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16+ Violence Mature Content

The clown with the artificial doll eyes

by vampricone6783


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.

*I submitted this for a short story contest last year on September. The results would come in last month. I didn’t win, but I really like this story, so I’m posting it here. Gacha Club character designs are on my wall. Enjoy!*

Matilda stared at the broken down, rickety carnival. It was painted in splashes of red, yellow, green, and many other bright colors. The brown rust clawed at the edges of the attractions. The night sky didn’t darken her surroundings enough, because she could still faintly tell what the colors were. She wasn’t complaining, though. It wasn’t even her decision to be here. It was Beatrice’s decision. Beatrice, her best friend who often got them in trouble, wanted them to go to the haunted carnival, the carnival said to hold the clown ghost with the creepy face and the screeching laugh. Legend had it that if one brought a small child with them to the carnival and shouted at the top of their lungs; “FREE FOOD!”, then he would appear.

So Beatrice decided to bring her little sister, Annie, with them. Matilda tried to persuade her not to do it, but persuading Beatrice was like persuading a rock. You wouldn’t get anywhere. The three girls made their way to a dirty, yellowing tent which had seen better days. Beatrice smiled. Matilda didn’t. Annie looked confused. “Let’s just get this over with.” Matilda said.

“FREE FOOD!” Beatrice yelled.

Something opened the tent flap. The girls turned away and found a tall clown. His clothes were stained with blood. His face had these big, artificial eyes. They were more noticeable than the scars and the fact that he had no lips.

“What’s with all the yelling?” He asked. His voice sounded raspy and weak. They couldn’t help but back away in fear. Matilda swallowed hard. Here he was, the clown himself, standing in front of her. He was real. He existed. She couldn’t stop staring at his fake, big, horrible, unnatural, doll-like eyes-

“Are you going to talk?” He asked. He was looking at Matilda.

“We brought this child here for you. To eat.” She responded, suppressing the urge to run away.

Annie looked up at the girls in alarm. The poor thing was completely oblivious. Beatrice lost all expression on her face. The clown only attempted to smile.

“I don’t eat children, but it’s nice to have company.” He replied. Annie sighed in relief. Beatrice still seemed scared. For the first time, Matilda wasn’t afraid. She was curious. Who was this clown? Why was he here?

The clown sat on the dirt ground. He pointed to the three of them and then back at the ground. So he wanted them to sit with him? Alright then.

Matilda was the first to sit down. Beatrice, not wanting to look like the scaredy-cat, followed suit. Annie hesitated for a moment. She decided to sit with them.

“A long time ago, back when this place was still functioning, I performed here. Not every day, because I had schoo-”

“You went to school?” Matilda asked. She always assumed that the clown was an adult.

He nodded.

“I was a teen, just like you. But that’s important. I used to perform here. I used to have real eyes. There were others here, too. Other people who performed. There were even animals. There was a ringmaster, obviously. There’s no circus or carnival without a ringmaster, is there?”

He gave a bitter laugh after that. His artificial eyes seemed angry, frustrated, and sad at the same time. That should be impossible, right? His eyes weren’t even real. They wouldn’t be able to show emotion.

“Anyway, the whole circus flock was there. We did our thing. Everything was fine and dandy. Until..the ringmaster..he kept looking at me strangely, like he was jealous or something. I tried to ignore it, but it still bothered me. See, I was supposedly a very handsome boy at my school. All the girls said so. I never even thought about it. Now that I think about it, that could have been why the ringmaster did what he did.”

“Was he a teen like you?” Matilda asked. Only teens could have that kind of jealousy, she figured. An adult would never act that way.

He shook his head.

“He was an adult? Jealous of a teen?”

“Yes. I was the only teen there. To this day, I still don’t know why he would be jealous of me. Maybe it was because he wanted to be the only nice looking one. I’m not sure. As I was saying, everything was fine until one Tuesday. I was in my tent, this tent, actually, doing my tricks. The crowd went wild, like always. Until…until..until..”

He swallowed hard, much like Matilda did when she first saw him. He seemed to have this overwhelming sense of dread, like the world was ending, like he was about to die.

