Maybe this is why people are scared of clowns… I can’t say I much like them, but they don’t make me run screaming the other way, usually.

The mouth smiles, but the eyes say something else... Image from WikiMedia by *Micky*

The mouth smiles, but the eyes say something else…
Image from WikiMedia by *Micky*

“The show must go on.” The ringmaster stared at the clown’s body stretched out on the floor, whose big floppy collar couldn’t hide the unnatural angle of his neck. “Someone hide Carl here. And Tony, you take his place.”

“Aw, man!” The odd jobs man groaned, because it meant twice the work tonight. He’d still have to muck the stalls when morning came, too. But he went to paint his face and don the over-sized shoes and striped pants. Once dressed, he was interchangeable to the audience. One face in a crowd.

Three nights later, something stirred in the clowns as they ran through their usual pratfalls and pranks–their smiles stretched and pained, eyes wide with fear instead of laughter.

“Hey man, that’s not funny, wearing Carl’s face,” one clown muttered to the source of unease, an extra clown in the performance.

Each painted face was unique, passed down in some families, but Carl had no children or apprentices.

“I don’t know what you mean,” the unnerving clown said, smiling to reveal sharp, white teeth. “I’m Carl. I came back. After all, the show must go on.”

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

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