I wrote this a while ago... then hit a roadblock: I was still interested in the story, but didn't know where I wanted it to go. So it is currently on hiatus, to be continued and/or possibly rewritten someday. The original was also written in short 'chapter' segments for another writing site, so I have marked where each part ended with a ---, and the original chapter name in brackets beside. Please keep in mind that this is three or four years old
--- (Cirque de Nightmares
Somewhere, in the dark places of the world, a group of people banded together. They gathered together over time, finding in each other a family. They were never quite accepted in society. In family. In home. In school. People gave them a wide berth, and for a reason: They were different. They looked different or had an uncanny ability. Or, they simply didn't like their home and family. At any rate, they always wanted an escape. An escape from the disapproving glances and not-quite-quiet-enough whispers.
And escape they found.
The Ringmaster. An enigmatic figure of authority in their life offered them a home amongst his performers. Each accepted gratefully, although, some were curious: Where did their viewers disappear to? No matter where they stopped or for how long, a few members of the audience would disappear and were never seen again. Only a select few of the members know the secret...
There is a reason people fear the dark, and the quiet places in the night. People, hurt, alone, desperate, find solace in the dark. And, sometimes, they come into the light...
WELCOME! To the Cirque De Nightmares!
--- (The Whiteface Clown
The Cirque was preparing.
Slender hands darted through the air, dancing upon the gentle evening breeze with ease and confidence. Silver eyes tracked the paths of the seven small glowing jack-o'-lantern-painted balls without distraction, a contented smile resting lazily upon the owner's pale lips. His age, 15, surprised many as they walked past and saw his skill. The boy swiftly withdrew his left hand from the pattern, juggling all seven of the orange balls in his right as he bent to pick up a paintbrush and dip it into a jar of black paint resting on the table beside him. He turned to a small girl watching him and smiled; "Hello. Little girl," he asked softly, "would you like to help me with something?"
She nodded sheepishly. He motioned for her to step away from the comforting grip of her mother, then placed a small dot of the makeup onto her cheek. He flushed the splotch out into a perfect five-pointed star, drawing his paintbrush back and admiring his handiwork with those content and gentle silver eyes.
"See that?" he asked, guiding her over to a small mirror resting on the ground beside the table, his right hand still easily keeping all seven balls in the air. "That's a pentacle, a star. I need you to put the same thing on my forehead, on the right side.Do you think you can do that for me?" She stared at her reflection for a bit longer, then glanced back at her mother for permission. Her mother, a middle-aged woman in her thirties, nodded and smiled encouragingly. The little girl looked back up at the boy, nodded, and took the paintbrush from him. He knelt down to her level, returning his left hand into the pattern of juggling as he did so. He curled his arms around her to give her room to paint unhindered. She began to work, sticking her tongue out a bit in concentration as she carefully painted a star onto the right side of his brow.
"You have the hands of an artist." he commented, making her giggle as he released her from the cage of his arms and the juggling balls as he stood, admiring his face in the tall mirror. "Thank you, little one. To reward you for your help, I gift this to you." He tossed one of the glowing jack-o'-lantern balls to her. She laughed and gave it a shake; the sound of a small bell tinkled from within it. "Take care, and please come back soon for one of our shows!" the clown called as the girl and her mother went on their way, the girl skipping happily with her new toy.
Ari Sender sighed heavily. The rest of the crowd gathered a bit closer, their idle chatter and laughter barely phasing him as he continued his juggling. A whiteface clown was not meant to stand in front of the circus and sell tickets... but, as a new member, this was what he had to do. And if he was going to do it, at least he could have fun entertaining the crowd.
The gentle clown continued to juggle, his silver eyes shining happily as the crowd watched him, 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing at his quick reflexes. A light chuckle slipped his lips; he was meant to entertain. His stepfather, Rani, had instilled that in him.
He hummed and swayed as his hands flitted through the air, hips moving in tandem with the music in his soul. He was content to just stand here and juggle for the rest of the evening...especially when the majority of his audience was young children. It was so simple to make them smile.
He turned, neatly catching all of his balls as a chiming bell rang through the air. The Cirque was about to start- he needed to get ready.
