The Darkened Circus

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The musty room was dimly lit and quiet. The candles cast a glow on the audience’s excited faces. A spot light appeared and in the center of the room materialized the ringmaster. He was wearing a tall top hat and a black tuxedo. He pulled out his monocle to look at the audience.
“Welcome,” he said, “to the circus!” The crowd roared. He walked along the circumference of the stage pointing his shiny black shoes with each step he took. He circled the room gazing into the eyes of the spectators as if he would remember every single one of them. He hunched over slightly and his small stature appeared quite large.
“What you will see here tonight,” he said through his slick black mustache, “must forever remain in the memories of your heads and not in the words of your mouths. We’ve been practitioners of the secret arts for hundreds of years. Tonight you will see the mysteries and puzzles of the human mind.”
The ringmaster thrust his right hand up, presenting the first act. The music played an eerie string concerto as the crowd applauded. Dancers in tight black leotards came out moving slowly. Their faces were as still as antique ballerina figurines. Crimson, orange, and yellow quail feathers fell from the ceiling as the dancers swayed in the imaginary breeze. The music was getting faster, the violin strings vibrated stronger. The flames of the long white candles flared.
“Fire!” shouted the ringmaster “Imagine fire!”
Swirls of fire in the form of birds swooped around the room coming close to the horrified faces of the spectators. Blazing rings circled the theatre high and low as bright orange lions jumped through them, their fierce orange eyes and bright teeth glistening in the flames. The once black walls of the circus turned a bright piercing white and then seemed to burn with the same warm tones as the theatre. The dancers flew through the air, spinning violently with their still porcelain faces reflecting the flames of the room. Arms outstretched, they hovered in the air forming a ring. The music stopped suddenly and the dancers burst into a black ashen smoke. The smoke drifted peacefully as it curled, disappearing and reappearing. The audience members were silent as the smoke wisps merged into one big cloud and the violin music came on again louder than before.
The black smoke twisted and turned, forming a volcano from which a black dragon emerged. Its mouth seemed to be opening and closing slightly as it wafted around the room. Anemic clowns walked onto the stage, their thin frames bending like rubber. Black smiles and frowns were painted on their lucid faces as they joined the dragon. Then red devils came through scalding doors in the walls with knives and hatchets in their claws. Smog filled the room as white skulls replaced the audience’s faces. The dragon and the clowns fought the devils as ligaments were ripped and limbs were smashed. With a high pitched shriek, all the skulls in the audience shattered and fell to the ground, the shards commemorating the losses of mankind.
Pixel by pixel, a beautiful woman with long dark hair and pale skin appeared in the center of the ring. As if in a trance, she looked around the room through the watery
film of her eyes. Her head jerked back mechanically and from her eyes shot two bright blue beams of light. She started to slowly rise and was suddenly slit in the jugular by a floating hatchet that had materialized in the center of the stage. The ringmaster cringed and tried to dismiss the haunting thought. He was sitting in a stiff wooden chair in the corner of the theatre as agony burned his soul. A melancholy melody sang to the room as a man the color of the ocean cried in the middle of the stage, his tears dense with mysteries. He sobbed as plump tears trickled down his icy cheeks to the floor. Like a sun’s rays the blue streams of tears emanated from him, their tentacles spreading, embracing the feet of the audience.
No, thought the ringmaster NO! He could not control it anymore. Sea creatures jumped in and out of the water as two acrobats swung from blue and purple strings. The water level kept rising as the blue man sat under the water still sobbing. Rockets whizzed around the room. The water level stopped rising. Stillness. There was a splash as the dead beautiful woman sunk into the water, a glistening gold ring on her finger providing the only source of light. The cherry blood from her open wound spread through the water much like smoke. Its wisps entangled her in a shroud. Her body rippled in the dim light. The music came on louder as knives and muskets injured the audience members. Water buffalos and snakes bit human flesh. The crowd screamed as they tried to get to the nearest door. The ringmaster rapidly threshed through the waist high water to the center of the stage, shiny streaks glistening from his eyes.
“Wait!” he said “Wait come back!”

But the audience was running to the door. They broke the metal lock and pushed the two pieces of wood open as they ran out into the night forest.

The rockets, creatures, acrobats, and water were sucked down a metal drain. The benches in the rustic theatre were wet, the wood swollen and burnt. The ringmaster walked over the scraped floors. He collapsed in the center of the stage, holding the dead woman in his arms. A single violin could be heard as he grasped her and sobbed, his tears dense with memories.





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