Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Coulrophobia by Jana Denardo

October 29, 2015

To celebrate Halloween this month, some of our paranormal authors will be sharing with us some free fiction.


As the clerk checked them in, Aaron stared at the bajillion clowns surrounding the hotel desk. He tugged on Rhys’s shirt with his prosthetic hand. “Explain this to me again.”

“We’re road tripping between Vegas and Reno for Halloween. It’s simple.” Rhys grinned. “Is someone afraid of clowns?”

Aaron narrowed his eyes. “We’ll talk in the room.”

Rhys chuckled as he helped Aaron with the luggage to their second floor room. Aaron stopped at the door, unable to process the large clown on the door, on every door.


“Come on, everyone loves a clown.”

Aaron knew there was a joke he wasn’t privy to happening here and by the end of the night he might be kicking ass. “Not everyone.”

Rhys opened the door and Aaron screwed his eyes shut. He took a deep breath and followed Rhys inside, shutting the door behind them. There were freaking clowns on the night stand and pictures of them on the walls.

“Why the hell are we here?” Aaron struggled with the zipper on his luggage. “And don’t tell me Halloween road trip. I know that. But why didn’t you just magically hop us from Vegas to Reno like you did between Pittsburgh and Vegas?”

Rhys slipped his arms around Aaron, kissing him. “Because sometimes the slow road is much more fun. This was on the way. Who knew you were afraid of clowns? I guess I should have suspected.”

“I’m not afraid of clowns.” Aaron squirmed free of Rhys’s embrace. “And why should you have suspected?”

“Corrine made me promise to stop at the haunted clown hotel. She wants tons of pictures.” Rhys beamed. Opening his luggage he started to hang up clothes for tomorrow.

“I’ll give her pictures of my ass,” Aaron grumbled, crossing the room to open the curtain.

“She’ll put it online and you know it.”

Aaron snorted then choked. “Son of a….Rhys! That creepy-assed cemetery we saw across the street? It’s our damned view. Who puts a hotel across from an old cemetery?”

“Corrine insisted on that view.”

“I might have to rethink your twins’ offer to go out on a date. I might be better off with them.” Aaron sniffed.

“Corrine is your friend. You wanted me to bond.”

“Changed my mind.” Aaron sauntered back to the bed and tapped Rhys’s cheek. “And if you think you’re getting any love with clowns watching us, you’re sadly mistaken.”

Rhys grabbed Aaron and pushed him down onto the bed. He rolled on top of Aaron, straddling his hips. Rhys leaned in and stole a kiss. “You might rethink that.”

“And you might think on the phrase ‘pushing a rope’.”  Aaron slapped Rhys’s thigh.

Rhys took both Aaron’s hands, locking fingers with him. Aaron closed his responsive prosthetic fingers around Rhys’s hand. “We have one more thing to do before we worry about your clown-induced impotence.”

“Let me guess. Corrine wants us to get a ton of graveyard pictures.” Aaron sighed.

“You know her well.” Rhys kissed the inside of Aaron’s wrist. “We can skip that.”

“Hmmm, hot man on my lap kissing me, Bozo watching me from the walls. Nope, not working for me.”

Rhys gave him another kiss before swinging off Aaron to crash on the mattress next to him. “I can remember when people loved clowns. I blame Stephen King and Poltergeist.”

“You’re old enough to remember a time before clowns.” Aaron rolled his eyes.

“I’m not that old. Okay, I’m older than the modern idea of a clown.” Rhys wrinkled his nose. “I might be about the same age as the idea of clowning.”

“You old elf.”

“Twylyth Teg! I keep telling you elves are something different.”

Aaron snuggled up close, still bemused by the idea his lover was a centuries old fae. “A thousand pardons.”

Rhys chuckled. “Dig out the camera and let’s get those pictures. Wouldn’t want the ghost to get you once night falls in the cemetery.”

“Not afraid of ghosts.”

“Just clowns.”

Aaron sighed again. It was going to be a long strange night.




Aaron woke, feeling eyes on him. Rhys’s arm draped over him and no small amount of his long blond hair cascaded over Aaron’s shoulder as Rhys spooned him. Raising his arm to rub the sleep from his eyes, Aaron failed. How many times would he forget most of that arm was gone?

More awake now, Aaron scanned the room, his breath caught. A shadowy figure hovered at the foot of the bed. Aaron’s bladder almost went into business for itself. The shadow glided closer. Aaron elbowed Rhys a couple times. Rhys groaned, letting go of Aaron as he flopped onto his back.

“What the hell?”