--- (Twins of Time
Lips curved into a smug smirk as Aly's bright green eyes seemed to pierce the man's very soul. The heavy stench of incense filled the air, the tent was saturated with the scents of vanilla sugar and cherry blossom. Strings of beads were hung all around the ceiling, as did long lengths of cloth, making the tent feel more claustrophobic. The large, wooden round table was decorated with skulls and other various disturbing trinkets associated with the occult and voodoo. ~I hate looking like a cliche,~ she thought to herself.
She currently had one hand on a tarot card, ready to flip the card over for her latest 'customer.' ~Good looks, and he's obviously rich- I hooked a good one this time.~ At first the man was skeptical. Who could blame him with a cheezy getup like this? But Evan's abilities once again pulled through. His talents had always proved vital for this work. The moment she brought up the man's 'lost' wife, he became an instant believer, and gave a large sum of cash to keep her quiet.
~But Cliche's are there for a reason, sister. Nobody would believe us for an instant if we looked like a pair of ragged teenagers,~ Evan replied to her unspoken comment.
She almost rolled her eyes, but prevented herself from doing so. Her brother was behind in the back room of the tent, currently lounging on a chair. His work was done, and he hadn't even had to move from that spot. Looking back further than the man had cared to remember, he had found his secret, told her and she had told the man. They knew all of his dirty little secrets now. With her sight to the near future, and his to the forgotten past, it was all too easy to put on a convincing show.
"Do you wish for me to reveal the last card, good sir? Or do you believe yourself better off not knowing?" she asked slowly, large green eyes looking up at the man almost innocently, but the sneer on her lips said otherwise. "No... tell me. Show me the last card," he breathed. "Please, I need to know..."
So far, she had drawn The Fool, The Traveller, and the Lovers. These cards did follow the future she had seen for him so far. She's also seen the last part, the part he currently feared and thirsted for. He wondered if he gained fame and fortune; not that he needed it. The man was was watching her hand with bated breath. She resisted the urge to roll her eyes. It was all too easy to control these people. She felt slightly smug, as though she really did hold his life in her grasp. Just one little squeeze and she could watch him gasp and writhe.
Slowly, deliberatly, she flipped the card. His breathe hitched, his eyes widened.
She watched in mild amusement as his face drained of all color. Clearly this man didn't understand Tarot, but she didn't feel like explaining to him. Instead, she answered. "You do realize that fate is not set in stone. If you truely wanted to avoid this fate, it is not too late to change your path. Personally, I'd recommend donating to those less fortu-"
Before she could even finish her sentence, the man was emptying his money onto the table, talking hurriedly about all the things he needed to do, all the charities his company could donate to. He even talked about confessing the murder of his wife.
Aly only smiled, thanking him for his generosity, and offered him a little trinket to 'help him on his path' which he immediately snatched up, and stumbled out the door.
Aly's grin widened as she thumbed through the bills, and Even appeared from behind her, hugging her neck and chuckling like an idiot. "Ugh, that was long and painful," he said. "No kidding. Good work, digging up that little tidbit about his wife,"
"It was buried pretty deep," he smirked, tucking the money into his pocket. "Anyways, I'm really hungry... want to grab something to eat?"
She batted him off of her, annoyed. "You can eat after the show in the big tent. I really don't want to be late to that one," she said, standing up. "I wish that last one didn't take as long, but he was such a skeptic..."
Pouting, but not saying anything against her, he followed her out of the tent, brushing his dark hair from his face. "I'd rather be eating... work takes up so much time." He pouted. "First of all, you'd always rather be eating. Also, you can't really like it, otherwise it isn't called work," Aly answered. "Do you think I honestly like dressing up like some sort of bar wench everyday? No. And I know you hate looking like some male belly-dancer," she stated in reply.
"Yeah... but Aly... I'm really hungry..."
She glanced back at him as they exited their little tent, putting a sign that read, 'closed, pester us another time' on the front flap. A bell chimed, and she saw the white-faced clown, a newbie to the Cirque, stop juggling and pack up. "Come on!" She said, grabbing Evan's hand and pulling him along with her. "We have to get ready!" Their small tent-act was one thing, but when they put on a show in front of an audience they needed a completely different feel. One that, for the Cirque, she was prepared to deliver.
