This is the final chapter in the story of a boy, Chief, who has become troubled by nightmares of a clown that murders him in his sleep. Maybe the love of his mother will make the nightmares stop…then again…maybe not.
When Chief woke, he was in his bedroom. Everything was dark, and there was no noise save for the gentle clicking of the small clock that rested on his bedside table.
Chief sat up, and winced as a shock of pain went lashing through his side. A loud giggle of glee split the silence, and he froze, realizing he was not alone.
“Poor little boy,” an icy voice whispered. “Poor little boy whose mommy doesn’t love him.”
He looked everywhere for the source of the voice, but he saw nothing but shadow. A numbing terror washed over him and Chief felt the sticky warmth of piss spread down his thighs. It was the clown. He knew it was the clown before he ever saw him.
The hulking shape came slinking out of the shadows, the knife wielded in its right hand and the same black-eyed mask its his face. The monster cocked its head from one side to the other as it slowly approached the bed, giggles marking its every step.
“Did you think you would get away, little boy? Did you think that you would leave me behind? You can’t leave Mr. Happy. You can’t leave Cromville.”
Chief tried to cry out, but the words were frozen in his throat. He threw up his hands, whether to signal for help or protect himself, he did not know. His bare arms were covered in dark bruises, welts and scrapes. The last thing he remembered was the spinning of the car and the sound of broken glass.
“And your mother’s screams. I’m sure you remember those too,” the clown giggled, as if reading his thoughts. “She’s dead, you know. I killed her first, this time. Left her in the kitchen. But not before I got what I wanted…”
The clown stopped a few feet from Chief’s bed and stared down. It raised the bloody knife to its lips and licked along the serrated edge. There was nowhere for Chief to go, no where for him to run. He was cornered. Behind him, there was nothing but wall and the clown stood between him and the only door. His eyes grew wide and terrified in the dark.
Chief looked wildly around the room in a desperate search for anything that might save him. He thought of Rodger and a surge of madness filled his chest. His brain stuttered back into gear and he found his voice as he unleashed an explosion of screams. Had the clown said this time?
“No crying here, little boy. It’s too late for that. Did you think you would leave this town? Did you think you would leave me?”
The clown dropped the knife, and as he did so a splatter of blood shot up the leg of his striped trousers. One white, shriveled hand reached for the mask and began to tug at the pallid white flesh of the eerie facade. Slowly, the macabre face folded away to reveal the real monster that was waiting underneath.
The bile came up in Chief’s throat and he retched violently all over the wrinkled top of his blankets. Images flooded his mind and the blood roared in his ears as his pulse raced.
Mr. Peterson smiled wickedly and laughed so hard that his head fell back on his shoulders. He looked down at the young boy with a mad look, and pieces of memory began to fall into place.
The Mad Clown Murders, that’s what the papers had called it forty-five years ago. The summer of 1954. Teacher kills 35, including himself, all in one night. It might have been drugs, they found a lot of them in his house, but mostly they thought it was just the nerves. He was such a nervous man. Always twitchy around the kids he taught. No one ever expected him to do something like that. No one ever expects something like that. Slinking into houses in the middle of the night and slaying entire families? No. No one ever thinks of things like that.
Chief screamed over and over again as the memories came back to him. Mr. Peterson laughed. Uncontrollable shaking came over him. No. No. No.
They had just finished dinner; Chief, his mother, his father and his two little brothers — George and Rodger they were called. One had blonde hair and the other red, just like their father’s. Mother had made Chicken Parmesan, her specialty, and father had joked about the local football team. They had all been smiling and mother had been wearing her rollers. What had Father been wearing? He couldn’t remember.
Chief had gone to bed that night — in his own room, because he was the oldest — but he hadn’t expected the clown to be there, waiting in the darkness with the knife. His little brain had not been able to comprehend what was happening as the man in the mask had crawled up onto the bed and slit his little boy throat as easily as he sliced butter. Chief certainly hadn’t recognized Mr. Peterson then, just as he hadn’t in the nightmares, as the madman had laughed and giggled with glee; his knife sliding in and out of the little boy’s corpse over and over again.
Chief screamed as the memories of his death flooded him, and a violent sobbing overtook him. Nineteen fifty-four. You’ve been dead for forty-five years.
“Cry, little boy. Cry,” Peterson taunted him, slithering closer. He picked up the knife again, but his mask was discarded and there was the evilest of looks on his face. “Cry all you want, but it won’t do you any good. I’m your worst nightmare…forever!”
Chief looked up in horror as the shadow overcame him and the knife plunged into this throat. “Mommy,” he whimpered. “Mommy, please. Help me.”