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Through the Eyes of a Haunted House Actor

A step through the doors takes you between the barrier of the bright sunshine and the chilly, cool warehouse. Dust floats about you like little ghosts whispering your name. You proceed into the darkness, pushing aside a black drape and seeing the line of people waiting to be cast.

You get through casting easily enough. They want you to play a clown, so into costumes you go. You wait in anticipation for what seems like hours as they glide you first through costumes, then makeup, turning your face, body, and clothes into a palette of the most fantastic colors and pieces. Delicate strokes of a paintbrush or shocking bursts of an airbrush create that evening’s work of art.

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Then, you’re brought to your room. You happen to be a clown tonight, and distorted circus music blares all around you. The walls are a dizzying spatter of colors — a nauseating array of bright lines and flashing lights that threaten to overwhelm you. Everywhere you turn, bright lights jump out at you. Circus music beats down from above.

As the night progresses, you flourish in the moments of activities and dwindle when it’s dead. You hear distant screaming and know your time is coming. You get into place and wait, muscles coiled like a cat ready to pounce. The world slows around you the moment before the customer enters your room. Your heart skips a beat.

A jump, a cringe, or a shout! Time speeds up once more. Customers shriek. Some roll, some run, some even cry. Their fear drives you. An accumulative adrenaline rush beats between the customers and the actors. You run. They run. You scream. They scream. You hide. They hide. The colors blur. The music melds. Their faces are all you live for as you barrel after them, and they’re gone in a flash, taking your aggression and ferocity with them.

And, like that, the anticipation of before settles in again. Your muscles slowly draw inward. Your heart slows. You wait in the brush to strike your next prey.

To many haunts this Friday the Thirteenth.

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I'm the smiling face in the background of your nightmares. I'm the one who calls your name in a crowd. I'm in your mirror when you're not looking, and under your bed when you're not sleeping. I crawl through your pipes in the middle of the night and knock on your door in the middle of the day. I've taken a lot of interest in you. You should feel lucky.

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