--- (The Serpent's Eyes
Venessa sat backstage, waiting for the show to start. She crouched, balancing on a metal bar, using no effort to stay on. She ran a hand through her short black hair, textured more like hedgehog quills than the silky threads of human hair, more scale like. With a quiet sigh she closed her eyes, thinking of what she would do when she got back in her cage.
It was almost fun, playing up the part of a vampire, and she had gotten quite the liking for blood over the years. Of course, she couldn't survive on just blood. She was still human, despite her rather strange ability to charm snakes. It seemed simple, to her at least, so why couldn't others do it? All you had to do was make the snake be calm with you, and then ask it, politely, to do what you wanted. She couldn't 'talk' to snakes; at least, not in the normal sense. She could show it, with her eyes and body language, what she wanted.
She listened, eyes closed, as people started pouring in behind the heavy curtain that separated her from them. Probably a good idea- she was hungry, and human blood tasted as good as any other to her. She didn't want to be tempted. Of course, she might be tempted... later, of course. When no one could find them. She had been here since forever; she knew the dark secrets of the Cirque. Or at least some of them.
Standing up, she jumped down gracefully from the bar, landing lightly on the ground.
Venessa walked over to a rucksack in the corner, and slowly put her hand inside, sliding it along the side of the fabric until it was in up to her elbow. Then she waited. It didn't take long. The feeling of smooth scales sliding up her arm had always felt... right.
The constrictor moved stealthily up her arm, and curled around her shoulders. He knew her. He knew the routine. From somewhere nearby, a loud bell chimed. Venessa Tori took a deep breath. It was almost time.
--- (Deadly Enemies
A boy stood in the shadows. His light, sandy-brown hair whisped over his icey blue-gray eyes, and he had an aura of distance that he put between himself and anyone who dared to approach him. At fifteen, he had a way of speaking and standing that ensured he was always taken seriously.
Light watched the crowd gathering inside the tent with cold eyes, as Ari, one of the newer additions to the troop, sold tickets. He was hidden in the shadows of the curtains and stage, and he made very sure that no part of him was visible by the members of the audience. ~Who will it be today?~ He wondered.
A mother and her little girl came and sat down in the middle of the audience. ~ Not them. They're safe... for now.~ His sharp eyes continued to scan the growing audience. People, old and young, male and female, continued to stream in. ~Ari's doing a good job. We will probably get a full audience.~
Most of the people came in with children; or a girlfriend or boyfriend. Mothers kept their children close by, whispered to screaming infants, and talked with their husbands.
Teenagers texted as they waited, and Light narrowed his eyes. ~why do they come, if they can't even wait patiently for the show to start?~ More and more filled the seats, until the stream slowed to a slow trickle. The seats were almost all filled. One of the last to come in was a woman; by herself, and choosing a seat near the edge of the audience. Light's eyes narrowed. ~Her, perhaps.~ He smiled inwardly at the thought, and turned, without letting the curtains betray his motions, to go behind the stage. He glanced around- where was the Ringmaster?
He spotted Darren, and walked slowly over. Light's shoulders were tense with a mixture of anticipation and stress for the coming show. He didn't particularly like being in front of strangers- he despised them.
To Light, Darren was almost as close as a brother, being a veteran member of the troop. He was as close as Light had to a friend. He had no idea how Darren felt about him; most such things were a mystery to Light. "Have you seen the Ringmaster?" he asked in his quiet voice.
Darren shook his head. "Darren has not seen him." He said. Talking in third person was one of the special things that made him who he was. As long as Light could remember, Darren had spoken that way. "Darren can look for him, if you wish." He asked, to which Light shook his head, a slight smile on his lips. "No, that's okay. You should get ready." "Darren does not have much to get ready." his friend responded, grinning. "Darren just needs himself."
An average build, Darren was not what you'd expect a strongman to look like. His tanned skin and blonde hair that flopped into his eyes made him look like he had just come off the farm. This was almost true; he had worked on a farm until he was 10. At 19, he hadn't been back since joining the Cirque, but he had still managed to retain his fit build and amazing strength.
