Tales of the Clarion : The Back of the Alley


Contributed by Jayden Barnes

Jayden Barnes, Reporter

From the tales of the clarion comes the first-ever story, especially for Halloween. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the fright-fest.

As the rain fell on the hard, cold concrete, the air became colder around the small boy. The air around him had thickened, turning into a soft fog that was illuminated by the neon store lights. The boy shivered, clutching at what was left of the tattered hoodie and the cardboard box around him. “The box will hold,” the boy thought. He had placed a broken umbrella canopy above it after all. The cardboard surrounding him had been what he called home for the past few months, holding little trinkets of his past trash dives. Toys, utensils, and fortunately, even some ripped fabrics was what he cherished the most. He smiled as he recalled each and every trip he took outside of the alley, a far off adventure that promised good treasures if he knew where to look. These precious memories were quickly diminished, however, with the sound of wet splashes. The boy peered out from the slit in his cardboard domain, looking in the direction of the noise; they came from the back of the alley. 

“Impossible…” He thought, “there’s a brick wall back there.” 

The noise kept up, though, no matter how hard the child attempted to dismiss them. He shoved his tiny body back into the corner of his box, the walls of cardboard suddenly becoming suffocating. With each step, the sounds continued to grow closer, until it seemingly stopped outside of the box. The inside of the box was no longer lit by the neon light across from it, causing it to fall into the void of darkness.

“Child. Step out. I won’t hurt you.” 

A voice called out from beyond the makeshift door. It was deep, ringing within the boy’s ears. The rain around him stopped, causing a dead silence other than the deep breathing of the thing. There was a shuffle from outside and a few wet steps, and then another call to come outside. This call was different. It was softer, more inviting to the child. As if it were a parent calmly calling for its toddler, he had no trouble with slowly pulling back the door and looking out into the darkness.

Its eyes were glowing a purple hue and were half the size of dinner plates. They were accompanied by a smile that ran from one side of the creatures face to the other. These features were the only that were visible, the rest a sunken hue of black that stained the wall behind it. Its head had a seemingly fire-like quality, dancing around and being snuffed by the rain, leading down to its shoulders and hair sized tentacles that sprouted from its back. It was humanoid, crouched down, and gigantic in comparison to the boy, holding its hand out as a wave. The boy stared at it, frozen to the bone with fear from the eldritch sight. He trembled, whether that be from the rain or the monster is anybody’s guess, yet when he saw the smile calm down to a small warm smile, his fear washed away into the drain.

“Hi there. This isn’t the place for a child, now is it? Come, little one, I’ll show you a place of warmth,” the creature confessed in the same warm tone. 

This thing, this person wasn’t a monster, after all, the boy thought, He’s only safe. The child reached out to touch the massive hand, holding onto it as the shadow man stood up, turned, and led the child to the void that was the back of the alley. 

To be continued?