Randall Jensen woke up very early today. Today was his first day of school. The five year old dressed himself in the clothes that were laid out for him, and then ran wildly down the stairs. He quickly fixed himself a bowl of cereal and ate it down. He then started playing with his toy truck to pass the time while his mother slowly awoke and prepared for her day.
While playing with the truck, a figure appeared before Randall. The figure was adult in size, somewhat translucent, and looked like a clown. He had a seriously silly smile on his face which seemed fixed in place. His eyes locked onto Randall and didn't veer away.
“Randall...Randall...wanna have some fun?” asked the clown.
Randall tried to look away from the clown. He ignored the clown's request and continued to play with his truck. Then the clown pushed a glass statue off a nearby coffee table. The statue shattered into dozens of pieces on the wooden floor.
“No...Why did you do that?” Randall whined.
“C'mon kid. Have some fun. You can't be good all the time,” the clown replied.
Randall's mother's footsteps increased in both loudness and frequency. She hurried down the stairs to see what the destructive noise could have been. When she gazed upon the glass debris strewn across the floor, her face tightened into a fierce expression of anger.
“Randall Anthony Jensen! What did you do. Do you have any idea how valuable that was?” she stated.
“But mom, the clown did it,” Randall whined.
“Oh my gosh. You're the only one here. Don't you dare lie on your first day of school.”
“But mom, I saw him. He's re....”
“You saw no one! Stop lying. Now get your things together so I can drop you off at school. And this lying better stop!”
At school Randall was seated at a small desk. His desk was third from the front in the middle row of the room. As the first hour of the day went by, Randall tried to concentrate on the teacher, but his thoughts kept wandering back to the morning encounter with the clown and the broken statue. After a while he started to get more comfortable and relaxed. That's when the clown made his second appearance.
“Hey kid...you don't like that girl sitting ahead of you, do you?” Randall sat silent. “I know you don't like her. You don't like anyone.” Then the clown slapped the back of the girl's head. The girl screamed in pain.
“What's all this about,” the teacher yelled.
“Randall hit me on the back of the head,” the girl said crying.
“Randall!” screamed the teacher staring at Randall. “On the first day!”
“It wasn't me. The clown did it.” The whole room broke out in laughter.
“Quiet!” the teacher yelled slamming a yard stick onto her desk. “That's it mister. The principal will deal with you!”
Randall sat silently in the principal’s office for the rest of the day. Luckily the clown didn't reappear. Later his mother picked him up. Randall stayed silent during the whole drive home while his mother made occasional comments on how disappointed she was with him. Randall learned that day not to mention the clown. But he could not make the clown stay away.
Three weeks into the school year, Randall's class took a field trip along with four other classes from the school. On the bus, Randall had the unfortunate luck to sit behind Chad Desmond, the bully of the sixth grade.
“Hey freak,” Chad yelled in Randall's direction. “Even though I'm in front of you, I'm watching.” Randall sat silently trying to ignore him. “Listen, freak, you make one move, just one move, I'll paint this bus with your guts.” Chad continued to stare at Randall while Randall continued to stay calm. Eventually Chad turned back around,....and then the clown appeared.
“Now I know you really don't like this guy, do ya kid,” jeered the clown.
“Stop,” whispered Randall under his breath.
“Let's have a lot of fun. Let's have more fun than you've had in your whole life!”
“Stop,” Randall whispered again.
“Let's turn this guy into a pretzel,” laughed the clown as he lunged at Chad.
“No!” screamed Randall as he lunged towards the clown. Randall grabbed the clown and threw him to the floor of the bus. He grabbed the clown's throat. He squeezed the clown's throat as hard as he could. He picked the clown's head up and started smashing the back of the clown's head against the floor of the bus. “Leave me alone...Leave me alone...Leave me alone,” Randal chanted over and over all the while continuing to smash the clown's head against the floor.
“Randall! Randall! Randall, take your hands off of Chad,” demanded the bus monitor. The bus had pulled off the road and stopped. Randall froze. What he thought was the clown was actually Chad. Chad's face had turned white and his lips blue. Blood spread and pooled out from under Chad's head. Chad's eyes were closed and his body lay limp and lifeless. Randall relaxed his grip on Chad's neck and fell back into the arms of the bus monitor. Randall was escorted off the bus and into the car of a waiting faculty member. Soon an ambulance showed up to receive Chad.
Randall found himself back in the principal’s office with the principal and a police officer.
“What are we going to do with you?” questioned the principle. The police officer stared at Randall but could not find words to say. “Randall,” said the principle, “we have man coming to talk to you. He's a nice man. He'd like to talk to you about your fighting.”
“The clown starts it,” Randall said.
“Save it for Mr. Andrews. He's the man coming to talk with you.”
Mr. Andrews walked into the principal’s office. The principal greeted Mr. Andrews while the police officer continued to stare at Randall. Mr. Andrews was a tall man with thinning hair, wire frame glasses and dressed in a business suit. “Gentleman, give me some time alone with the boy,” Mr. Andrews said.
Sitting alone in the room with Mr. Andrews, tears started coming down Randall's face. “So Randall,” asked Mr. Andrews, “we've been getting into fights lately. I think you won this last one.”
Tears continued to roll down Randall's face. “I wasn't fighting Chad. I was fighting the clown.”
“So what does this clown do that you need to fight him?” asked Mr. Andrews.
“He gets me in trouble,” replied Randall. “He hits people. He breaks things. And everyone thinks I'm doing it.”
Mr. Andrews pulled off his glasses and started to clean them. His mouth tightened into a short, grim smile. “Can you describe this clown for me? What does he look like?” Randall did not respond. More tears came rolling down his face. “Are you sure this clown doesn't look like you?” asked Mr. Andrews. Randall started sobbing. He knew Mr. Andrews wasn't believing him. He knew no one would believe him, ever.
“Alright,” said Mr. Andrews. He stood up and turned to leave the room. Then the clown appeared.
“FUN TIME,” screamed the clown as he picked up a chair.
Randall screamed, “NO!”
The clown smashed the chair into Mr. Andrews back. After he fell to the floor, the clown continued to smash the chair into the body of Mr. Andrews. Over and over again. The clown disappeared as the principle and the police office both rushed back to the room. They found Mr. Andrews prone on the floor, his back and legs twisted into unnatural positions. Mr. Andrews tried to yell out, but the only sound he could make was a breathy gurgling sound.
Randall was seated with his head on the table, crying uncontrollably.
Randall never made it home again. He spent the rest of his school days bouncing between foster families and juvenile detention centers.
Randall Jensen sat in a small room at the courthouse. A guard stood posted outside. Randall had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday. Unfortunately he had just been found guilty of manslaughter, the victim happened to be his best friend. All the time he waited, the clown sat facing him. That seriously silly grin frozen in place and those piecing unblinking eyes.
“When will you leave?” Randall asked. “Why don't you find someone else to haunt? Why can't you just leave me alone?”
The clown stared at Randall for over a minute before responding. “You'll only be here for five years. There's still so much fun to have. And we're going to have that fun, together, until you're old and gray,” the clown said laughing and laughing and laughing.
Ken Gibbons is a factory worker from upstate New York who likes writing horror fiction. Visit his website http://www.kennystales.com.