Darren watched his friend. He enjoyed performing, most of the time. ~Light should be more happy.~ He thought with a frown, then brightened. ~Maybe Light will be happy if we get to play afterwards! Although, sometimes, Darren thinks that Light enjoys playing alone...~ He thought about this for a moment, then decided. ~Darren will go with him only if he asks.~
A bell chimed in the air, startling Darren out of his thoughts. "Is Light ready?" he asked, and Light shook his head. "I have a few more things to do. I'll see you in a bit!" He walked off.
He had things to do.
--- (An Unbreakable Bond
A tall figure flickered between tents and cages with an ease of many years of practice. He walked with his head held high and a smile on his face. He glanced around as he reached the main tent. This was where they made their major performances... where they had their Grand Finales. It was a plain, creamy-yellow tent with red flags atop it. He threw back the tent flap in a flourish and walked in, beaming at whomever may be inside. He glanced about. At first, it seemed as though no one was there... but then a thin, blonde haired figure stood up and jogged over to the crimson haired male.
"Ringmaster!" He exclaimed. "You're almost late! The performance is supposed to be starting soon, and the rest of the performers aren't ready!" He gasped, looking up at his adoptive 'father' indignantly. The enigmatic male merely laughed and placed a warm kiss on his 'child's' forehead. "What a responsible son you are!" He chimed lovingly. He stood back, grinning once more and stepped forwards, striding to the curtain. "Good... good." he murmured. He had been worried for Ari at first, as he was for all of his adopted family, but the boy appeared to be doing well. At least, he had sold many tickets, as the tent was filling up quite quickly. The boy tugged at his sleeve for a moment and frowned. "Right, right." The Ringmaster said, and he brought his hands together in a clap that was echoed by a chiming bell from somewhere above that echoed throughout the campsite.
Satisfied, he turned, and motioned to the blond male a few feet in front of him. "Alex, are you completely ready?" The male in question was wearing a cat headband and collar with a little golden bell. He wore a tight shirt that was calico colored and matching, equally as tight to prevent accident. He did, after all, work without a net. Alex Fhar nodded happily. "I'm ready to perform!" He said, with an excited smile. At 18, he had been with the Cirque longer than almost anyone, and had performed more times than he could count. But still performing remained a thrill to him. It was probably because if he wasn't careful, any performance could be his death. You got more than broken bones from falling from over 50 feet.
A few minutes later, silver eyes peeked out from behind a flap of tent material, gazing at the audience filling the tent. Ari swallowed the lump in his throat; this was not the time to be nervous. He was new to the troop, but had already been with them for almost a year. However, they had been travelling, and had never stopped long enough to put on an actual full performance, so this was his first time. He could make out the back of the Ringmaster's jacket, so he nervously stepped out from behind the flap of material, a jingle of bells accompanying his otherwise quiet entrance.
His face was painted a deathly white to match his colorless hair, which was tipped with a bright, blood red and a sunny yellow. A skintight black suit with blue accents and a thin strip of cloth cut from both arms from his shoulder to his elbow covered his slim frame. His arms, legs, and neck were covered with a variety of ribbons and small bells. Around his waist was a purple sash and a light, grey-pink ribbon that hung down to his knees and was tied on his right side. A matching pink-gray ribbon was tied up in his hair. There was a white pentagram outlined in black on the left half of his forehead, and his right eye had been covered by a large black heart. His usual cheery smile was in place, but it was slightly forced.
The Ringmaster turned to him, a smile on his face. "Yes?" he asked lightly.
Ari looked slightly embarrassed. "I- my last employer requested that I, um, show a bit more of my... skills... for the audience," he stammered, a faint blush staining his white cheeks. "Would you have me do the same...?"
He was a gentleman, but the manager of the last circus he had worked for was greedy and insensitive, making the young clown practically sell himself to the audience. Ari was inwardly hoping that the Ringmaster would not be the same. He had seemed different, when they had first spoken and the Ringmaster had asked him to join his 'family'.
"Your other skills?" The Ringmaster mused for a second. It wasn't difficult to put two and two together. His eyes widened and he looked down at the other for a moment in shock. That man would have the boy... He scooped the other into a warm embrace. "Certainly not!! I would never do that to my family!" He exclaimed, holding the other at arm's length. "You don't have to worry about such sickening treatment here, alright?" He said, looking Ari in the eyes. He smiled kindly. "We're a family. Nobody gets hurt here. No one." With that last word, there was a darker undertone in the Ringmaster's voice. It was difficult to tell if it were meant as a warning or a reassurance, or perhaps both.
