Hey there, fellow horror geeks, and monsterphiles! Prometheus here with our next round of FRIGHT FIGHT FRIDAY! Today is the Random bracket round #3 - MISTER BABADOOK VS PENNYWISE THE DANCING CLOWN! Let’s check out our fighters!
Mister Babadook, also known as the Babadook, is the embodiment of grief. He stands about eight feet tall and his skin is pale white. Around his eyes and lips is black, and on his head, he wears a top hat. He has the powers of teleportation, telekinesis, and possession. He is able to make people do horrible things to themselves or their family, and once he inhabits your home, you can never get rid of it.
You can, however, tame him if you’re lucky. By facing him, and facing what you’re grieving over, you remove the power the Babadook holds over you. This also causes him to shrink in size. Still, you can’t get rid of it, but you can keep it in your basement and feed it worms!
This is all a big metaphor for learning to live with your grief, and not letting it control you, but don’t sleep on the Babadook. You know what they say - “If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of the Babadook.”
PENNYWISE THE DANCING CLOWN (IT)
Pennywise is much more than a clown. IT is an ancient, cosmic force of destruction. His mortal enemy is the cosmic force of creation in Stephen King’s Macroverse, named Maturin the Turtle. Pennywise is simply a persona IT likes to wear.
IT returns to the town of Derry, ME every twenty-seven years to feast upon the fears of the town’s children. IT can shapeshift, teleport has telekinesis, can manipulate reality, cause hallucinations, and even get into people’s minds, turning them into his slave.
IT’s final form is the Dead Lights, three orange lights that if gazed upon by a mortal, will drive them mad. If you refuse to fear IT, it will become less powerful, but good luck with that, because IT knows exactly what you’re afraid of and will choose that form when it appears to you.
"Johnny, what the hell are you doing? We're going to be late!" He rides up to his brother who is standing off to the side of the road, intently focused on something in the distance - beyond the wood line. His bike had been hastily dropped on its side, its kickstand still in the upright position.
"There's something out there, Bobby. It's looking right at me." His voice is soft and ominous.
Bobby smiles and pats his imaginative younger brother on the back. "Sure. Like there were voices coming from the sewer the other day?"
Johnny looks at his brother, his eyes wide and bright. "There were voices coming from that sewer, I heard them."
The streetlights come on as the sun begins to set. Bobby tugs his brother's arm from atop his bike. "Great. Now mom's gonna be pissed. I told her I'd have you back before the streetlights come on. Pick up your bike, let's go." Bobby pedals a few times, then looks back at Johnny, who was still staring off into the woods. "Hey," he calls to his little brother. "You hear me?"
Without so much as a look in Bobby's direction, Johnny slowly makes his way toward the tree line.
"Johnny, where are you going? Quit playing around, lets go!" Bobby watches as he disappears into the thick of the woods. "You've got to be fucking kidding me," he grumbles to himself as he drops the kickstand and hops off his bike. There are 8 years between them, and even though Bobby is 16, he still likes to spend time with his little bro - when he listens.
"If I have to come in there and get you, I'm gonna whoop your ass. I don't care if you tell mom, either. I'll tell her you weren't listening to me again." With a sigh of annoyance, he walks to the edge of the woods and surveys the area. No sign of his brother, or his bright purple windbreaker. "Johnny, I know you hear me. Cut the shit!"
The sun has set almost completely by now, and the last thing Bobby wants to do is go trudging into the damned woods to find his pain in the ass little brother - in the dark. If he comes home without him though, his mother will have his head. Of that much, he is certain. He steps into the woods leaving his bike behind, and begrudgingly follows a rough, barely visible path through the trees, calling his brother’s name to no avail when his foot kicks something light and fluffy.
He looks down and immediately recognizes the purple fabric. It was Johnny’s jacket. On the collar and sleeves is what appears to be bloodstains, large and deep brown. “What the…” As he turns his head, he notices a single red balloon tied to the tree next to him, blowing back and forth in the breeze. Without thinking he reaches for it and the balloon swells to an unnaturally large size, then pops loudly as a clown peers from behind the tree with a giant, sharp-fanged smile outlined in blood.
Bobby turns and runs so fast, that he almost trips over his own feet, but catches his balance against a tree and keeps going. He makes it out of the woods, hops on his bike, and frantically rides home without ever looking back.
One Week Later…
She sits, staring out the window with no sign of emotion on her face. A tear rolls down her cheek as Bobby comes down the stairs.
“Mom, you haven’t moved for days. You need to eat something and get some rest.”
She looks at him, but only briefly before turning her head back to the window. “He’s out there, somewhere. He’ll come home; you’ll see. He’ll come home to me, and this nightmare will be over.”
“Mom, I told you. The clown…”
“I told you, there is no clown, Bobby.” She lowers her gaze away from his eyes as if withholding something. “God damn it, just drop it, already. He’s just missing.”
“The clown was there, and he almost got me, too! Not that you even care!” Bobby turns and heads out the front door, slamming it behind him. On the steps to the house is a small package, wrapped in brown paper. He bends down to pick it up and goes back inside.
“Are you expecting a package?” he asks as he inspects it.
