Darkness Lurks: Killer Clowns in Glasgow (Part 4: The Curtain Call)
Finale: Can Sonny expose the clowns before they get to him?
Sonny wasn’t sure what has uncles had planned for the night and wasn’t too keen on finding out. It would usually involve things that would get you in trouble or be dangerous at the best of times.
But what they really had planned turned out to be much worse than what he had imagined…
When they arrived at the brothers’ house it was clear they wouldn’t be staying for long. Without barely stepping foot in the house the five boys set off.
To where? Sonny wondered.
He kept asking but was told “don’t worry yersell wee man it will be a laugh”.
Words that never filled him with any confidence.
He was horrified when they turned to head towards the grassy field and Castlemilk primary school.
Sonny demanded to know what was going on.
It turned out that about half the teenagers had turned up to camp out in the woods behind Castlemilk primary.
They were convinced the “clowns” or whoever was responsible for the murder would be hanging about in the woods where Donna was murdered.
Stories had also spread about Nikki and Robert going missing and there was another two rumoured victims.
The teenagers were sure it was all connected.
They were also starting to believe that most adults had been hiding the truth from them.
A gang from St Margaret's organised a vigilante group to go looking for the clowns.
Word spread quickly and well over 100 teenagers turned up. Some were armed with hammers, knives, baseball bats and swords.
There was also an obscene amount of alcohol being brought in with crates being stacked up. Rival gangs, testosterone and groups of girls were never a good mix.
By the look of things the plan was to stay up all night drinking and taking drugs until they saw the clowns or some other creep lurking around.
The next part of the plan was presumably to beat up whoever they caught before going partying happily with each other.
Of course it was never going to work out like that.
Some were clearly full of drink and aggression and desperate for a fight, so it didn’t take a genius to work out the night was heading for a disaster.
With so many teenagers, mostly affiliated to one gang or another, there was an atmosphere of violence starting to build in the air.
And it didn’t take very long for things to turn nasty.
Two guys from rival gangs had their eye on the same girl and a fight broke out. One ended up getting hit with a bottle and the boy who hit him was chased by another with a knife.
As the night went on fights were breaking out left, right and centre.
Sonny went to the tent for some refuge, but bottles were flying through the air and raining down on his tent so that was no longer a safe option.
Amid the chaos he had lost his uncles and he couldn’t recognise anyone else.
His gran's was just over the backs and he was thinking no more than 10 minutes away if he could find his way out of the woods quickly enough.
He decided to just go for it and ran as fast as he could in the direction of the fields.
Running through the woods, trees and hedges made it so dark he could hardly see in front of him.
Then when he got to the end of the woods he started to make out the glow of the street lights and ran as fast as could towards them.
As he was just leaving the woods a burned out van just sitting at the side of the path caught his eye.
Not wanting to dwell too much he told himself it must have been there for years.
When he finally got on flat ground and could see where he was going he was just glad to be out of the woods.
As he started to make his way across the grassy field a slight hint of sunlight was starting to break through.
He only had to make his way across the field then down the hill and he was more or less at his granny's house and the coast looked clear.
But just when he got to the top of the big hill he suddenly stopped.
That's when he saw them at the bottom of the hill blocking the path. There were two of them; only this time there were no spinning bow ties or clown gimmicks.
They had rubber clown masks covering their faces but with workers overalls covered in splashes of paint and steel toe cap work boots.
A much more sinister look that was obviously much more practical as well for chasing and killing children.
Before he had time to register what he had seen and get out of sight one of them started pointing in his direction.
Sonny turned the other way and was off like a shot desperate to make up more space between him and the clowns before they got after him.
His first thought was to try and head back towards the crowd.
He kept running till he got to the woodpath at the pitch.
Out of the silence a car came speeding towards him. He jumped behind a hedge just as the car flew past along the same direction he was heading.
It had to be the clowns. Who else would be driving along there at this time or at that speed.
His only option left was to run across the top of the field then and head back to his own house.
It was a bit away and he would have to pass the exact spot where young Donna took her last steps, but it was his only option.
He set off again, carried by adrenalin, moving as fast as his tired legs could take him.
When he got to the top of the green he had to stop for a breath. He had a look about. The coast was clear, all he had to do was get through the lane at the bottom of the hill and it would take him out onto Machrie at Castlemilk drive.
But as he had another glance around he noticed he was being followed. One of the clowns was making his way through the backs but was still a bit away.
He turned the other way and noticed the second coming from the other direction only much closer.
He ran as fast as he could through the lane hoping he could get through the other end before they got there.
As he got onto the lane he thought he had made it, but the clown to his left managed to reach through the railings and grab his jacket.
Sonny’s heart sank, he could feel the guy had a tight grip on his jacket and the other one was getting closer from the other side.
He was sure he was dead.
“We have you now you wee bastard” the clown told him as he tried to wriggle free.
Shouting for help at the top of his lungs hoping someone would hear him and do something to help.
The only people that would be near enough to hear would be the ones that stayed in the block of closes. Most were boarded up, the only people left were junkies or dealers.
Suddenly he somehow managed to get out of his jacket and free himself and run away as the clown was climbing the fence.
He charged towards the flats in hope of finding someone who could help him.
There was no one in sight so he turned the first corner, dived behind a hedge with a good view of the lane.
But the clowns never appeared. Sonny sat under the hedge for a while wondering where they had gone, scared to move in case they were just waiting for him to come out.
This gave him a bit of time to think and register what had just happened. He started thinking the voice of one of the clowns was familiar to him.
He just couldn’t place where he knew it from. Not wanting to waste anymore time he decided he would run for it.
But when he looked up there was a car with the engine running right at the path, as if waiting for him.
He recognised the car as the same one he saw speeding along the woodpath.
Not wanting to take any chances he decided he would run the other way towards the school in a last ditch attempt for help.
He jumped over the fence towards the janitor’s house. He started rattling on his front door but there was no reply, other than the dog barking.
He then noticed the janitor's car wasn’t there. Where could he be at this time? Then it suddenly came to him. The voice he recognised? The car he saw in the woods that was also blocking the path? It was the janitor's voice and car.
The more he thought about it, it all made sense, there were clues that he had missed that made it impossible not to make Mr Brennan a suspect.
No sooner had all this came to him when a car pulled into the school, it was the janitor in the same car he had seen blocking his path a few minutes earlier.
Mr Brennan opened the car door staring at Sonny with an angry face that was unrecognisable from his usual friendly manner.
Sonny froze to the spot not able to think straight and noticed the jacket he had scrambled out earlier in the janitor's hand.
So he vaulted the fence towards the playground area and a place the kids were banned from going, a place nicknamed “the jungle”.
The jungle was just basically an unkept large garden area with overgrown hedges and trees everywhere.
As with everything at St Jude's there were rumours and myths as to why that place was just left to grow wild and why the kids were told never to go there.
The rumours ranged from someone being murdered there to it being built on a graveyard. The truth however was that it had become a hideout for junkies at night, used needles and other drugs paraphernalia could often be found in the overgrown bushes and hedges.
On more than one occasion there had also been knives and other weapons found there that it turned out had been used in assaults and attempted murders.
Sonny was sure he could hide there and knew the exact spot to head for with the janitor still shouting for him to come back.
He crawled under an overgrown bush that was used as a last resort drinking den for teenagers.
He thought he was safe when he got to his hideaway, but heard the janitor's voice shouting from within the jungle.
He could hear him smashing his way through the bushes and trees, sounding like he was heading right in Sonny's direction. The footsteps were getting closer and closer until they stopped!
Sonny braced himself for the worst as the janitor was standing right in front of him: “Sonny?.....Where are ye? it's not safe for you out here”.
Sonny managed to sit still without making a sound and the janitor continued to walk away. Hearing the shouts get further away he decided he should pop his head out to see where he went.
Seeing him walk away in the distance he knew the coast was clear and decided to make his move out of there as fast as he could.
He got out of the jungle and could see the janitor disappear out of sight in the other direction and started making his way towards the gates.
But just as he was about to turn the corner to get out of the school he took one more look back to see that the coast was clear.
“GOT YE”. As soon as he turned the corner he got grabbed.
“Look who we got here?”.
Sonny noticed the clown wasn’t the biggest so as he was getting dragged round the corner Sonny tangled his feet and jumped the ground making them both fall.
The clown was taken by surprise and Sonny was up to his feet like a shot but before he got far the clown on the ground shouted “grab him!!” Suddenly the other appeared from nowhere, punching Sonny and knocking him out.
When he came to, the two men were laughing and dragging him against the school doors.
Sonny could taste blood at the back of his throat and what felt like a broken nose.
He was seeing double the clowns right in his face telling him they were going to cut him up and hang him from the roof.
Suddenly the voice didn’t seem familiar and although it was the same two that grabbed his jacket at the fence, it wasn’t the janitor.
The realisation of how stupid he had been started to set in.
They stood him up and told him “no sleeping”, one pulled a sharp surgical instrument from a pocket in his overalls that was bulging with similar sharp items.
The clowns started laughing, the smaller one clearly excited as his friend started piercing the sharp instrument into Sonny’s skin just under his neck.
“We want to really appreciate this” he said as he cut slowly at first it was just enough to pierce the skin and draw blood.
Sonny was frozen stiff with fear as the clown applied more pressure with his mate looking, then WHACK!
The big one was whacked on the side of the head by a baseball bat and instantly slumped to the ground dropping his weapon.
The janitor told Sonny to run before swinging the bat towards the smaller clown.
This time the clown was expecting it and managed to cushion the impact and avoid major contact.
As Sonny was starting to get away he looked back to see them struggle over the bat until Mr Brennan yanked it towards him, headbutting the clown in the same movement.
This knocked the clown down to the ground and allowed Mr Brennan to regain full control of the bat.
But the bigger clown who was first hit by the bat was getting back up.
Sonny tried to shout a warning but all it did was distract Mr Brennan as the clown pulled a knife from his overalls and plunged it right into the janitor's side sending him crumbling instantly to his knees.
Sonny watched in horror knowing there was nothing he could do, but also knew there was no way he could leave him to be murdered without at least trying.
The clowns were laughing, standing over the helpless janitor almost as if they were admiring their work.
Sonny was looking around to see if he could see anyone who could help in any way at all.
Then he heard Che.
Mr Brennan’s huge alsatian the kids were all scared of was in the back garden barking like mad.
Sonny rushed to open the gate to let him out hoping Che would instinctively run to the rescue.
Sure enough Che charged towards the clowns barking furiously. They panicked when they saw him charging towards them, but Che was too quick and managed to get a hold of one as they were climbing the fence.
Che got a hold of the clown but right away he pulled a knife; stabbing the dog repeatedly in the face and body before leaping over the fence to join his partner.
The clowns disappeared with sirens in the distance as the dog yelped in pain.
All of a sudden the sirens got closer, the van came speeding out of nowhere and shot up the road followed by two police cars.
Mr Brennan was starting to struggle for breath and losing blood.
Nosey neighbours were now out in the street, Sonny screamed for them to phone an ambulance.
When one woman finally noticed them the janitor was semi-conscious by this stage and was more worried about his dog saying: “Tell her to phone an emergency vet first, i’ll be ok”.
The ambulance arrived and took him to hospital.
Sonny was sure the police would have caught the clowns before they could hurt anyone else and he was happy about that at least.
Sonny was hoping this would prove beyond doubt the stories about the clowns were true and that would prove that they were also responsible for killing Donna.
But the police couldn’t catch them.
They drove the van right into the woods and abandoned it. Once on foot they just disappeared.
A search failed to find anything other than the blue van with clown masks in the back.
Mr Brennan was patched up in hospital and told he was lucky to be alive. Him and Che made a speedy recovery.
He was back on his feet just a couple of days later when he appeared at Sonny’s house to tell him the recent news.
The police had an hour earlier arrested someone for someone for Donna’s murder.
Ryan King, the young boy who found her body, was charged. This came as a surprise to Sonny.
No one had really seen that one coming after King had been apparently ruled out. But the police uncovered new evidence linking him to it.
Sonny knew for a fact that King couldn’t have been one of the men that stabbed the janitor at St Judes.
And was even more surprised when Mr Brennan told him that as far as the police were concerned both were unrelated incidents and the clowns weren’t suspected of being killers.
They told Mr Brennan that they had traced the van back to someone who said it had been stolen, but apart from that they had no other lead’s whatsoever.
Off the record they told him that they suspected his stabbing had been related to what they called “an arranged gang fight” in the woods that saw teenagers involved in a violent disturbance.
But Sonny was of course at the disturbance they were talking about and ok there was a lot of drunk and aggressive behaviour but there was no way anybody there was involved.
He couldn’t believe the two guys in the clown masks in the blue van were still free and out there somewhere.
No one was ever charged with the stabbing, as usual in Castlemilk the police lost interest very quickly. After the boy accused of the Donna Ferguson murder was found guilty and jailed for 15 years as police presence in Castlemilk fell away again.
There were still so many parts of the story that didn’t add up - but one mystery at least was solved.
When Sonny was back at school the two pupils who had disappeared and hadn’t been seen in a couple of weeks, since they got chased running through the backs, were in fact fine and well.
Nikki broke her arm jumping over the fence, explaining why everyone heard her scream, and Robert got dropped off by the janitor after Mick and Sonny left him on the drive, then faked illness so he could stay off school and stay in the house until the killer was caught.
Ryan King was eventually found guilty and few people would have had doubts that he was responsible.
In fact after the guilty verdict it was hardly ever mentioned again.
But teenagers will still camp out every summer looking for the “killer clowns” that are said to stalk the woods.