“Tell me that’s not a demonic clown at the end of the bed!”

Rhys propped himself up on his elbows and the clown’s head swiveled to look at him. “I’m going to say not demon. Ghost clown?”

“How the hell are you so calm?” Aaron’s pulse thundered so hard he was sure Corrine could hear it back in Pittsburgh.

“I’m used to weird things but this is freaking creepy.” Rhys poked Aaron in the ribs. “See what it wants.”

“You do it, Mr. Magic.” Aaron inched toward the headboard. “Rhys, seriously, what do we do?”

“Ghosts really can’t hurt you.” Rhys reached for his cellphone on the night stand.

“You’ve never seen a possession movie, have you?” Aaron huffed. “Fine. What do you want? We were trying to sleep and I don’t think there’s anything we could do to help you.”

The dark shape rippled, becoming more old man and less clown. Aaron felt more than heard the words, “I’m ready to go.”

In that instant he was less threatening and sadder.

“I think you’re already on your way. You just need to keep going.” Aaron pointed toward the window.

The ghost faded away.

“You’re good at this.”

Aaron twisted on the bed. “Is that all you have to say after bringing me to a haunted hotel?”

Rhys smiled, brushing his hair out of his eyes. “But you did great and it’s gone. It’s not like we were in any danger.”

Aaron pinched his lips. “I cannot believe you just said that. Any other horror clichés you want to utter before the ghost comes back to kill us?”

Rhys took his hand. “Just try to go back to sleep.”

“After you just jinxed it? Am I pretending I didn’t just see a ghost?”

Rhys rolled over and grabbed his phone. “Look. Think Corrine will be impressed?”

Aaron looked at the blurry ghost picture. “Glad your go to for ghost fighting is to take its picture. You’ll be great when he comes back to eat our souls. I should go sleep in the car.”

“You’ll be closer to the haunted cemetery.” Rhys put his phone away.

Aaron huffed. “Rhys, if I find out that ghost was one of your illusions I’ll hang you by your braid and use you like a piñata.”

Rhys widened his eyes. “Now I’m the one afraid to go to sleep.”

Aaron grunted, squirming down on the mattress. “You better be ready to treat me like the prince you are when we get to Reno.”

Rhys kissed him. “I will.” He skimmed his hand down Aaron’s belly.

Aaron caught it. “Are you out of your mind? You know the number one rule of surviving in a horror movie? Don’t have sex. At this rate you might never have it again.”

Rhys’s second kiss was deeper. “Empty threat.”

“Probably,” Aaron muttered as Rhys twined his arms around him.

“Should I mention that I plan to take us to the Stanley Hotel after Reno?”

Aaron sighed. “I so need a new boyfriend.”




Read more of Jana Denardo’s books here! 

9 Responses to “Bugs and Hisses Free Fiction: Coulrophobia by Jana Denardo”

  1. SJ says:

    This is such a cute story!

  2. kira says:

    LOVED it!! :D

  3. Silvrethorn says:

    Amusing sketch, and it’s fun to see the off-kilter side of Aaron and Rhys on vacation. Definitely won’t be booking any reservations for Clown Hell Hotel.

  4. Jana Denardo says:

    Thanks everyone! And come on Silvrethorn, you SJ and I HAVE to stay at this hotel some time.

  5. Charlessorge says:

    “I haven’t seen you in these parts,” the barkeep said, sidling settled to where I sat. “Personage’s Bao.” He stated it exuberantly, as if say of his exploits were shared by means of settlers about multitudinous a ‚lan in Aeternum.

    He waved to a unimpassioned tun beside us, and I returned his gesture with a nod. He filled a field-glasses and slid it to me across the stained red wood of the bench before continuing.

    “As a betting houseman, I’d be ready to wager a above-board portion of invent you’re in Ebonscale Reach in search more than the wet one’s whistle and sights,” he said, eyes glancing from the sword sheathed on my cool to the bow slung across my back.


  6. Charlessorge says:

    “I haven’t seen you in these parts,” the barkeep said, sidling over and above to where I sat. “Name’s Bao.” He stated it exuberantly, as if low-down of his exploits were shared by means of settlers about multifarious a fire in Aeternum.

    He waved to a unimpassioned hogshead upset us, and I returned his gesticulate with a nod. He filled a field-glasses and slid it to me across the stained red wood of the court prior to continuing.

    “As a betting man, I’d be assenting to wager a adequate portion of invent you’re in Ebonscale Reach on the side of more than the carouse and sights,” he said, eyes glancing from the sword sheathed on my in to the bow slung across my back.


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