A strange encounter and killer clowns in an abandoned fairground – the full length version.
I am perched on top of a disused roller coaster ride, at the point where the coaster reaches the summit before it pauses, there’s a view of the Ayrshire countryside, adrenaline curses through the blood and there’s a vertiginous steep plunge down to the bottom.
It is a fine vantage point to see the surrounding hills and woods in their autumn colours, the ruins of a 19th-century country house and the rest of the abandoned fairground stretched out before me. I can see into a walled area with a crazy golf course disappearing under grass and bushes, a café and semi-dissembled rides, including one ride with its arms bent and bowed like a spider poised to scuttle across the surprisingly neat lawns.
It is a grand view and I am forced to enjoy it for longer than anticipated as I am trapped by an angry man below me. I am watching him tie up the fence to close the gap I had conveniently found and slipped through. I can tell he is angry by the jerking, yanking way he is twisting some cord round the fence. You can see the thoughts exploding in his head.
‘These bastard people,’ he mutters with every knot and twist of the cord. ‘These bastard, bastard people!’
He is unaware that one of these bastard people is sitting just above his eyeline.
He only has to look-up a fraction and he will see me. His bored wife stands back on the main path and taps into her mobile, resigned to waiting for her husband finish the task and no doubt complain about trespassers for the rest of the day. She too only has to glance-up to see me on top of the ride. Their son runs round and every time he shouts ‘Dad’ I think he has spotted me. Their labrador rushes round with a wagging tail for his world is exciting and full of smells.
To be fair to the man it must be annoying living at the edge of an abandoned fairground, in the middle of the woods, and having to put up with trespassers, ruins explorers, fairground aficionados and all kinds of people drifting through for all kinds of reasons. So he has awarded himself the right to be the guardian of this empty quiet place, once filled with families and children.
It is taking him a long time to tie the fence back. I realise I have left my mini-rucksack at the top of the steps only a few metres away from him. How have they not seen me or the bag?
Then I think, maybe he has seen me and is teaching me a lesson by locking me into the ride, a silent revenge. This is futile and absurd because you only need a minimal level of agility to climb over the perimeter fence. Maybe he’s not seen me but what about his wife? Maybe it’s her silent revenge on the fool, enjoying the sight of watching me watching him. It’s a curious scene where no-one can be quite sure who is aware of the other. Finally, with a huge sense of satisfaction, and the pleasure that he has taught someone a lesson, his task is finished.
They walk away and a car drives-up. There is a long conversation with the driver. Have I been spotted by someone else and a local vigilante group are gathering in numbers? I wonder what he would do if he caught me or if I decided to climb down and say hello. His angry spluttering would turn into a sanctimonious and triumphant shout.
‘Darling, call the police!’
This would of course be the least frightening thing he could do. It would be rubbish frankly. The police would take a while to come so would he try and keep me there by force? It would only take a conversation and some polite charm to demonstrate that I am utterly harmless (‘I say, I am so sorry. I appear to have spoilt your fine walk. Shall we retire to an inn for a drink until the police come?’). His wife would think him a fool. It is a family walk spoilt. He’s embarrassing and that’s not attractive. It’s another nail in the coffin for revelry in the boudoir. This is only increases his frustration. He becomes more obsessed with these damn people infiltrating the fairground. It would be awkward, to say the least.
So what he should say is:
‘Darling, release the killer clowns!!!’
The wife blows a whistle and looks at her husband with adoration. (For any man who can command the release of killer clowns will also command instant respect in the bedroom, even if it is out of terror).
Doors crash open and swarms of killers clowns run awkwardly in big shoes out of the boarded-up stores, stalls and cafes and converge onto the ride. They start climbing towards me. I am helplessly trapped.
What I don’t know is that they have installed weight-sensitive pads on the paths leading to the fairground. Stepping on them releases hallucinogenic vapours and psychological terror is about to meet a Scooby Doo plotline and be unleashed on any trespassers. I didn’t suffer from coulrophobia before. I do now. I’m tripping my head off as killer clowns rubber noses, curly wigs, brightly coloured costumes and painted faces climb their way up towards me. Their exaggerated grins are pure malevolent menace.
Suddenly I see what they have in store for me. It will not be a slow death. I will disappear into the locked-up cafes and boarded-up huts. Clowns will laugh and leer at me with melting faces before using me as a guinea pig for slapstick torture acts. The rusting water slides and chairs on the Chair-O-Plane ride, gently swaying in the breeze, will be put to use in a diabolical manner.
The leader of the clowns is called Pennywise the Dancing Clown and he is the most sadistic of them all. He likes to slip off his gloves and show me his hideous three-fingered claws. Pennywise has the ability to transform himself. He visits me daily, shape-shifting into my worst fears and phobias, my old school bullies, the fears that keep me awake at night and dead relatives, angrily screaming in my face for redemption. The other clowns laugh at my anguished begging for it to stop and squirt acid from buttonhole flowers. Now it is my face melting and they mock my screams.
Occasionally, for their sport, I am allowed to escape. I run screeching through the fairground in panic, desperately looking for a way out. They chase me in their ungainly manner. Once I took my revenge and mocked their ungainly running. They didn’t like that. They shoved me into one of the cafes where weeping clowns sat at tables or on log slides. Each one holds a balloon. They ask me ‘Where have all the children gone?’ They are the doomed clowns and their sadness is terrible. And I realise that this is what I will become. But only when they have finished playing with me.
It’s part of the game, to show me this as they swarm towards me. To give me a chance before it’s too late. Most can’t make the decision, for we cling to hope even when we know we will suffer so much more. There is only one way out. I jump. There’s a pause, there’s a view of the Ayrshire countryside, adrenaline curses through the blood and there’s a vertiginous steep plunge down to the bottom.
A policeman arrives to file a report.
‘Another suicide Mr. Dunfield?’ says the policeman to the man.
‘Well it’s a lonely spot.’
‘There were reports of carousel music. And manic laughter.’
Mr. Dunfield and the policeman look at each other and burst out laughing.
‘Not those killer clowns again.’
They continue laughing but stop when hundreds of different balloons float out of the woods into the sky.
‘They will be praying for the lost souls at the clown church in Dalston,’ says the policeman.
‘Eventually they will get the hint and stop coming here. It’s our place. The bastards.’ He practices kicking an imaginary bastard lying on the ground. Bastards.’
The policeman looks at him with contempt as he does so. He takes his leave and the man gazes at the balloons drifting into the sunset.
A short version of this post was first published on the Unofficial Britain website.