Halloween Story Part 5 of 5

Chapter 5
I found a small door and it opened quietly as I pushed against it. As I walked in, I could hear the thunderous roar of the machinery inside. I saw several large vats lined along the main floor. I heard footsteps so I hid behind a pile of large metal drums nearby. I peered around and I saw that it was a couple of clowns walking along. I crawled along the floor and kept close to the shadows. I soon saw more clowns running around. It looked as though they were actually working there. Some were driving forklifts while others tended to the ingredients. I wasn’t so surprised. They had them out on the streets dressed up in those costumes. Of course they’d have all their factory employees dressed up too.
It looked like the night shift because there weren’t many of them, so when the coast was clear, I bolted toward the other end of the building. I wasn’t sure where Jimmy was, but it had to be somewhere deeper in the building. I found another door in the back that led me to a stairwell to the basement. I carefully went down and the lower I got, I began to hear voices. It sounded like children crying. My heart began to race. When I got to the bottom of the stairs, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It looked like some kind of jail and dungeon in one. A block of large cells was built into the walls and there were shackles and restraints on the floor and hanging from the ceiling. I approached one of the cells and as I got closer, I could make out a strangely shaped figure. I also hear soft sobbing. As my eyes focused, I saw the thing in the cell looked to be a little girl, but she had to have been pushing five hundred pounds. Her body was bloated and stretched beyond human endurance, but she was wearing a pretty little pink gown and her deformed head was framed with a head of lovely, black hair. Her eyes found mine and as she saw me, she seemed to come alive. Her thick arms and legs began to flail and tears streamed down her cheeks.
“I want my mommy!” She whined. As I looked down upon the poor little girl, I realized I recognized her. It was little Janey Watkins. I had been her babysitter the previous year. She was usually such a lovely little girl. I could barely believe what she had become. I reached for the door of her cell, but it was locked tight. She kept crying and begging for help. It was breaking my heart that I couldn’t do anything. When I finally got it in my head to look for the key, I heard footsteps approaching. I ran for cover in a cell that was empty. I watched as three clowns came down from above. They were walking along in a line and the front one seemed to be the leader. The one behind him was holding a large metal funnel and the one behind him was pulling along one of the large metal drums from upstairs. They went on into Janey’s cell and her crying grew stronger.
“Shut up!” The first clown barked. He then slapped the clown with the funnel on his back and he then approached Janey and shoved the funnel into her mouth. The clown with the drum then walked over and all three of them lifted the drum up and poured whatever was inside into the other end of the funnel, forcing Janey to swallow the contents. She gulped down the goop with some resistance at first, but after a few seconds, it sounded like she was eating it of her own accord; as though she had been starving for years.
When the drum was finally empty, the clowns left the cell and tossed the drum to the floor and returned upstairs. Fortunately, they left the cell door open, so I raced over to Janey. She was out like a light and her face was smeared with whatever they had been feeding her. I took a closer look and it looked like ice cream. I then heard more footsteps from above and I bolted back to my hiding place. The clowns returned to Janey’s cell and this time, they hoisted her up and took her to another chamber nearby. I followed from a safe distance. They took her to another, larger, cell. This cell a small, crappy looking bed in it and they put her on it. They then chained her arms and legs keeping her spread eagle on her back. One of the clowns then injected her with something and moments later she began to convulse violently and foam at her mouth. Her large belly began to shake and wiggle and then it began to grow larger. It looked as though something were pushing out from within. Her flesh then split open but instead of blood, all that came out of her was a strange, frail looking figure. It looked somewhat human, but its skin was white as ivory. It fell to the floor and after a few moments, it began to move. It stretched its arms and legs and as it stood, I saw that its face was pigmented like a clown. It took a few struggling steps and then got its footing. The other clowns gathered around the creature and dressed it up in clothes similar to their own. As they were focused on the little clown, I ran and I soon found more cells and they were all occupied by other kids who were in similar states as Janey. Some were larger, some were smaller, but they were all crying out for help. I stopped when I heard a familiar voice. I ran to one of the cells and I saw Jimmy chained to the wall. He looked a little more plump and his eyes were red from crying.