“No,” replies his mother.
“That’s odd,” he says, flipping it over. “There’s no return address, and it’s made out to Johnny.” He hands his mother the brown paper package, and upon seeing her dead child’s name scribed across it, she begins to cry. She takes a deep breath, then shakes her head and hands the package back to Bobby. He rips off the brown paper - curious as to what could be inside.
A look of confusion comes over his face as he peers down at what was left in his hands. “It’s a… children’s book. A pop up one.” He flips through it, his confusion exemplified with each turn of the page. “This is dark. Really dark.” He flips back to the beginning and reads the first page out loud.
“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look. You can’t get rid of the Babadook.”
His mother looks at him, her tears slowing down a bit. “What’s a Babadook?”
“Not sure.” He hands the book to his mother. She opens it, and flips through the contents, reading aloud.
“Why would someone send this to Johnny?” Her voice is cracking, and the tears begin again. “Is this supposed to be some kind of a sick joke?” She hands it back to Bobby. “A mother killing her child? Get rid of it.”
Bobby walks to the trash and tosses the book in. “Problem solved.”
His mother returns to staring out the window.
It felt good to get out. He had been cooped up in the house since what happened to Johnny, and his mother was getting worse, not better, by the day. She had fallen into a deep depression, and nothing seemed to shake her of it. Some fresh air could certainly be of some use right now. Even if it did feel a bit selfish. Sure, she’ll be mad if she finds out that he snuck out his window, but he’ll deal with that then.
The cool air is refreshing against his face as he rides his bike to the park. There’s a pond there that he used to take Johnny to, where they would sit and talk and skip rocks. He pulls his bike up to the bench next to it and rests it on its kickstand. After looking around for a few moments, he finds a couple of semi-flat rocks and sits down on the bench.
He tosses a rock, skipping it across the surface of the pond, but it wasn’t the same. The ripples in the pond reflect in the bright light of the full moon, expanding in tranquil rings. It becomes mesmerizing. Hypnotizing, almost.
Back at home, his mother lies in her bed. Her back is stiff from sitting in that chair for so long. The television lights the room as the news plays across the screen, but her attention is on the thing lurking in the corner. At first, she thought it was just a shadow from the TV. Nothing more than the light reflecting off something on the table she had told herself, but now, it was getting bigger. Slowly, but most assuredly, it was growing. Then there was the noise, three knocks. Ba-ba, dook, dook-dook!
She dares not turn to look at it as if her affirmation will somehow make it real. Instead, she stares face forward at the television, without hearing it. A prisoner in her own blankets. Her head throbs, her heart beats heavy as the shadow continues to grow. It’s size double what it was only moments ago. It comes closer, and closer to the bed with every blink of her eye. She takes in a deep breath, musters up every ounce of courage she owns - and turns on the light.
Meanwhile, Bobby sits on the bench by the pond, watching the water. He hadn’t skipped a rock in several minutes, still, the ripples move outward, never seeming to reach their destination. The beauty of it as inexplicable as its strange lure. It calls to him, beckons him to come closer and he does. Slowly, he walks to the edge of the pond and looks down at his own reflection. The ripples cause it to bend, sway, and deform on the water. After a few moments, the reflection becomes clearer. Too clear. As if someone turned the pond up to full 4K HD without telling him.
He looks down at himself in wonder and awe, then blinks. The reflection does not. “She always loved him more, you know.”
Startled, Bobby steps back quickly, but the reflection remains in place on the water. “Who… are you?” he asks.
“Who? Me? I am you, and she doesn’t care that you’re still here. She only cares that he’s gone.”
“That’s not true! You’re lying!”
Bobby’s face becomes sullener as he realizes how he actually feels inside.
“You don’t seem so sure of yourself, Bobby.”
“I thought you were me.”
“I could be... If you’d like. I can show you many things, oh yes. Things you could never imagine in your wildest dreams.” The voice is offbeat and higher-pitched at the end of its sentences. “All you have to do is…” A red balloon floats up from under the surface of the water. Two single words are scrawled across its body.
The balloon pops loudly and Bobby does a 180. His gaze is met immediately by the same clown from the woods where Johnny disappeared. IT’s head opens wide at the mouth, unnaturally fast and inhumanly large. Within IT’s a gaping mouth, lined with hundreds of sharp, jagged teeth are 3 bright orange lights. Bobby’s eyes roll into the back of his head as he begins to float.
This is at the exact moment that his mother is turning on the light, back at home. She looks around the room frantically, certain something is there. A sick, sinking feeling in her gut as she tries convincing herself she was imagining things. She was grieving, that was all.
Bobby seeing a clown in the woods was nothing more than his imagination. There’s no way that IT’s back. They had defeated it, all those years ago. Twice. Still, the fact she had never mentioned IT to either of her children, but Bobby keeps mentioning a clown - strikes her as odd. Memories flood her mind with things she had tried hard and long to forget.
She gets out of bed, needing to see that Bobby is safe. She knocks on his door, but there is no answer. After knocking again, she opens the door. His bed is empty, and his window is wide open. The curtain blows in the breeze. A thin string is tied to Bobby’s bedpost, leading outside. She grabs it, and reels it in, inch by inch. Her heart drops as she pulls a shiny red balloon through the window. A message is written on it in white letters. A message that was clearly for her.
