Photo copyright Alastair Forbes
“Nuh uh. You’re lying.”
“No. Seriously. There’s a clown in there,” insisted Gary.
“How would a clown get in there?”
“I don’t know, but I saw him with my own eyes.”
“Oh yeah, what’d he look like?” grunted Toby suspiciously, turning his glare from Gary’s face to cast a wary eye toward the grate.
“He looked like a clown, you idiot! White face, big bulging forehead slashed by coal-black eyebrows. Frizzy red hair sticking out all over. Red nose, red lips. Crazy colorful outfit with a big lace collar. He was holding a balloon.”
“Oooh, I like balloons!” trilled Rosy, suddenly perking up and peeking into the grate from the left.
“I’ve got lots of balloons,” floated a disembodied voice from the darkness. “There’s cotton candy, and rides, and all sorts of surprises in here*,” the voice cajoled, growing louder as it drew nearer to where they stood transfixed.
“I told you there’s a clown in there,” whispered Gary shakily.
Suddenly a death-white face framed by a flame-red halo appeared directly in front of them, causing the trio to jump back in surprise.
“Where ya going? Don’t cha want a balloon?”
Alastair’s photo brought to mind the scariest book I ever read, It by Stephen King. I think it’s the only book that has forever changed the way I walk through the world–literally. I cannot walk over the top of storm grates in parking lots, and will routinely veer six feet out into the street to avoid being within arm’s length of curbside storm sewer openings. I tell myself that’s the power a good writer has over his audience, rather than admitting to my own childish paranoia.
You can check out Alastair’s Photo Fiction, a weekly picture-inspired writing challenge, and the stories submitted by other bloggers here.
*Direct quote from It.