“Jimmy!” He looked up at me and tried to pull free from his restraints. I tried the door to his cell, but it was locked. I was frantic. I looked down and saw a small piece of metal. I grabbed it and stuck it in the lock of the cell door. I didn’t know what I was doing but I had seen something familiar in a movie. I kept digging into the lock and I started to hear something going on inside. Soon, I heard a loud click and the door swung open. I ran to Jimmy and I pulled at the cuffs around his wrists. His arms had gotten very thick but I was pulling as hard as he was. One of his hands finally jerked free and soon the other came as well. We ran out of the cell, but as we turned our path was blocked by a cluster of clowns. Their eyes were angry and I felt a chill run up my spine. I turned and in the cells across from us, I saw the corpses of other children. It looked as though they had been ripped open like Janey had been. I pulled Jimmy behind me as the clowns began to walk toward us. I grabbed Jimmy and we bolted from the clowns as fast as we could. Jimmy was heavy to pull along, but I kept my grip on his hand. We sped around a corner and tumbled into a metal drum. We both fell to the ground and as I got up, I saw inside one of the drums a crumpled, bloodied body. It was Billy. I screamed and jumped up and I then felt something hit the back of my head and everything went black.
I woke up in my room the next morning. I looked around and I had no idea how I got back. I got up and looked out the window and I saw a police car parked out front. I ran downstairs and I found my parents in the living room talking to a police officer.
“Mom? Dad?”
“Up already?” Mom asked.
“What’s going on?”
“The police brought you home last night. They say they found you over on that restricted lot. What were you doing there?” I tried to remember, but I couldn’t. I had no idea where I had been or what I had been doing.
“I don’t know. I don’t remember. Did Billy call the police?”
“No. We haven’t heard from Billy at all. Was he with you?”
“I don’t know. I think so. I can’t remember.”
“It’s bad enough Jimmy is missing. We don’t need you stirring up trouble too. We’ll discuss this later. Just go get some breakfast and get ready for school.”
“Okay.” I then went on to the kitchen and I felt a sharp hunger in my stomach. I went over to the fridge and opened it up and as I looked down, I did remember that all we had to eat was Crazy Cream ice cream. I was about to shut the door, but a craving came over me. I also realized I had never tried the ice cream before. I took one of the half melted cartons and took it to the kitchen table. I opened it up. It looked like regular ice cream. I scooped up a bit with my hand and ate it. It felt like a jolt in my brain as it touched my tongue. I took another scoop. And then another. Soon the carton was empty and I was running to the fridge for another. I polished away three cartons and then went back up to my room. I wanted to go back down for more, but I knew I had to get ready for school. As I dressed, all I could think about was more ice cream. I had eaten three cartons but I was still starving for more. I then went to my bathroom and I looked down and saw some new make up on my counter. It was bright and looked cheap, but I was compelled. I picked up the red and smeared some across my lips. I looked at myself in the mirror and I could only smile.

Thanks for reading and have a happy and safe Halloween!!!

Halloween Story Part 4 of 5

Chapter 4
The police came just a few minutes after we called. Mom was a mess. She just stayed in the kitchen, pacing and trying to find something to do. She had smoked all of her cigarettes before the police had arrived and she didn’t seem to know what to do with herself. Dad was in the living room with one of the officers and he was giving his report.
They had talked to me first and I told them about the noise I had heard and about the scrap of rubber. They wrote it all down, but I was given the impression they didn’t really care. Not that I blamed them. A scrap of rubber didn’t say much unless they had seen that freaky clown making a baby out of white balloons. I tried to tell them about that too, but they shut me down.
After they finished their reports, they looked around outside and then gave us the ‘we’ll do everything we can’ speech they probably gave all the other families who had gone through the same thing and left. Mom and Dad seemed completely crippled. I tried to tell them about my theory about the clowns, but they wouldn’t hear it. They were satisfied that the police were handling the case and went on back to bed. I tried, but there was no chance for me to get any rest. I could only think of Jimmy being dragged away to some unknown fate. I just sat in my bed and stared at the ceiling, just waiting for morning to come.
Once the sun rose, I leapt out of bed and changed. I knew there was no one in my house who would listen to me, but there was somewhere I could go. I ran past Mom and Dad in the kitchen and got on my bike and raced straight to Billy’s place.
I ran to his front door and banged on it as hard as I could. He pulled it open. He was still in his t-shirt and boxer shorts and he had some syrup on his face.
“Candy. Hi, what’s going on?”
“Jimmy! He’s gone!”
“What?”
“Last night there was this noise and when I checked on it, he was gone.”
“Oh my God. I’m sorry.”
“The clowns got him.”
“What?”
“Look, I know you don’t usually believe me, but you have to now. I found this in his room.” I then pulled out the scrap of rubber and held it up to him.
