Honestly, I cannot remember how it started. My boyfriend told me I had an irrational fear of the stupid things, but to me, it seemed justified. I was not the only person on the planet afraid of the creepy freaks; I don’t see why my feelings were less justified than others. All Casey wanted was to take me to the circus and given how much I loved elephants, I really wanted to go. The last time I had been under the big top I was a small child. The memories were not entirely clear but as I sat and thought about it I could not remember anything horrific happening that would trigger the response I had that day.
Casey was super excited and because of that, I was too. We drove out early, found a ridiculously great parking spot and proceeded to walk around. This wasn’t just any circus. Not only did they have the main event in the big top, there was a freak show, animal shows, games of all kinds and carnival rides. Not to mention all the delicious food that was being prepared across the fairgrounds – it was going to be a day of fun, for sure. We enjoyed as much as we could until the main event started and Casey led the way to incredible seats. I could smell the lions when they came out to entertain the crowds.
For whatever reason, everything to that point had been splendid. When they came out, though, all that changed. Immediately I felt my palms sweating, my feet sweating, and a lump of panic in my throat so big I could hardly breathe and my brain racing a hundred miles an hour trying to figure a way out of the tent. Everyone was cheering and laughing, even Casey, but not me. I rose to my feet in an attempt to get out. The performer’s features terrified me and as I tried to run outside I tripped over the person next to me. Everyone seemed so consumed with the show they just scoffed at me even after looking me dead in my anxiety-ridden eyes. My mind wasn’t even thinking about Casey; my only thought was an escape.
Hitting the fresh air, finally, I struggled to regain my focus. Tears had my eyes burning and it was taking all my energy to remind myself to breathe. Slumping to my knees I let myself cry, clenching my hands open and closed to stop the trembling that would not stop.
When I heard Casey’s voice, I turned to see him standing there confused and perhaps a little scared.
“Babe, you okay?”
“No. No, I want to go home.”
I could not explain what came over me that day. The fear was real and I knew I had gotten quieter at home since my little outburst. Casey walked on eggshells for a few days before finally confronting me. I could see it in everything he did. Eventually, we needed to talk about what happened. When he sat down across from me it almost felt like an intervention.
“It seems you’re doing better. I wanted you to tell me that, though.”
“I’m fine, Casey. What else do you want from me? I freaked out, I’m sorry. I know the day was meant to be fun and most of it was…,” my thoughts drifting back to the entertainer’s horrid face. A shiver ran up the course of my spine and I closed my eyes tight to try and erase the image again.
“See, here’s the thing, Meg. You have not been sleeping at all since that day. I mean, you do, but not well. You’re tossing and turning, crying out in the middle of the night. I read online those are called night terrors and usually, they stem from some tragedy in your past. Is there something you want to talk about?”
My heart dropped. It was sweet that he noticed and even sweeter that he’d taken the time to figure out what was wrong with me. The thing was I tried over the last few days to figure out why I’d had such an adverse reaction and for the life of me could not remember a thing from my childhood that possibly could have triggered anything.
“I really don’t think there is anything to discuss. I am just a freak, I guess. Are you upset with me?”
“No,” he chortled. “I just want to know you are not going to spaz out like that in public again. You know? It was pretty embarrassing, plus you hurt yourself and now you can’t sleep.”
“Embarrassing for whom, Casey?”
I know I snapped those words out like a hungry crocodile but he almost sounded as if he were more concerned with his public image than my mental well-being. I rose to my feet, hands waving to indicate I was done with the conversation but before I could step away, Casey was right in front of me waving the proverbial white flag.
“That’s not what I meant, Meg. I was talking about your own and if I am wrong, I am sorry. I just want you happy. Jimmy at work said you should talk to someone, like a therapist or something, you know, in case there is some repressed memory in there that needs help getting out.”
“You’re talking about this at work now with the guys?”
My cheeks flooded with mortification. That’s all I needed to be added on to my already wounded pride was all his work buddies think I was a complete nut case.
“I just wanted to know how to help you, Meg. I wasn’t making fun of you. I’m worried! Am I not allowed to be worried?”
Casey was right and as hard as that could be to admit; this time I knew it to be true. After more conversation, we agreed that I would see a therapist so I set up and appointment. The days and nights leading up to that meeting were rough. My life was being haunted by this circus freak and the continual nausea was wearing me thin. Despite not wanting to go at first, now I could not wait to get it over with. If this doctor could somehow cure me of my irrational fear then I would be one happy camper.
When I arrived at Dr. Handy’s office I wasn’t really sure what to expect. This was only our first session and I was confident we would spend more time in that awkward getting-to-know-you phase than actually discussing the events that led to this meeting in the first place. He seemed like a nice enough man on the outside. The office was just as you’d picture it; simple, moderately elegant with calming pictures on at least three walls. The fourth donned his degree from some out of state university.
I took a seat and even though we began talking about whom I was and where I was from we did eventually get to the reason I was there – that dreadful day at that awful circus. Explaining the events that took place was harder than I thought. I felt like I was reliving a traumatic event, which, the trip to the circus should not have been. Dr. Handy let me speak; he let me retell the whole tale and saw the opposing reaction I was having since my palms started to sweat again and my gag reflex worked on overdrive.
