“Jake, come on dude,” Mitch called up to his older brother, “I want to get to the costume shop before they completely sell out of any decent costumes.”
“Yea yea I’m coming. Calm down will ya,” Floated down the groggy, disembodied voice of his brother.
Mitch Campbell and his brother Jake lived with their parents, Debbie and Marcus, and the family dog, Kara. They lived in the family home twenty minutes’ walk from the Sheffield Wednesday football ground in Middlewood, Sheffield. At 21, Jake was two years older than Mitch and even though Mitch was younger he always made it a point to fight his own battles.
Mitch regularly went for a jog early in the morning taking Kara with him. He normally had a lie-in on Saturday though. As it was October 31st and he didn’t have a costume for a party that he’d been invited to that night he set himself an alarm. Today he wanted to get up early so he could get to the local costume shop and buy one.
Even though he’d struggled to get up, after snoozing his alarm three times, he’d finally managed to drag himself out of bed and get dressed. He wore the same dark blue jeans and black T-shirt, replete with batman symbol on, that he’d worn the night before. Yanking the curtains back he’d had to cover his eyes from the blinding glare of the bright morning sun. After roughly making his bed he’d gone into the bathroom to relieve himself. While in there he’d half heartedly run a comb through his dishevelled light brown hair.
After his bathroom visit, he’d half staggered downstairs to make himself some breakfast. His parents had gotten up half an hour after him but Jake, rising like the dead from the grave, an hour later.
Mitch was sitting in the living room watching some morning TV. He was stroking Kara’s back when he heard the heavy, dull clump of Jake’s footsteps coming down the stairs. He leant over the coffee table, the centre piece in the living room, and picked up the TV remote. Pressing the power switch, he turned it off. As he rose off the sofa to enter the hall, he placed the remote back onto the coffee table.
Standing in the doorway he watched as his brother walked straight past him and headed into the kitchen. Jake didn’t acknowledge him. Mitch thought he looked a little worse for wear. He’d been out the night before with some friends. Unfortunately, Jake didn’t know when enough was enough. Eventually staggering in at one thirty in the morning he’d gone straight to bed. Like Mitch he wore the same clothes from the previous night. Unlike his younger brothers however his clothes were dishevelled due to him sleeping in them.
“You ready or what?” Mitch spoke to Jake’s retreating back.
Jake half turned. His eyes were all puffy from lack of sleep and his hair looked as though he’d been wrestling during the night. Rubbing sleep out of his right eye, “Does it look like I’m ready?” He groggily answered him, his croaky voice still sounded half asleep,” What’s the rush anyway? The shop’s not going anywhere.”
“I’ve just told you the reason for the rush. We’ve been invited to Donovan’s party tonight and I haven’t got a costume yet,” Exasperatedly he explained to his half sleepy brother.
“Well if you’d have just done what I told you to do and ordered your costume online you wouldn’t be in this situation would you?” Jake just shrugged his shoulders as he turned back round and headed into the kitchen.
“I prefer to try on my clothes before I buy them. You know that.” He replied, following Jake into the kitchen, “We going or what?”
“No!! What I’M going to do is get myself some breakfast. THEN we’ll go,” He answered him, then as he saw his younger brother was going to protest having to wait further he quickly raised his left hand to cut him short, “Look just chill out will you. I’m not going to be long. You know how quick I eat.”
Mitch could see that there was no point in trying to rush his older brother, so he resigned himself to waiting till he’d had his breakfast. Truth was Jake normally did eat his food kind of quickly. It was almost like watching a pig eating out of a trough. He would never tell him that of course. The idea of getting a dead arm or a bruise from Jake punching him didn’t really appeal to him.
Thankfully Jake was true to his word and ate his breakfast in record time. When he’d finished, he dumped his bowl in the sink and shoved his boots and coat on. Saying bye to their parents they left with the intention to go directly to the costume shop. However, of course, plans never go as they’re supposed to. Closing the gate to their garden and Jake’s leg began to hum and vibrate. A few seconds later a merry little tune leaked out from his trouser pocket.
