I never felt at home in a crowd. He felt the people press in on him, talking and chattering about happy little nothings and how nice a day it was just wasn’t quite my style. I liked flying through the streets, when it was just me and the night sky and nobody could possibly bother me.
This circus was a little different, though. Nobody was talking all that much. Probably because of how… weird the whole thing was. What kind of circus comes in at midnight, unannounced? And only opens at night? The people were kinda creepy, too. The ringmaster had a smile so wide that there was no way it wasn’t fake, and I was pretty sure some of his teeth were, too. The parrot on his shoulder did not help.
I walked between the tents. One night only, right? There was no harm in seeing what it was all about. At least that’s what my dad said. He told me I should get out more, meet some friends. When I told him about the circus, he looked so happy… So here I was.
I ducked into the biggest tent I saw. The ring was pitch black at first, I couldn’t even figure out where the seats were. But then the center started glowing. Brighter, and brighter. It looked like someone lit a fire there. So it was some kind of pyrotechnic performance, with a bonfire at the center?
And then the whole place lit up. Torches had been placed around the tent, and they all lit at once. And I could see for myself that it wasn’t a bonfire that had been at the center. It was a boy. And he danced.
The flames licked and whirled around him as he danced. They didn’t seem to harm him; rather, they seemed to move with him. He traveled around the whole arena, showing off.
I looked back at the exit. This was seriously weird. I had to get out of here. But the show wasn’t over yet. A girl came out too, and I figured that she was also going to light herself on fire. But then she froze. She stopped moving, completely, not even a shudder or shake. And then so did the fire. It became solid, filling up with ice.
Yeah, I ran out. I wasn’t going to hang around some creepy twins any longer. The playground was right outside the circus grounds, so I went there. It had plenty of empty space, and was usually empty. Usually. I smacked into someone, discovering that to my surprise, it wasn’t empty. Why do people have to be places I want to be? She was little girl, around age eight. I was about to leave, when she asked,
“Hey! What’s your name? Mine’s Jupiter!”
Ah, heck. My dad told me to make friends, didn’t he?
“Briar. Briar Leyman.”