“Fools Night! Come have fun with us and partake under the guise of prankster clowns as we feed the need for mischief! True Coulos only please.”
The name of the event struck a chord with Caroline and she wasn’t sure why. She felt she had fallen into a bit of a rut lately and felt like she was spinning her wheels in life. Stuck in the same dead end job for years, no real hobby or friendships to keep her occupied…this was precisely why decided to answer the invite that randomly appeared on her Facebook timeline. She had always held a vested interest in sideshow performers, showmen and the odd carny. To live the life of a journeyman, freedom to explore and entertain… But then, clown sightings were a very real phenomenon, a cultural paradigm shift that etched paranoia amongst the coulrophobes of the world.
But what better way to begin her new path to hedonism than joining up with a gang of pranksters and frighten the odd bystander or too? Who knows, she might even make a few friends, learn the tricks of the trade
The ad also called for only “true Coulos” and while she didn’t know what that was, she figured she could ask around and would be excited to learn the lingo.
She arrived at the fountain in the local park at 10pm as advertised. She had selected a full body sparkling silver outfit and painted her face stark white, tying her blonde hair into pigtails. A YouTube tutorial and a bit of experimentation had yielded a white face paint design topped off with tiny black triangles below her eyes and black lipstick. She added a pair of black spirals on her cheeks for good measure.
There were five others gathered around the silent fountain. They were oddly quiet and solemn, specters abound in various shapes, sizes and colors surrounding the bare marble basin. Caroline introduces herself to the group who welcome her with open, tufted arms and explained the nights activities.
Their plan was to split up and saunter around the city, drawing reactions from any night owl inhabitants, but avoiding the police all the same. Caroline decided to tag along with a girl about her age, wearing a corset, long green tights and green dyed perfectly straight long hair. Her makeup contrasted her outfit with an unruly, unsettling orange shade.
As Caroline stood back to observe, Carrot Girl (as she had dubbed her companion, one whom had not yielded her true name) sauntered out of the park and confronted a couple strolling down the street. She held out her hands as if asking for a hug and the couple hurried away, noticeably disturbed. A simple prank, but effective nonetheless.
BbCarrot Girl stood silently, perched on the edge of the wooded park, arms outstretched. Carolina observed from afar, eyebrow raised at the silent, still girl. She simply stood there, quivering slightly as Caroline approached her, reaching out to caress her green shoulder.
Carrot Girl’s eyes had rolled back into her head and she was moaning lightly. She almost looked satisfied, fulfilled….dare say, orgasmic.
Caroline lightly tapped her on the shoulder and Carrot Girl came to with a start. She stated back at Caroline with a sheepish grin.
“Did you get any?” She asked in a lilting tone.
Caroline tilted her head quizzically.
“Oh well, maybe next time,” she giggled. “Still much to learn, Goblin”
Caroline stared back.
Carrot Girl traced the spiral design on Caroline’s cheek with a smirk. “We do love a Labyrinth. So many places to hide, lives to Spirit away,” she giggled.
Carrot Girl skipped off down the street, Caroline tugging behind her. Over the course of the night, she played mentor to the fledgling prankster, demonstrating to her how best to disturb and generate discomfort in their marks.
BCaroline was having the time of her life, but found herself having to snap Carrot Girl out of her trance with each subsequent scare. At one point, she asked Caroline how long she had been a Coulo and Caroline didn’t know how to respond.
Eventually, the group rendezvoused back at the fountain and compared the nights experience.
“This is the best harvest yet,” spoke a midnight black clown. He had a single shock of yellow tuft on his otherwise bald head and two gold stars painted on his cheek. “Who else finds themselves completely fulfilled through the negativity and discomfort we cause in the cattle? Fun times, right?! ANSWER NOW!”
Caroline remained silent. She was getting a bit disturbed and she found Black Star staring at her intently.
“You, Fledgling cutie!” He pointed. “How satisfied are you? Have you fed well? Please tell me, I would APPRECIATE IT!”
Again, Caroline didn’t known how to answer. She gestured that it was time for her to return home, she’d call Carrot later and they could spend more time together….away from him..and the rest of the clowns.
She dipped a hand into the fountain basic and rubbed off her paint to make a point.
The group collectively gasped. Carrot Girl clutched her chest, an exaggerated visage of broken heart painting her bedecked face.
” I thought… but you were so good, such potential…”, Carrot Girl whispered in a disappointed tone.
Caroline stared back at the collection of clowns and they simply gazed back at her silently, darkened misaligned shadows in the midnight moon. She suspected (knew) that the cleansing water would have no affect on their paint. She decided it was time to leave.
“In all our time outside of hibernation, we only occasionally have an outsider flit amongst our hive,” Black Star said with a hint of remorse. “But.. we see something different in YOU.”
“Truly,” Carrot asked excitedly. “My little Goblin?!”
“We can show you our ways,” Black Star spoke, approaching Caroline and running a gloved hand over her streaked face. “ In fact, we INSIST.”
He grinned a blackened grin, one that contoured his face in an unnatural fashion and Caroline made her move.
She spun around and collided bodily with a large, bulky, beefy male clown. He stank to high heaven, old rot from spoiled meals long past. His shirtless body was slathered in mismatched miasmas of red, white and blue paint. He gazed down at her through wrinkled, wizened eyes, sallow with age and adorned with stars painted around the exterior. His mouth was a garish gash of red and he smiled at her wetly in the moonlight.
Old Glory continued to smile.. then smiled more, wider… even wider… wider than any human being should be able to smile. Then Caroline began to scream as his smile overtook his head and folded over his scalp. The reversed clown maw opened wide and rotten, a sallow abyss of rotting teeth and dangling flesh. Old Glory swallowed the girl in one gulp, guiding thrashing feet down his gullet.
It was over swiftly, efficiently. He burped and held a hand to his mouth, daintily. He grinned and the rest of the Coulo Clan grinned back. Black Star shrugged, patted his girthy comrade and guided the rest of the tribe outwards into the darkness of a night lived long and mischievous.
Over the next few nights, they continued their prankish ways. They never harmed anyone else, rather reveling in the discomfort and fear they imparted upon the city before darting back into the shadows. They preyed on the negativity, the emotions of distress, claimed sustenance from it. And they were good at what they did.
One night, After a proper incubation period, Old Glory sat down under a tree. The rest of the Clan gathered round, recognizing the signs of the impending ritual . They grasped his beefy hands, caressed his larger head, cooed in encouragement. Then, it was time.
He folded his head inside out again and vomited up a very human looking form, a cartoonish horn squeak emitting from somewhere deep within the confines of his body. Old Glory caressed the form, wiping fluid and sick from her slumbering shape.
The female form curled upon the twigs and dirt, curled into a twitching fetal ball, dripping with viscous fluid.
Black Star helped her to her feet and gazed back at the fledgling Coulo, one adorned with silver shiny flesh and dark spirals carved into her cheeks, birth marks of a new life
The Goblin stared back at her patriarch with blackened hollow eyes that saw the world anew…and she grinned a cracked, bleeding grin, tilting her head as the world bloomed around her. It was a funny thing, to live an old life behind forcibly and the thought of it made her giggle.
Carrot Girl approached the pair, gave Old Glory a pat on the head and Goblin a peck on the cheek.
They grasped hands and the Clan skipped their way out of the forest, eager to find their fledgling initiate her first meal.
For all the hell she had suffered in the belly of the beast, Goblin at last felt at home with her new family.
She felt fulfilled.
She would want for nothing more in this life, to expect anything else
well, that was simply foolish.