Happy Halloween! The day is finally here and I’m glad that you’ve stopped your Trick or Treating to read the ending to my short story!
In the last installment, Alex saw a gruesome clown with an axe following he and Madison, but when he asked Madison if she saw him, she said no. All Alex wants to do now is get out of the haunted house! Will he make it? Read on!
Don’t Be Afraid
Alex released Madison’s shoulders and stepped back. She didn’t see the clown. Was he imagining it? He ran a hand through his hair.
“Look!” She pointed a finger over his shoulder.
Alex slowly turned. The room was lit with a red light. Hot flames shot out of the wall.
The walls appeared to be wet. Lying all over the ground, in various forms of dress, were people. Or parts of people. Alex couldn’t tell which. He couldn’t tell if there was blood on the floor, or if it was the red light. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
But in order to do so, he had to physically climb over the people. He stepped over one, reaching back to help Madison.
She took his hand.
The door banged again.
One of the people reached up and seized Alex’s leg.
Alex kicked the hand free. He was long past the point of believing this was a haunted house. Not with glowing clown eyes. Not with so much blood. Not with… He glanced back at the door. The chair he had lodged in place was holding.
One of the bodies, one of the people had crawled to the chair and had his hand against one of the legs. He pushed it. The chair toppled.
“No!” Alex screamed as the door swung open. “Go!” he hollered at Madison, frantically climbing over the piles of people. They were all moving now, holding him back, clutching his body. He glanced back to see the door open and the clown enter the room. His gross smile and glowing eyes. His bright red hair.
Alex clawed his way through the bodies, climbing over them. When he looked back, the clown stood just below him, his axe raised in the air…
…over Madison who slipped down the pile of bodies.
The clown brought the axe down into Madison’s back.
“No!” Alex screamed and lurched forward, pushing the clown away. His hand got caught in the clown’s bright red hair and Alex yanked it free.
“Alex!” the clown hissed.
Alex punched the clown in the face, again and again. Around him, lights flashed and fog entered the room.
The clown tried to fend off Alex’s blows, raising his hands. One hand still held the bloody axe. Alex yanked it free and swung, hitting the clown in the head. It dropped to the ground. Alex lifted the axe and hit it, once, and then again. And again and again.
Gasping for breath, he backed away from the bloodied clown. He turned, looking for Madison.
He spotted one of the dead people standing in a corner, near a door. The bloodied man shook his head and quickly opened the door, racing out.
Alex looked for Madison again. But he couldn’t find her. She was gone.
Confused, dazed, he headed for the door, having to make his way through a tight tube of air. No bodies. Lights still flashed and fog filled the room.
Alex didn’t know how he made it out, but he pushed open a door and fresh air greeted him.
Larry sat on a bench and when he saw Alex, the grin that had begun faltered and faded as his gaze swept Alex. “Geez, Alex,” he gasped.
Alex stumbled forward. “Madison…”
Larry backed away from him.
“Put your hands up!”
Alex turned to see a police man standing just yards from Larry. His gun was drawn, pointing at Alex. Others had stopped and were looking at him.
“Thank God,” Alex gasped. He took a step toward the police officer. “You have to help her. It got her!”
“Stop!” the officer ordered. “Drop the weapon.”
Weapon? Alex looked down to see he still held the axe. Alex immediately dropped it. “You have to help her. It hit her in the back.”
“Put your hands up!”
“What? Not me! The clown! It…”
“You’re not listening to me! It wasn’t me! It was the clown! He stabbed her with an axe!”
“Put your hands up!”
Alex lifted his hands. “She’s inside. The clown…it stabbed her with an axe. It –” Something caught his attention. Between his fingers was hair. That’s right. He had pulled the bastards hair out. He had yanked it out and… But the hair between his fingers was not bright red. It was blonde.
“That’s him!” The bloody man Alex had seen in the haunted house rushed up to police, pointing his finger at Alex. “He did it. I saw him! He killed that poor girl with an axe!”
“What? No!” Alex said, confused. He shook his head. “It was the clown.”
The cops ran up to him and pushed him to the ground.
“No!” Alex screamed. “It was the clown! It wasn’t me!”
They pulled his hands behind his back and slapped handcuffs on his wrists.
Alex sat in a white walled room, in a straight jacket, rocking back and forth. His eyes darted this way and that, looking for the clown. He knew it was there. He knew it was around. Sometimes he caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of his eyes. The bright red hair, the horrific grin, the axe.