Reaching into his pocket he pulled out his mobile. The tune rose in volume as it became less muffled. A cool tingle slid through his fingers as it slid out and the vibrations of the song caused the hairs on his arm to stand up. He pressed the green answer button and pressed the cold metal to his ear.
Mitch couldn’t hear who it was but from Jake’s tone it had to be his girlfriend Melanie. They’d been together just under two years. Mitch liked her. She was a lot better than Jake’s previous girlfriend who had treated him badly and then cheated on him saying that he’d driven her to it.
“Hey babe. What’s up?” He raised a hand halting Mitch before he got too far. Mitch mouthed the words “Come on” while pointing at his watch willing him to hurry up. He didn’t want to waste time. Annoyed Jake spread his fingers, signing to Mitch to give him five minutes. Frustrated Mitch dropped his hands by his sides, the muffled clap from his palms hitting his thighs reverberated away a few feet from him. A few more distorted words from the other end of the line.
“No I’m not doing anything special. Just going to the costume shop on London road with Mitch. Yea he needs to pick up his costume for the party tonight,” He answered into the mouthpiece. Yet more distorted words, “Yeah that’s cool babe. You want to meet us in town near where we get off?”
After a few more garbled and disjointed words Jake hung upon the phone and returned it to his pocket. Turning back to face his younger sibling he casually walked up to him and overtook him without saying a word. Mitch just looked at him dumbstruck. After a second Jake realised that he was just standing there and turned to face him.
“Well? You coming or what?” His voice carried a slightly annoyed tone to it, “You did want to get out early to get your costume after all.”
“Yea I did, remember it was me that told you I did. Maybe if you hadn’t been out on the piss last night I wouldn’t need to keep reminding you,” He scolded him catching up to him and they both began walking to the bus stop, “So, I’m assuming that was Melanie. What did she want?” Every time Jake heard Mitch talk about Melanie, he thought he could sense jealousy in his voice but really it was just caution. Even though they’d been together as long as they had, and though it went against the laws of siblings, Mitch always kept an eye out for his older brother. He’d seen how badly hurt he’d been before and swore it wouldn’t happen again not on his watch.
“Yea she wants to meet us in town and come with us to the costume shop. Reckons she needs some makeup from there to finish off her outfit for tonight,” He answered him, his eyebrows raising slightly, “That’s not a problem is it?”
“No, of course it’s not,” Mitch replied nonchalantly shaking his head.
And with that they continued onto the bus stop. They had to wait ten minutes before the bus turned up and, in the time, it took for it to arrive Mitch had looked at his watch twice. The lower deck of the double decker was almost empty which didn’t really surprise Mitch due to the time or the day. They both sat at the back of the bus, each of them playing on their respective phones, not talking.
The trip to town took about fifteen minutes with the bus stopping at four separate stops picking up five more passengers. By the time they pulled up at the bus stop that they were getting off at, Melanie stood waiting for them. With her was a girl that Mitch had never seen before. She hadn’t said anything about coming with someone, especially her red haired friend, but he was kind of glad she had come. He had quite the thing for redheads.
When the bus finally came to a complete stop Jake and Mitch rose up as one and made their way to the doors. Getting off the bus, they walked up to Melanie and her, as yet unknown, friend. Jake and Melanie exchanged smiles and kissed. It lingered a little longer than Mitch was comfortable with and he nervously smiled at the redhead. She returned the smile. He had the sense that she was as uncomfortable as he was because she was idly fiddling with a necklace. There was a strange looking symbol hanging from it.
Finally realising there was an awkward silence between them Melanie pulled away from Jake and smiled at Mitch. Remembering that her friend was next to her she turned slightly and introduced her, “Jake, Mitch, this is my cousin Jennifer. Jen, this is my boyfriend Jake and his younger brother Mitch. She’s come up from Birmingham for a week.”
“Nice to meet you Jen. Don’t mind if I call you Jen, do you?” Jake asked her, glimpsing Mitch smiling at her from the corner of his eye. He knew that Mitch liked redheads too.
“No it’s cool. I don’t mind,” She answered him, shaking her head, her red hair swishing back and forth.
Warmth and colour coalesced on Mitch’s cheeks as he stood nervously blushing. Raising a hand, he simply said, “Hi,” and smiled.
