As a child,
I was always afraid of clowns,
As are most children.
I never really considered why,
I thought I was generally scared of the intimidating appearance,
The big hair,
The bright eyes,
The ghost-white makeup smudged all over their face,
And their crackling laughs which ricocheted throughout the carnival.
I do no though,
The one thing which truly terrified me the most,
Was their smile,
Yes the simple gesture of up-turned blood-red lips.
Friendly to the adult eyes, to the grandparents and the parents.
But not to us kids.
The smile held something not known to me then, as I was such young of age,
and so inexperienced.
But now I look back and kick myself for not seeing the message.
It was the forced smile of children,
The trapped souls of imagination and innocence.
They were there to make us laugh,
Then to steal that laughter from our open mouths.
Why?
No one knows.
Accept, for, me.
I could see the eyes of millions of children through one pair,
I could hear the ringing laughter of children through the clown's own,
But I couldn't see the smiles through the clown's up-turned lips.
I remember as he stared down at me,
My parents telling me to give him a hug, so as they could have a single
photo,

Now I look back on that; a single photo in exchange for my childhood, of
coarse, they didn't realize it.

I didn't want to hug him, I could sense the evil,
I could smell it; I was breathing it in,
But I closed my eyes,
And grasped the clown around his middle,
The echo of children's laughter drifted through my ears,
Then came the clowns piercing cackle followed by the children's screams of
terror.
Sobbing and cries for mums and dads came from their mouths,
Their ears awaited for a never to be heard answer,
Yes, I hugged the clown.
In doing so,
I said goodbye to my childhood,
I said goodbye to the simple things that made me happy,
When a scrap on the knee was the end of the world,
Where missing out on a chocolate biscuit was something to cry about.
Where I felt loved.
So loved.
The light from the camera blinked, and the clown released his gentle
looking but iron grip of me.
I looked on the world differently,
I realized that fun was no longer a part of life, I must now seek it and
hold onto it.
I realized that love wasn't easy, and that my brother and parents would be
there as long as they could be for me.
As would my friends.
My mother thanked the clown, he just nodded.
My mother grasped my hand and gently pulled me along behind her and my
father's wake.
She chatted happily to my father.
I turned my head in time to see the clown look at me,
His eyes glazed with an evil happiness, he let out a small giggle-of a
child,
He smiled, that smile.
It sent shivers throughout my body.
Then, he winked.
I didn't no why, but that scared me, it was if he new something I didn't.
My mother and father still chatted happily, and I was still being tugged
along by my hand.
Neither seemed to realize that their daughter had just fallen into the
black pit of reality along with them.
A single tear made its way down my cheek; I let it fall to the ground.
My father passed me my doll I was holding before; I called her Mary-doll.
She was a rag doll, and had a pathetic excuse for hair on top of her oval
head; her eyes were blue felt circles stuck on with glue. Mary-doll was a
gift from my long
deceased grandmother Shirley.
My father didn't notice the track the tear had left on my cheek.
I stared at my rag doll, her head flopped to one side, her eyes started up
to me with a knowing dread, 'I'm sorry Mary-doll.' I whispered, I gently
kissed her red hair.
I swear she called out to me to reconsider, but I let her hand fall through
my fingers,
As she drifted to the ground and I walked away, I felt as though I had let
go of everything I held dear, I felt as though I had let go of my
childhood.
I had let go of my imagination, my dreams and my care-free past.
I closed my eyes briefly, and within my eyelids, I saw the clowns face,
emerging out of the darkness.
He laughed that laugh, and smiled that haunting smile.
And then he said, barely audible and so slowly I could lip read before the
sound even left his mouth
'It's a pity the day you grow up, isn't it?' He held up Mary, his mouth
smiling at my sudden horror.
'But don't worry darling, I have your childhood in safe keeping.'
I reached out to her, but new she was lost forever to him.
It was my mistake I realized.
I thought I didn't need her anymore, I thought my childhood had been taken
away, so I let her drop. But it wasn't him who took it; it was I who let it
go.
He then rasped, 'I'll let you keep some though,' he plucked one piece of
red wool from her oval head, and dropped it into my awaiting palm, again he
smiled evilly 'only
the painful memories.'
Again he up-turned his blood-red lips into a sinister smile.
I opened my eyes, breathing hard, and sweating,
Only a few seconds had passed,
I had imagined it I thought.
But then I felt a soft tickling in my hand, and I opened my fingers.
There lay a piece of red wool.
One piece from Mary-doll's head.
One sliver of my childhood.
I closed my eyes, and saw the clown smile.

By Siobhan

Date: 15/Febuary/2004