Remember me, Bev?
Happy 27th anniversary!
“No, it can’t be,” she whispers to herself. “We beat you!” The balloon shrivels, withers, and rots in her hand. The latex becoming hundreds of tiny spiders that crawl up her arm. She shrieks, and shrugs them all off, repeating to herself that this isn’t real. “We killed you, you son of a bitch!”
The thought of IT returning and taking both of her children is simply too much to bear. She knows what IT is, the horrors they must be facing, or have faced. The grief hits her in the same way that a tsunami crashes ashore. Violently, and mercilessly it brings her to her knees. As she cries into her hands, and the tears seep between her shaking fingers, a figure watches through the closet door left ajar. Its face is a horrible shade of white, but its lips and the skin around its eyes are a far worse shade of black. Its teeth are jagged and rotten. A top hat rests on its head.
It feasts upon her tears, and as she dumps a steady stream of them onto the floor, a shadow grows ever larger behind her, enveloping her. No… swallowing her. The noise from her bedroom returns once more. Ba-ba dook, dook-dook…
The front door to the house swings open as Bobby enters. A crooked smile rests on his lips, but his eyes are wide, cold, and distant. A rusty pocketknife that he got from his father before he left all those years ago, is clutched tightly in his right hand - by his side. It trembles as he calls out to his mother. “Beverly, I’m home!”
Beverly comes out of his bedroom, her movement is slow and weighted. “I’ve been waiting for you, Bobby. We need to talk.” Her voice is emotionless and monotone. “I wish it was you, Bobby. It should have been you. Not my baby.”
Bobby clutches the worn knife tighter as she approaches, waiting for the right moment to strike. Her methodic movement is easy to gauge, as she continues to speak.
“He says if I give you to him, he’ll leave me alone.” Suddenly, as she gets close to Bobby, her movement speeds up, she grabs him by the neck and pins him against the wall before he can react and squeezes tightly. He loses his grip on the knife, and it falls to the ground with a clang.
A voice calls to Beverly from behind her. Instantly, chills go down her spine as she drops the child.
“Bevy, have you been a good girl?” It was the voice of her father. A ghost she buried deep in her mind long ago, until now.
She spins around to see Pennywise standing in the middle of the room, doing his dance. Visions of the deadlights tear through her mind, causing her physical pain as if they were still somehow connected. Her feet rise off the ground and her eyes roll back as a shadow seeps from her body, returning to the darkness.
“Surprise!” says the clown. The bright orange Dead Lights reflecting in his eyes. “Did ya miss me Bevy?” He stops dancing and reveals his sharp, terrible teeth. “I’ve missed you. You didn’t think I would let someone else have you, did you? After all that we’ve been through? Oh, no. You’re mine, and so are your children.”
Pennywise laughs maniacally as Bobby stands up, brushes himself off, and retrieves the knife. He walks toward his mother, that same empty look in his eyes. He raises his hand into the air, as if not in control of his own body, and stabs the knife into his mother’s stomach as she floats in the air.
“Good,” IT laughs. “Now come to me.”
Bobby walks slowly toward the clown as Mister Babadook watches from the shadows. Pennywise extends a hand toward the child as he approaches. An orange glow comes over Bobby’s face.
“Tell it you are not afraid. Turn around, and tell it to leave you alone, Bobby. It will listen.”
Bobby turns around, coming face to face with the eight-foot tall Babadook. “I’m not afraid of you! He makes me strong, and you need to leave!”
The Babadook stops in its tracks, its face a twisted vision of horror.
“Leave! Now! I’m not scared of you! What happened to Johnny wasn’t my fault!”
The Babadook shrinks in size with every word, until it’s the size of a small dog.
“That’s right,” says Pennywise as he continues to laugh. “It was mine!” Bobby turns white as IT’s head expands, opening like a Venus Flytrap, lined with rows of horribly sharp teeth. It bites Bobby in half, and swallows deeply, leaving his other half bleeding out on the floor. His stature becomes larger as he looms over the Babadook. The Deadlights shine bright in the void of IT’s mouth, reverting the Babadook into its shadow form, and sucking it into the Todash Darkness, known also as the Macroverse.
“Oh, how I’ve longed for this day, Beverly.” Pennywise turns toward her as she floats about 4 feet off the ground. “I’ve been sleeping, dreaming of our re-acquaintance, but no more.” As he walks toward her, the Dead Lights shine from within IT’s open head.
“You’re going to love how you float…”
PENNYWISE THE DANCING CLOWN
There was just no way the Babadook was defeating Pennywise, let’s be honest. The Babadook is powerful, but he isn’t nearly as powerful as IT. I just couldn’t find a way for him to come out on top, no matter the scenario.
What do you think out there? Am I way off? Yell at me in the comments below and let me know! Up next… THE SCORPIO DEMON VS SHOCKER! Place your bets now! All bets are final!
Until next time, keep on geekin’ on my friends!
Joshua “Prometheus” Scafidi