“It looks like a part of a popped balloon.”
“It is! I was coming home from dinner last night and one of those clowns came up to me and made a little baby out of balloons and then popped it. I think it was trying to tell me something.”
“Are you seriously trying to tell me a clown broke into your house and kidnapped your kid brother?”
“I know how nuts it sounds, but yes!”
“So, what do you want to do about it?”
“There’s only one place they would have taken him. To that Crazy Cream factory. It’s the only place in town no one is allowed to go.”
“You’re taking a pretty big leap here. You don’t have any proof.”
“I have enough and I can get more if I can get into that factory and find some.”
“How are you going to do that?”
“I’m breaking in.”
“Right.”
“I’ve seen the property. They don’t have any guards or anything. The only thing keeping people out is that stupid sign.”
“You’re seriously going to break into the Crazy Cream factory just to find proof?”
“If it can save my little brother, yes.”
“You do realize it would be against the law and the chances are pretty good you will get caught and they will most likely press charges.”
“I don’t care. They’re keeping something covered up there and if there’s even a slim chance I can save Jimmy, or any other kid who’s gone missing, I have to try.”
“Why you? Call the police and let them deal with it.”
“I talked to them last night about this theory and they just laughed in my face. In fact, everyone in this town seems to think there’s no way anything weird is going on over there. I’m the only one who sees something funny is going on.”
“They just make ice cream.”
“How do you know? How does anyone really know what goes on in there? No one ever goes in or out. You don’t find that odd?”
“They probably work odd hours.”
“You see? You’re making excuses!”
“Only because what you’re suggesting is so unbelievable!”
“Then prove me wrong. Help me get in there and prove me wrong. Then I’ll shut up about it and we can all go back to our lives.” Billy gave me his usual frustrated glare. I could tell he was torn with breaking up with me or giving in.
“Fine!” He barked. “We just get as far as the factory and when you see that it’s just a place of business, we go home and you never talk about this ever again. Deal?”
“Deal. We go tonight. I’ll come by at around ten.”
“Fine. Now, you want to come in for some breakfast? My mom made waffles. And we have like two hours before school starts.”
“Yes. Thanks.”
The rest of the day went by in a blur. All I could think about was Jimmy and what those disgusting clowns were doing to him. My stomach was rumbling like an Earthquake. I could barely eat. I was also growing nervous about my proposed break in. I was starting to think it was just too big a challenge. Maybe if I went back to the police and begged for them to listen to me. Maybe I would be able to get them to check it out if only to shut me up. There were moments when I thought about telling Billy that I wanted to call it all off, but something in me demanded that I hold my ground. I knew whatever was going on in my home, my town, started in that strange factory. I seemed to be the only person in town who could see through the facade and it was becoming clear to me that if anyone would be able to save Jimmy; it would be me.
I came by Billy’s house after ten and I was glad to find that he was already prepared to go. He was dressed in dark colors, which I had forgotten to tell him, so it was good he thought of it on his own. We rode our bikes through town and it was very quiet. The uneasy feeling in my stomach was growing more intense. As we got closer to the old lot, I felt like I was going to throw up. We came up to where the factory was and we stashed our bikes near an old oak tree. We walked over to the sign that warned people not to trespass.
“Well?” Billy asked.
“What do you mean? We’re going in.”
“Are you sure they have no security?”
“Do you see any guards? Any cameras?” I asked.
“No. I also don’t see any factory. Do you see any lights back there?”
“No, but the old lot goes on for a couple miles. It could be way back there beyond our sight. I know you’re scared. I am too, but I can’t just turn back now. If there is any chance to save Jimmy, I’d hate myself for the rest of my life if I didn’t try.”
“Did you tell your parents you were doing this?”
“Like they would care. They’ve been in their own little worlds for weeks now. I think when they realized Jimmy was gone was the first time I saw them have any real emotion.”
“I left a note for my folks, just so you know.”
“Fine. Let’s just get this over with.”
Billy and I proceeded onto the lot. The grass was tall and there was absolutely no light. We kept close to the ground and snuck along for what seemed like forever. At long last I could hear noises and a few yards further, I could see a large building ahead of us. It was quiet, but the lights were on. I just looked at it and I felt something pulling at me. It was as though the building itself was taunting me; daring me to come closer. Jimmy was in there. I knew it. I wasn’t sure how I knew it, but I did. I took a step and then I felt Billy grab my arm and pull me back.
