Opinionated walked up to his house late a night, after a happy evening. It was dark, and the clawing shadows of trees dying in the summer heat fell across the sidewalk, but those didn’t bother him. Those were normal. The door sticking a little was also normal. He took one last look outside before he shut the door behind him and locked it, the locking making a more echoing “THUNK” than usual.
As he turned around, he caught a faint whiff of something, something that didn’t belong in his house. It was that smell that hangs around old dolls and stuffed animals, whether you want to call it dust or memories, it smells of a bad kind of old. The kind of old that hangs around retirement homes, the really depressing kind where you look around and all you see is old folks waiting to die.
But as soon as he realized what the smell was, it was gone, and clean air was flowing by his nose again. He put the smell out of his head as he turned on a bare minimum of lights, just enough to make the house look slightly occupied. He tossed his luggage bag onto the sofa and started to head towards the bathroom, before freezing in his tracks.
He whirled around, facing across the living room into the dining area. There was a single chair set by the wall, for any extra guests. There was something in that chair. From here, it just looked like a dark mound, but it looked scary. He slowly made his way across the house, but by the time he got there, the mound was gone, vanished in the time it took him to blink. Then the banana started ringing.
Incredulous, he took a step over to the basket of fruit, pulling the ringing and vibrating banana off the bunch. Since it made as much sense as anything else, he held it to his ear and asked, “Hello?”
There was a sound of heavy breathing, and a gravelly yet cheerful voice on the other end began to speak, “Ring… ring… ring… banana phone…”
“How did you get this number?”
And then there was the sound of a banana being opened, and the line went dead. Opinionated stared at his banana for a few seconds before putting it back in the basket. For the two bananas to carry a signal, they would have to come from the same bunch… in his house…
Later that night, as he was changing out of the clothes of day, he heard the sounds of carpet being pulled and clawed at outside the closed door to his bedroom. The sounds grew louder and more insisted, before culminating in a sudden thud against his door. Though he knew it to be a temporary gesture, he locked the door, sliding furniture against it as he finished changing.
The lights were out. The only noises were the dull growl of the A/C and the rattle of the ceiling fan. Light only came in from the closed blinds, casting odd arrays of lit dots on Opinionated’s bedroom floor. Without realizing it, he was awake and staring at his ceiling, and he knew why. Lowering his gaze, he saw it sitting on the furniture barricading his door. The arrays played across it’s painted face and toothy, open grin. The line of lights seemed to distort the face further, making it look misaligned and even more obsessed. Every time he blinked, he opened it’s eyes to see it had moved closer, until it was sitting on his footboard, staring at him with that unblinking, unfeeling gaze. Did he dare to blink again? His eyes were starting to dry and itch, and a quiver was coming over his eyelids. But he could not turn his eyes from the clown’s, but even as he stared he knew he had to. His sight blurred, and instinct kicked in and snapped his eyelids shut.
And that was it.