But he was already dead, so he only had the pain to keep him company, forever and ever and ever.

“The lions…he unleashed the lions…into my tent..he had lions! I saw him..in the shadows of the crowd…laughing at me! They destroyed my face, turned me into this! The audience did nothing. They thought it was a trick! All of them! One big funny trick.”

“Really? They did nothing?”

“Absolutely nothing. They didn’t realize it until weeks later. By then, my body was hidden by the ringmaster himself. He even sewed these eyes on me. This place-”

“He sewed eyes on you? Why?”

“As a last hurrah, I guess.” He murmured. It was as if he were trying to bury the memory entirely, to not go further into detail, to blur it away as something casual, something normal, like buying stuff in a grocery store. Maybe then it would go away entirely.

That wouldn’t work. It never did.

“This place closed down. My ghost still lingers here. Nothing shines anymore.”

“But what business do you have here?” He asked them.

Matilda laughed. It all seemed ridiculous now. Search for an evil clown? Give him a child to eat? Incredibly ridiculous!

Nevertheless, she told him the entire story. He seemed to have found it amusing, the stories. The lies people came up with about him. All of it, amusing.



“Well, we must go now.” She said. Their parents were probably worried about them. Beatrice was probably thinking of a way to spin their experience of meeting the clown to make it seem like Matilda was the scared one. That’s how it always was. Beatrice was brave and Matilda was scared. Not the other way around.

And Annie was furious with both of them. Matilda could feel the child’s fury from a mile away. Something told her that Beatrice would feel her wrath that was known as temper tantrums when they got home.

But Matilda didn’t care. It was Beatrice’s own fault, after all. Beatrice brought this upon herself.

The girls stepped out of the tent. The night sky still darkened the world around them. The first seams of morning light hadn’t yet shone. They still had time to get home and make it look like they never left.

“What are your names, ladies? I never asked.” The clown said, words breaking through Matilda’s thoughts.

They turned to look at him. The clown was now standing outside the tent. “I’m Matilda and this is Beatrice and Annie. What is your name?”

She probably shouldn’t have shared their names, but he seemed like a nice guy. Even if he wasn’t, who cared? He was something interesting to have in their lives.

“My name is Percy. Visit sometime soon?”

He didn’t look at the other girls. Only Matilda.

She nodded.

For the first time in her life, she had nothing to fear.


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Fri Mar 01, 2024 2:47 am
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I am here to review the first part of this short story collection using my Familiar method today! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

This was a great introduction to the Elsdale Circus collection! The whole story was macabre, but not for the reason I was initially expecting, so I was pleasantly surprised! I was expecting a chase or attack as the girls entered the abandoned circus, but the chill conversation and sweet demeanor of Percy had me second-guessing -then the horror hit with that description of a grizzly death! Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

I found nothing I could complain about! No visible errors, and no recommendations I could make. Good writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

My favorite part of this was, of course, Percy! His character was fascinating through and through. First of all, design; the way you describe his shredded face, blood-stained clothes, and fake eyes was so eerie. As soon as I read that, as he emerged from the tent, I was sure that blood would turn out to be a victim's. Instead, he was the victim, so quite the turnaround!

His personality fascinated me, how he not only came across as eager to converse with the girls, but was willing to explain his tragic and traumatic death with them, including the morbid details like the fake eyes. As well as asking for another visit afterward, he seems very lonely, easily allowing the reader to sympathize with him despite the initial staging of the story.

The somewhat cryptic nature surrounding Percy's death, that he's not entirely sure why the ringleader killed him so viciously and mercilessly, leaves the reader wondering if it was as simple as jealousy. Or, perhaps, if there was something more, and what kind of theories can be formed from that. I noticed the next story is about Percy as well, so I hope to find more clues I can use there ~

You handled the main characters very well too. The kind of toxic friend situation between Beatrice and Matilda added a lot to the story and that satisfying ending. I love how (as I interpreted it at least) seeing a monster as harmless as Percy gave Matilda a boost of confidence, and refusing to be the "cowardly" one this time.

