“So how long have you had this phobia of clowns?”

Julia Song had often thought about the answer to this question. For as long as she could remember the fear had always been there

“I’m not sure really. It just seems to have always been there since I was a little girl”

Her Therapist noted down her answer and carried on with his list of questions about how her phobia manifested itself, did anyone else in the family suffer from it or what had her parents said about it growing up

“That’s the thing every time I tried to speak about it my mother would either get really upset or angry. My father would just change the subject  and refuse to discuss it. Neither of them gave me any clues before they died”

Although Julia had always wanted to seek help about this it was having children of her own that had prompted it as she did not want to pass her irrational fear onto them

“Ok Julia I’d like you to close your eyes and think about travelling back along your timeline to when you were younger. I’d like you to get up above it and look down upon your life as you travel backwards in time, all the way back to the time when this fear started”

Julia let her unconscious mind to travel back over her life until she was looking down on herself in her bedroom as a little girl

“Ok Julia when you get back to the first memory associated with this fear let me know where you are and what’s happening please”  

“I’m in my bedroom but I’m scared. My Mummy and Daddy have gone out and the babysitter is in the living room watching television”

“And why are you scared Julia?”

“Because there’s been a small clown that keeps standing at the bottom of my bed at night who just stares at me. I keep screaming for my Mummy and Daddy to get rid of him but they keep telling me it’s just a bad dream but I know he’s real”

“You’re doing really well Julia. Now tell me what’s happening now please”

“I’m walking to the living room and I can hear the baby sitter speaking to one of my parents on the telephone. She’s saying she’s sorry to disturb them at their dinner party but she wants permission to cover the clown figure up in the corner of the room as it’s scaring her”

Her hands begin to grip the pillow that she’s placed on her lap for security

“And now the clown is coming towards her but she can’t see him as she has her back to him. I want to scream and warn her but I’m too scared”

“What are you feeling Julia?”

“Oh I really want to scream out that he’s coming but I just can’t and now he’s seen me and I’m feeling too terrified to move”

“Ok Julia keep going. Tell me what’s happening now”

“He’s just smiling at me and he’s put a finger up to his mouth to tell me to be quite. He’s shutting the door and I can hear the babysitter screaming……oh god……oh god…..”

Julia opens her eyes and jumps up from the couch sobbing. She wants to run away and hide in the cupboard just like she had done on that evening until the police had kicked down the door. She wants to hide until the gunshots have stopped and the clown has been taken away under a sheet. She wants to hide until her Mummy and Daddy come home

But she realises she can’t hide from the clown this time

He’s sitting in the chair where her therapist had just been

He has a finger up to his lips telling her to be quiet

And he’s smiling

The Bus Stop Man

It has started off as part of his social work course at the suggestion of his tutor

He’d advised the students to sit in their local town square and observe just how many people there were with mental health problems in their community. This would give them an insight into just what they’d be dealing with when they qualified. So this is what Peter Ehrlich  been doing everyday, sitting with a coffee, people watching

Within the first week he’d identified at least thirteen people who were exhibiting severe mental health issues. The numbers were a shock at first but by the second week he’d realised just how they seemed to blend into the background. Most people ignored them or just kept their distance and he realised this must have been what he’d been doing otherwise he’d have noticed them before now

One man really fascinated him as he had the same routine everyday without fail. He would walk around each of the bus stops in the square as though waiting for a bus but would never get on one, even though he had queued up at each one. He would be muttering under his breath the whole time but never loud enough to hear what he was saying. His routine, along with his clothing never seemed to change over the time he was being observed

The part of his routine that really fascinated Peter was that every three hours he would stand absolutely still, move his head in an almost robotic fashion and angle his eyes up to the sky. Depending upon where he was in the square he’d always orientate himself to face the same way. He’d stand like this for precisely thirty seven seconds (Peter timed him on his phone) before coming out of his trance and going back to his previous behaviour

It couldn’t be readily explained by any condition that Peter had read about so he was even more determined to watch and take notes. This was when it happened. On the fifth week of watching him the man without warning snapped his head around in Peter’s direction during one of his standing still moments. He moved his head in small, jerky movements like an animatronic dummy until he’d fixed his eyes on where Peter was standing. He fixed his gaze without blinking for what seemed like minutes before falling back into his previous behaviour

This had shook Peter up as the way he watched him was completely different to any behaviour he’d exhibited before but the next day he was back to see if it happened again. The man as usual after three hours of bus stopping started his standing still behaviour but what happened next was different. The man looked up to the sky, slowly nodded before turning towards Peter’s direction. He raised his right arm, pointed at him and emitted a sound like an old dial up modem. This sound started hitting Peter from different directions from within the square causing him to look  to find the source

The twelve other people he’d been observing over the weeks were all pointing at him, emitting the same sound. It crashed into his brain causing him to put his hands over his ears to try and block it out as he started to run away. It wasn’t until he’d reached the shopping centre that the noise finally subsided and he was aware of what thoughts were running through his mind

‘We know you are watching us. There is nothing to see here. You have been warned’