She returned the greeting and smiled. There was another minute of awkward silence before Jake finally broke it by reminding Mitch of the time. They had to get going if he wanted to go to the costume shop before they sold out. As if awakening from a sweet dream he just agreed with him and they, as one, turned and headed off in the direction of the shop. It took them all of fifteen minutes to get there. In all that time Mitch and Jennifer walked side by side in silence unsure what to say to her.
As they neared the shop Mitch became aware of the sudden sense of being watched. He didn’t know by whom or why, but the feeling was definitely there. A cold chill caused the hairs on the back of his neck to slowly rise. The effects of the early morning sun were ineffective to stop the goose bumps from appearing on his arms. He looked around him in the hopes of catching whoever was watching them. There was no-one around though.
Opening the shop door a little bell hanging above the door tingled alerting the proprietor to their presence. Mitch saw at least four other people in the shop. “Guess I’m not the only one with last minute plans,” Mitch thought to himself.
He broke off and went in search of the perfect costume for that night’s party. He had no specific idea of what he was going to go as so he didn’t want to waste any time helping anyone else find what they wanted first. The rest of the group went straight to the make-up counter. Along with the make-up underneath the glass counter there were different coloured contact lenses. Two turn style shelves containing necklaces and earrings were situated next to it.
It didn’t take Melanie long to find exactly what she needed to finish her costume so after paying for it, they decided to help Jennifer look for something. Technically she hadn’t been invited but even Melanie had seen the look on Mitch’s face when he first saw her. In no time at all they’d found a costume for her. She was going to go as a zombie cheerleader with Melanie offering to do her makeup for her.
When they’d paid for Jennifer’s costume, they roamed the shop aisles looking for Mitch. They eventually found him down the mask aisle. In his left hand he held a creepy, bloodstained clown mask and in his right a grey haired werewolf’s mask. He was fully engrossed in his decision making. Jake slapped him on the shoulder making him jump and getting his full attention.
“You got what you came for or what?” He jokingly asked him glancing at the two separate masks.
“Huh? What? Er no. I don’t know,” He nervously stammered out when he saw Jennifer stood with them, “I don’t know if I should go as a werewolf or a scary clown.”
“I’d go as the scary clown,” Jennifer commented. Mitch couldn’t help but think how her voice sounded like music to his ears. Sweet, mellow, chilled music not the loud, crass rave music that was all the rage nowadays, “Personally I love clowns, but I know a lot of people who hate them. Especially ugly ones like that.”
That was it decided then. Mitch immediately put the wolf mask back and went off and picked up a clown’s outfit to go with the mask. After paying for it all they left the shop, and all decided to go and get some food from a local takeaway. They went to the chip shop. Melanie and Jake halved a kebab between them while Mitch and Jennifer shared a bag of chips.
After they finished eating, they spent the next couple of hours walking round the shops, window shopping. Mitch eventually got over his shyness and started talking to Jennifer. They had a few things in common. They both enjoyed movies and going to the cinema. Neither of them drank or smoked either which definitely pleased Mitch. Both of his parents smoked and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant smell to be around.
“Right, well we’d better get going then Jen,” Melanie said looking at the time on her phone, “we’ve got a lot of work to do to get our make-up done for tonight.”
“That’s cool babe. Are you going to meet us later and we’ll go to the party together?” Asked Jake, looking at each of the two girls.
They looked at each other and as one nodded, “Yea OK babe. We’ll come to yours about half seven?”
“Are you going to be ready by then?” He asked Mitch, smirking at him.
“Haha very funny. Yea I’ll be more than ready by then,” Mitch returned sarcastically.
“Right well we’ll see you later then. Love you babe,” Jake leaned in and kissed Melanie on the lips. He lingered a little longer bringing back the awkward silence.
“Ok well thankfully that was a little less awkward than the last time. Cheers,” Joked Mitch, “Anyway see you later.”
He turned, waving once, and walked off heading towards the bus stop. Jake had to jog to catch up with him. The bus was already parked up at the stop, waiting expectantly for any passengers to climb aboard. It was a lot more crowded on the return journey home so they had to sit near the front. They’d been traveling for five minutes before Jake turned to look at Mitch.
