Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith, has started another one of her intriguing stories where she gets things started, tags another blogger to pick up where she left off, and then that blogger picked someone else to keep it going.
Fandago was second, and he tagged me as the third. So here goes.
To get us started, here’s what Teresa wrote:
Andy sat in the front row every night and watched the small family circus perform. There were clowns, acrobats, dog tricks, and even a high-wire walking monkey. His favorite though was the juggler. Andy watched as he threw balls, flaming torches, rings, and knives in the air and caught them with ease. Everyone in the circus seemed so happy and nice. He longed to join them.
Late one night after the final performance, Andy mustered the nerve to find the circus owner who traveled with them.
“I’ll do anything. Please let me join you.”
Mr. Tall looked at the scrawny boy and scratched his chin. He walked around Andy and looked him up and down. “What could you do for us?”
Andy spared no time to think. He blurted out a laundry list of menial tasks he could do.
“I have plenty of people to do that.” Mr. Tall shook his head and stared at Andy. “I asked what you could do for us? What are your talents? Your secret talents?”
Andy gulped. Few knew his secret, but those who did knew it immediately. Could Mr. Tall be one of them? Could he risk telling the truth? Not telling the truth? Andy took a deep breath and swallowed his fear. “I could …”
Fandango’s addition to the story:
…change my appearance.”
“What do you mean you change your appearance?” Mr. Tall asked.
“I’m a shapeshifter,” Andy said.
“You mean that mythological crap about being able to transform your physical form or shape?” Mr. Tall said. “Get out of here, kid. You’re wasting my time.”
“I can transform into anything I want,” Andy insisted. “Think of something you want me to change into. Don’t tell me what it is. Then close your eyes and I’ll let you know when to open them.”
“This is stupid, but fine.” Mr. Tall thought for a moment. “Okay, boy. Now what?”
“Close your eyes until I tell you to open them.”
Mr. Tall closed his eyes and waited a few seconds. He then heard a voice from overhead instructing him to open his eyes. Mr. Tall looked up, but all he saw was a red-tailed hawk perched on the high wire near the top of the tent.
“So?” the hawk said, looking down the shocked circus owner. “You thought of a hawk, right?
“Am I hallucinating? Did you slip something in my drink?”
The hawk opened its wings and started circling above, slowly working its way back down to the ground. By the time it hit the sawdust covered floor, Andy was, once again, a scrawny, human kid. “So, Mr. Tall, can I work in your circus?”
Mr. Tall just stood there for a minute or two before he found his voice. He looked at Andy and said …
“Come with me!” and he hurried off into the night.
Andy rushed after him, eager to pursue the chance he had been longing for.
Mr. Tall brought him to the centre of the campsite, he stopped in a ring of caravans, the doors looking inward. Andy felt suddenly like he was on trial. The brightly coloured caravans seemed like elderly matriarchs, stern but hiding an impulse to burst into laughter.
Except, one. There was one dark caravan, unpainted and in disrepair. It was completely out of place in this bright court.
Mr. Tall caught the direction of his gaze and then looked abashed. He ducked his head as if to hide his shame or some other emotion not meant for Andy’s eyes.
‘I shouldn’t have brought him here,’ Andy heard his thoughts. ‘He will not resist that place and we will be discovered.’
Then he spoke.
“Listen lad. There’s no doubting your talent, we can use you. I am just not sure how. My people here, they. Well, they are an old fashioned bunch. Give them bearded ladies, conjoined twins and they’re fine. But you – you show them that and they will freak. And you and me won’t last five minutes. As for the audience. Well, we have to be subtle. Show them a trick that looks impossible in a way that they can believe it’s all smoke and mirrors.”
Andy stared at him. Was he going to give him a job or not? Was he going to bow out at the last minute? Lose his nerve?
Mr. Tall glanced at the dark caravan again, then back at Andy. He took a deep breath as if drawing his strength.
“OK. Wait here! I have an idea, let me introduce you to my partner. He will know what to do.”
With that, he swept off into the darkness between the caravans.
Andy stood, suddenly unsure what to do. Should he just wait? What was going on here? It was all very strange.
But then it was a strange situation he had engineered. And much of the strangeness emanated from him.
He smiled wryly at himself. Wasn’t this exactly what he wanted?
Then he caught sight of the dark caravan again. It seemed to draw his attention. What was in there. What was Mr. Tall afraid of? Ashamed of?
What would he discover behind that tatty door?
He found that he had already walked up the steps to that door. He looked around, something was warning him not to go any further but he found he could not resist. He pushed the door open.
It was dark inside. He stepped forward into the darkness. He took three steady steps and then there was a click.
Too late he sensed a trap. There was a clash of metal. The darkness fled as the sides of the caravan fell away to reveal he as inside a cage. A cage with fine wire mesh sides.
He could transform – but not into anything that small.
“So! You could not resist?” Mr. Tall. “You read my mind! At least as much as I wanted you too. And could not resist my bait.”
He smiled strangely.
“You are not the only one with talent.”
Before his eyes, Mr. Tall seemed to shimmer and he transformed. Not into an animal but into a young girl not much older than himself.
“We have been waiting for you to joins us for quite some time,” she said.
“Indeed we have,” said another voice. And out of the darkness came another man. Broad, long-haired and bearded, dressed in an immaculate suit.
“What shall we do with him?” asked the girl….
Teresa’s rules for Finish the Story are:
- Copy the story as you receive it.
- Add to the story in some fashion.
- Tag another person to contribute to or finish the story.
- Please use FTS as a tag so Teresa can find it or link back to part 1.
- Have Fun!
I tag – Ritu who is a vey talented blogger who is sure to take this a surprising way (no pressure there then 🙂 )