He comes to me when I am vulnerable

The first time that I saw him? I could not forget that day if I tried. God knows, I tried. I was dancing over puddles on the uneven concrete sidewalk that ran from my school to home. I was in the third grade and it was spring and summer vacation would be coming soon.

He waved at me when our eyes met. On his face that he painted white, he had a big red smile and a pair of red diamonds covered his eyes. A balding clown wig covered his head and gave him red hair. I should have trusted my instincts and ran but I did not. It was a foolish mistake only a child would make.

When he offered me a balloon animal, I went closer and reached out for it. What happened next was a blur and I do not remember everything happening. I know he grabbed me and tried to drag to his car, an orange rusting Ford Pinto. There was a blue bumper sticker that said, “Fight Organized Crime, Abolish The I.R.S.” In the end, I lied sobbing on the wet earth next to the road and hearing his car speed away. Mrs. Carsen, the pastor’s wife of the church down the road, scooped me up and took me home.

I had nightmares during the next couple months. The dreams were so vivid and terrifying, it was a miracle that got any sleep. I was playing in the backyard with my brother when my uncle, a police officer, took me inside. He told me that the clown would never harm anyone again and that I was safe. I did not think of it much then but the nightmares went away, at least for a little bit. I later found out through rumors that a car exploded and somebody died around that time.

I was in high school when the nightmares came back. I fell asleep in class and I saw him again except he was different. Scorch marks and soot covered his once baggy dot covered clothes and his face was more ghoulish. The painted smile on his face stretched from ear to ear in a malicious looking grin. The area around his eyes were dark sunken spots on his face. His eyes were the most disturbing thing about him. They were red and looked unnatural. He did not say anything; he did not need to speak. His gaze told me he was back.

only saw him in my dreams. They were terrifying dreams and he would show me horrible things. Murders and people dying in wars. The dreams were vivid and it seemed like I had traveled to places where I had never been.

Eventually, I came to accept the dreams and the horror of these images did not affect me. What I did not realize was that I had retreated inside my mind and lived my life in a constant state of sadness. My friends tried reaching out to me but I rejected their help and started spending all my time at home. My grades dropped despite I was doing the best I could.

It was not until I read about one of the murders from my dreams did I realize that something was not right. I dismissed it as a coincidence but my thoughts kept turning to a possibility that haunted me. I began journaling my dreams and started researching murders in the news. I found other murders that matched my dreams.

These murder dreams continued while I was in college. I could tell my sanity slipped further away every night. I tried to warn the police about one of these murders and became a suspect as I knew things I should not have known. That was when I realized how truly alone I was.

I confronted him in a dream one night. I yelled and screamed at him. He still said nothing and stared at me from the shadows of my mind. Nothing I did would stop the dreams. I became desperate and turned to alcohol to further numb myself and when that failed to work, I resorted to other drugs. Finally, I knew there was no longer hope.

One night, while I laid in my bathtub, I resolved to end this misery with a handful of sleeping pills and a knife. While I waited for the inevitable, I saw him outside of my dreams for the first time. He stood staring down at me with his hideous grin and red eyes. He got me in the end.

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