“Come on then. What did you think?” He quizzed him, smiling a huge grin at him.
“Yea I love my costume. Cheers for coming with me,” He answered sarcastically returning the smirk.
“Don’t be a dick. You know what, or should I say who, I mean,” Jake replied.
“I know I know,” Mitch sniggered, “Yea she’s nice. Turns out we have quite a bit in common.”
He stopped talking when he saw the all-knowing smile on his brother’s face. A light bulb went off in his head when he realised what had happened. A surprised look flashed over his face for a slight second.
“You didn’t plan that, did you?” He said, his face getting a little flustered.
“Calm down bro. You’re really uptight today ain’t ya?” Jake raised a placating hand, “No I didn’t set that up. Mel told me that she did though.”
“What!! Why?” The tempo of his voice rose a few octaves, “What have you been telling her?”
“Hey calm down, I said,” The firmness of Jake’s tone cooled off Mitch’s fiery temperament, “I didn’t say anything to her and I didn’t ask her to set that up. She likes you though and she thought it’d be nice is all.”
“Yea well. Sorry. Just don’t like being ambushed like that,” He apologized.
“You want me to call it off?” He asked him, reaching into his jacket pocket for his phone.
“NO!!,” He almost shouted at him, “I mean, no course not. Don’t want Jennifer to feel hurt or anything.” He tried to sound cool about it, but he knew his brother saw through it.
“Ok cool. Well we’ll get home, have a wash, food then get ready for an epic party tonight. Now that sounds like a plan,” Jake calmly replied.
The next few hours seemed to drag for Mitch. Suddenly a thought came to him. He needed one more thing to completely finish his costume, so he quickly ran down to their local card shop. He was back home in thirty minutes. He’d been looking forward to going to the party anyway but now that Jennifer was going it was an added incentive. He’d never been one to go on looks but he had to admit she was beautiful. He hadn’t seen her costume, but Jake had told him that it was a zombie cheerleader one. All he’d thought then was “Wow”.
Their mum made them both a hearty meal for their night out which they hungrily wolfed down. After dinner they took turns having a shave then getting a shower and by seven o’clock, they were both ready for the girls to arrive at their house. Mitch had his clown outfit on with his mask perched atop his head and Jake was dressed head to toe as Frankenstein. Seven thirty came and the front doorbell chimed.
Mitch opened it and his jaw went slack, eyes wide. He quickly recovered hoping that his surprise was short lived and unseen by both Jennifer and Melanie. He stepped away from the door to allow them entrance. They all went into the living room where Jake was waiting for them. He jokingly stood up and with his arms outstretched in front of him walked clumsily towards them. Melanie had come dressed in a black, lacy dress, stockings, and shoes. Her face was paler than when they’d seen her last with droplets of red blood dripping down to her chin. Obviously, she’d applied the white foundation she’d bought at the costume shop. Jennifer was wearing her zombie cheerleader outfit. Her face was a mixture of reds and browns and in a novel side effect they’d somehow attached a pair of scissors to her neck making it appear as if she’d been stabbed in the neck.
“You er you look er great,” Mitch nervously stammered at Jennifer.
“Thank you. So, do you. You look really scary,” She replied, then noticed a bunch of balloons in the corner of the room, “Wait, you got balloons as well?”
“Yea thought it might make it even more scarier,” He laughed.
“God yea! That makes it so much scarier and creepier,” She enthusiastically agreed with him.
Jake feigned a clumsy kiss to Melanie, he always got into the role when Halloween came around. Not wanting to be late for the party they all hastily said goodbye to Jake and Mitch’s parents closing the door behind them.
“I know it’s fashionable to be late to these things but we don’t want to be the last ones to arrive,” said Mitch sneaking a glance at his phone, “Should we take the shortcut through Brierley woods?”
Jennifer just nodded and Jake said, “Yea OK cool.” Melanie never said anything, instead choosing to remain quiet with a nervous look on her face.
“What’s up Mel? You ok going through the woods?” Jennifer asked her, placing a hand on her arm.
“Yea I’m ok. It’s just, well, you know, the woods,” She fearfully replied.
“You mean the rumours of people disappearing there?” Asked a disbelieving Jake.