--- (The Silver Assassin
A boy watched Light from the shadows. His crimson eyes gleamed dangerously, and an ominous aura surrounded him. He had found his target. He watched as Light spoke to Darren, then walked away. A slow smile spread over his face. His time had come.
He slipped through the shadows, never letting himself be seen. A beautiful silver knife with intricate patterns on the black handle was held loosely in his right hand, the flat of the blade pressed against his wrist. He breezed out of the tent flap, barely causing a shimmer in the fabric surrounding it. The others, absorbed in their conversations or their work, never noticed a thing.
Light walked towards his tent, thinking. His preperations had been put in place ahead of time- just the specifics were left. For him, the Grand Finale was the best part of the night. He was so absorbed in these thoughts that he never noticed the silver-haired shadow that trailed him. Entering his tent, he drew off his shirt, exposing his hard, muscled chest. He didn't care who saw him with his shirt off, although he didn't flaunt it. He didn't particularly care if girls liked him, which many did after his performances; they bored him, and he wasn't looking for a relationship. He had finished pushing down his pants and buttoning up his loose, black performing pants when the shadow entered his tent.
Light's back was turned away from the door, and the shadow was silent.
He never had a chance.
The shadow leapt, tackling him, Light tensed instantly, bracing his body for the impact upon the ground. The figure brought the dagger in his hand up, preparing to thrust the blade down. Light managed to get his hand up, and the knife was stopped, hovering, two inches above his bare shoulder. They were frozen like that for a second, the black mask on his attacker's face preventing Light from learning his identity. With a renewed effort, Light pushed the blade backwards, and in a quick motion, used his legs to thrust his assailant off. The figure tumbled off of him, crimson eyes burning behind his mask.
Light leapt to his feet, and spun low to the ground, foot sweeping the silver-haired figure off his feet. He stood up, panting, for a moment.
Then he burst out laughing. The figure on the ground also stood up, laughter coming from behind his mask as he pulled it down. His crimson eyes did not seem so dangerous anymore, as they twinkled with joy. "That was fun." He said, clapping Light on the shoulder as he walked past him and sat on his friend's bed, still laughing. Light nodded in agreement, and raised an eyebrow. "You have seriously wrinkled your outfit." He noted sombrely, which sent the boys into another fit of laughter. "Yeah, so maybe doing this right before a performance wasn't the best idea." The silver-haired boy agreed. "But I just couldn't resist!"
Light, on the other side of the small tent, nodded, then asked, "Hey, can you pass me that shirt?" He nodded towards a piece of clothing next to his friend. The boy nodded, and tossed him the shirt. "You know, Light, you should brighten up like this around other people." "Why?" Came Light's voice, muffled for a moment as he pulled on his shirt. "I don't really get along with most of them the way I do with you, Aiden."
Earlier, Light had thought about the fact that Darren was the closest thing to a best friend he had. Which was very true. Light and Aiden had decided long ago that they would be brothers.
Aiden Hunter stood up, ruffling his silver hair back into position. "You look great." He told Light sincerely, straightening the red-trimmed black collar of Light's performing shirt. "What about me?" He said, stepping back and spreading his arms wide dramatically. "Like a knife thrower." Light told him sincerely, and his friend grinned. "See you backstage."
Pulling the black 'assassin' mask back over his face, Aiden left the tent.
--- (Dark Plans
Alex stood for a while backstage, but he didn't have to perform for a while and grew bored. He spotted Venessa over to one side, and walked over. She was working with her constrictor, letting him wind over her arms and shoulders in a confusing spiral that was difficult to follow. "Are you having a Grand Finale tonight?" he asked.
It was a casual enough question, but he gave her a dark glance. Venessa sighed and shook her head. "Not tonight." she replied. "But I don't know about the others... are you?" Alex also shook his head. "I spoke to Aiden earlier- I believe he is. I might help him out."
