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It wasn’t run down like some traveling carnivals, but it did have the worn-in, well attended appearance of a long standing much traveled one.

The carnival folk varied from the tradition leery folk to the (also) traditional warm and welcoming sorts. It set up in the shape of a teardrop, with the pointed end being the way into the carnival proper. To either side of this sat ticket and information booths.

People flocked to it no matter where it went. It boasted games, food, drink, rides, fortune tellers, a big top – and something many carnivals long since ceased to offer. The Freak Show.

Despite its worn well used appearance it had a following. People returned each year to see what differences may have come along, and to visit with “old friends” among the staff. People rarely left (short of death) when they joined. Speaking of death – it wasn’t common in this carnival.

The dust and dirt seemed to disappear at night; it became something else entirely. It became a glowing jewel of colors and lights, a place and a way to leave oneself without the risk. Laughter paved the dirt paths and fanned boardwalks, while softer whispers of love and other things twined among the fair goers with abandon.

I spent my nights wandering among those who chose to visit, and most of the time – we turned the places we visited into ghost towns at night. We never sold any alcohol because the heady beats, brilliant colors, the dancers, the workers mixed in the crowd, the ones working the attractions – we didn’t need to.

We drew them like moths to the flame, and we brought them into our world. In the nighttime, at a carnival, we could be free. Because no one ever believed “the act” was more than trick shows, smoke and mirrors, a good story, or simply a carefully worked illusion.

Let me take you there. Drift into the tent of the “freaks” with me. The pale dark-eyed vampire, the skinny tall “bearded lady”. The woman with the shimmering aurora borealis butterfly wings, the woman summoning fire and dancing in it as if it is mere air….
They are all real.

The storyteller in his small amphitheater (his name is Tennyson, by the way) who tells stories so real you’d swear (only in that night, of course) that you could see phantasms of the stories he weaves, feel the feelings of those he spoke of.

Don’t mind the girl with the pale-blue blind eyes, she’s no trouble, but if you do wish to follow her, she’ll lead you to the fortune teller. No charlatan, no lies fall from her lips, but no one wants to hear the dire predictions that are a part of life. So she’ll sugar coat it for them all in love and lust and money; and watch as they leave, saddened that no warning can save you.

The workers too are most often magic. Most are fae, many werewolves and mages, and a few are even other things entirely.

People never see this, though. To them we are all just people. Ragged until the night comes and we entrance and enthrall, the magic more than simply good showmanship.

And we do it because we must. I walk among them to check that things are alright.

No one is being disturbed. No one is talking in dark whispers, dreaming the dark things as they are awake. None of these people – or even my own – are drifting in the dark wrapped in the darker shadows we guard.

I would be the first to know, and the first told, because this is my circus. All of the energy – the laughter, joy, fear, all these strong emotions are a feast for the fae.
But most of it doesn’t go to us. It’s meant for someone else.

They walk around and they seek the thrills, are dazzled and played. The fae give them a high like no drug they’ll ever find. They’ll wake in the morning and some of them will find things they’ll forever carry in silence in the dark, others will find only that they’re curiously giddy. Some simply feel content, or well rested, happy.

Never once do they consider what we may be hiding. Not only what we are, but the reason we never stay.

No one ever realizes what lurks in the dark, sleeping sometimes fitfully under the floors of the big top tent, the sounds of the crowds lulling her dreams, their emotions being used to keep her a prisoner.
Carnival of Tears
Flash Fiction Month for June 3rd, just barely in time.

Prompt used: ReginaLicole 's "A circus like no other"

Flash Fiction Month Day 3
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It was just sitting there amid the cast off gold clubs, used sports padding, and scratched broken fish tanks.

It wasn't the normal sort, being scratched and scuffed just like the tanks it sat near. Pearly dark green swirled and mixed with a transparent almost black-green color. Throughout gold flecks - as if made of gold leaf - of various sizes floated.

I don't know what possessed me to bring it home. I didn't need it anymore than I needed the bright blue knee pad it rested on. Still, I picked it up, and it made the rounds of the thrift store as I meandered through, looking at all the other discards and odds and ends.

