Smile

Smile - Matt Shaw First off Smile prays on one of the many nightmares every parent dreads, losing your child while out shopping, it nearly happened to me once and the panic is indescribable. In this day and age you’ve got to have eyes in the back of your head.

Smile is told in first person from the viewpoint of Alex who takes his 8 year old brother shopping to get school shoes, the bribe is a trip to the toy store. Shoes bought, Alex’s next stop is trainers for himself but no, arguments ensue and Lewis throws a tantrum of epic proportions, storms off and amazingly stops outside the shop. Alex has eyes on him, turns round, turns back and he’s gone.
The story follows two timelines, not to far apart, the present search for Lewis and the events leading up to the separation.

Turns out Lewis is not the only missing person in the shopping centre and while viewing CCTV footage the only unusual thing seen is the presence of a clown.

Now I’ve got to say the whole clown thing has never really done it for me in a scary context, I guess it’s from watching a few low budget horror films as a kid. Smile has changed my opinion somewhat amidst a short story that builds the tension nicely.