Venessa nodded, a slow smile spreading across her face. "The crowd will be amazed." She said, and as if reading her emotions, the large snake on her shoulders hissed. "I know." She murmured soothingly to him, then turned her attention back to Alex. "After the Grande Finale, will you take care of the animals?" Her friend nodded. "Of course. Your constrictor too?" "If you don't mind." Venessa flashed him a smile. "Jadoku gets pretty hungry after a performance."
Her attention flicked to the entrance that opened into the backstage. "There's Aiden now." she said, nodding to the silver-haired, black-masked figure that had just entered the tent. His outfit was all black, with silver markings on his gloves and around his neck.
As Alex walked over, he flipped out a dagger and began tossing it, spinning it up and down in his hand. He flipped it over his shoulder, catching it again. He saw Alex and turned, pulling down his mask to reveal a smile. "Hey!" he said. "Just getting warmed up." The boy looked Alex up and down. "I just don't get how you do what you do." he said with a sigh. "Its just a little string way up there, and you manage to balance on it... what if you slipped?" "I don't slip." Alex said simply.
"Are you having a Grand Finale?" Aiden nodded. "I was going to, but I don't know what I'd do afterwards." "Don't worry about it." Alex reassured the boy. "Venessa asked me to look after the animals; you can help."
A smile spread across Aiden's face and he pulled his mask back up. "Sounds like a plan." he said, just as The Ringmaster's voice boomed backstage from in front of the curtain. "Almost time." Aiden said, his knives disappearing.
Alex nodded. The Ringmaster had started his opening speech. It was almost time.
--- (And so it begins
The Ringmaster strode out into the center of the stage, listening as loud talking died into a quiet murmur. All eyes were riveted to him, as he wished them to be. He scanned the crowd before his lips split into a wide grin. "WELCOME ONE AND ALL!" He boomed, voice rising almost unnaturally loud so they could all hear. "I'M HERE TO SHOW YOU WONDERS AND TRICKS BEYOND YOUR EVERYDAY MAGICIANS AND JESTERS! I'M GOING TO SHOW YOU THINGS YOU'VE NEVER IMAGINED! WELCOME, TO THE CIRQUE DE NIGHTMARES!!"
He finished and gave a steep bow. Suddenly, he burst into flames, the crimson lights swallowing his figure. When they died away, a red rose lay on the ground in his place. He reentered the tent through the back entrance, beaming at his troop. His family. "Now! Let the show begin!"
Aiden grinned a skull's grin behind his mask, and flitted onstage in a whirl of darkness, appearing in the middle of the stage, an imposing figure in his assassin's mask and black and silver outfit. The crowd murmured; what was he going to do? One fat man watched the figure from the back- his pudgy face showed disinterest. Aiden waited for a moment, to build the suspense. Then a dagger appeared in the air above him, appearing suspended in the air. Aiden jerked back as the dagger plummeted down, doing a backflip and landing back on his feet with two blades in his hand, and a sudden billowing of what appeared to be pure darkness around him. Aiden spun, faster and faster, gliding from one move to the next and literally cutting the darkness apart. The audience gazed, rapt, at him, unable to fathom how he was doing it.
More knives appeared above him, plummeting down from all angles. Aiden spun, performing a strange, flowing dance as he moved between the deadly blades that moved to kill him. He did some sort of cartwheel, one heel flipping a dagger in mid air, the hilt falling soundly in black-clad figure's hand. Suddenly the darkness billowed up again, filling parts of the audience. Aiden spun, daggers flying from his hands and ripping through the darkness, tearing it in two so that it quickly dispersed. One last dagger flew down from above, and it lodged in Aiden's chest as the boy exploded into darkness.
The audience gasped, unaware that Aiden had appeared backstage, pulling his mask down and grinning as he and Light exchanged glances. The icey-blue eyed boy grinned back, and Venessa prepared to go on. The audience sat quietly, still amazed and not quite sure what had happened to the knife thrower- and completely unaware that the pudgy man had disappeared from the back of the audience.
--- (The Second Act
Venessa hissed in anticipation. It was her turn. Her beloved Jadoku was concealed up her sleeve, and around her body, and stirred slightly as she slipped onstage. She hummed quietly, pacifying him, and the small movements ceased. Her clothing was specifically designed to not look overly loose, but easily conceal the gigantic snake hidden underneath. For her performance, intricate patterns of scales had been painted over her skin in glittering colours, so that the very air around her appeared to shimmer as she moved.