“I thought you said we would just get close enough to see the factory!”
“I can’t turn back now. Jimmy’s in there!”
“How do you know?”
“I just do.”
“Even if he is, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to go in there and get him!”
“We’re already trespassing. Now you want to break in there?”
“It’s still open. The lights are on.”
“So?”
“We’ll just sneak in, take a look around. If we get caught, we’ll just say we’re taking a tour or something.”
“You really think anyone would buy that?”
“I really don’t care at this point. My little brother is being held against his will in that building and I’m going to save him.” Billy had always been the kind of guy who played by the rules, and I respected that in him, but with my kid brother at risk, the rules were not at the top of my priority list. I could see in his face his struggle to keep from fighting with me on this because he knew how important saving Jimmy was.
“I’m going to the cops and I’m bringing them here. I don’t want you to do anything stupid. Stay out of sight.”
“Thank you.”
Billy dashed off back toward town while I continued on to the factory. It was an old looking brick building. It was shaped into a near perfect rectangle and was tall. Each side had windows that reached almost all the way to the roof and there were four smoke stacks on the other side of the building. I had never seen an ice cream factory before, so I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing made sense or not. I could only really think of Jimmy.

Halloween Story Part 3 of 5

Chapter 3
I walked in the door and it was quiet. I could remember a day when it was nothing but chaos with Jimmy running around and mom in the kitchen fixing dinner. I saw my dad planted in front of the television and mom at the kitchen table hunched over an ashtray with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. She was still wearing her bathrobe. It looked as though she hadn’t left the house all day. I came up to her and as I put my hand on her shoulder she looked up at me and smiled.
“Hey, Mom.”
“Hi, sweety. How was school?”
“It was fine.” I looked over and I saw Jimmy on the floor just as he was when I left and he was still gobbling up more of that ice cream like there was no tomorrow. At first, Mom had set rules and tried to stop him from eating it so much, but it seemed as though she had given up any hope of disciplining him.
“It keeps him quiet.” She said as if she could hear my thoughts.
“I know, but it can’t be good for him to eat all that junk.”
“He’ll get sick of it eventually. It was like that time he ate nothing but that rainbow colored cereal. One week of it and now he can’t even look at it anymore.”
“I guess.”
“By the way, you’re on your own for dinner tonight. I just don’t feel up to cooking.”
“Okay,” I said. It was not unusual anymore for Mom to check out so I wasn’t surprised. “What do we have to eat?” I then walked over to the fridge and pulled it open but all I saw were cartons of Crazy Cream melting on the shelves. I checked the freezer and it was crammed with more Crazy Cream too. I turned to Mom and she just shrugged her shoulders.
“He goes through them like tissue paper.”
“How much did all of this cost?”
“They were having a sale at the store. Two for one.”
“The ones in the fridge are melting.”
“He’ll get them. Don’t worry.” She sounded almost proud of how addicted Jimmy had become.
“Fine. I guess I’ll go out to the Burger Hut.”
“Take some money from my purse.”
I was rather grateful to be going out to eat. My home had become as depressing as the rest of the town. I barely knew my parents anymore. Dad was distant and Mom didn’t seem to care anymore. It just seemed to get worse, day after day. I was glad for any excuse to get out.
I took my bike over to the Burger Hut. It was one of the oldest fast food joints in town. It was one of the most popular hang outs for the high school kids for almost six generations. The only thing that had ever been changed in that place were the light bulbs. As I approached, I saw that the lights were on and the big sign out front was all lit up, but it looked as though it were closed. I parked my bike and walked in. The tile on the floor was discolored and warped, as usual. I then saw a few people sitting at one of the tables in the corner.
“Welcome to Burger Hut. What will it be?” The girl at the counter asked as she looked toward me. Her voice was familiar and then I realized underneath the paper cap, it was a girl from school. I had seen her walking through the halls but we had never met officially. I walked up to her and smiled, but she looked rather distant and bored.
“A double Hut Burger. No onions. Extra sauce and an order of onion rings and a small drink.”
“That’ll be six fifty two.” She said. Her voice was hollow and tired. I handed her the money and she gave me the cup for my drink along with the receipt.
“Kind of quiet in here.” I said as he walked over to the soda fountain.
“I guess.”
“It’s usually pretty busy. Where is everyone?”
“Beats me. It kind of dropped off after we stopped carrying that Crazy Cream crap.”
“What?”
“Yeah. Most other places started offering it, but the management here pulled it after only a couple days. There went business. Poof.”
