The cult section of the literary world

Dilation Exercise 45

Below you’ll find Alan M. Clark’s weekly Dilation Exercise. Please look at the picture, read the caption, above and below the image, and allow your imagination to go to work on it. If the artwork inspires an idea, please use the comment feature to tell us something about it. Need a further explanation? Go to Imagination Workout—The Dilation Exercises.

After they went to see the circus, Allison’s father tried to put her fears to rest by explaining that clowns were scary because they were embodiments of cautionary tales.

But the clown using an umbrella that was too small and being too stupid to get in out of the storm wasn’t nearly as frightening as the fact that he’d followed her home.

—Alan M. Clark
Eugene, Oregon

If you like Alan M. Clark’s artwork, please try his writing in both short fiction and novels.

Artwork: “Helquin’s Tempest” copyright © 1996 Alan M. Clark.
Interior illustration for Escaping Purgatory: Fables in Words and Pictures by Gary A. Braunbeck and Alan M. Clark, published by IFD Publishing.

Captions are original to this post and have nothing to do with the literary project with which the artwork first appeared.

2 responses

  1. Joe Meils

    Allison was unaware that “Death” loved to play the fool. In it’s own demented mind, it thought it was being somehow comforting: that it was cushioning the shock that was coming at her like a circus train steaming at full bore at Allison and her family, in a car stalled across the tracks. It was time, Allison, to run away and join the circus invisible.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

  2. The rain-soaked clown tossed down his dainty umbrella and pulled a bag from behind his back. The bag, a rough-spun gunny sack, twitched & murmured. Allison could hear muffled cries, like chirping babies, coming from inside the quivering sack. The noon-bright sky flashed, then rumbled through the timbers of her home and threatened the brittle glass of her bedroom window. Her breath steamed against the windowpane as she gazed out into the abyssal darkness, her eyes darting frantically to find some ghost-motion of shadow. The night flared again and Allison screamed so loudly she thought her lungs would burst, while buffeted by the crash of thunder. Darkness flooded back in and she could once again only see her reflection, a phantom of unspeakable fear. In those tear-swelling eyes, she could see further into the darkness, below the dread and just to the left of madness, the echoing visage of the clown as it snapped and crammed the last kitten into his gaping, blood-spattered maw.

    April 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm

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