Thrift stores are really strange places, if you think about it. You never know quite what you'll find. Trash or treasure? Unique or a dime a dozen? Cheap and tacky or privately beautiful?

Maybe that's why I bought it. I love the color green, and it made me think of my childhood with its simplistic shape and clear cut use. It screamed of "I used to do that!" in the same way a swing set forlornly calls to you as an adult. Come, it says, </i>come back to me. We used to spend our time together, you used to love me.</i>

Nostalgia is a funny thing, too.

The bowling ball languished in my trunk for a month before I remembered it was there. It almost caused a car accident as it rolled loose from where it had been wedged for four weeks and loudly reminded me of its presence. The loud thud as I turned a corner and the shudder caused me to (stupidly) hit the brakes. I sort of thought something hit me.

Once things were sorted, and the ball wedged back into place, off we went again.

That evening I took it inside, and spent a few minutes fake-bowling with imaginary bowling pins in my front hallway. Then it was set down alongside the two others perched on a side table in my living room. One of them looked rather similar to this one, except it was colored in blues with the same gold flecking. The other was slightly smaller, matte black with metallic silver swirls. The smaller one also had several kanji decals on it that I’d never really bothered to try to remove, in an electric eye-searing blue.
I swear they were so bright they could glow in the dark.

The evening passed in the usual fashion. Dinner, some tv, and bed.

I woke in the middle of the night to voices. A man’s voice, at first, audible but incomprehensible. It was interspersed with another voice, this one cracking once in a while, shifting from higher to lower – puberty represented in pure tones and the vocal embarrassment of young males across the globe.

This I was used to. I was not, however, used to the light, sweet notes of female conversation that eked its way out into the silence like a nervous night creature.
I got up and crept to my bedroom door in my bare feet. I regretted that decision moments later when I stepped off the area rug in my living room and onto the hardwood floors of the hallway. Cold simultaneously shot lightning-like into my feet while also seeping into them in some weird other way. Down the hall I slunk then peeked around the corner into the living room where the voices were coming from.

No one stood before me in the dark, but the voices continued.

“John, what’s going on?” I asked, wearily. I hoped I was wrong.

“Oh, nothing much. Just conversing with this lovely woman to my right.” Came John’s deeper, faintly English tones. “She was just telling us how she left a dent in your car’s trunk, and how much she hated being stuck among the bottles of oil and jumper cables. She was quite afraid of being scratched, or worse, melted.”

The little one laughed. "I was stuck on the floor boarda during the winter for three weeks with an old crock pot."

Damn it, I bought a haunted bowling ball. Again.

Also, I need to take stuff out of my car more often.
Not Again
Today's Flash Fiction Month Submission - July 2nd, 2015

Prompt: CassidyPeterson 's "You bought a haunted bowling ball. Again."

Flash Fiction Month Day 2
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It started with the persuit of beauty. Not of his Majesty, but of HER Majesty. After an encounter with the fae, the Queen began to slip into a bit of madness. First her gowns became more and more expensive and elaborate. Then her makeup, hair, nails and more joined into the fray. After which went her "care routines", until she spent more time in her suite then eating.

Of course, this sort of mental illness takes it's toll, and people eventually got used to seeing her less and less. No one noticed when she stopped being seen at all until months had passed.

And the King began to seem a bit... preoccupied. No one noticed as here and there new girls were hired for the castle - young girls, mostly. Older women who were highly "attractive" to the King's taste (and often a bit "playful") also were hired. They spoke of work as usual at first - laundry, cooking, cleaning. Entertaining as well, apparently.
One of the girls disappeared. We should have been more aware, paid more attention. The truth is some of the girls were dismissed, others continued to work, and one girl simply vanished. She was flighty, thin and doe-eyed. Her family life had not been good, but she had seemed to really blossom with her work and seemed to have gained a sort of... glow.

She had no family left to be alarmed.

It was months later when another girl disappered. Then two months, then one. People began to worry. No older women were now being hired.

It was when they came back that people really worried.

They looked the same as ever, at first. They had a confidence, though, a sense of being... more. A few of them were more distant. None of the first girls returned to their families, instead finding their own homes among us common folk. It came down to mere weeks that girls would be missing, and then they would simply go back to life as if nothing had changed.