“Just over ice cream?”
“People are going crazy for that stuff. It’s like mind control or something.”
“What did you say?”
“Mind control. I heard they put something weird in the ice cream that makes it more addictive and they use it to control.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. My kid brother has been inhaling the stuff.”
“So did mine.”
“He got over it, right?”
“Maybe. We really don’t know.”
“How do you not know?”
“We haven’t seen him in weeks. He was one of the first to disappear.”
“Oh my God. I’m so sorry. What happened?”
“No one knows. We woke up one morning and he was gone. The night before, I thought I had heard something in his room, but I didn’t check on it because it was so late and I figured it was just him being a spaz, as always. The next morning the police came by and my mom was falling apart.”
“Have you heard anything?”
“No. My parents keeping hoping, but I’m pretty sure he’s gone.”
“I’m sure he’ll turn up soon.”
“No. He’s gone.”
“You think any of this has to do with those clowns?”
“What? The Crazy Cream guys? I don’t know. I have to admit, it’s odd that all this has been going down after they arrived.”
“Haven’t you seen a change come over the whole town? I mean, everyone is always so miserable now. Don’t you remember when things were happier?”
“Not really,” Just then a tray slid out onto the counter behind her from the kitchen and I saw it had my food on it. She picked it up and held it out to me. “Your order is up.”
I ate quickly. There wasn’t much to slow me down since there weren’t any people there for me to talk to. I just wolfed down my meal and went back out to get my bike. I wasn’t ready to go back home, but I didn’t know where else to go. I usually would go to the ice cream parlor to see my friends, but it was gone. I went by the arcade but it was deserted too. The whole town seemed as quiet as a tomb. I figured home was as good a place as any to be. As I changed direction, I stopped when I saw a clown at the end of the street. It looked like a guy clown. I couldn’t see his face, but I could feel him staring at me. He was wearing some crazy blue and white satin suit but it looked dirty and worn out. He had a large, fat body and his belly was wide and thick. I didn’t know what to do. Then he took a step forward. A chill ran up my spine and I wanted to just run as fast and as far as I could, but I felt frozen in place. Soon, the clown was walking toward me. A bike horn squeaked each time he took a step in those big, red floppy shoes.
As he got closer, I could see his face better. He was the ugliest one I had seen yet. His head was fat and he had dark, beady eyes. The make up on his face was gross and clumped. He had a large red frown painted over his lips and two blue stars over his eyes and white everywhere else. He stopped a few feet from me and then pulled out a small, white balloon. He blew it up, never taking his eyes from me, and with surprising skill, twisted and folded it. He then took out another balloon and did it again. Soon he had five or six balloons and he was twisting them all around with impressive skill. When he was finally done, it looked like some kind of child. He held it in his arms like a baby and rocked it back and forth. He then grinned at me and pulled out a pin from a large red puff on his shirt and just popped the little balloon child. The sound of it exploding jostled me out of my daze and I turned around as fast as I could.
I got back home later than I had thought. I had to take the long way around just so that I could avoid any more clowns. When I walked in, there were no questions from Mom or Dad about where I had been or why I had taken so long getting back. Dad was still in front of the television and Mom was asleep in the easy chair. I was about to say something, but I could tell it wouldn’t have mattered so I just went on up to my room.
I spent the rest of the evening surfing the web and finishing some homework. At about midnight, I finally got to bed and despite everything on my mind, I was able to fall asleep rather easily. I was jerked awake by a sudden loud noise. I checked my phone and saw that it was a little after two in the morning. I flopped back down onto my pillow and then I heard the noise again. It was a dull thumping noise. It sounded more violent than before and then what the girl at the Burger Hut came to me. I leapt out of my bed and raced down the hall to Jimmy’s room. I didn’t hear any screaming or anything breaking, but all the same I was praying nothing was happening. I made it to Jimmy’s room and I pushed the door open. I looked up and his bed was empty and my stomach sank to the floor. I walked over and put my hand on his mattress. It was still warm. He had been there only moments ago. I turned and saw that his window was open. I ran over to it hoping to see something, but as I poked my head out, there was nothing. No noise. No motion. Nothing. I stepped back and my heart was beating a little faster. I wasn’t sure how Mom was going to react. I knew in my heart she would be destroyed, but the way she had been acting lately, I wasn’t so sure. I still hadn’t heard any movement from my parents’ bedroom, despite the commotion. I still had my phone in my hand and I was about to call the police, but then I saw something on the floor. I bent down and it looked like a little scrap of white rubber; like a broken piece of a balloon.

