A chilling tale being told in episodes – read the previous ones first for the full spooky effect!
Jolted awake at 2:58 am, J was filled with that familiar feeling of dread and chill. Feeling as though his stomach was crammed with blocks of ice, he trod silently, but with speed, down the staircase and let himself out of the front door. This time he didn’t intend to be late, this time he wanted to get there before any hypnotism could occur, so he hustled along as fast as he could manage with bare feet over loose gravel and tarmac. Bushes scraped him as he passed which he barely noticed. He focused on his instinct leading him to the right location, as it had done previously. Up ahead was a house with green up-lighters to create a feature of the spiky blades of plants in its front garden. Near the corner of the house he made out the tall dark form of a creeping man. His cold clammy feelings ramped up several notches, he experienced an underlying buzz now he was close to the threat.
J darted forward to reach the door ahead of the broad-shouldered guy dressed in black, despite having no plan as to what he was might do. He didn’t have his phone with him, or his earbuds, this was a dream for goodness sake! How would he protect himself from being compelled by Danny?
Still he pushed forward, breathing heavily to block the looming figure.
“What d’you think you’re doing?” he said in a low but aggressive voice, stopping him from going any further.
The figure halted abruptly so the porch light illuminated his face. Despite having the hood of his black sweatshirt pulled over his head, he recognised Danny’s face. J seemed to have the advantage, Danny looked puzzled.
“Who the hell are you?” his expression both shocked and angry.
“This ends now.” J stood his ground, although his heart was beating fast. With adrenaline pumping, his legs felt as if they were primed to leap over the hedge – gazelle like. It made him hyper-aware of everything; a plan began forming in his mind.
“Not one more kid will fall under your influence Danny!”
Danny’s shadowy face looked startled, then twisted in a sneer, “How exactly do you intend to stop me?”
“I think the headmaster would be interested to hear you’ve been abusing rehearsal time and school resources. I’m surprised you keep your grade average up with the amount of kids parties you’ve performed at recently.” Even as he said it, J recognised this was not the kind of threatening talk they used in gangster movies or the Fast and the Furious, but he was winging it!
Danny laughed dismissively, making fear and disgust clutch at J’s heart. How could that monster treat this so lightly, children were literally fading away for his personal gain? That’s when another puzzle piece fell into place. All Danny’s power & strength was being drained from his victims; his grades had probably improved, his victims’ loss being his gain. Fury ran through J’s veins like white heat, his sister should not waste away just so that Danny the Clown could get good grades!
“You don’t know what your talking about!” Danny blustered. “You’ve got no proof! You’ll sound like a nut job if you go blabbing to the Head.” As he protested, his face became hard and ugly, projecting a menacing sensation. J knew he’d been unwise to pull a tiger by his tail.
J took a step back, he wanted some air between them in case Danny tried his mind manipulation on him. In fact J wanted to put lots of space between them. He should take their argument somewhere more private … J suddenly thought of a place which could give him an advantage.
“Oh I’ve got proof alright! You’ve been caught on camera, and a little girl called Lulu snapped out of her trance today and told her parent’s some pretty disturbing facts about the clown at her party. ” J bluffed wildly. ” In your shoes I’d expect the police at the house any minute now.”
J was backing away as he spoke, then he turned and broke into a run. He hoped his ‘baiting’ plan worked and that Danny would follow him.
It wasn’t easy to run in bare feet, J took a route over as many front lawns as possible, the grass was cool on his feet. He could hear Danny’s heavy footfall and laboured breathing close behind him so he daren’t ease up. There were street lights to guide him for now, but soon he’d turn down a path which was unlit and stony and his advantage might be lost. He gritted his teeth and hung a right, taking the route he often chose for its shade, walking with his dog on hot sunny days. It couldn’t be more different now, the sharp stones bit into his feet and he felt both the jabbing sting of nettles and the tear of brambles grabbing at his legs as he powered past. His eyes took a few moments to adjust to the dark, but he knew the route well and it was straight for 200 metres.
Behind him Danny was grunting and swearing under his breath, J heard his footsteps falter and stumble but he kept running. Sharp pain made him sure that his feet were bleeding from broken glass amongst the stones. J kept running, even through a stitch which twisted his stomach and lungs tightly in a grip of iron while the adrenaline flooding his system made him want to clutch his waist or throw up. He had to keep going. There was a fork up ahead and he took the turn which led to the lake.
He flung his arms up to protect his face from any low branches, continuing to blunder ahead, wanting to get to a far bank of the lake before he dared turn and confront his dangerous pursuer.
The crashing behind let J know that Danny was still in hot pursuit, but not managing to stay on the path! Desperate to make the precious extra seconds count, J hurdled the stream straight into a clump of nettles but he still dragged himself up the bank and around the edge of the lake. The water was still and calm, like a black mirror, waiting to be lit by the moon next time it emerged from the clouds.
[To be continued …]