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, click here to read chapters 15 and 16 and click here to read chapters 17 and 18.
“You’re not like the others on this planet, Elwood. You are one of my chosen. You will live forever inside of me. Kill the boy. Join the girl. Strike fear into the hearts of men around the world.”
“Why clowns?” Elwood asked, no less unsettled by Jeff’s hanging body. “It was bugs on that planet. Why clowns here? How will clowns cause…” Elwood thought about the planet-wide chaos that had befallen the gas world the entity had showed him. “…That?”
Uncle Jeff slowly drifted back down from the barn’s rafters to Elwood’s eye level. His seams were still split, sharp black tendrils still poked out of him at every angle giving him the appearance of a deranged pin cushion or voodoo doll.
“There is no singular symbol on Earth like the corrupted insectoid life-form on the industrial planet. Nothing which by mere appearance would cause mass panic.”
“What about the devil?” Elwood asked, sensing that the power struggle between he and the alien life-form was slowly turning in his favor. He became more bold and defiant as the moments passed. “What about God?”
“Those concepts are lost on your people. They have become so lost in their fantasies that the unreal has become as common as the real. And yet, subtle fears remain embedded deep in your species’ collective DNA.
“The clown. The faceless man. The sinister hiding behind the sublime. The trickster. The fool. There is a primal unease about a man who is at once human and inhuman. Full of emotion yet lacking authenticity. Every culture on Earth has a clown figure. It does not cause mass panic in the streets. Not yet. But after tonight? After the slaughter of the Nelson family. After continued sightings and random violence caused by my clown-shrouded acolytes in cities and countries spanning the entire planet. Before long, your whole world will run in fear of the clown. And we, you and I and the girl and the others that I’ve blessed with my corrupted touch, you special few, we shall show this planet delicious fear unlike it has ever seen. And we shall feast.”
Elwood pondered what the thing in front of him said. After a few moments, he looked his dead uncle in his bulging, bloodshot eyes and said, “What if I say no?”
The entity was taken aback. It stuttered through Jeff’s lips, then smirked. Clearly it was not used to being questioned by the weak-willed, broken beings it preyed on from world to world.
Elwood doubted it had expected him to do more than curl up into the fetal position and beg to be released from the nightmare.
But what the alien world eater hadn’t anticipated was that Elwood had long ago accepted his place in the world. That the very reason he’d donned the clown outfit in the first place was because his deeply entrenched self loathing had begun to turn sour. Had normalized. Had become something that Elwood had begun to revel in.
Of course that would manifest into psychotic behavior. The entity had anticipated that. Had “chosen” Elwood and all the others because that emotional switch had been flipped inside them. That detachment from their fellow people. That isolation, that loneliness. But Elwood felt empowered by it, not enslaved by it.
He continued to smile at dead uncle Jeff as the thing searched for an answer to his question.
“You belong to me,” it said, finally. “Your mind, your body, your very essence lurks inside of me forever and always. It is your choice to accept my gift of eternal life, to use that gift to aid in the destruction of infinite worlds like this one, to gorge yourself on the suffering and death of untold billions. Or you can die like a dog. The choice is yours.”
“I’ll pass,” Elwood said, turning to face the barn doors, to face the yawning infinite blackness before him.
“There is no escape! You will never return to your world!” Uncle Jeff screamed, straining against the rope wound round his neck.
“Not trying to go home,” Elwood said, stepping headlong into the chaotic portal of death energy. “I’ve got someone to see.”
Elwood was on fire. Every inch of his being was torn in different directions. It took great concentration to remind himself that he had no being, no body. His body was presumably still standing in the woods by the Nelson house. Was he like the clown girl now? A husk. A slave to the whims of the planet eater? Here, inside it, he was simply a consciousness stuck inside the titan body of a celestial monster bent on devouring his planet.
When he’d floated out here before when the entity had first dragged his consciousness out of his body, he’d sensed he was not alone. The entity had been there, of course, like it was now, an omnipresent force, like a malignant tumor pressed against Elwood’s brain.
But he had sensed another.
He’d sensed the girl.
The alien had touched him with the clown girl’s hand, had sucked his consciousness up through hers as a conduit.
Elwood could sense that presence now. He followed it like a dim road map, coursing through infinite pain, infinite darkness and near madness.
He held onto the girl’s presence like a far off beacon just barely lighting the way in a torrential storm threatening to capsize a boat.
Elwood fought, swimming against a current of chaos, a labyrinth of horror, inching ever so closer as time spiraled onward and onward until again its very notion was nonsensical.