She appeared to glide onstage, whirling around so the light was refracted off of the patterns on her skin, and the air around her danced with colour and light. The audience, once again, was rapt by the performer onstage- when she reached the center of the stage, she spun gracefully, Jakodu sliding through her loose sleeve and winding outwards in the opposite direction. The audience gasped- a snake? Venessa smiled to herself. Simple fools.
Ari Adastev watched Aiden perform from a corner where the audience couldn't see him, expression undreadable. The people of this Cirque- they had much talent. Especially the veterans, it seemed. Not having been with the Cirque long, Ari was still trying to figure most of it out- there was something, almost wrong, about the place, but he wasn't sure what it was. He had joined because it had offered him an escape- and hadn't regretted it since, but there were times when he could almost feel some sort of hidden darkness in the Cirque veteran's innocent comments and careful movements.
When the Venessa stepped onstage, the clown stepped out onto after her, reveling in the light as it played off of his spectrum-tipped hair. Being the troupe's only Whiteface clown, it was his job to act aloof and careless. And he played his part well, flitting around the stage acting disinterested and nit-picking the other acts. Inwardly he was laughing at himself, and it lifted his heart when he saw his antics bringing out smiles from members of the audience.
Venessa continued her performance, glimpsing Ari once or twice out of the corner of her vision. The boy did his job well- even she could admit that. Though she wasn't particularly fond of newcomers, the snake charmer was beginning to accept this one, at least. He had been with the Cirque for just under a year; not that that mattered. It was more about how they acted, fit in with her family, that mattered, not how long they stayed. Those who didn't fit... well, they didn't stay very long.
As her act came to a close, Jakodu appeared agitated, hissing and rising up in a cobra-like motion. Venessa sang sweetly, in a high, clear voice. It was soft, but carried over the rapt audience. The constrictor calmed, and slid towards her, and Venessa let him slide around her, his head resting on her shoulder, and she moved in a dance-like pattern off the stage, the last of the reflected light from her skin dancing for a moment before they too, disappeared.
After Venessa's performance ended, a ringing silence descended over the stage. For a moment the audience was completely still, breath still caught in the snake charmer's shimmering wake.
From above, there was the tinkle of a bell.
By the time the third rattling chime came from above, the entire audience's attention was fixed upwards, their eyes fixed on a small figure, hovering on a wire too thin to see high above them. However high aloft, it was still easy to see the young man's outfit- the calico clothes, the dainty ears fixed to his headband. A woman shrieked suddenly, realizing that there was a tightrope walker high above their heads- and the feline figure wavered in his pace, about to fall.
Alex Fhar put himself off balance, enjoying the collective gasp from the audience. He had been doing this since he was five; performing at the Cirque since he was seven. Now eighteen, it would take more than a simple shrill screech to place him off balance. He continued to play with the audience's emotions, stopping in the middle of the wire. His wire.
Placing his tightly gloved hands onto the wire, he flipped himself easily upside down, ignoring the gasps of the insignificant crowd below. This was his element- the Cat was born to walk on air. He wouldn't fall. He spun as gracefully as the animal for which he was nicknamed, the bell on his collar tinkling. His eyes were closed, letting only the gentle whisping of the tent cloth above to penetrate the stillness of his mind, giving him a rhythm to which he danced. A complicated dance, and highly dangerous for anyone else- but it was the Cat's performance now, and he had a dance all his own.
Light watched the performance out of sight from the audience, his eyes calm. He had no worries for Alex- after all, he was a veteran of the troop. He wasn't even really thinking about the older boy's performance; he was lost in his own thoughts of what the future would most likely hold. Venessa walked up beside him, her eyes only flicking boy's cold gaze for a moment before she looked back out at the audience and Alex's nimble, flowing movement, a small smile creeping onto her lips.
So far, anyway. As I said above, this story has been on hiatus for a while. If anyone has any suggestions, please post them here! Also what you think of the story's base, if not the writing itself (as I have gotten better over the past four years, of course ).