“Yea,” Was her simple reply.
“Babe they’re just superstitious tales that every city has. They’re not real, ok,” He gently told her.
Reluctantly in the end she allowed them to persuade her into going through the woods. They walked along the main road towards the shortcut that Mitch had told them about. On the way there five cars passed them with three of them sounding their horns to show how freakishly scary they all were.
The shortcut Mitch had suggested was opposite a local pub that was no longer used. It was still light out, but clouds were moving in partially blocking out the sun and in the subdued lighting the disused pub had a creepy, haunted feeling to it. Coming to a set of rough hewn stairs going down into the wooded area they descended them and entered the woods proper. It wasn’t particularly cold, but Mitch shivered as a cold chill ran down his spine.
They crossed an old, rusted metal bridge that was suspended ten feet above a shallow but fast moving river. Their footfalls slapped against the old metal sending out shockwaves of sound in all directions. On the other side of the river just after the bridge stood two huge oak trees. The overhead canopy obscured most of the remaining sunlight throwing shadows here and there.
Just as they were about to pass the oak trees two monsters jumped out from behind them. Melanie and Jennifer both tried to stifle screams and Mitch and Jake both took up a defensive stance. It took a few seconds before they realised that the monsters were in actual fact people just dressed in Halloween costumes. They were both werewolves, but they wore different masks. Mitch remembered seeing one of the masks at the costume shop earlier and mentally kicked himself for not realising it sooner. They removed their masks and Mitch saw that it was school friends of his Dean and Jamie Fulton. They were the class clowns.
“Gotcha,” Dean hysterically laughed out loud, pointing at them.
He then turned and high fived Jamie who just stood there with a huge smile on his face. Mel and Jen had stopped screaming and now wore an angry expression. Jake and Mitch relaxed their individual stances relaxing their muscles, arms dropping to their sides.
“You two are such dicks,” He smiled at them shaking his head, “We could’ve kicked the shit out of you two then.”
“Dude you punch like my gran,” Jamie snidely remarked.
“Yeah, well you look like mine,” Mitch returned the banter.
“Ooh sexy,” Jamie retorted.
Melanie and Jennifer cringed at that. Neither of them really knew Dean and Jamie so they weren’t accustomed to their dry sense of humour.
“So where are you guys off to anyway?” Dean asked. His curiosity creeped in.
“We’re going to Don’s for his Halloween party,” Explained Jake.
“Sweet. Mind if we come?” Asked Jamie pointing his thumb to indicate his brother.
“Have you guys been invited?” Mitch answered with a question of his own.
“Well no but Don’ll be cool about it,” Answered Jamie nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders.
“Ah screw it! Not our party. Come with us if you want,” Offered Jake. The rest of the party just agreed with him.
So they carried on through the woods. They’d been walking for ten minutes when Melanie noticed something in the trees to the left of the path they were on. It had gotten a little bit darker but even from the distance that she’d seen it looked to her like a body.
“What the hell’s that?” She said, her voice shook with fear, “Is,,Is that a body?”
“No idea,” Answered Jamie, “But look, there’s another one there and there,” He pointed further over to the right.
They walked a bit further on spying another two more bodies. In total they counted up five bodies. All of them were hanging upside down. A breeze picked up and the free floating bodies began to swing and gently spin in mid air. From what they could see of the bodies, they looked to be torn to pieces, huge slices, and cuts all over their bodies. Blood had poured out and dripped down their faces covering them in a crimson mask each.
“They ain’t real bodies. You know what someone’s done here don’t you?” Enthusiastically Dean waited for someone to tell him. When no-one did, he told them, “It’s obvious. Someone’s hung up mannequins or shop dummies or something.”
“What would someone do that for?” Asked Mitch, “And how do they know anyone’s going to see them?”
“It’s got to be someone from this party we’re going to. They must know this is a shortcut, so they’ve set this up to scare people going there,” Explained Jamie building on his brother’s theory.
Something about the nearest hanging body caught Melanie’s attention. She squinted her eyes to focus better on it then tilted her head thinking that might help. When she realised what it was that had caught her attention, her eyes opened wide and she let out a strangled cry. Jake rushed to her side.
