A short story written by Siobahn Harris 8/14/2017
My car always felt so safe. When everything else in my world was getting overwhelming, I knew I could sit in my car and everything would be right again. It wasn’t so much the type of car or even where I got it that mattered, it was the quiet. That kind of quiet that’s almost mind-numbing when you turn off your engine after getting home. I could just sit there and nap for hours in that quiet. It’s beautiful.
However, it’s different when I have to take my husband to work. He goes to work at 3am and because I need the car, I have to take him. Everything is different at 3am.
“Sweetie! We gotta go or you’ll be late!” With a quick shove to my husband I jump out of bed.
Mumbling through the blankets he jokes, “Your mom will be late.”
I continue scrambling in the dark to find his work clothes. “Ha ha babe. Up!”
“We’re fine, my alarm hasn’t even gone off yet.” he says, waving me off.
“Yeah? Well, that’s the problem,” Dropping the clothes onto the already messy floor, I lean across the bed to talk into his ear, “It’s 3:10, we need to go.”
“Shit!” His eyes pop open and he jolts to his feet.
It was better when he was in bed. The two of us running around a dark room was a joke. He kept picking up my pants and I kept putting on my shirt backwards. I finally just left my shirt like that because I just need to drop him off and then I can come back home. Who cares how I look?
We pile into the car at 3:20 and he drops his seat back to close his eyes for a little bit. However, it wasn’t a long drive. I got him there and then drove back into our driveway by 3:35.
Sitting in the driveway, I turn the car off and there it was, that beautiful silence. Right before I could close my eyes I saw something in the rearview mirror. Our house is directly across the street from a community center that’s often used for after school activities, obnoxiously loud parties, and exercise classes, but on nights like this, it was peaceful.
Peering into the mirror I could see the large building across the street. The darkness surrounded the building but the old yellow street lights gave it such an eerie glow. At night, the two large glass doors at the front of the building was like a black void.
My eyes locked onto a person standing in front of the doors, I’ve seen people over there late at night but this person was different, this person was standing very still and was looking my direction, I couldn’t look away. I hesitated before trying to shake it off but glancing down at the door handle I noticed movement in the mirror, the figured moved from in front of the doors to the middle of the parking lot. Bathed in the orangey yellow light, I could clearly see it was a man, a man in a clown costume, but his clothes were filthy, his curly blue wig was patchy, and his eyes were still focused on me. If I can just get into the house I won’t have to worry about him anymore. Starring at him my hand gripped the door handle but I froze as his head began to slowly shake side to side, my eyes dropped for just a second so that I could grab my wallet from the middle console but then the silence around me was broken with a loud crash from the backseat.
My hands were shaking as they hugged the sides of my head, my eyes darted around the car franticly searching for the source of the sound, turning around I could see that my back window was broken and glass littered the inside of my car like little bits of glitter. My attention snapped back to the parking lot, the now empty parking lot, he somehow managed to disappear without me seeing him running away. On my back seat sat a brick with a green string tied around it, the string led out the shattered back window, I could hear my heartbeat as my eyes traced it out and over the driver’s side of the car where it disappeared out of sight. Slowly turning around my eyes scanned every window but nothing, it wasn’t until I reached the window right next to me that I found the end of the string.
It was him, the clown, towering over my car. His once white outfit now streaked brown.
Pushing my feet against the door, I quickly climb into the passenger seat. I tucked down onto the floorboard.
The green string led from my backseat to his neck. His claw-like fingers wrapped around it and yanked.
The brick flew from my backseat into his hand. Gripping the brick, he punched into the driver’s side window.
I could feel my body crack as he effortlessly jerked me through the broken window by my arm.
My body slammed onto the ground. He crawled on top of me and sat on my stomach.
His gaping mouth let out a shriek that echoed through the sleepy neighborhood. I began to scream back at him.
There was a throbbing in my ears and it felt like my head was being squeezed. Pressing his tattered red nose onto mine, he screamed louder.
I could feel a warm drizzle of blood fall from my ears.
Suddenly, everything went quiet, the mind-numbing silence engulfed me as I closed my eyes, and suddenly I didn’t feel him sitting on me anymore. It was a strange feeling of peace, like I was alone and all of this finally stopped.
As I opened my eyes, I saw him again. Straddling my body. Smiling.
His arms were over his head. There was a huge red and white striped mallet in his hands.
I could only let out a broken scream before his body tightened and the mallet came down onto my face.