Midnight Dancer

By Chef Mr.Baubas


Have you ever had one of those feelings that something was wrong? I don’t mean during the day either, but at night. I mean that sudden unprovoked feeling of dread that commands you to wake. Funny, it’s almost like nocturnal evil gives something off that your sleeping brain picks up on. I had one of those recently. It forced me up at 3 a.m. Normally when you have that feeling you’d lay still feigning sleep, or if you’re feeling adventurous you’d take a quick check around the house. After you failed to discover anything you’d inevitably crawl back to sleep. I should have done that this time.

I should have stayed asleep.

That night I sat straight up. For the longest time I sat there staring into the dark of my house before I even realized that I was awake. Then came the fear, that slow strangling feeling that constricts your chest and worms its way down your throat. I was alone in my home wide eyed and afraid with no explanation. I couldn’t hear the tell-tale signs of a break in downstairs, or the phantom sounds of a leaking pipe. I had no reason to be freaked out, but I was.

Without much thought I got up and walked over to the window. I don’t know why I did. I peeled back just enough of the curtain to poke my head through and I stared out into my moonlit backyard.

I should have stayed asleep.

Outside prancing around my garden was a clown. It had ruffles around its sleeves and collar, baggy pants and floppy shoes. Its painted white face was even topped off with a big red rubber nose. It was without a doubt the last thing I wanted to see at three in the morning.

It danced in complete silence doing a step that only a madman or a child could understand. Its playful manner was haunting. I watched with dread fascination as it circled the garden trying my best to ignore the growing lump in my throat. It moved around pausing occasionally to play with my gardening tools or sniff the budding plants. Then it waltzed over to an oak sapling I had planted and disappeared. I blinked. This wasn’t possible. It walked behind the thin infant plant but didn’t come out the other side. I should have seen it the entire time but I didn’t. It was like the clown had walked through a door hidden by the sapling.

I should have stayed asleep.

I hoped that everything was some sort of waking dream. Pretending nothing happened was easier than the truth. The clown came back though. Night after night I watched as it danced around my backyard, and at the end of every night it would vanish the same way. One night it disappeared behind a garden hoe only for it to appear seconds later from behind the lawnmower.

Tonight I found it digging a hole in the middle of the yard. I’ve never seen it do something like this before and my immediate thought is that the clown is digging my grave. The hole got deeper and deeper as the clown dug until the top of the hole reached its head. Once finished, it stood at the edge of the hole motionless when out of nowhere it jerked its head around. My heart pounded so hard that I could taste the copper in my mouth. I’m about the tear away from the curtain when I see it bend down and pluck a flower. The clown put the stem between its teeth and planted the shovel firm in the ground before stretching out pretend suspenders and admiring its work like a farmer. My heart was still racing at this point but I was just glad that it didn’t see me.
As if the thing read my mind it turned on its heel and stared right at me. I never thought I’d actually pray for a heart attack. It spit out the flower and ran toward me its feet flopping to the sides. It stopped a few feet from the house grinning at me with filthy orange teeth as it pointed to the hole and waved me over excitedly like a child showing off a finger painting. Frozen in place the only thing I could do was furiously shake my head no.

The clown’s smile fell and it scratched its head as if confused. Then it walked over to the hole and pointed at it again. I would have told it to fuck off if I could. It stood there for a moment before animatedly acting out its “aha!” moment. It then waltzed over to the planted shovel and disappeared behind it. I stared wide eyed hoping it would reappear in the yard like before. I silently prayed for this until the moment I heard my closet creak open.

I should have stayed asleep.


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