“What’s up babe?” He worriedly asked her. The fear that radiated from her sent his blood cold. Raising her hand slowly she pointed at the body.
“That’s not a mannequin,” Her voice shook as she spoke, “And I know that because I used to go to school with her. That’s Claire Simpson.”
“Calm down Melanie. It’s not a real body. It’s someone’s idea of a practical joke is all. They’re probably watching us now to see our reactions,” Jamie calmly told her, “Look there’s one now,” He said pointing ahead of them.
Standing on the path about a hundred yards away someone was there watching them. Whoever it was was dressed as a clown. It was a different costume to Mitch’s but it was a clown nevertheless.
“There’s one over there as well,” Jennifer called out, catching the merest glimpse of a second clown from the corner of her eye to the left of them. Now the worry and nervousness began to grow inside her, changing, mutating into fear. Looking around them, they saw that they were surrounded on each side by a total of eight clowns. All wore different masks with different coloured hair, patchy or bunched up, but each was as grotesque as the next and each clown stood at a different distance to them. No two clothes wore the same costume either. Some of them were even higher up on hills than they were.
“Yea there’s one behind us now,” Called out Dean looking behind them.
“See told you, didn’t I? It’s a windup, a prank” Jamie smugly told them all, “Alright guys. C’mon playtime’s over. Enough’s enough OK? Joke’s over,” He shouted over at the clowns, waving them to join them so he could see who it was.
They didn’t move. They just stood stock still, almost like statues. Mitch and the others stood in a circle back to back keeping an eye on all the surrounding clowns. The fear that Jennifer was feeling spread though the group like wildfire. Their group feeling grew more and more palpable between them. Just as Jamie was about to call out again all the clowns disappeared at the same time to be replaced with a high pitched cackle.
Melanie and Jennifer began crying, tears streaming down their faces smudging their make-up, blurring their vision. Melanie reached out with her right hand and, after a few seconds of blinding fumbling for it, grabbed Jennifer’s left hand gripping it firmly. They began to realise that this wasn’t a prank, this was real, this was something that each of them knew they should be afraid of. A few seconds after they’d disappeared the clowns all reappeared. This time however they were closer and in different positions. The clowns at the back were now at the front and the left sided clowns were now on the right side of them.
The sudden reappearance of the clowns startled the four boys causing them to jump while the two girls clasped each other’s hands tighter. A moment later the clowns disappeared again. Once more the high pitched laughter followed their disappearance. Fear routed them all to the spot. The acrid stench of sweat caused by their fear of this shared terrifying experience permeated their clothes, soaking them. Again, from nowhere the clowns reappeared. As before they were closer to the small group of terrified teenagers and as before they’d swapped positions.
The gruesome clowns disappeared and reappeared four more times and each reappearance brought them ever closer to the small group. The high pitched laughter followed each and every disappearance creating more and more fear within the group. The girl’s sobs became louder and mixed with the heavy breathing of the boys. Each of them knew they had to defend themselves and the girls from this disturbing threat. The problem was they didn’t know what this threat was.
The clown’s final disappearance was eighteen feet away. Mitch and the rest of the group were able to get a terrifyingly clear look at the clowns. Each one was different. At least five of them had red noses, two had different colour noses and the third didn’t appear to have a nose. It was just a hollow cavity where it should’ve been. One thing that they did have in common though was that their faces were deathly, dirty white with splashes of blood over them mostly around their mouths. Their huge, sadistic grins each enveloped jaws of needle sharp pointed teeth. Jake realised that they weren’t wearing masks as he’d thought. What they were looking at were their actual faces.
They disappeared again and the high pitched laughter that followed sounded louder and seemed to go on for a few seconds longer before it stopped. The seconds seemed to drag by, and the clowns didn’t reappear. Mitch and Jake began to hope that it had in fact been some incredibly elaborate hoax. Maybe holograms or something. The fear began to slowly leave them as the seconds drew on. The girls strangled sobs easing off. Just as they thought that their nightmare was over the clowns reappeared right in front of them.