Halloween Story Part 2 of 5

Chapter 2
I went by the ice cream parlor and I noticed that it was dark inside, which was odd. I ran over and saw a small notice on the front door at it was a note from Mr. Tromboli. It seemed that due to the popularity of Crazy Cream and his refusal to carry it in his parlor, he was going out of business. I knew things had gotten hard for him, but I wasn’t aware it had gotten that bad. Mr. Tromboli always had the best ice cream. He made his own and it was always so creamy and perfect. It was like a historic landmark in town. I then turned and saw a clown standing on the street corner ahead of me. That was the gimmick of Crazy Cream. Their delivery men were dressed as clowns and they had clowns all over town wearing sandwich boards and offering coupons and sometimes free samples.
Everyone in town seemed really amused by the gimmick, but I thought it was a little strange. Especially since these clowns didn’t look like the kinds I’ve seen at the circus. Their costumes looked old and worn and the make up they had on looked kind of gross. I wasn’t sure if that was because underneath the make up they were ugly people, or if the make up was meant to make them look ugly. I wasn’t interested either way. Whenever I saw one of them out, I’d go around and keep as far as I could.
I crossed the street in order to bypass the clown ahead of me. I was hoping it didn’t seem me and decide to intercept me, but much to my relief, the clown was busy handing out coupons to some other kids who were wandering by.
I turned the corner and I saw the large bulletin board that was set up in front of the town hall. Usually that was where people would up notices for yard sales or lost pets, but I noticed that there were a lot of missing children posters going up. More than I had ever seen. The oldest one there had been pinned up a few weeks earlier. Little Amy Henderson was the first child to go missing. No one had seen her and no one knows what could have happened. Mrs. Henderson swore that she had dropped her off at school and when she returned to get her daughter, they found that she was missing. The school had no idea what happened and the police had no leads. After that, it seemed there was a missing child reported once or twice a day. It seemed ever since those clowns came to town, everything was starting to go to Hell. I wasn’t the only one. There were others in town hoping to find a way to force the clowns away, but so long as Crazy Cream Ice Cream was selling, there wasn’t much chance of them moving on.
I got to school on time and when I got to my locker, I saw a group of kids gathered by a locker up the way from me. I got out my books an walked over and I saw Julie Ordway being comforted by a teacher. I looked over and saw Billy a few feet away. I slipped over to him and grabbed his hand. He looked over at me and smiled.
“What’s going on?” I whispered.
“Julie’s little sister went missing last night. She just broke down in tears a few minutes ago.”
“Oh, my God. Another one?”
“Third one this week.” Just then the school nurse arrived and she and the teacher escorted Julie away. After that, the crowd broke apart and Billy and I headed to home room.
“Why is this happening? Why aren’t the cops doing something about this?”
“I’m sure they’re doing all they can. I mean, what do they have to go on? It’s like these kids vanish into thin air.”
“But they don’t. You know that and I know that.”
“So what do you think happened?” Billy asked. I knew Billy was a fan of Crazy Cream and he always rolled his eyes whenever I suggested there was some connection with the current state of the town and the clowns. He thought, like many did, that it was just a coincidence. The mayor had gone on record to say that the arrival of Crazy Cream actually was a good thing. They built their factory on the old abandoned lot outside of town. It had been empty for over fifty years and condemned from use but somehow they managed to get the clearance. Of course, no one has actually seen their facility and there are never any employees coming or going, but no one questions.
“I don’t know. Maybe they got lost in the forest. Mauled by a bear.”
“Cheery.”
“It’s a possibility.”
“Or maybe the clowns got them, right?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“You wanted to. Look, they are creepy, yes, but they’re just selling ice cream. It’s a publicity stunt.”
“There’s something else about them. Something more.”
“You’re paranoid. I bet in few months, they’ll ditch the clown thing and start dressing up as fluffy puppies or something.”
“Maybe.”
“I also bet those kids will turn up as quickly as they disappeared.”
“I hope so.”
The day went on like clockwork just like every other day. Everyone ran from class to class and listened to our teachers drone on. I was having trouble concentrating though. My mind kept drifting to the missing children. I had no idea why, but something about it was troubling me. I was beginning to feel like I was the only one in town who saw anything wrong
The day finally ended and I was all happy to be free. Billy had practice so I was on my own to walk back home. I usually would go out to the meadow outside of town to get some peace before going home, but the meadow had turned into nothing more than a dirt lot over the past month. The grass had died and the lake started to smell funny. Just another innocent victim of this cloud of death that had spread over our town.

