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I grew up with a healthy fear of clowns, I’d say. Could’ve been because of Stephen King, could’ve been because of John Wayne Gacy, could’ve just been because they’re fucking creepy looking. My family has never let me live it down, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me when I walked into our house one day to see a seven foot animatronic clown peering at me from the corner of the living room.
A sign hung around his neck that read “Free Hugs”. I felt my eyebrows scrunch together in disgust and walked off to bed. It was too late for me to be dealing with this.
The following morning I was startled awake by a high pitch and crazed laughter. For a moment I felt my legs seize up before remembering. I walked into the room to see my 18 year old sister, Lily, stepping on a little pad connected to the clown and giggling along with it as it reached its robotic arms out to pretend grab her. She noticed me and giggled even harder.
“I got him at the Halloween store!”
“Yippee,” I said as I peered over at the frozen figure towering over us both.
“His name is Giggles. Dad said we’re gonna move him into your room once Halloween is over.” She smirked. I did not. She left for work quickly after and told me to have fun with Giggles, once again breaking out into laughter. I didn’t study him too hard last night but now as I stepped back and really noticed his face my legs once again start to feel tense. His eyes were yellow and almost catlike, with purple diamond makeup surrounding them. A goofy white smile permanently painted on. Wild purple hair to match the purple and bloodied outfit he had on. A fake deck of cards rest in his pocket. Other than his eyes, his face looked weirdly human. Usually the animatronics you see in haunted houses and Halloween stores just resemble giant, kinda creepy dolls. But Giggles looks like he walked straight out of a freak show and into my home. I chalked it up to the advancement in technology and went back to bed. I dreamed of Giggles, snapping my spine. My body a broken, mangled mess. His smile still frozen.
I woke up to laughter once again. This time I sighed, was this going to be a new routine?
Mom was in the living room, reading on the couch. I sat down next to her and without looking up she said,
“The stupid thing has gone off on its own twice since I got out here.”
“Haha,” I muttered, thinking she was just teasing me. As soon as the sarcastic laugh had left my mouth, Giggles yellow eyes lit, and his arms stretched forward.
“Oh, you were a little fast. I’ll getcha next time!” Giggles cried in his high voice, followed by the same laugh I’d been woken up to twice earlier. I noticed mom shoot me her “I told you so” look out of the corner of my eye but I remained fixated on Giggles. Do animatronics mouths usually open and form words so perfectly?
“Maybe he’s on a motion sensor.” I walked over and swung my arms a few times. Nothing other than how his eyes seemed to follow my arms. I looked over at mom and frowned, thinking about how I already want to get rid of this stupid thing.
“No. Lily bought that pad thing so she didn’t need to turn the sensor on.” I was still skeptical, or maybe I just wanted mom to be wrong. I reached behind Giggles to look at the wires connected to him and saw she wasn’t. Motion sensors were off. As soon as I let go of Giggles, the yellow eyes flared up again and as the robotic hands reached out, one got caught on my arm. Then I felt a light squeeze as the clown yelled,
“Come a little closer! I’ve got games… and HUGS!” I gasped and jumped back as he gleefully laughed then went back to his normal stance. I stood there feeling as stiff as Giggles was, until I heard my mom laugh.
“You never did like clowns, huh?” I glared at her as I started back towards my room. I heard Giggles laughing as I closed my door.
Ever since Giggles moved into the living room my circadian rhythm seemed to be the only thing that hadn’t been waking me up. This time it wasn’t laughter, it was my dog. My eyes fluttered open, hearing a slight whimper in my ear. My 110 lb St. Bernard was staring back at me, her weapon of a tail whipping my legs with every wag.
“Whatcha doin’, bub?” Charity usually only sleeps in moms room, but anytime she hears something that scares her it’s my bed she ends up in. This particular night the sound happened to be thunder. As lightning broke through the heavy clouds and briefly brightened my room, I pat her head. Thunder cracked again and when my room was lit up this time I noticed something in my mirror. I grabbed the flashlight on my nightstand. I squinted as my eyes adjusted and noticed my reflection twist it’s face in horror. Written on the wall behind my bed in big purple letters:
“COME A LITTLE CLOSER.” Thunder loudly filled my ears, as well as laughter from the other room. Maybe it wasn’t the storm that scared my dog.
The next few days came and went, there were small things happening only I seemed to notice. One morning I noticed Giggles’ white gloves were splattered with what looked like dried blood. Later I found a mutilated, dead bird on our deck. The next day, Giggles was facing a little more to the right than usual. And I found a joker card sitting on my bed later on. Giggles continuously went off on his own. I thought I was going crazy, but that didn’t stop me from constantly feeling on edge.
Then Friday came. Date night for my parents. Lily was working a third shift. I was alone. Well, I was with Giggles.
10 o’clock came. I kept Charity in my room, not cause she was scared but because I was. Laughter erupted from the living room a couple times and I shivered. I turned up the volume on my TV. 11:30, more laughter. Closer this time. Then again, right outside my door. I held my breath. Charity was fast asleep under my bed. I listened. Silence.
Then I heard scratching.
“Come a little clooooser.” This voice was not the usual one. It was still high pitched. But it was quieter, teasing me. I fumbled around in my bed trying to find my phone. I texted mom and told her to call 911 then I reached into my nightstand drawer, the scratching turned into knocking, and I searched frantically for anything I could use as a weapon.
“Come a little closer. Little closer!” Giggles snickered. I found a pocket knife, I clutched it tightly. Giggles was now pounding at the door, the knob rattling viciously as he howled with wild laughter.
“If you don’t come closer, I WILL,” he screeched. Then nothing. The door stopped shaking, the knob sat still. Charity was now sitting at the foot of my bed, the hair on her neck standing. I didn’t dare to move.
Suddenly the door broke off its hinges, collapsing loudly against my floor. I cried out loudly in fright as I stared straight into hollow yellow eyes. He stood there, not moving. Just smiling and staring. But this wasn’t his normal robotic position. He was alive. He was staring me down. He was going to kill me.
His lips formed into a pout, though his makeup still rest in an ugly grin.
“What’s the matter? You don’t want a hug?” His shrieking laugh pierced my ears. Charity let out a low growl. That’s when he barreled towards me, his already bloodied gloves grabbed a hold of my arm. He leaned in close, his eyes burned. My heart was beating so hard I thought it’d break my ribs.
“Now we can play a game! We’ll see how much of you breaks before you DIE!”
I heard it before I felt it, the crunch that could have been a tree branch being stepped on. But instead it was my arm being snapped. The pain radiated through my body and I screamed. I couldn’t hear myself over Giggles laughing out in joy. I stared down at the bone, broken and jutting out of my body. Blood soaking my sheets and dripping onto the carpet. Giggles had left what looked like a burn in the shape of his hands on my skin. I cried, paralyzed. That’s when Charity jumped. I went to yell out to her, not wanting her to meet the same fate. But she caught Giggles by surprise, clamping down on his shoulder, and ripping the arm right out of its socket. It dropped heavily on the floor and Charity barked as sirens could also be heard wailing in the distance. Giggles started towards Charity then stopped and looked at me instead. His mouth curled into a horrible smile and he said,
“Don’t worry, I’ll keep close. We can finish the game soon.” He ran out of the room and I saw blue and red flashes coming from outside my window a few minutes later.
Giggles was never found. The police probably thought I was crazy, my family too. But no one ever said anything. After all how could you explain the burn marks on my arm? The broken bone? My dog, refusing to leave my side, and the robots lifeless arm beside her? Charity sleeps by me every night, now. And no one has brought a clown into this house since. Which is weird because sometimes, I do hear one giggling.