“By the time he made it back to the main road an unsettling blackness had taken over the night sky.”
To make a little extra cash, Lee Edwards has been performing as a clown at birthday parties for the last couple of months. The gig isn’t too bad compared to his previous jobs; especially since he only works a few hours on any given day.
Today’s party had him in the park entertaining a bunch of kids while their parents stayed busy getting drunk. By the time the party was over it was getting late in the afternoon.
After getting everything put away, Lee tried to start the car. But when he cranked the ignition nothing happened—not even a faint hint of the car trying to turn over. He figured it must’ve been a dead battery.
With no cell phone signal or anyone left from the party to jump him, his only choice was to walk to town so he could get service and call someone to give him a jump.
It was a good couple of miles walk along the main road to reach town. Normally this wouldn’t take too long, but with the stifling heat and spending most of the day surviving a group of rambunctious kids, he was worn out.
With his energy dwindling and his body aching, Lee decided to take a shortcut through the woods in hopes of shortening his trip. This proved to be a bad idea as the sun dipped below the horizon and the trail became a maze of spindly shadows.
By the time he made it back to the main road an unsettling blackness had taken over the night sky. But even with the sun gone the night was still unusually muggy and he felt his clown makeup start to drip down his face.
The road stretched on for what felt like eternity and Lee had to stop many times to rest. Sitting on the hard, thick grass along the side of the road, he looked up to see a pair of headlights barreling down the road towards him. A sense of relief washed over him. This was his lucky break.
Lee hopped up and tried waving the vehicle down. A beat-up truck roared past him and screeched to halt up the street. From where he was standing Lee could tell there were four guys in the bed plus two people in the cab.
As the truck started reversing in his direction Lee could tell by their hats these guys were from a local fraternity. He began to feel uneasy as the truck weaved side to side before coming to a stop in front of him. The smell of alcohol wafted through the air as everyone piled out of the truck.
“Hey guys, I don’t want any trouble. I’m ju—”
“Too bad, weirdo. Troubles what you get for walking around trying to scare people,” the leader of the group said.
Before Lee could explain that he was an actual clown, the frat boys started wailing on him without hesitation; first punches, then kicks. Lee wasn’t sure how long the beating lasted—you kind of lose track of time after so many hits to the spine.
He started slipping in and out of consciousness and thought to himself: Why didn’t I bring a change of clothes and spend my extra cash on a better cell—
And that was it. Everything faded to black.
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