Halloween Story part 1 of 5

In the spirit of the season, I present a little Halloween story for your enjoyment. I’m not sure how ‘good’ it is, but it’s just a silly little story I came up with so I warn ahead of time, don’t expect Stephen King. Enjoy!

Chapter 1
I woke up at my usual time, but I just wanted to flop back down onto my pillow. I had trouble sleeping the other night due to a fitful sleep. It wasn’t because it was a nightmare. Quite the opposite actually. I hadn’t had such a beautiful dream in a long time. It wasn’t a particularly fantastic dream. It was plain and simple. I could remember seeing myself. It was like looking into a mirror but only better. My hair was bright and shiny and I felt happy. The sky was blue and the air was sweet. Sometimes I can even smell in my sleep.
It started out in the large meadow outside of town. The grass was green and the trees were tall and proud. The meadow was where a lot of kids went after school; and in some cases during. It was also a hot bed of activity during the summer months. We’d just go out there with our blankets and picnic baskets and just spend the day either staring up at the sky or taking a dip in the nearby lake. In a town our size, that’s about as exciting as it gets. At night the couples would sneak out and find some dark corner to fool around. I think more than half the population of Dalesport has been conceived in that meadow.
In my case, I was lying in the tall grass and the warmth of the sun filling me up. I could feel Billy’s hand slip along my arm until he looped his fingers over mine. I turned and saw him next to me, smiling. He always had such a beautiful smile and sparkling eyes.
“Hey, Candy.” He whispered.
“Hi.”
“We should get back into town soon. The game’s about to start.”
“Do we have to even go?”
“Well, I know I do I’m the quarterback.”
“It’s so nice out. I bet if we just stayed here, no one would even care.”
“Coach will. Trust me. Look, we’re playing Brookside. We’ll whup those boys before half time. We can come back here if you want.”
“I do. I really do.” I said. I couldn’t remember wanting to be in that meadow so badly. It got fuzzy after that, and then I saw me and Billy waling into town. He had my hand in his and everyone looked so happy and upbeat. The birds were singing and I could hear people greeting each other with cheerful voices. It just felt like a great day to be alive.
The ice cream parlor was busy and as we passed, Mr. Tromboli stepped out and waved to us.
“Good afternoon, you two! Care to stop in? Half price sundaes today!”
“Sorry, Mr. Tromboli,” Billy said. “Maybe after the game.”
“All right, son. You go get ‘em!”
We were constantly being stopped by people anxious to wish Billy good luck in the game. I was beginning to think we weren’t going to make it if anymore people stopped us.
As we approached the high school, the sound of the marching band grew stronger and I could see the flags of the school colors flying high over the field. I looked over at Billy and I felt so proud to be his girlfriend. He flashed his smile at me and my heart skipped a few more beats.
“I better go get to the locker room. I’ll be watching for you.” He then kissed me on my cheek and raced away toward the gym. I headed on to the field and I heard the roar of the crowd and the symphony of the marching band. Confetti drifted down like snow. I saw the cheerleaders in the middle of one of their routines and everyone seemed to be real happy. That was when I woke up. I looked around my room and everything looked the same as ever. I then slid out from under my covers and walked to my window and pulled open my shade. My heart sunk like a stone. For one brief moment I had forgotten what had happened to the town. For a one split-second I thought our nightmare had finally ended.
The paint on the houses on my street were faded and chipped. The street was cracked and they sky was a sickening brown color. The lawns were dying and there was a constant chill in the air.
I got dressed and headed down to the kitchen and found my family sitting at the table eating breakfast. Mom was wearing her pink bathrobe and standing in front of the stove pushing some eggs around in a frying pan while my kid brother, Jimmy, was wolfing down a bowl of some crazy colored cereal. My Dad had his morning paper and everyone just seemed to be in their own world.
“Good morning.” I said. Mom turned toward me and offered a weak smile, but Dad and Jimmy were non-responsive. I had grown used to it. There was a day when everyone was in a good mood and we’d all eat together and actually talk. I took my seat at the table and then Mom came up behind me and dumped some eggs onto my plate.
“Toast is a little burnt, if you want any.” She said.
“Thanks, mom.”
“Can I have some ice cream now?” Jimmy asked.