He rocked back and forth, back and forth.
“Don’t be afraid, Alex,” the voice whispered to him.
He spun, looking for the clown. It taunted him. They were alone together.
“I’m not afraid of you!” Alex hollered. “I’m not afraid!”
Alone together. Forever.
“I’M NOT AFRAID!”
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Back again? Can’t get enough or just curious as to what Alex is afraid of? Remember in our last installment, Alex and his friends had gone into the haunted house he was to review for the newspaper. The first room was a scene where a clown and zombie were killing a man. The man told Alex to run, but Alex thought it was strange. No one else seemed to have heard the man. Just before they left the room, the clown stood up and smiled at Alex. Join me now for the next installment of …
Don’t Be Afraid
Moans of disapproval came from Larry and one of the women. “I hate mirrors,” the woman whispered.
And so did Alex. But he pushed forward. The quicker they were out of there, the quicker this would be over. He ran his hand along the mirrors beside him, keeping one hand out in front of him so as not to hit a mirror. It wasn’t like the dark maze. It was more confusing. A bright flashing light lit the room. A strobe light. It made them appear like they were in one of those flip books when they moved. They could see, but there was no way to tell how far away the images in the mirror were.
Alex could feel the tug on his shirt as Madison’s grip tightened behind him. He led the group, moving this way and that. He slammed into a mirror and Madison crashed into him.
“Geez, Alex,” Larry called. “Go slower. Are you trying to lose us?”
“If I go any slower, I’ll be standing still.” He turned the corner, feeling his way. Disoriented.
The teen girl laughed nervously.
“Ow,” one of the women said. “Hey! Where’d you guys go?”
Alex stopped and looked over his shoulder, over Madison’s head. Larry was right behind them, the two women behind him and then the teens. “We’re right here.” He reached out to grab Larry’s arm…and touched glass. He quickly pulled his hand back. “Larry?”
He could see him right next to him. Again, Alex tried to touch him, the cold feel of hard glass greeted his fingers. “Where the hell are you?”
“Shit,” Larry called.
Alex whirled. Thousands of images of his friend, of the teens, of the women and of Madison greeted him in the glass when he spun. He had no way of knowing which was real. Suddenly, Alex froze. In one pane of glass he saw the red haired clown fingering his axe. He still wore the same deadly grin.
“I’ll meet you in the parking lot,” Larry called.
Alex reached out to Madison, fearing she was just an image, too. That he was alone.
His hand closed around hers.
“Okay! I heard you. Meet you there.”
“Alex?” Madison whispered, clinging to his hand.
Alex looked at her. Her brow wrinkled in concern, her gaze swept his face. Alex looked back at the pane of glass, searching for the clown. But it was gone. “It’s okay,” he told Madison, pulling her on. “This isn’t real. We just have to find the exit.”
As they turned a corner, they ran into themselves. A dead end.
Alex turned around. He didn’t want to go back, but he might run into Larry and the others. Or he might run into the clown.
Fake, he reminded himself. Just pretend. An actor.
He swallowed and moved forward, his hand out so he didn’t run into anything.
“This way,” Madison said, pulling at his hand.
The strobe light was disorienting. His head hurt.
“There’s no reflection. This way,” she insisted and tugged at his hand.
He allowed her to guide him down the hallway of mirrors. God, he hated this. He didn’t think they would ever find a way out. Madison paused.
Alex looked around at their images in the flashing light.
The clown appeared from the way they had just come, walking toward them with his axe dragging behind him on the floor. His grin was wolfish and predatory and his eyes… There was something strange about his eyes. They glowed!
“This way,” she said and continued down the row of mirrors.
Please, Alex silently begged, let her be right. They turned a corner and a large wooden door stood before them. Alex grabbed the handle, pulled it open and raced through, closing it behind them. He glanced around, grabbed the first thing he could find and lodged it against the doorknob. It wasn’t until he looked that he realized it was a dismembered leg.
The door jerked and Alex jumped back. The leg seemed to be holding.
He grabbed Madison’s shoulders. “Did you see it?”
She shook her head in confusion. “See what?”
“The clown! Did you see the clown?”
“In the first room.”
“No! No! He was following us in the mirror maze. Did you see him?”
Madison shook her head. “I didn’t see him.”
Looks like Alex is having a little bit of trouble. Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address and tell me what you think is going to happen. You’ll be entered into a drawing for one of Joan’s books!