A small town is where we begin our story. It's not on a map, if you're wondering. Believe me, I've checked. Now you may be wondering what's so special about this particular small town and I'll tell you, but before I do, there's something you need to know: not everything is as it's seems. The story I'm about to tell you is no different.
In this particular town, like any, there were groups. In this town's case, the groups were divided in an interesting way: those who would engage in out-of-house activities weekly, and those who did it monthly. It may not seem like much to an outsider like yourself, but in this little town it was everything. As a matter of fact, such a thing could make or break a relationship. Don't believe me; ask one of the citizens, if you can. It may be difficult at first, but I'm sure that, after you've finished reading, you'll see how one event can change a person forever. And, I hope, you will begin to understand why this story exists in the first place. Now, shall we begin?
The circus came to town every century. Stories were passed down from generation to generation about the marvels that would leave those present in wonder, their lives forever changed. Now it had come back, an event that comes once in a lifetime. Such an event was enough for those in the monthly group to leave their homes again.
Hundreds gathered to receive their tickets, some even 'borrowing' from savings just to own that coveted slip of colored paper. Soon the day of the circus arrived, the dazzling array of designs on the fabric of the tent almost glowing, the seats rapidly filling with eager faces, young and old alike. The moment the lights dimmed in preparation for the show to begin, not a space in the audience was unoccupied.
A lone figure stepped towards the center of the ring, followed by a single beam of light. The moment they stopped, the light continued to move until the figure was completely bathed in golden light. Curves were caressed by a gentle cloth crafted from the stars, molded to curl at the base of a swan-like neck, held close by a corset made by threads of blood with gold delicately designed into the finest curls. Fabric of a raven's wings clung to legs with the strength of an athlete but the beauty of a dancer, leather from the night sky hugging graceful feet. Pale hair like a virgin snow was clipped short and clung to skin like the rays of the sun, hidden only by a piece of the night sitting atop the figure's skull. Yet in their eyes was something that stole the breath of the patrons. Glowing pieces of honeyed gold shone brighter than the spotlight that revealed the ringmaster of the famed circus, wandering over the faces in the crowd with a glance that seemed to look into each and every soul, into every vice and virtue of the members of the audience.
The ringmaster moved her hand and, with a flick of a wrist, held an ebony wand in her hand. The audience gasped in amazement, looking for a trick mirror or a flash of light, anything that could explain how the wand in the ringmaster's hand suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Those who cared not for how the trick was performed clapped in amusement, the rest of the crowd slowly joining in.
The ringmaster bowed deeply at the applause and then rose again as it died down. With a swift gesture a strangely haunting melody began to play. The audience at first wondered why the ringmaster chose this song when there are many more upbeat compositions more befitting a circus. As the music continued to play, those in the crowd began to feel more at ease, disregarding the melody as a part of the show, and in that moment the ringmaster parted lips like a summer rose, releasing a sound with the softness of silk and the ferocity of a raging waterfall.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
Welcome to my humble home,
Where there are bearded women and men like Hercules,
Where animals are guided with a single word,
And painted faces hide the people you see.
A flash of light burst from the air, lasting only long enough to be hidden by a blink of an eye. When the light vanished, the audience gasped in shock as the center of the ring was left empty, the ringmaster nowhere to be seen. The spotlight began to move to the thin wires above, revealing the ringmaster high above the audience. The ringmaster then danced across the wire as if it were nothing, the tips of her toes the gentle fingers stroking the strings of a harp.
So come one, come all,
Come and see all that we have to show.
We are more than just simple circus folk,
As you soon shall see,
For here, there is much more than meets the eye.
With a well-timed leap, the ringmaster spun in the air for a few brief seconds before landing on her feet like an alley cat, her arms spread wide to embrace the applause.
Look as our men lift more than any mere mortal can,
Watch as our acrobats walk on a needles thread,
Gaze at our dancing fools in silken gems,
As our animals speak in many human tongues
Ladies and gentlemen, you won't soon forget this night.
The audience could only stare in awe as everything the ringmaster spoke of came to be: men lifting objects with strength no mere mortal could have, acrobats performing unbelievable feats on the tight rope, bearded women dancing like ballerinas, jesters and clowns acting in skits that left many in stitches, even the animals could speak several languages in a native's tongue. Such wonder was unheard of, yet this chance in a lifetime was theirs.
Oh, I may have forgotten something,
Not to worry, it's a tiny trifle,
Nothing to concern yourselves with,
Come, enjoy the ecstasy that is creating an unearthly glow
While the world around you begins to change.
A few members of the audience were worried at the ringmaster's choice of words, but the music and the ringmaster's voice seemed to entrap the others in her spell. Hours had passed, and as the stars appeared in the sky, the circus ended, the small chance in one hundred years gone in a matter of hours. Most of the audience rose from their seats, lost in wonder at the events that had transpired. The rest tried in vain to rise from their seats, but it was as if they were flies trapped in a spider's web. Many tried to cry out for help, but only silence passed their lips.
In the span of fingers snapping, the cloth that hid the circus from the world began to fall like a rose's petals in an autumn wind. The sight that beheld the stunned audience was one that was not of this world. It was as if the threads of reality slowly began to unravel like a ball of yarn in a cat's paw. Their world was changing before their eyes, a world they knew none of them would be able to return to.
Do you see the ribbons of time unraveling?
Can you feel your body buzzing with magic?
Are the sounds of ghosts whispering in your ears?
Do not be afraid, for it will all end soon,
Once you are a part of the circus, your lives will never be the same.
And this is how our story ends. Quite unbelievable, don't you think? Of course, that's to be expected from someone who's never seen this circus before, and hopefully never will.
What of the people who were trapped, you ask? Did they not have families who were worried when their loved ones seemed to vanish? That, my friend, is part of the magic of the circus. You can easily forget your life, if you're not careful. Besides, they're still alive and well, they're just not the same as they were before.
The circus must travel out of its realm once every hundred years to sustain the ringmaster's life, as well as the lives of those who are a part of it, as well as obtain more souls to join it. If it doesn't, Time will repair itself and everyone and everything will become nothing but dust. That is the price of magic.
How do I know all this, you ask? Do you want to know a secret? Well then, I'll tell you. You see, I was there, in that very audience, two hundred years ago.
Unspoken Route Pt2 (Modern Cinderella Fanfic)
Edit: Wait, what? Ok, calm down...aw forget that. *happydance*
*August 5: Daily Lit Deviation I'm honored, and never expected this piece to be considered for one, let alone be featured.
*August 28: I got first place! I'm so happy! Congrats to the other winners as well and thank you to the judges for picking my piece. Hugs for everybody!
Keep writing and keep creating.