In an instant, I rolled away, dodging Happy Bob’s attempted seizure and scrambled back to my feet and ran for dear life to the open doorway. I didn’t dare look back as I could hear the thundering footfalls in hot pursuit behind me. I ran through the door and slammed it shut behind me and, grabbing a few of the other nearby spare helium tanks–trying hard not to think of Derek as I did so– and propped them against the door to possibly hold it shut long enough for me to at least gain some distance. I heard the crash of the door being rammed from the other side. The tanks held firm for the first three assaults on the door before I noticed them starting to budge. “They’ll be through that door any moment”, I realized after the tanks shifted more away from the door, allowing it to open to a small crack. Frantically, I started looking around the room I was currently in to find an exit, or at least some sort of equivalent to one.
The area I was in now looked to be another hallway. This one, though, was orange and seemed to be round; the walls and ceiling curved outwards with doors similar to the ones I saw in the room the three doors behind the “Happy Jack-o” door–all labeled with cartoon smiley faces. “Which door is the-”, my question was cut off by a harsh banging on the door. I snapped back to see that the door had started to poke outwards and the hinges beginning to rip away from the wall. My eyes went wide and I could actually feel my head getting lighter and lighter with every panicked palpitation of my heart.
Another series of bangs rocked the door, further stoving it outward when I decided to try the door on my left. I ran over and urgently threw the door open, only to have to hold onto the inwardly-curved frame to keep from falling into the pit of jagged nails jutting up from the floor below. I quickly threw myself back to regain my balance in the hallway and closed the door back. Another crash against the door knocked one of the hinges clean off of the frame, sending it flying off. I stayed focused on trying to find the exit. The next door I tried was in the middle of the right-hand wall.
Throwing the door open, I was immediately blinded by a mounted strobe light at the far end of the room. I shielded my eyes and tried to back away when I felt the air around me being sucked away and into the room. Because my body was still weak from the beating I took from the clowns, coupled with how quickly the air was being devoured by the room; my vision slowly started to blur and vertigo began to overtake me. My legs began to give, forcing me to hold onto the doorframe to hold myself up. Despite the dizziness, I was still able to see clearly enough that the entrance door to the circular hallway had now been fully been bashed off of it’s hinges.
Happy Bob stood there in the exposed doorway tightly gripping the sledgehammer, covered in blood and brain tissue. Blood was also flowing from his nose, which now looked caved in. his eyes were wide and bloodshot and his teeth were clenched. With a distinct animalistic growl in his voice, he bellowed; “I’M GONNA BASH YOUR LITTLE PIGGY HEAD INTO FUCKIN’ PASTE!”, as he charged towards me, his face twitching with every step.
I saw him raise the sledgehammer above his head and, with an aggressive grunt, hurl it at me. I stumbled into the oxygen-devouring, seizure-inducing room like I was drunk, just narrowly dodging the projectile sledgehammer. Inside the room, I had to squint my eyes from the epileptic strobe light. I continued to stumble around the room, unable to clearly percieve anything as my disorientated vision continued to blur and my breathing became more and more heavy. Behind me, I was able to see Happy Bob retrieve the sledgehammer and stomp towards me, his breathing heavy and full of murderous rage. “If I faint, I’m done for…”, I told myself as I pushed myself forward.
In the distance, I strained my vision enough to see a dark, rectangular shape underneath the strobe light. “A door! Just a little further…”, I told myself as dark clouds started started creeping into the corners of my vision. I could hear the whistling of the sledgehammer chopping through the air before impacting on the walls and floor behind me.
Chancing a look back, I could see that his movements were slow as well; his balance failing and the swings of the hammer erratic. It hit me; “The vacuum must be affecting him too!”. I watched him stagger a bit as he slammed the hammer down before raising up for another sluggish swing as he continued towards me. Despite this, however, I had to keep moving because I couldn’t afford to risk passing out before he did. I shambled forward towards the strobe light; keeping as much of my focus on the door underneath it as was possible for me as I felt the room around starting to spin.
I managed to make it three-quarters of the way there before my knees finally buckled, giving out from under me and I collapsed to the floor on my hands and knees. I heard and felt a resounding thud resonate through the ground beneath me and I looked back to see, despite my deleted vision, that Happy Bob had dropped the sledgehammer and was now wobbling forward with his arms outstretched to choke out what little bit of life I was clinging to.
“Almost there… have… to… keep… moving…”, my thoughts were becoming cloudier by the second. Using every ounce of reserved strength–and then some; I managed to push onwardsto the door that was almost gone from my fading vision, crawling on my hands and knees. Behind me, still shambling forward; Happy Bob growled out, his words slurred; “I’m… gonna rip… your… guts out”, before his legs also failed him and he too fell to the ground. My arms began to quiver now just as my legs had and I began wheezing and gasping for breath like a fish being held out of the water. Just before I could give in to the darkness, however, my hand felt the smooth surface of a door in front of me and I felt up for the knob, grabbing and turning it to open.
The very last of my energy was expended in crawling weakly out of the room and closing the door behind me. Immediately, I fell back against the door, completely spent as, all at once, fresh oxygen flooded my starving lungs. The sudden influx of fresh air caused to cough and wheeze before finally returning to normal. After several relieving deep breaths, my vision also began to regain composure as I was able to make out my current environment to be the hallway we first came into. “Linus…”, I lolled my head over to where the voice came from.
It was Liza. “I’ve been waiting here for thirty minu-”, she stopped dead in her tracks and frowned. “What’s all over you?”. I didn’t–no, I couldn’t answer. The horrific image of Derek, his inflated dismembered head with his mutilated face stabbed itself back into my mind as I buried my face into my viscera-caked palms and started crying. “Are you okay, what happened? And… where’s Derek?”. It was then that I just completely broke, dropping my hands from my face and going into a full-on meltdown. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…”, I blubbered out, not knowing what else to say.
“This isn’t funny, where’s my brother?!”, Liza demanded, her voice taking on a tone of anxious agitation. “They… they…”, was all I was able to say. “You know what, forget it; I’m calling Mom and Dad, this isn’t cool!”. I just sat there crying as I watched her storm out of the entrance, unable to bring myself to tell her that she was never going to find her brother.–at least not alive, or even in one piece.
What happened immediately after felt surreal, like I was barely aware of it half the time. I remember Liza returning with her folks, as well as the police. They immediately suspected the worst when they entered and saw me covered in blood. It wasn’t long before they had back-up arrive and began searching the place for Derek. They tried questioning me, and I did my best to tell them what I saw and experienced. I couldn’t tell you whether or not they believed me, not that it really mattered in the end
After they decided not to question me further, they escorted me to my house where they filled my parents in on Derek’s disappearance. I remember the look of panic on Ma’s face when she saw me stained in blood. I also remember that she asked me if I was okay, only for me to just break down again. Fortunately, neither she no Dad pressed for further details that night. I found out a few days later that the police searched the area for five hours after they took me home before giving up the search for the night, and in another three months; they’d give up the search parties entirely and declare him as a “Missing Person”. I also heard that, during their searches, HappyWorld was completely abandoned: “Like nobody or nothing was ever there to begin with”– just like Derek said.
I wish this was where my story ended. I wish that that was the last I ever saw of HappyWorld or those satanic psycho-clowns. But unfortunately, it wasn’t, and it wasn’t the last time I’d watch people I loved and cared about fall victim to them.
All of that will have to be a story for another time, though. I just can’t bring myself to type out anymore right now. Maybe now though, I can possibly feel safe sleeping at least a little bit tonight–if what the shrinks say is true…