“We’re going to work on something over the next few sessions if you are willing to continue your therapy, Megan. You are going to learn to slay your demons and conquer your fears. Are you okay with that?”
I nodded in agreement, even though I was pretty sure conquering my fears was the last thing that would ever happen. I left the session feeling about as bad as I did that fateful day. Why was it haunting me so? I hated feeling like this.
The next few days were like torture. I was supposed to go back and see Dr. Handy the following week, but the circus was still in town and every day I had to drive past the fairgrounds to get to and from my work. That bastard in the face paint was mocking me daily and initially, I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it.
Then it hit me. Dr. Handy said I needed to slay my demons and that was exactly what I planned on doing. Casey was going to go have a night out with the guys watching a basketball game at some local pub and would be home late. I showered after he headed out and dressed in comfortable clothing, pulling my golden hair into a tight bun. Looking at myself in the mirror I felt confident I could do this. I was heading back to the circus – and this time, I was going alone. I grabbed my bag and drove to my battlefield.
The place was full of screaming, happy faces. Everyone around me was laughing, feeling jovial and relaxed. I could smell all the food that once carried a delightful feeling along with it but now it only had bitter memories. Never again would I let something or someone make me feel like I had no control over my life. I walked through the crowds; head held high and looked for the object of my desire. The tent was straight ahead but to my glorious luck, I saw him. Standing toward the back of the tent was that wretched clown smoking a cigarette all alone.
His face was painted up to look like a joyful smile, but I knew what was really underneath all that makeup. Dr. Handy told me I needed to focus on the actor who wore it and not the end result. If I reminded myself this guy was human I may not be able to accomplish what I set out to do. I needed this.
Before approaching him I glanced around to see if anyone was watching. Thankfully the entire park was wrapped up in their own lives and not one single person was paying attention to little ole me and the big bad monster. Besides, in the end, I was helping not only myself but everyone else. Taking a drag off his cigarette, the scene was surreal. His voice was like gravel crushing under a boot and even though he wore a fake smile, his actual face told a different story. His eyes told another tale. This was not a happy-go-lucky kind of guy who enjoyed his work. This was a man that fed off the fears of others.
“What the hell do you want? I don’t sign autographs.”
I approached him, fear-laden eyes; my right hand gripping the strap over my shoulder as tight as I possibly could.
“I don’t want an autograph.”
“You want a smoke then? I mean, I can give you something else too if you want a little adventure. Ever fucked a guy in clown makeup before?”
My heart stopped. This thing did not know me and here he was trying to lure me into a sex act. Maybe that was my fear? Was it truly irrational if this monster was a perverted detriment to society? My resolve was solidified. I came here on a mission and with that one question, I was more focused than ever to slay my demons.
“You’re pretty forward there, big guy.” Even I noticed the tremble in my voice was gone.
“Chicks only come snooping around when they want to live out some warped fantasy. I’ll bang ya, honey. We can do it right here. There ain’t nobody around to catch us either.”
He grabbed his dick and squeezed, taunting me with it as if I were to believe his cock matched the enormous shoes on his feet. I knew what I had to do. Slowly I stepped up to him and placed a hand on his chest. Immediately a real smile edged on his face and he took one last drag off the cigarette before flicking it out onto the grass behind us. I felt his grisly hand wrap around my hip and pull me closer. He wasn’t lying when he said he was ready. I could feel his hard on pressing against my leg so I let my hand drop down the strap of the bag and around to the zipper, gripping tightly the knife I placed in it. I was going to slay this demon alright, once and for all.
Allowing him to rub on me when he came in for a kiss I pulled back and giggled, using my girlish charms to keep him focused on my face and my tits while I steadied my hand. Before he saw anything coming, the knife was at his side, then in it. Slowly at first, I buried the knife up to the hilt in between ribs and into his lung. He gasped and looked at me in disbelief. Now, pumped full of adrenaline I found my hand thrusting in and out of his abdomen and side with the same amount of passion he thought he was going to get. Surprised at my own strength I held him up, keeping my eyes locked on his until that glimmer completely disappeared.
I had done it. Drenched in the blood of my demon, I had slain him. The clown lay dead on the asphalt. Taking a moment to make sure no one was watching I slipped away into the darkness of the night and took the long way back to my car. Upon returning home I cleaned myself up, threw out the clothes I’d been wearing, washed the inside of the car and then sat to have a glass of wine. When Casey walked in he saw me relaxed and just smiled.
“Did you have a good night, babe?”
“I did,” speaking with great confidence. “Better than I imaged it would be.”
“Well, that’s good.”
After that night I never had another nightmare. No more was I waking up in the middle of the night screaming as if the monster in the closet was coming to get me. I also never went back to Dr. Handy. Casey never questioned it and figured I had gotten what I needed, but secretly I reveled in the fact that I did it. I did what my therapist wanted. I slew my demon and conquered my fears.