Chapter 1I always walked through the cemetery to get home. It was faster than going all the way around the block. Instead of taking almost a half hour to get home from practice it would only take me 10 minutes. I wasn’t scared of dead bodies or graveyards at night like most teen girls. So when I was walking home and saw a short boy leaning against one of the crypts you can understand my surprise.
“Hello,” I said curiously. The boy smiled and walked toward me.
“Hi. I’m from the circus that just came to town,” his smile was nice but it was his eyes that were hypnotizing. They were a bright crimson.
“What circus?” I asked bluntly. The boy smirked.
“Circus Daemonum,” he gave a swishing bow, “It’s a horror circus so don’t bring small children.” I giggled.
“What like you?” I raised an eyebrow. The boys figure seemed to blur for a split second and my head hurt like I had been hit with a hammer.
“Just show up okay,” the boy snapped as he handed me three tickets. He turned as if to leave before grabbing something from the ground. I blinked and when he stood up he seemed taller, more intimidating. He turned around again holding a rose with pure black petals, a deep green stem and red thorns. The flower was beautiful but in a gothic, hail Satan sort of way.
“That’s creepy,” the words slipped out of my mouth before I could stop them. I grimaced at my lack of control.
“Of course it is,” his voice was deeper than before, smoother yet also sly, “It’s a demon rose for the beautiful girl. I will see you tomorrow night at the circus, my dear.” I blinked stupidly. A demon rose? My dear? The boy, who seemed more like a man now, grabbed my hand gently and kissed it. I was so shocked that I didn’t even draw back as he pulled himself close to me.
“What do you do in the circus?” I rasped suddenly feeling the need to speak again. The guy froze and backed away.
“I’m the ring master,” he said before walking over to a freshly dug grave and stepping into it. I ran over to the grave and stared at the empty hole. I blinked stupidly for a moment before stepping away and walking the rest of the way home.
When I got home I called my mom. She was at work, as usual, and required me to call her so she could make sure I got home safely. After the call I went and sat down in my room. I pulled the three tickets out of my pocket. They listed the seat number and the section just light any regular ticket. I shrugged and shoved the tickets under my pillow along with my book, my locket and my notebook. I pulled the notebook out and opened it gently, treating each page like it was a hundred years old and worth millions of dollars. I turned to the next blank page and grabbed a pencil. I sketched a picture of the guy from the graveyard and wrote the story of what happened underneath along with a picture of the rose. I picked the rose up from where I had thrown it on the floor. The petals seemed a deeper, darker shade of black and the thorns all looked like they had been painted with blood. The rose was disturbing yet beautiful. It wasn’t pretty though. Pretty is for teenage girls in pigtails or boys with effeminate faces and shaggy hair. The rose was definitely not pretty. It was elegant. Kind of like the boy from the graveyard. There was something different about him. His eyes were crimson! The only way they could be that colour is if he was wearing contacts. Of course there was the way he seemed to grow taller right before my eyes; it couldn’t have been anything but a trick of the light, but his voice... and he had suddenly become so……. It had been creepy. I subconsciously rubbed the back of my hand on my pants like I was trying to clean it off.
“Prudence!” my sister, Adelaide, came skidding into my room. I scowled at her and she took a step back so she was standing in the doorway.
“First of all, Puck, second of all what?” I snapped. I hated my name. It was old and started with a ‘P’. Puck was much better. It was the name of an imp in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” which I found very awesome.
“Okay hockey puck,” Addy sneered, I promptly threw a shoe at her and she ducked, “Mom wants to know what you want to do for the family night tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. ‘Family night’ was my mom’s latest attempt to make Addy and I get along and make our family ‘more loving and close’. My mom wasn’t around enough to do any good so I was the one who had practically raised Addy since my dad died. He was driving back from the grocery store when he swerved off the road and crashed into a telephone pole. It was a really hard time for my family. Mom went into a depression and to deal with it she started working long hours. She was never home after that.
“I’ll think about it and tell mom when she gets home,” I said out loud. If she ever comes home, I thought. I slipped my notebook back under my pillow and jumped off my bed. “What do you want for dinner, Addy?” I asked as I made my way towards the kitchen.
“Oh you know, human flesh and pig intestines. The usual.” she said offhandedly. I raised my eyebrows. She smirked, “Macaroni and cheese with chili,” she licked her lips and rubbed her stomach. I rolled my eyes again before putting a pot of water on the stove to boil. One would think seeing as I had been cooking food for my sister for almost eight years that I would be a good cook. I am not. I am an awful cook. In fact while cooking the macaroni noodles I let the water boil off almost three times. Then I forgot to drain the water, followed by forgetting the milk and butter. Eventually I got it right and put it on the table.
“So hockey puck,” Addy teased, “Just how badly did you ruin tonights meal?” I smacked Addy up top the head.