“No. It’s breakfast time. We don’t have ice cream for breakfast.” Mom said. Her voice was tired and withdrawn.
“But I want ice cream!”
“I said no. Don’t you get enough sugar with that cereal?”
“I want ice cream!”
“Ralph! Talk to your son!” My dad lowered his paper and looked over at Jimmy.
“You finish your cereal?” He asked.
“Yes.”
“Have your ice cream.” He said.
“Ralph!” Mom barked. He looked over at her and shot her an icy stare.
“I’d like to read my damn paper in peace, Cora. Does it really matter how he rots out his teeth?” Jimmy leapt off his seat and raced for the freezer and pulled out a carton of ice cream. It was a new brand called Crazy Cream. It was a local brand that had popped up seemingly overnight and it was the most popular treat in town. The store could barely keep it in stock. The carton was splashed with bright colors and had lots of little cartoon clowns all over it. Jimmy pulled the lid off and flopped down on the floor and pulled a big scoop out with his bare hand and crammed it in his mouth. He kept shoveling the stuff in like he had been starving for it. Mom looked as though she wanted to stop him, but just didn’t have the energy to try.
I had not really taken to Crazy Cream. All the flavors came in weird, unnatural looking colors and had weird names. Caramel Cotton Candy and Ringmaster Ripple were the top sellers, it seemed. Everyone else in town loved it. It was like they couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Like they were addicted or something.
I looked over at Jimmy and his face was smeared with ice cream and he kept eating. I had also noticed he had gained quiet a bit of weight since he started eating it. A few weeks ago he had a slender build, but he had ballooned up since then. He legs were chubby and he had sprouted and extra chin. I turned away, but I could still hear his ravenous noises as he emptied out the carton.
“We need more!” He shouted.
“I’ll go to the store later, dear.” Mom said.
“We need more!” He persisted.
“Later! Please!” Mom looked like she was on her last nerve; much like the rest of town.
I finished my breakfast and grabbed my backpack and ran out the door. As I walked down the street, I saw that all the lawns of all the homes had died and were nothing but large brown patches.
I turned the corner and saw some other kids walking to school but they shambled along like zombies. All the people I passed by were just as responsive. Everyone seemed to be in a daze and everything in town was dying. It wasn’t always like that. It was just how things were after the clowns came.

Screw You Cable!!!

Okay. Off the bat, I’m a little mad right now. My cable pretty much got taken from me because all my channels were switched to digital and I don’t feel like having to pay yet another charge for a box to watch basic cable. I figured, ‘no sweat. I’ll watch my shows online.’ WRONG! Now it seems all the channels are requiring you to supply a password from your cable account to watch content that was, up until a few months ago, freely available. On principle this annoys me. If you already have the cable, why would you watch these shows online instead of on the television? It always seemed to me that making the shows available online was a tool to make the shows accessible to those who didn’t have cable. And even Youtube is getting greedy. If you want to see an episode of ‘American Dad’ from the new season, you have to pay them $1.99. Bull$h!t! You can’t start up your format and offer free content after so many years and then suddenly decide you want to make money. Besides, if you weren’t charging before and still making money, why charge now? I’m sorry, but if the entertainment industry is so anxious to get digital, they’re going to have to realize that it’s a little too late to change the rules to suit them. They set the precedent. They have to live with it. Besides, I don’t see how this new shift is going to make them any more money. I can only see how all of this digitizing and streaming is actually going to cost them. More people watching online, less watching your network. Ratings plummet. No advertisers because they’re doing free Facebook campaigns and they put money in online promotion, which doesn’t come close to matching what they used to spend in television promotion. Let’s face it, a 60 second spot during the Super Bowl now costs eight figures. Do you think a stream of the Super Bowl is going to pull that same kind of price? No. A friend pointed out to me, and I’m surprised I never thought of this, that all of these online shows and Youtube videos don’t have the same audience as television. You choose which videos and shows you watch online. They aren’t just broadcast and made available for public viewing. You get to pick and choose your program schedule yourself. This is factor that alters the entire role of advertising. I’ve seen this coming down the road for a long time and it’s starting to take form. The end is coming. The lesson shall be just because it’s new and ‘cool’ doesn’t mean it’s better. These leaps forward in technology are wiping out huge sections of our economy. It’s a domino effect that will leave turn this whole country into a vast wasteland with constant double digit unemployment and decaying cities. Maybe my vision is a little over dramatic, but the truth lies somewhere within.