“The Tent” by Mollie B. (9th Grade)

It was a calm night in our little town, and my friends and I were sitting in my basement playing Uno. While we were playing, Jessica got a little too competitive. She jumped out of her seat, but in doing so she knocked over the glass of chocolate milk which was sitting on a folding table. 

I rushed out of my chair and began looking for a rag to clean up the spill. My mom would kill me if she found out. 

I searched the whole basement but couldn’t find a rag. Instead, I found a big box of old newspapers tucked away under a blanket. I began to grab some of the newspapers to help clean up the mess. While I was grabbing them, I stumbled upon a newspaper that caught my eye. The headline was “Circus Goes out of Business.” 

As I examined the article, I noticed a picture of the circus. It was in the middle of the woods, and those woods in the picture looked similar to the woods behind my house. I decided to keep the article and look at it more later that night. 

Later that night, I read over the article and began to google the name of the circus to see if I could find anything online about where it was or what happened to it. While doing research, I discovered that the circus has been abandoned for over 70 years. I also found tons of stories about the acts and performances. The article said they had tigers, clowns, and so many oddities. 

When I finished my research, I decided that I wanted to go see if I could find the circus. I wanted to see if I could find the circus and discover if there was anything left over. The next morning, I texted Jess and Sean. I told them what I wanted to do and after a lot of arguing they both agreed to come with me. 

We grabbed our phones and headed out to the woods behind my house. As we were walking, the sun was hidden behind the clouds. It was an eerily calm day. 

After bushwhacking through some very heavy brush, we discovered the circus. It was nowhere near what I had imagined it to be. I had imagined a brightly colored red and white tent. Instead, it was an aged, dull, red and white tent with rips all over the place. 

After we took in the appearance of the tent, we searched for an entrance but found nothing. Every entrance we found had been boarded up. We then nervously climbed into the tent though a big rip on the side. I went first, Jess and Sean came behind me.

As we stepped inside, I began to look around and noticed it was full of old boxes and animal cages. It was a mess. The boxes were thrown all over the place and there were random things from the old circus everywhere. 

After we climbed through and looked around us. We decided to keep exploring the tent. As we began to walk around, I heard something move and saw a flash of grey scurry behind me. I stopped and looked over my shoulder to find a small rat chewing through one of the boxes. I hate rats. I ran to catch up with Jess and Sean. When I caught up with them, they were both standing still. They looked terrified. I didn’t know why, but then I heard it. It sounded like somebody was laughing. It wasn’t a happy laugh. It was evil. We all looked at eachother and decided it was time to turn around and get out of this place. 

We turned around to walk back and noticed something in the shadows. We couldn’t quite make out what it was, so we took a step forward. We then heard the laughter growing louder and louder. We looked around to find that we were surrounded by clowns. They were everywhere. 

We tried to find an escape, but every exit was blocked by one of the clowns. Just as we were about to turn around to try to find another escape plan. I felt a hand grab my shoulder and I whirled around to see Sean being dragged away by the clowns. I grabbed Jess and we began to chase after him but they escaped into the darkness. 

We ran into the darkness but soon found ourselves lost. The clowns and Sean were gone, but the laughter was not. We decided to walk in the direction that the laughter seemed to be coming from. As we walked through the darkness the laughter grew louder and louder until it seemed like we were right on top of them. We still couldn’t see anything so we kept walking. 

As we were walking, I felt my foot hit something that was on the ground. We stopped and I bent down to see if I could figure out what it was. I slowly bent down and felt my hand hit something smooth but hard. There was a button on the top. I grabbed the object and pushed the button, and when I did all the lights and sounds of the circus turned on. We could see the clowns in the rafters staring and laughing at us.

After we got over the initial shock of the music and lights, we saw Sean in an old tiger cage in the middle of the floor. We raced towards the cage and when we got there it was locked, but we didn’t have the key. As we were standing in front of the cage Jess tapped me on the shoulder and I turned around to see one of the clowns right behind us pointing and laughing. That wasn’t the only reason she had told me to turn around. The clown had a key dangling from his finger. It was the key to the cage. 

I slowly began to walk towards the clown. As I got closer and closer he began to laugh louder and louder. I was right in front of him, yet I was terrified to grab the key from his finger. I just stood there and stared at him, but then I heard Jess scream. The clowns were moving closer and closer to us. I grabbed the key off of his finger and sprinted back to Sean in the cage. The key worked. He was free, but we still had one problem. Escaping the circus.

We began to run, and as we were running we noticed that the front entrance had been unboarded and was wide open. We ran as fast as we could straight towards the front entrance. The clowns chased us. Laughing and pointing at us the whole entire time. When we made it to the front entrance the lights shut off and the clowns vanished. So did the laughter. We sprinted out the opening and back into the woods. We didn’t stop running until the old circus tent was no longer in sight.