Heck, Beatrice ready to casually sacrifice Annie to the bloody clown-ghost. Maybe a ittle more than toxic...lol

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, awesome start to the collection, and I can't wait to catch up! Nicely done! :)

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Sat Mar 11, 2023 9:54 am
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Azathoth wrote a review...



I'm new here and I'm a bit late to the party, but I have opinions, lots of 'em. Good ones, don't worry. Here's my review:

First of all, I very much enjoy the descriptions of the setting and the emphasis on the colours within the carnival. I often see symbolism where there isn't meant to be (like some English teacher), so I apologise if this is not correct, but I saw the carnival being in ruin but still holding onto a bit of colour as representative of Percy, as he has had terrible things happen to him, but he still remains a good person despite it.

Something else I noticed was the fact that Percy is a clown, which is probably because clowns are spooky and all that, but also, clowns hide their true selves underneath a facade of humour and it seems that throughout the story Percy tries his best to hide his true emotions behind a light-hearted down and tries to steer away from dark topics.

The characterization of the three girls was done very well and I enjoyed it, but one piece of constructive criticism I have is about the "show don't tell" rule. The characters were well-designed, but all of the characterizations came from the audience being told about each of them and their personalities instead of their actions or dialogue representing them for who they are. I am not a perfect writer myself and I have fallen into that trap many times in the past and I also realise that you wanted to focus on other parts of the story and also have it a certain size which contributes as well.

I absolutely love it when monsters in stories aren't just treated as plot points and more as characters in their own right and this story takes that to an extreme. Despite his intimidating appearance, Percy is still just a kind person and human at his core. In reality, he is just an outsider, not a monster.

Something I also liked is the fact that instead of a scary name or some random words in Latin, the thing they say to summon him is straight up just "FREE FOOD!" I don't know, I just find it amusing.

Overall, very good story, well done.




vampricone6783 says...


Awww thanks! Glad you liked it!



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Fri Mar 10, 2023 5:00 pm
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Zeta wrote a review...



Hi vampricone! Zenith here with a short review.
First things first, I would like to get a few edit suggestions out of the way. I have re-written some of the sentences below with minor changes.

Matilda stared at the broken-down, rickety carnival.

The night sky didn’t darken her surroundings enough, she could still tell the colors apart.

...the carnival rumored to hold the clown ghost ...

...yellowing tent that had seen better days.

“Are you going to talk?” He demanded.

He replied. Annie sighed in relief.

Annie hesitated for a moment, then plopped down beside them eventually.

I had this feeling that the ringmaster was looking at me strangely like he was jealous or something.

... only good-looking one.

...sense of dread, as if the world was ending, or he was about to die.

They destroyed my face and turned me into this!

...like buying stuff in a grocery store. - This statement feels disconnected from the vibe of the rest of the story. Try to rewrite it and replace stuff with a synonym.

Something told her that Beatrice would feel her wrath or to put it in better words- her temper tantrums when they got home.

It was Beatrice’s own fault, after all. She brought this upon herself. - Two sentences are redundant. Shorten it to - 'Beatrice brought it upon herself.'

They still had time to get home and make it look like they never le-
You don't need to leave the last word incomplete to emphasize the clown interrupting Matilda's thought process. You could simply add an extra line after the dialogue.
“What are your names, ladies? I never asked.” The clown's words broke through her reverie.

Now as for my comments on the story. The premise is interesting and the character of the clown was intriguing. Although, I didn't find either of the girls special. Infact, they both seemed very selfish in their own way. If you were aiming for that, then good job. It didn't make sense why the clown would be particularly interested in Matilda. She heartlessly offered her friend's little sister to the clown to save herself. The only reason I could think of is that she managed to talk with the clown while Beatrice was scared. I believe you should add some more decent character traits to Matilda to make her more likable like compassion and empathy when the clown was telling his story if you want to her likable. Otherwise, it's fine. Also, I think you should replace the word teen with some synonyms that don't feel out of place. All in all, I believe this story has the potential to improve should you choose to write more. The characters need more work but the premise is promising.
That's all. Happy Writing!




vampricone6783 says...


