For at least a good ten minutes or so, I just laid there as the terrified adrenaline began to wear off, leaving both my body and mind just completely drained. As my heart rate slowly returned to normal, my eyes began to register the surrounding environment. By this point, despite it being strongest in this new room, I somehow managed to adapt to the offensive carrion odor to the point that it had no effect on me anymore. The room was almost without light completely, save for a faint glow in the center of the room. I sat up, feeling something soft underneath my hands– something smooth, yet cold and clammy.
“What the hell is this?”, I wondered, unable to see what I was now sitting on top of. It felt familiar in how smooth and malleable the thing beneath me seemed, yet odd at the same time at how cold and stiff it felt. I felt around as I began to bring myself to my feet, still feeling much of the same sensations as before. Once I managed to fully stand, I began making my way towards the faint, orangish-red glow in the center of the room; stumbling with almost every step of the way with the ground seeming to be uneven and shifting beneath my feet.
About midway to the center of the room, something snagged my right foot and my balance faltered, causing me to trip and fall on my face into the illuminated radius. After quickly recovering to my feet, I saw that the glow was coming from two long white candles that sat in slender silver holders sitting on top of this long black marble slab. Facing me on the other side of the slab was a large painted portrait of a man clad in a gray, hooded robe. The man’s face was a ghostly white with long black shoulder-length hair and black painted lips that split into an unnatural and sinister smile that stretched from one side of his face to the other and a long, thin black goat-looking beard. Even more disturbing, however, were the large, black inverted cross designs painted around his eyes.
As I felt across the slab, I noticed indentations in the surface. I grabbed one of the candles and held it close to the indentations, making out the carving of a five-pointed star forming what looked to be the head of a goat. Below the symbol were the words: “Praise Belia” carved into the slab’s smooth surface. “What the fuck is this place?”, I remember thinking as; while I was never raised religious. I DID grow up watching enough of the classic Hammer films to know what a satanic altar looked like. Thoughts came rushing through my head trying to connect the dots to form a horrific picture.
I began to back away from the altar, candle still in hand, when I misstepped, falling backwards. I rolled over and held up the candle to see what had tripped me, and I screamed. There; staring at me with two milky-white spheres rolled all the way back, was the mutilated face of a young boy who couldn’t have been any older than me at the time. With the candle’s warm glow, I saw that the boy’s eyelids had been forcefully removed, having torn away most if the skin around the sockets as well, leaving his eyes to just sit there in two bloody, exposed sockets. Instantly, my mind reeled back to the image of the poster; the bright, dark red circles around two dead eyes.
That image was made even more haunting when I saw that the boy’s lips had been ripped clean off of his face, completely exposing the inside of his mouth from one end to the other, parting upwards at the cheeks to form a demented smile. As I moved the light away from the dead boy’s face to illuminate other areas of the room, I saw that there were more bodies every where. Hundreds or thousands of horrifically scarred bodies, all of them kids, all with their eyelids and mouths torn carved into ghoulish smiles. Some of them looked even younger than the one I tripped over, and looked to be further decayed than others. It was at this point that I just couldn’t take it anymore and I doubled over and vomited. Once I had emptied the contents of my stomach until there were only dry-heaves, I just sat there crying, wanting to just go home.
It was then that I heard the sound of a door opening. I looked over to see an open doorway silhouetting four figures; three of them were adults by their height, and the last was shorter, a kid. Thinking quickly, hid myself by burying myself underneath a few of the nearby corpses, leaving a small opening that was just big enough for me to peek out without being noticed. I heard the kid struggling, “Please, just let me go, I won’t tell anyone, I swear to fucking god!”, the kid cried, his voice sounding all too familiar to me, though my mind didn’t want to admit already knowing exactly whose voice it was.
“Uh, oh… somebody’s got a foul mouth”, a deep, jovial voice– the same deep, jovial voice from earlier– shouted before bursting into a fit of demented giggling. Another hyper-jovial voice, this one more high-pitched and jittery, replied with “Well, you know what that means, don’t you, Happy Bob?”. The other just kept giggling insanely and I heard the kid wail out in pain. That’s when another voice spoke up, this one inhumanly deep and imposing, “Enough! Brother Jack-o, deliver the child to the altar”. I saw the silhouettes of the figures approach the slab, the kid thrashing and wailing as they dragged him along.
My eyes widened in dread as I saw, illuminated in the candle’s glow, was the clown from the painting; complete with the inverted crosses around his eyes. He was wearing a black and white striped hat with two curved horns that curled back like the horns of a goat. Soon after, the other two joined at the altar; forcing the kid onto the slab. Despite the limited illumination, the sinister display before me was clear enough for me to see from where I was hiding. Standing at either end of the slab were two clowns; the one on the left-hand side was a scrawny clown in a yellow suit with a crude smile stitched into it and wearing a weird black and yellow striped hat with two ends that hung down to the left side of his head bearing a smiley-face and a frowny-face ball attached to the ends, while the clown on the right was more heavy-set with a round face, wearing a black and white dual-colored suit and had a sailor’s hat with a sad face on it– both with the same albino facepaint and by now all-too-familiar red facepaint designs around their eyes and mouths. The leader was standing in the middle, facing forward in my direction from the other side of the slab.
My heart nearly stopped dead, however, when I saw that my unspoken dreaded fear was realized when I saw that the kid struggling on the slab… was Derek. “No! No, no, no, this isn’t about to happen, is it?”, knowing damn well exactly what they planned to do to him. I could see him struggling as hard as he could, but it was no use against the iron vice-grips the clowns had on his arms and legs restraining him to the slab. “Who are you people?! Why are you doing this?! Please, just let me go!”.
The longer I watched this morbid act unfold, the more I could see Derek’s petrified and bludgeoned face. “What have they done to him?”, my mind began to cycle back to earlier in the white corridor; hearing the sounds of snapping bone and the wail of agony that followed, now the full horror of that situation was revealed.
“Unto thee in the burning lake beneath, I, your servant, present this offering…”, the clown with the inverted crosses around his eyes bellowed, his unnaturally baritone vocals echoing off of the walls of the dark room. “No, please, just let me go, I won’t tell anybody!”, Derek bawled as the clown then pulled out a dagger and a small black book. I just sat there, hidden under a pile of corpses of kids who’d been sacrificed; watching in hopeless terror as they were preparing to do the same to my friend. “I have to do something”, of course, I had no idea of what. I watched as the one in the middle poised the blade above Derek’s right eye before continuing, “I only ask of thee in return for the eternal youth and happiness for myself and my disciples”.
“Praise Beliar!”. The other two chanted in unison. “Beliar…”, my heart plummetted into my stomach as the realization became clear. The clown then opened the small book and began chanting in another language; “In nomine Leviathan serpentum bestia ex abysso”, as he cut into Derek’s right eye, ripping away his eyelid and the rest if the skin around it. Derek’s cries of painwere so shrill that that I was forced to seal my eyes shut tight and cover my ears (I still hear his screams… I’ll always hear his screams). When he was finished, the clown in the middle–”The Amazing Beliar”– then poised the blade over his left eye and chanted; “In nomine Asmodeus, prince ab inferis”, before then plunging the blade down above his left eye, slowly cutting awaythe skin around it like with the other.
I couldn’t just sit there and watch anymore. I thought that if I could somehow distract them long enough to let go, Derek might be able to run away. As I tried to formulate a plan, I saw The Amazing Beliar proceed to insert the blade into Derek’s mouth. Derek screamed out; “PLEASE, NO MORE!!!”, shaking his head and staring pleadinglyfor mercy with his exposed, skinless eyes. I worked myself out from under the pile of bodies on top of me, unnoticed, as the Amazing Beliar began dragging the blade across the right corner of his mouth, tearing it upward across his cheek and up to his right ear while chanting; “In nomine Satanas, et cecidit in Draco et pater infern-”. “LET HIM GO, YOU FUCKING BASTARDS!”, I screamed, interrupting him before he could finish. Derek lolled his head over in my direction, fully exposing the mutilation of his face.
“L-Linus…” . he croaked out weakly, his vocal chords strained from his screams, “r-run!”. But I was already charging head-first into the clown on the left that was restraining his arms. Apparently having successfully caught him by surprise, I actually managed to shove the clown away from the altar and was even able to tackle him to the ground. My luck didn’t last, however, as he quickly, and easily threw me off of him; hurling me to the floor.
Before I could try for another assault, however, the other clown grabbed me off of the floor and yanked me onto my feet, pinning my arms behind my back. I tried to struggle against him, but it was no use; his grip was like a gorilla. The more I struggled, the further back he pinned my arms, causing me to cry out in pain. “Ooh, it looks like we got us a wild one here, eh Happy Jack-o, ol’ buddy?”, the fat-faced clown called to the other one that I’d tackled, who now had Derek restrained to the slab once again. The clown then forced me to the ground on my face before planting his boot firmly in my back and seizing my arms and yet again pinning them even harder, causing me to shriek even more in agony.
“Why don’t we see how loud he can scream, Happy Bob; make the little piggy squeal for mommy”, Happy Jack-o suggested, giggling hysterically. I looked up, craning my neck to lock eyes with Derek, still forced down to the slab. His eyes, though scarred and skinless, looked almost apologetc. That was when I felt the boot of Happy Bob raise up and slam down onto the middle of my back, using my arms to try and bend my upper torso backwards in an attempt to snap me in half. This caused me to scream harder than ever until The Amazing Beliar bellowed “Enough!”, prompting him to remove his boot from my back and release my arms.
I just laid there, too sore to move. That’s when The Amazing Beliar approached me and kneeled down, nudging my chin up with his finger to meet his sinister gaze. For a moment, he just stared at me, his soulless, black eyes burning into mine. “P-P-Please… please just let us go…”, I weakly begged, my body still throbbing with pain. His black lips split into a menacing grin as he stroked my cheek.
His grin then disappeared as he looked up at Happy Boband said in a cold. Deep tone; “Bring the boy to the altar”. I felt him forcefully grab my arms and hoist me to my feet, guiding me over to the altar where I was once again staringinto my friend’s mutilated face. I then looked over to see that The Amazing Beliar now held a large sledgehammer in his hands. “W-what’re you doing?”, I sputtered, my eyes going wide as fear drained the color from my face. He must’ve seen the terror in my eyes as he just smiled again and stroked my cheek with the left face of the hammer, teasing me.
“Do you care for this boy’s life?”, he asked in his deep voice, a sense of sick glee seeping through. A tear ran down my cheek as I stared into Derek’s naked and exposed eyes. His smile grew as he moved the sledgehammer away from my face and looked down at Derek. I began trying to struggle again, but it was no use; my arms might as well have been caught in a bear-trap. I watched him raise the sledgehammer above his head and swing it down with all of his strength on Derek’s shoulder, flattening it and shattering the bones.
“STOP IT!”, I screamed, tears filling my eyes. “Stop, stop, boo-hoo-hoo”, Happy Bob mocked,giggling hyserically. The hammer came down three more times on to Derek’s chest and he began to cough up blood while convulsing. “You always were the best at wack-a-mole!”, Happy Jack-o cheered, bursting into his own giggling fit.
He finally dropped the sledgehammer as Derek’s body started to go limp. “D-Derek?! DEREK?!”, I screamed through my tears. “Uh, oh…. Somebody’s not happy”, Happy Bob quipped in a sing-song voice. I looked back to see him pucker his bottom lip and make whimpering sounds. “I have an idea”, Happy Jack-o said eagerly, like he was excited. He then walked into the doorway they came from and grabbed what looked like a tank of helium, the kind they’d use for birthday parties.
“You know what I think’ll turn the little piggy’s frown upside down, Bobbo?”. Giggling, Happy Bob replied, “What’s that?”. “I think he needs a balloon!”. He then looks at me and asks; “Would you like that, piggy? Would you like a balloon?”.
I just stared back at him, too consfused and terrified of what he maent by “balloon” to say anything. That’s when I felt the hand of Happy Bob grab my jaw and force it up and down like I was a puppet, speaking in a fake higher pitch voice; “I would love a balloon, Happy Jack-o”. I watched as he then attached an air hose to the valve of the tank. Then, before I could even blink, I helplessly watched as The Amazing Beliar plunged the blde of the dagger into Derek’s neck.
“NOOO!”, I screamed, my vocal chords begining to tear. I struggled harder than ever, but I still couldn’t get out of the psycho clown’s grasp. “We got an eager one, he’s really excited for his special balloon!”. Happy Jack-o taunted. Derek convulsed again and blood began gushing before his eyes rolled back and he went limp.
“YOU PSYCHO-FUCKS KILLED HIM!”. I tried to hang my head down so I wouldn’tve had to look anymore, but they weren’t done with me yet, and I felt Happy Bob yank my head up by my hair. “Don’t you wanna see your balloon?’, he said, giggling with excitement. Through my tears, I watched in horrified revulsion as Happy Jack-o slipped the air-hose into the gaping, bloody gash in Derek’s throat and opened up the valve of the helium tank. Within seconds, I beheld the birth of the product of my worst nightmares to come as the skin of Derek’s face began to expand, inflating to the point where the gash in his throat tore until his neck had completely ripped away from his shoulders.
I couldn’t even turn away, Happy Bob forced my head to stay in place to make sure I watched every goddamn second of the sickening act. I saw Derek’s dead eyes bulge from their bloody sockets, almost sticking straight out. Happy Jack-o then pulled out the air hose, patching up the gash to seal it off. “Aaaand voila! You’re very own special balloon!”, Happy Jack-o exclaimed, jumping up and down with glee. He even tied a string to the severed spinal cord dangling from his severed neck, holding it out to me as his scarred, dismembered head just floated in the air like… like… like a fucking balloon.
My body finally just went limp as the… balloon just floated there, staring at me with two large white orbs rolled back and his shredded-mouth smile. I just started retching, only resulting in dry-heaves. “What’s wrong, piggy? Don’t like the balloon?”. I just looked back up at Happy Jack-o, tears drenching my horrified face and croaked out; “W-Why?”.
The next thing I knew, The Amazing Beliar, smiling that demon smile, stabbed the side of Derek’s inflated head, causing an ear-splitting POP and the contents of his head to shower all over us. “Uh, oh, it popped”, Happy Jack-o teased, shrugging his shoulders before bursting into another fit of giggles. I couldn’t help but scream when I saw that, amidst the gore covering me from head to toe, were loose scraps of his face sticking to me.
Despite my hysterical state, however, I was able to seize a chance to escape when I threw my head straight back and bashed Happy Bob’s nose. He immediately threw me to the floor and brought his hands up to his nose, which was now busted wide open and gushing blood. He let out a sharp, angry cry of pain and looked at me with a shocked expression; “You hit me…”. His voice sounded like a child who was caught off-guard, immediately morphing into a tone and expression of white-hot rage as he bellowed “YOU HIT ME!”, now no longer holding the dementedly jovial facade. “YOU LITTLE SHIT!”, he roared, lunging forward to grab me.