when i was a small child, when we still lived in caldwell idaho in my grandmother’s house, i had the only event i ever had like this.

my mother and i had a bedroom in the basement. there the furnace burned coal to keep us warm in the winter, and the black walnuts sat in sacks drying out enough to shell. the stairs led up to the kitchen, with a brief landing about 3-4 steps below kitchen level where the back door led out to the yard.

my grandma worked for a short while at a factory where they made fishing flies…those funny little fuzzy, feathery, or furry bug things that were attached to fish hooks, for the fisherman. she always smelled funny when she came home. some kind of chemical.

as for the house, it was normal. except for a couple of things. it seems there was an evil clown that lived in the basement, but only when i was on the main floor. i dont know where he came from. i always liked bozo the clown, and never watched scary things on tv at that age. there was also the mirror at the end of the short hall that led to the bathroom. it was too high for me to see my 2-3 yr old self unless i was being held by an adult. then i could see into the mirror, and the image always distorted into something strange and scary.

in the livingroom was a bookshelf attached to the wall. it had glass doors, so you could see what was in them. it had never been an issue for me. i never really noticed them.

until one night.

my mother had put me to bed, as any other night, in the double bed we shared in the basement. i never thought about the clown unless i was on the stairs, so i wasnt afraid at all. grandma was due to get off work soon, but i wasnt thinking about that either. i was listening to the crickets sing me to sleep. and soon i was drifting on the ship of dreams.

then, for no apparent reason, i awoke. and i was afraid. i began to call my mother. she didnt hear me, so i called louder. still nothing. so i ventured to the stairs. of course the moment i stepped foot on the bottom stair, i became aware of the presence of the clown of my fears, and then ran as always to the top so i could close the door before he noticed and came around the corner to see me at the top.

i made it, as i always did, before he could see me. but just barely.

it was then that i realized that i was alone. it was the first time i had ever been alone. no one was there. mom, thinking i would stay asleep long enough for her to run up the street to pick up grandma from work, had slipped out the door.

i dont think i panicked. i had no reason to be afraid. except for that damned clown.

i went into the living room, and then i heard them/saw them. the faces in the glass doors of the cupboard in the living room. they were gray/green. they were distorted and horrible. they were laughing like hyenas. and they were looking right at me. i could hear them. that’s when i panicked. i totally lost it. i dont even know how long i was at the front door, screaming and crying and wailing.

and there was no place in that little house to hide from them, except my grandma’s bedroom. but i was frozen at the door. i couldn’t move.

my mother came home with my grandma, and found me like that. she was distraught, to put it mildly, to find me in such a state. she was always a good mom, and watched over me like a hawk. she just has thought, as sometimes young mothers do, that she could just slip away without disturbing me, and be back in a flash. grandma only worked right up the street in this very small town…

as soon as she came home, and put the key in the lock, the faces vanished. cowards! no match for a grown up! only there to frighten a child. poor mom! she felt so bad! she held me a long time. but i was okay as soon as she was home.

the faces have never returned.

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