Their friendship is rocky and Matilda doesn%u2019t really like little kids that much.

But yeah, I%u2019ll continue this.

Thank you for reading!



vampricone6783 says...


Another thing. Annie gets more attention than Beatrice at home, so she kind of hates her.

All in all, really nice girls!1!1!1!



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Fri Mar 10, 2023 4:22 pm
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yoshi wrote a review...



Hey vampricone! I saw your short story floating in the green room and decided to give it a review!

So it looks like the main plot of this story is this clown, who tells Matilda about his story, and the things that he saw. Very chilling and very interesting! Lets take a look.

Legend had it that if one brought a small child with them to the carnival and shouted at the top of their lungs; “FREE FOOD!”, then he would appear.


This is a . . . very interesting legend lol. The fact that they aren't really bothered by it kind of bothers me, but lol ok

I think it would be better if you described the details of this legend throughout the exposition rather than saying it all at once. Also, I'd love to know what country/state/province/city they're in. It says they're at a haunted, abandoned carnival, but you would think that unused carnivals would be cleaned up?

“I don’t eat children, but it’s nice to have company.”


PHEW

“A long time ago, back when this place was still functioning, I performed here. Not every day, because I had schoo-”

“You went to school?” Matilda asked. She always assumed that the clown was an adult.

He nodded.


So this is the start of the clown's story. I think it would be better to not have him start talking about it so suddenly. He just sits down and begins telling a story, despite that not being what Matilda and co. came to the carnival for. At least, I think there should be more conversation before the story.

He gave a bitter laugh after that. His artificial eyes seemed angry, frustrated, and sad at the same time. That should be impossible, right? His eyes weren’t even real. They wouldn’t be able to show emotion.


I would like to actually know the science behind him lol. How would be be able to see? How do these artificial eyes work? How is he even alive at this point? Where does he get food? Is he just a walking talking corpse?

“Was he a teen like you?” Matilda asked. Only teens could have that kind of jealousy, she figured. An adult would never act that way.


Ohhhhh Matilda, Matilda. You'd be surprised . . .

“The lions…he unleashed the lions…into my tent..he had lions! I saw him..in the shadows of the crowd…laughing at me! They destroyed my face, turned me into this! The audience did nothing. They thought it was a trick! All of them! One big funny trick.”


Very graphic and very terrifying to imagine. RIP to our clown friend for having to go through this. Also, I'd love to know his name haha. I don't think he ever gives it throughout the story.

Here's another thing I'm curious about. He says that they destroyed is face, but if the ringmaster released the lions, wouldn't they attack more than just his face? Also, shouldn't circus lions be a little more . . . tame? Perhaps the ringmaster starved them to the point where they'd attack a human.

“The lions…he unleashed the lions…into my tent..he had lions! I saw him..in the shadows of the crowd…laughing at me! They destroyed my face, turned me into this! The audience did nothing. They thought it was a trick! All of them! One big funny trick.”


This is honestly scarier than the lions destroying his face. The fact that he's suffering, and that the audience thought it was a part of the performance is so terrible. I wish I could go and hug the clown ;-;

Nevertheless, she told him the entire story. He seemed to have found it amusing, the stories. The lies people came up with about him. All of it, amusing.


Ah, it looks like there's a bit of symbolism here hmmm. The emphasis you put on the word 'amusing' is . . . AMUSING to say the least. In all seriousness, I think it might refer to that while he's in such a terrible situation, he's still a clown and still, on a basic level, will find things amusing, like a clown would.

“My name is Percy. Visit sometime soon?”


Nevermind, we DO get to find out his name!

She probably shouldn’t have shared their names, but he seemed like a nice guy. Even if he wasn’t, who cared?


[Insert the 'kids, don't try this at home' line]

For the first time in her life, she had nothing to fear.


This last line is interesting! Perhaps she'd been shocked by Percy's story and now fears nothing or something like that?

Anyways, thanks for giving me the opportunity to review this work!

-yosh

eggo isn't actually eggs




vampricone6783 says...


Glad you found this interesting!

I%u2019m thinking of continuing this story.




You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind