Coulrophobia (Short Horrors: Phobia Series)

Look familiar? This friendly face is actually me. I was a clown when I volunteered for a haunted house. I had a blast and did a pretty good job, too. My name was “Chuckles”.


For those who have been following me, you probably are aware that I am trying to write and narrate short horror stories! I got an idea for a new series. The personification of phobias. What if our fears could speak to us? Therefore, I decided to do just that, and narrate these stories as common fears. The fear of clowns came to mind, though I am not afraid of them myself. I do have a fear of the dark & needles (to the point where I’m now almost passing out when getting my blood drawn, and yes, I know that is ironic. Not blood, no, specifically needles. No idea why, but it’s obnoxious). I will not be doing the latter for a long while, as it is insensitive to current events. The fear of the dark, however, nyctophobia, I can do. That one isn’t debilitating for me, but I do get uncomfortable in the pitch black, and have an idea for what I’ll write.

This idea struck me, as did the fear of clowns for the first, with how I’m going to manipulate the audio version of this. That said, these are meant to be spoken. I will do my best to also capture the fear in writing, but tone of voice is important.

There will therefore be parts of the story left unspoken and changed for the narration purposes. Enjoy!

CONTENT WARNING: These short stories are personifications of phobias, so some readers/listeners should avoid this if it will bring them panic/harm.

The Story: Coulrophobia

Ring around the rosie, pockets full of posie, ashes…ashes…we all fall down.

Maniacal giggles rings out, embracing you like a lover lost to time, the promise of death and laughter a kiss in the wind.

That is when you spot me, of course, and a smile far too wide for my face. Is it natural, and am I even real? Or am I just a fragment of your imagination, a whisper from long ago? The white of my face brings out the dark of my eyes, the pits of them promising oblivion, or worse.

Can you hope to guess what I’m planning?

Can you hope to guess why I’m laughing?

I don’t think you can, really. At least you can predict ill intent on the faces of some people, but with all of this paint concealing who I really am, you find it hard to guess whether or not it was me might kill you, or someone else.

Is it me who you’re really afraid of? Have I caused the death of anyone close to you, like disease or age? You know of me from the haunted houses, the laughing, the shrieking, at all the intense pain and writhing bodies like balloons and candy at a carnival. But how can you hope to predict what I’m really laughing at?

I could be laughing because I plan to twist your limbs, with their creaking and cracking, into a balloon animal of my own. Or, I could use a knife, elegantly parting skin from muscle, so that I could gain a new stuffed friend once I sew it all together. To be honest, though, I could just be laughing at a random, not-dangerous-in-the-least joke I heard somewhere recently. How can you hope to guess what it is, though?

They show me with sharp teeth that would make sharks jealous, a flesh-ripper, a faraway thing from distant space. But I could have come about even without the help of your movies or books. How long have I been around, really? How long has the paint on my face signified your death? Perhaps I’ve always been here, a giggle in your mind, a twitch of your finger, the catching of your breath every time you see the white of my face and the red of my nose.

But we all know the truth, deep down. I signify the fear of the unknown and the distortion of features. A mouth too wide can gobble you right up. Teeth too sharp can rip your flesh right off. Eyes too wide can see everything, but especially your fear.

And perhaps I represent the death of something dear to you long ago. Once upon a time, you were child, for better or for worse. Happy, sad, angry, glad, you had the glint of a youngster in your eyes. You could have experienced a menagerie of memories, the good, the bad, and the funny. I don’t expect to know what you’ve gone through, but I do represent your loss.

Something died in you when you grew up. I serve as a reminder not only of your fear, but what you’ve lost, and what you can never hope to gain again. Other children laughed around me while you cried, sobbed, and wished I was gone.

That’s the thing. I’ll always be here, watching you with my wide grin and hungry eyes. What you’ve lost though, and what I represent, well. You’ll never be able to change or get that back. Will you?

Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down will come Baby, Cradle and all.

Rest your head for the night. You’ve grown up, but I’m still here. You can sleep knowing I’ll be there in your dreams with my cruel smile and sadistic laugh. You can lose who you once were, most certainly. But you can never lose me.

You’d better hope to never try, either. Because the day I stop laughing is the day you’d better start running. Isn’t that right, my friend?

Published by Des M. Astor

Heya, I'm an author. Typically I write Urban Fantasy, and I only usually read in that genre as well. My author's website is both a writing blog and a showcase for my work. Check it out if you'd like.

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