Small threads of reality collapsed into the vortex and were sucked down, deep into the cavernous eternity of its depths.

Elwood considered throwing himself head-long into the madness to save himself from the terror of what lay beyond the door. But he was a coward. He knew this and the clown girl knew this. They both knew he was not brave enough to face oblivion. As awful as what hung inside the barn was, the prospect of an unknown fate was multitudes more terrifying.

Finally, after what seemed like many hours, Elwood pushed the clanking barn door aside, and walked into his nightmare.

He kept his eyes closed. His heart beat rapidly in his chest. He felt the crunch of gravel drive under his feet turn into the hard clay-like soil that lined the bottom of the barn. The temperature cooled as he stepped fully inside and the door swung shut behind him, finally finding its latch, closing him inside.

He stood there, eyes still closed for a long time. He figured eventually the vortex of eyes would creep its way inside the barn and swallow him up if he didn’t get on with it.

Keeping his eyes closed was useless anyway. Every time he closed his eyes he saw it. It was the first thing he thought about when he woke up in the morning and the last thing he thought of before he fell asleep. Anytime his thoughts strayed they led him back to this moment. Ever since he came home and found–

Elwood opened his eyes.

–This.


Chapter 14

At first, when Elwood found uncle Jeff he’d thought it was a dummy filled with hay hanging there, swaying gently back and forth.

The head, the face was all wrong. Elwood couldn’t process it. It was purple and round. The lips were bulged like sausages. Dark liquid was caked and dried under the nose and the eyes.

Oh god the eyes.

Gah… gah,” was all Elwood managed to get out. He remembered like it had just happened. He’d reached his arms out and stumbled forward, like if he could just hurry up and get to Jeff, somehow the violently dead corpse would magically come back to life.

Jeff must have come out to the barn very early that morning, while the rest of the house slept. Elwood hadn’t noticed him missing because Elwood usually slept late. Jake’s tantrum tonight must have been extra bad because he’d missed breakfast and lunch.

It didn’t matter how much the boy wailed, Elwood’s parents just ignored him like he wasn’t there. Like he didn’t exist since his accident.

They hadn’t said anything to Elwood before he’d wandered out to the barn looking for Jeff, but that wasn’t uncommon. Elwood’s parents sometimes went days without speaking to him, perpetually parked in front of their living room television while he came and went from the basement unabated.

Here in the nightmare, Elwood mimicked his past movements. He stumbled forward, grabbed the railing to the stairs that lead to the loft portion of the barn and tried to run up the steps, falling several times as he continued to blurt, “gah! Gah!”

In the nightmare, the loft hadn’t been converted into Elwood’s living space yet. It was still full of junk. Debris from a time when Elwood’s grandfather, Jeff’s father had operated a lawn service.

Jeff had tied the thick twine rope to a stack of lawn mower engines and leaped off the balcony railing.

Elwood in a state of fevered panic had grabbed the twine and yanked, trying to pull Jeff’s corpse back into the loft. He yanked violently enough to rip open the palms of his hands.

At some point he’d started yelling. Yelling as loudly as he could, yelling over and over again until his even his parents who ignored everything had run through the barn doors.

But no one came this time. This time it was just Elwood and Jeff and no matter how much he screamed, his parents would never come.

Suddenly Elwood was back on the ground floor, staring up at the lifeless body of Jeff, swinging there. The look on his dead, bloated, awful face a mixture of surprise, regret and agony. Like he hadn’t died from the fall. Like he’d hung there a long, long time still alive. 

And then something happened that had never happened before. Not on the day Elwood had found his uncle hanged, not in the countless times he’d re-imagined that awful moment.

The corpse spoke.

***

Be back here next Saturday, November 11th, for chapter 15!