We ran out of the sort of girls that seemed to be typical for hiring. We figured it was done.

And then girls from other villages started appearing in town, gathering in the quiet green spaces and squares.

Some of them smiled brilliant, joyful smiles. Some were shy, smiling timidly. Blue eyes, green eyes, hazel and brown. Black hair, blonde, brown, red - the only common ground was their thinner, taller statures.

As autumn came on, people started to prepare for winter. People began to talk, too. The girls worked as hard as anyone, but they seemed ... better at it. Young children - toddlers and babies - often refused to go near them.

Without the full growth and leaves on the trees, they seemed... taller.

Winter was fairly normal. Illness, cold, wet, dark. We were not short on food, or wood. It was a cold winter, but not a hard one.

Still, people whispered, then began talking quietly. There was worry something was wrong. People started hearing things, seeing things. Whispers, giggles, breathing where no one was. Tiny shadows, whole people, lights in the dark. And the girls...

Some seemed to be constantly sick. They withered slowly, despite having plenty to eat, and good care. Some started ignoring the living, whispering and then out right talking to thin air. One became wild and dangerous, attacking her family in the middle of the night. One simply wandered off into the woods and was found days later, frozen to death amid the trees.

Among the handful of older women, two started to show pregnancies, both of whom also started to share the withering and whispers of the other girls. One simply vanished from the middle of a town square in broad daylight. Another simply fell silent, unreactive, as if the world outside no longer existed. The last one, however, seemed to be in perfect health.

She took to singing at night in the tavern, her own enthralling one-woman show. People slowly forgot how plain she once was as winter wore on. She was kind to everyone, and as winter's grasp gave way to spring, she seemed to bloom.

Spring brought more than this amazing transformation, however. It brought the men of other kingdoms, searching for their girls. Had we seen them? Had they been here? Why hadn't the King been in contact much? Had our winter been so bad as to make it so hard to communicate?

They gathered by the pair, by the half dozen, seeking audience with the King. They went away from their private conference with him silent and glassy-eyed.
We all kept our silence as they left, though. We had kept our silence the whole time they were there, too.

No one really noticed when we all started to hear it. It came so gradually, and seemed... so natural.

When they started appearing in the woods, however... when they started walking among the trees, then the streets, we all noticed. When spring came to drift into summer and they started standing in the corners and nooks and crannies, watching us...
They whispered of the King to us. Of how he had taken them each, and tried to make them into that which the Queen desired. How he called them art, using anything in his power to shape them and change them.

Men from further and further away keep coming on searches for their missing girls, and more and more of them crowd the night and the streets.

Unless His Majesty gets past this delusion that he's an artist, we're all going to suffer.
Worse than we already are.
FFM 2015 - Madness
Flash Fiction Month writing for June 1st. Horror!

Prompt used: Augmented4thUnless 's "His Majesty gets past this delusion that he's an artist, we're all going to suffer."

Flash Fiction Month, June 1st
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20min Speed Write, 12/3/14
Song: Sarah McLachlan, "Stupid"
Characters: Brant

****

Brant tossed the window open and sat on the edge of the sill, looking down across the roof to the streets below, frowning at the breeze that brought just a little relief to the sweltering heat.

She swung her legs out of the window and moved out onto the roof, slipping along the silent well known pathways to wherever she wanted to go. She’d spent how many nights moving this way while the city slept? Unseen, taking this or that – whatever she’d wanted.

She stopped to watch the ends of a gathering in one back garden and then moved on, finally dropping to the streets. It was such habit, the quick smile, a charming little side step, a bump, an apology, and she kept walking. She didn’t even realize what she’d done till she stuck her hands back in her pockets, and her fingers encountered cold hard metal.

She pulled the coins out of her pocket and stopped to look at them. Nothing major, and she’d need more than this tiny bit, but it would have been good start once. She’d always taken a first attempt that earned anything as a good sign, and this was more than the usual change. She took a deep breath, the simple thrill of seeing silver and bronze in her hand playing along her nerves.

She lifted her head and looked around, the tiny tendrils of guilt painting shadows across her emotions. Would he be upset, she wondered, to find her standing there with someone else’s money in her hand?

He’d been a thief once, too, but now he wasn’t. He was what the thieves avoided – guard and guardian. But this was her world – the shadows, the hard edges, the drunks and the hungry, the poor and the not-as poor. This was how she survived.

She dropped the coins back in her pocket, and then she slipped her hands into them as well. A snap of anger flicked across her mind. Why in the world should she even care what he’d think, anyways?

She turned on her heel and swept her hair out of her eyes with a quick, irritated gesture. She couldn’t sleep with how disgustingly hot it was, anyways – she may as well do what she’d always done, and see what the night held. Or rather, what the people in it held… and what she’d be holding at the end of the night.
20 Min speed write
Same story as the 8 & 10 writes. Just another part.
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10 min Speed Write, 12/3/14
Song: Seal, "Kiss from a Rose"

******

As she walked off down the side alley, he urged Misande to follow. The little mare easily caught up with her, and she turned her head to look up at him.

One eye was solid blue, the other had islands of pale green floating amid the blue. She pressed her lips together, her expression going from wary to unwelcoming, and she gave a slight toss of her head before looking away, scoffing at him.

“I saw what you did back there.” He said, setting Misande’s reins across her neck as he leaned over to be closer to eye level.

“Oh right, are you going to punish me now for giving two hungry street rats a bit of coin, then?” She turned those odd eyes back on him again, and he couldn’t help but smile. The flippant disregard was so familiar. He’d been the one being so rude once.

“No, actually.” He stopped Misande and slid off her back, landing behind the girl as he did so. She turned as he landed, and lifted her chin slightly in a challenging way, squaring her shoulders off at the same time.

When he held his hand out to her, she lowered her gaze to it briefly, then raised one eyebrow before putting her own in it, watching him carefully. “What, exactly..?”

“My name is {Insert Name Here]… what is your name?” He thought for a second, then smiled at her again.

She pursed her lips at him ever so slightly, eyes narrowing. “Brant.”
10min Speed Write
The meeting mentioned in the 8min speed write. Yay.
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It's crap. Not my art, my life.

I'm on government aid. Not disability, but welfare, until my MH and other issues are sorted enough to figure out where I stand. Even so, I've applied for jobs and either been ignored, or am still waiting to hear back.

My son's birthday is the 12th, and I can't afford anything for him, not even a cake. I got him one toy, an I owe my Mom for that. Next month I have to buy him school supplies, and somehow buy him new some new clothes, and probably should buy him new shoes, but that will have to wait.

My car just died. Won't start. Jumping it won't help, so it's likely the starter or alternator, both of which are $100-$200 parts alone - plus it can't be started so I can't even drive it to a shop.

Then there is the money owed to my mother, my brother, and several past-due medical bills that are heading to collections.

How am I supposed to get to appointments, including the weekly therapy appointments I need to attend to get the welfare? By making my brother take me everywhere, until he gets work. Meanwhile, he has his own appointments, interviews, etc...

I'm tired. The world seems like it'd be better without my problems. I'm not going to do anything stupid, no worries.

I'm selling art. Mirrors or anything else. It'll do no good but the offer is there.
  • Mood: Suffering
  • Listening to: TV Commercials
  • Reading: Nothing
  • Watching: Nothing
  • Playing: Nothing
  • Eating: Nothing
  • Drinking: Cherry Real Sugar Pepsi

deviantID

ponygirl

Artist | Hobbyist
United States
Current Residence: NW Oregon

32 * Mother of One * Lost, confused, broken
Living one day - One moment - at a time.
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Megido23 Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2014
Thank you for the fav!
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Thank you for the watch!
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angelicoreXX Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014
thx for the watch :D 
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Svraka-Machka Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the watch ma'am~
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BJDFantasy Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks for the watch ^u^
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lionkingboltlover12 Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
thanks for the fave! :hug:
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Thank you very much for the fav!
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silvercrow Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
thanks for the fav! :hug:
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lime-smoothie Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Thanks so much for the fav. :)
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WhiteKnightNocturne Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so very VERY much for the fave!
Blessings of Random upon you!
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