Playing The Fool

Entry by: Alobear

27th April 2016
Playing the Fool

*Tinkle, tinkle*

That sound, that dreaded sound.

It comes closer, stalking me, even as I try desperately to ignore it. I know what I will see, if I turn around. I know exactly what I will see, but still I hesitate.

I do not want to look upon the jaunty figure that haunts my steps. His velvet slippered feet slide across the floorboards with painful elegance. Patchwork silk encases his bowed legs in exquisite pantaloons, the craftsmanship of which bespeaks their high quality. A purple and green motley tunic, embroidered with shining golden thread drapes his crooked torso, the richness of the fabric concealing the monstrosity within. He waves his arms in almost apelike movements, one hand clutching a single leather juggling ball, while the other grips a jester’s marotte. He twirls the stick like a baton, primary-coloured ribbons twirling from the bottom, and grotesquely carved head grinning from the top. That grin is mirrored on his own face, painted stark white from neck to temple. Even if he weren’t actually smiling, the red lips that extend past his own would force the expression upon him. His nose is also painted red, making him resemble some kind of horrific reindeer parody. Black diamonds enclose both eyes with thin lines extending from each point to the very edges of his face. Those eyes gleam with malice in the deepening shadows. I can feel them on my back, willing me to turn and face him, but I don’t. One shake of his ridiculous tentacled cap sets the bells tinkling again, sending an apprehensive shiver down my spine.

Those bells, those infernal bells. I cannot escape them, no matter where I go. The sound of them follows me even into my dreams, though their waking presence is far more disturbing.

It always starts with the bells. They tell me he is coming, alert me to the torment that is about to begin. Sometimes, if I concentrate really, really hard on not acknowledging his presence, he might indulge in a few half-hearted shakes of his belled cap and then depart, at least for a while. But those blessed occasions are few and far between. What he much prefers is to taunt me, first with the bells, then by capering about in my line of sight, trying to put me off whatever I happen to be doing. If that doesn’t work, he starts in on the comic songs and tasteless jokes, and he can keep up a monologue of cruel and morbid humour for hours. If I try to ignore him, he only sings louder, bellowing his twisted punchlines right in my ear, hoping for a reaction that will provoke concerned looks at best, or frightened enquiries at worst, from those around me. He delights in humiliating me, forcing me into ever more bizarre and questionable behaviour. Sometimes he actually makes specific suggestions as to what I should do but, as yet, I have resisted the impulse to follow them.

Even when he is not near, my focus is consumed with wondering when he will next appear, playing the fool with my sanity, making a joke of my life.

Would it be better or worse if other people could see and hear him, too? I don’t know.