The families in the small town of Macon were constantly giving birthday parties for their children. There was always ice cream, cake, balloons, and ribbons hung everywhere. Some of the more affluent families that had swimming pools gave pool parties so all the children could swim and enjoy the summer heat. It was just an old-fashioned way of celebrating another year of good health and love for their children. Each parent wanted their children to have much more than they had as children so the parties grew in size each year.
Everyone suspects that on Halloween there are those prankster children who love to do things just to be different. They threw rotten eggs at the principal’s house, or threw cow poop on the windows of people that did not give them candy. So it was not unusual to see toilet paper streaming from trees all over town. They were not however aware that someone in the town was preparing each day to terrorize the children whose parents gave fabulously wild parties.
Each day Hillard Grumbley worked on his clown costume. He used his mother’s old sewing machine and created his own clown suit. He used scraps of material from his mother’s old dresses and decorated her hats in all sorts of unusual ways. His mother had passed away a few years earlier and Hillard lived alone in the big two story house just outside of town. Few people ever stopped to talk with Hillard and most people felt he was a bit odd to say the least.
No one however knew the depth Hilliard’s mind had fallen. No one ever visited the old house and children had been advised to avoid Hillard just for safety reasons. They were told as most parents do, to not talk to strangers or take favors from them. This being known to Hillard he decided to create a way he could get close to the children and no one would be aware that he was indeed the person inside the clown suit.
Hillard was very crafty and decided to run an advertisement in the local newspaper. He offered to come to any party for children even teenagers and present himself as a very funny clown. His fee was not out of reason and when parents became aware of this new party person they jumped at the chance to invite him to make the children’s parties even more spectacular. The advertisement read that the clown lived in an adjoining county and therefore parents would need to make special arrangements giving him time to plan his routine.
Hillard was not the normal clown. Once he was hired to come to the parties he began to follow the birthday person around for days before the party. He knew the name of the person having the party and where they lived so it was easy to play all sorts of pranks on them.
At first Hillard just did things that were a little shocking but harmless to the youngsters. His final trick was to catch the person off guard and smash the birthday cake in their face. So all the children soon knew at some point they would get not only a mouth full of cake but a face full of cake. As time went by, Hillard grew tired of the silly pranks and decided to really scare the socks off these rich children. He had seen how much money was thrown away by parents for birthday parties and he became very jealous. He had never had a party nor did he have money as a child to even stop by the drug store for an ice cream cone.
Of course no one knew who was leaving the scary notes for the birthday person and after a while the police were asked to look into the bazaar actions. The children of course informed their parents of the scary calls and notes that had been left for them. For days the birthday person was harassed in every conceivable way to scare the wits out of them. Hillard of course found this to be thrilling because no one suspected the clown to be the stalker.
Hillard kept the children laughing as he danced around at the parties with his big floppy red shoes and his tall stove-pipe hat. When he was not playing host at a party he was spending his time searching through catalogs for all sorts of wigs and makeup. Of course he had all of his packages delivered discreetly to the big two-story house. He stitched together different costumes for boy and for girls. He even stitched very scary costumes together hoping to use them on other occasions. He felt comfortable dressed up as a clown or as a monster hiding in the bushes.
Soon the tricks became an obsession with Hillard. It was not just fun and games anymore. Hillard decided to snatch one of the girls and take her home with him. His mother had never allowed him to talk to a girl much less get close to one. He became obsessed with the fact that he could steal a girl and take her to his house. He thought he could make her happy and she would forget her life with her parents.
Hilliard’s thoughts continued to stray off course. He even went so far as to decorate his house. A special bedroom was made with all the pink colors. Ruffled lamp shades, teddy bears, music boxes, and dolls of every size adorned the room. His fantasy grew day by day. He was constantly going out of town to buy items for the house so no one in the town of Macon had any idea what was going on in Hilliard’s mind.
Hillard continued doing his birthday invitations and each time he tried to decide which girl would be the special girl to live with him. She had to be shy, have very long blonde hair, and one who adored clowns. At last he chose a girl named Brittany Talbert. She was a very small child for her ten years and loved to sit on his lap after his party dance was over. She hugged him and gave him a big kiss on his big red nose.
“You need to come live at my house. It is so boring here. You make me laugh!” She whispered softly to him as the party was about to end.
“Well we will just have to do something about that!” He exclaimed nervously.
Hillard put his plan into motion. He scheduled the day he would snatch Brittany and the exact time. He knew her schedule from day to day after having followed her for weeks. He would drive up close to her as she walked from school, snatch her into his van and be gone before anyone could see what had happened.
Brittany walked the same way home everyday and was always alone. It would be a cinch! Hillard laughed wildly as he thought about his evil plans. Hillard was truly becoming an evil clown.
Everything was set in motion and Friday would be the day Hillard had chosen to kidnap Brittany. He would have all weekend to get things under control at his house. He arose early Friday morning and dressed as an old lady with white hair. His makeup had to be perfect. His purple dress had been ordered weeks earlier and he had picked up beads and ear rings from a department store. He did not however, wear the shoes of an old lady for he had to be fast on his feet if it became necessary.
He watched as the school children began to leave the schoolyard. His eyes moved intently at each girl as they went this way and that way. He had washed the ole dodge van and clean it up inside. Brittany must feel at ease in his presence. He turned the rear view mirror to check his lipstick and to be sure his beard was not showing through the makeup.
“I even smell like an old woman with this lavender and vanilla cologne.” He grinned.
Brittany was chewing bubble gum and blowing bubbles as she walked down the sidewalk. Her long blonde hair bounced in the warm breeze. She was humming a tune she had learned in the chorus. It was Friday and she was happy the weekend was before her. She had no idea her life was about to change forever.
Hillard pulled up along the sidewalk and rolled down the passenger window.
“Could you please give this book to your school librarian? My granddaughter Laura forgot to return it. Would you mind taking it now and returning it on Monday?” Hillard asked in a feeble voice.
“I guess so!” Brittany answered.
“Here take the book. I’m sorry but I can’t reach it but so far. My ole arms suffer terribly from arthritis. Please move a little closer so I won’t have to get out of the car.” Hillard continued. “Just open the door and I’ll hand it to you. You are such a sweet child for doing an old woman such a great favor.” He smiled.
Brittany opened the door and reached for the book. It was a big heavy book so she would have to place it at the bottom of her stack of books. As she laid her books on the seat to add the bigger book Hillard grabbed her arm and jerked her small body inside the van. Within seconds Hillard had captured his victim and was gone.
Years have passed and no one knows what happened to Brittany. She vanished without a trace. Hillard still goes to birthday parties dressed as a clown. He still lives in the two story house but does he live alone?
There are millions of children who disappear just like Brittany each year and are never found. Don’t forget the rules your parents have taught you. Never get into the car with a stranger. Never talk to a stranger and never walk alone unaware of your surroundings. Stay well and stay safe!
Question: What mistake did Brittany make that caused her to be kidnapped?
Written By Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved