When the carnival danced into the town, Sheriff Cowen wasn't so sure about their intentions.
The carnival folk set up their shop in the open ground behind the town hall and when night fell, the lit up their torches and lamps that bathed their tents in a golden light. The townsfolk came to see the carnival like moths to the flame.
When the program for the evening ended and a collection hat was passed around filled with coins and paper notes of all kinds, the people went to their homes. Entertained and satisfied, they slept unaware of the fact that they had refused to notice the un-existence of clowns.
When night fell and the town slept, Sheriff Cowen heard a noise that woke him up. He got out of his bed and went outside. The town was burning. A child ran past his house with his night dress on fire and two clowns chased him on pogo sticks. The flames that burned the houses kissed the night sky and more clowns pored from the fire to create mischief and mayhem. The clowns had come.
Sheriff Cowen went back in his house and tried to sleep. He was still awake when the flames reached him.