“How badly would you like to starve?” I asked, “Cause you can eat what I make or you can go hungry. And stop calling me hockey puck.”
“Okay hockey puck no need to be angry,” she shook her finger at me mockingly, “Remember what the psych said about your anger management.” I told her to do something highly inappropriate before dumping half the mac-n-cheese on her plate. I dumped the rest into a large bowl and retreated into my room with my laptop and the bowl. I pulled up google and looked up circuses in my area. There were none. I looked up horror shows. There were none of those either. Either the boy gave me fake tickets or the ‘horror circus’ he told me he was in didn’t list on the internet. I pulled up my facebook and spent the rest of the evening wasting time and brain cells on the internet.
Mom got home around 11 o’clock. I heard my sister’s door open and shut as she went to give mom a hug. My mom and sister were very close. They were always talking to each other when mom was home.
“Where’s Puck?” my mom asked. She sounded worried, no, more panicked. I walked out of my room slowly and leaned against the wall.
“What do you want?” I asked hostily. My mom looked a little hurt but I didn’t feel bad.
“I need to talk to you. It’s extremely important,” she said before hurrying into her room to get changed. I walked into my room and grabbed the rose off my disaster of a night table. I poked at one of the thorns carefully and was surprised when it actually drew blood. My mom walked into my room in her pajamas, shut my door behind her and sat down next to me. She was staring at the rose her face full of what I would have thought was fear.
“Who… Who gave you that?” she asked quietly.
“A boy I met in a graveyard,” I said bluntly, watching her carefully out of the corner of my eye.
“Did he give you anything else?”
“Why do you care?” I snapped, “You never care about anything else in my life. You only ever care about Addy and work. You don’t give two thoughts about me.” My mom looked at the floor, guilt filling her eyes.
“Puck, sweetheart, I try…”
“NO! You don’t!" I interuppted, "You don’t try with me. You try a little with Addy, who is just a spoiled little brat now, but you have never tried with me. I was just your babysitter who happens to live with you. Who takes care of your baby girl. If I didn’t know any better I would say that you were cheating on dad and you still are!” I screamed at her.
“How dare you?!” she stood up, “I loved your father!”
“You didn’t cry at his funeral!” I was going to far but I didn’t care, I needed to get this off my chest, “If you really loved him you would have shown some emotion and taken some time off work to spend with Addy and I. Addy was a mess after dad died. I couldn’t get her to come out of her room for five hours and where were you to take care of your daughters! You were at work! Probably flirting with your boss like you do at all those stupid parties you make Addy and I go to with you!” I knew for sure I had gone too far. I knew it but I didn’t care. Mom’s face crumpled. “Get out of my room,” I growled. Mom sniffed before stalking out of my room and slamming the door. I sat down on the floor. I pulled my stuffed wolf out from under my bed and began to cry. Mom always did this. She tried to get involved with my life and we would end up shouting at each other. I did miss my father. I didn’t get along well with him either but at least he tried to get along with me. Addy had been a daddy’s girl though and when he died I had been so worried that she would go into a depression and do something she couldn’t take back. I hated my sister most times but she was still my baby sister and I practically did raise her. She had only been 5 when dad had died. You would think that after eight years the turmoil that my dad’s death had left behind would have evaporated but something kept it fresh, like it had only happened a few months ago. Addy came tiptoeing into my room and sat down next to me. She had a teddy bear that was almost three feet tall dragging by its fluffy tail behind her. She pulled the teddy into her lap and leaned her head on my shoulder.
“Stop crying,” she said bluntly. Yep, that’s my sister, blunt and not tolerant of unnecessary tears. “You’re pissed not sad,” she gave me a hug. “Mom may be really bad at being a mom but she never cheated on Dad,” she looked me in the eye.
“Oh like you would know,” I retorted, “You were five and mom didn’t even cry at the funeral.”
“I remember the funeral, Puck,” I snorted and she elbowed me, “I walked in on mom in the bathroom crying so hard her mascara was smeared all down her face. When she saw me looking at her she became all frantic to not let me see her so weak. Mom wanted us to see her as strong in such a hard time in our lives.” I glanced at my sister suddenly feeling like I was the younger one. I didn’t want to examine this new piece of evidence. It made me feel real bad for all those things I said to Mom. I glanced down at my watch. It was almost midnight.
“Go to bed, Yoda,” I said as I stood up and pulled my sister up after me, “It’s getting late.” Addy nodded, gave me another hug and left my room pulling her enormous teddy bear behind her. I closed the door before I changed into my pajamas and crawled into my turtle shell of a bed, slipping my hand under my pillow. I felt the three tickets under my pillow and once again wondered who the boy in the graveyard was and why he had given me three tickets. How had he known I would need three?