Elwood’s non-corporeal essence swam toward the clown girl forever, unrelenting, never tiring, like a bloodthirsty shark smelling a fresh victim in the water.
And then he was there.
He was inside her mind.
She sits huddled in a dark corner of the back room of a small house. She is not wearing clown makeup. She’s nude. Her heavy breasts heave as she sobs, defying gravity as they hover above her tiny waist. Her hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail. Her makeup and mascara are smeared all over her face.
There is also blood and semen caked there.
She sits next to a bare mattress soaked in blood. On the mattress is the body of another girl.
Her throat is wrapped in wire which has cut through her windpipe. Dark dried blood covers the front of her nude body. Her breasts are much, much smaller than the living girl’s. She’s covered in tattoos. Her lips both upper and lower are pierced. Even in death she’s beautiful. A gorgeous corpse. She seems like the she was the kind of girl who would have appreciated that.
Elwood entered the room. When the living girl saw him she whimpered and tried to cover up her huge boobs, a mostly futile effort, but Elwood appreciated her modesty even in the horrific situation she found herself in.
She tried to scoot away, but was clearly too exhausted from whatever ordeal she’d just been through to put up any sort of fight.
“I’m not here to hurt you,” Elwood said, kneeling to her level. He reached out to touch her bare leg, an attempt at reassurance that ended with the girl scrambling over the corpse and running for the open doorway into the hallway.
Only there was no hallway. The yawning blackness met her at the door, rotating slowly, nipping at the corners of the door frame, inching ever so slightly forward into the room. The same as it had in Elwood’s nightmare.
“A-am I in hell?” the girl asked, finally, turning to Elwood. “Are you the devil?”
Elwood blushed. She’d dropped her hands, revealing the huge areola and nipples that jutted up and out from her breasts. Exposed her flat stomach and shaved pussy.
Somehow here, inside of her mind, without the clown makeup and otherworldly movements, she seemed so much more vulnerable. So much more feminine.
“A kind of hell, I guess,” Elwood said, trying to regain his composure. He glanced at the floor so as not to stare at the girl’s nakedness. He was not attracted to her. Not anymore than he’d been attracted to her in the woods in all her paint. But as a real woman, he felt empathy for her. Compassion. Or the closest proximity to compassion a fucked up, damaged being like Elwood was capable of.
“Why are you doing this to me?” she asked, sobbing again. “Why are you making me re-live this over and over again?”
“It eats your fear,” Elwood said softly.
“What?” She started to hyperventilate. She was going to have a breakdown any moment. Another breakdown of many, Elwood guessed. How long had she been trapped like this? Weeks? Months? She must have tasted so good to the alien thing using her body like a murderous puppet.
“I-I didn’t do this,” Elwood explained. “It’s… a long story. I’ll explain everything, just… just believe me when I say I’m here to help you.”
The girl didn’t seem convinced. She stood in the doorway shivering, taking shallow breaths, scratching bloody ruts into her arms with her fingernails.
“I want to go home! I want my mom!”
“I don’t think we get to do that,” Elwood said, sitting against the wall. I don’t think we get to do anything like that ever again.”
“W-why not? Because… because of what I did to Mandee?”
Elwood glanced again at the corpse sitting next to him. Mandee. Her eyes were half closed, glazed over. Her mouth hung in a sensuous pucker. She looked as though she’d enjoyed her death.
“You did this to her?” Elwood asked.
“Yes,” the girl said, crying. But she moved closer to Elwood.
“This is the worst moment of your life,” Elwood said. Not a question, a statement.
The girl nodded, inching even closer, still timid but clearly beginning to trust the boy who’d invaded her nightmare. Elwood imagined how hard it must have been for her in here all this time. The entity could have made it seem like she’d been here lifetimes, alone. Suffering for her sins.
“Does she… Talk to you?”
“Sit with me,” Elwood said, motioning to a bare spot on the floor on the opposite side of the corpse on the mattress. “What’s your name?”
The girl obeyed. She sat cross legged facing Elwood, arms still covering her naked breasts. “My name’s Kiana.”
“My name’s Elwood, and I’m stuck in this nightmare with you.”
Kiana smirked and sniffled away snot from her nose. “Some fuckin’ place to meet.”
“I need you to tell me exactly what happened here,” Elwood said, reaching up, pulling the drapes down off of the window in the far corner of the room. The exposed window didn’t show the world outside. Of course it didn’t. Outside the window was just more of… it. More seething, endless blackness.
He wrapped the thick cloth around Kiana’s shoulders, covering her nudity.
She took a deep breath and told him everything.
Be back here next Saturday, December 2nd, for chapter 22!