A clown stood in front of each member of the little group. They stood there in silence and the only sound that could be heard was the sobbing coming from Melanie and Jennifer. No-one moved. They were all so afraid that their muscles had frozen in place and they just simply couldn’t move. Then suddenly both hands of each clown started to rise until they were in full view of the petrified teens. At the end of each finger was a razor sharp claw. The only part of Mitch’s body that he could move were his eyes as he looked down at the menacing claws. The same was said for all of the teens. Fear was eternally etched onto their faces. The high pitched laughter sounded again, and it went on for what seemed an eternity. Then with unimaginable speed and brutality all but one of the clowns slashed down with their claws. Slicing and stabbing with vicious intensity.
The tearing of clothes accompanied the sounds of tearing flesh. Anguished cries emanated from the group as the clowns continued ripping their flesh to pieces. Blood splashed the nearby trees coating them in a thick layer of blood. A loud bang resounded through the woods as a stray claw punctured one of Mitch’s balloons. The rest stained red and dripping with blood rose into the air as his grip eased on them as his throat was slashed open.
Mitch’s scream became nothing more than rough gurgling sounds. Blood pumped out the gaping wound splashing onto the clowns’ costume mixing with the blood that already covered it. He wrapped a hand around it, futilely hoping to stem the flow, his grip weakening.
A clown gripped Jamie by the shoulder, claws digging into the flesh, terror in his eyes, and thrust his other clawed hand into his stomach. In one jagged movement he dragged his hand to the other side, ripping his stomach open. Blood, intestines, and stomach acid poured out onto the forest floor, pooling at his feet.
Rapid slashes cut into Melanie’s face, smaller three inch cuts, in quick succession. The clown moved with such ferocious speed they almost appeared out of nowhere. Each individual cut leaked blood and streamed down her face. Her face became a crimson mask of pain and terror.
After the first few slashes and stabs the clown standing in front of Dean jabbed his claws into either side of his head. pulling his head closer to his razor sharp teeth he began eating his face. Dean’s body erratically twitched like a marionette doll in its grasp. Slurping and chomping sounds joined the cacophony of screams.
Jake tried desperately to defend himself against his clown, but its claws simply tore at him, gouging out huge grooves in his flesh. The pain he was in was so intense it stopped any sounds escaping from Jake’s throat. The flesh from his wounds fluttered about, hanging limply.
Still more blood curdling screams from the group rang out as they were mercilessly butchered. As quickly as they began the screams subsided as each of the small group died, their individual bodies cut to ribbons, blood soaking into the dirt floor of the woodlands. Jennifer was the only one still standing, the clown looking at her, head tilted to the side.
Its hand was frozen in place, mere inches from her face. Its eyes flicked from her face to the mysterious object hidden from view that was keeping it from tearing her to pieces. Jen’s eyes were squeezed tightly shut. Too afraid to open them to see what was happening, she wished she could do the same to her ears so she didn’t have to listen to her friends dying.
Slowly, too afraid to even make any sudden movements, she reached up and removed the necklace from its hiding place. She had no real idea as to if what she was going to do would have any effect, but she felt she didn’t have a choice. The clown watched as she brought the strange symbol up and held it out in front of her. Jennifer knew what it was though, it was a pagan symbol said to ward off evil, a gift from her grandmother. She’d never believed in it before but now she did. The clown shrank away from her until it was no longer standing in front of her.
When the clowns had finished slashing the unlucky teens they fell to their knees. Eyes still firmly clamped shut Jennifer heard a collective slurping rise as they began to drink their victims’ remaining blood. After, when they had emptied their bodies of blood, they tied ropes to their ankles and proceeded to hang them upside down from various trees around the woods. When they’d finally finished they encircled the last remaining teenager, watching her for a few seconds then as one they disappeared leaving one last high pitched crackle in their wake.
Still holding out the pagan symbol in front of her, Jennifer slowly staggered out of the woods. She never once opened her eyes. As for the clowns they just waited, patiently, unseen, for their next group of victims to foolishly enter the woods on Halloween night.
I'm a recently published author with a short post apocalyptic story called 'The Brood' as part of a shared world story. I've also written 21 other short horror stories and a 43000 word novella. It's a slasher called 'Survival Of The Fittest' and it's been compared to a dark version of Tarzan.