It was about twelve years ago, a strange carnival moved on the edge of town in the middle of the woods. There wasn’t anything necessarily wrong with it, it just wasn’t something our little cookie cutter town was use to. In fact, anything out of the norm was considered evil or ungodly. At the time I was only 9 back then. I had never seen such a beautiful site, the lights all multi colored and glowing, the oddities walking around town advertising, the smell of kettle corn and candy, I really wanted badly to go, but of course my family forbade it saying how awful carnies were and how they did unspeakable and horrible things. The carnival was to stay in town for only couple of weeks, but slowly turned into months, and soon enough people got used to it being there, and forgot the “dangers” of the carnival.
The first time I went, it was a Sunday night. My older sister, who I think was sixteen, decided to take me to the carnival with her boyfriend, instead of babysitting me like mom told her. It was then I saw it. I saw the red and yellow flashy sign say “Carnaval De Magie."
As we entered, the first thing I saw was a large ferris wheel with a snow flake pattern glowing on its side, followed by mini games being played by small children wining stuffed bears bigger then themselves, and all the strange oddities and creatures lined up in a corner of the carnival showing off their impressive features and skills.
Most of the carnies looked happy to be there; they socialized with the public, and they didn’t look horrible or filthy. In fact, they looked very pleased with their surrounding as if they never wanted to leave. I decided to cut off from my sister and explore the carnival, I followed a large crowd to a small stage at the back of the carnival, I couldn’t see very well so I cut to the front where I could see better, and there right in front of me… I saw him.
He was dressed from head to toe in a sea green button up coat, boots, fingerless gloves, and a large top hat. His hands seemed to be mutated considering on each hand was six fingers. His hair was an unnatural fiery orange, his skin a slight pale green, and on the bridge of his nose sat rounded purple glasses giving his eyes an eerie yellow glow. I watched him in amazement, he made doves appear out of thin air, cards swirl and float around him to land neatly back in his palm, he would take on different shapes and sizes with a single snap, and unattached his head and recited shake spear.
This magic he possessed hypnotized me and back then I knew I wanted to learn magic, not the kind where you put a cloth down and make things appear, not a bunch of card tricks. But this kind of magic, the real kind. He gave a bow and left as soon as he had came, the audience applauded at his work and started to slowly move on. But I couldn’t help myself I stayed there at the stage waiting for him to come back out, I wanted to know his secret…but that’s when I heard a few boys over to the right of me near the oddity corner.
“You stupid fake! You’re nothing but a grown ass man in a dragon suit!” The dragon in the cage coward and trembled. They threw confections at him and small stones. For some reason, this made me quite angry. I could feel my anger burning inside like a blazing wild fire. How could they hurt something so vulnerable without remorse? I couldn’t let them hurt such a defenseless creature.
I ran over and pushed one of them aside, putting myself in front of the cage as a shield. “Leave him alone! He is real! What did he do to deserve that!” The boys just laughed at me.
“You’re just a stupid little girl! Everybody knows dragons aren’t real, and neither are any of these oddities. Their all just a bunch of fakes!” I started to cry, but I kept my face as hard as my clenched fists, not giving them the satisfaction of my emotions.
“They are real! Just because you’re too dumb to believe in them, doesn’t give you the right to hurt any of them. They are just like you and me!” The tallest boy came at me and pushed me to the ground, laughing.
“How is this for real?” He raised his fist as if to punch me, but his body went flying backwards before he could touch me.
“Why don’t you boys shove off…” The mysterious figure was none other than the magician I saw earlier, the boys panicked and ran off leaving me and the magician alone. He pulled me up and crouched down to my level and gave me a very toothy grin. “Don’t be afraid my pet, I’m not going to hurt you…”
I was scared, but I didn’t show it I had waited for this moment to talk to a real magician. “I’m Marie- What’s your name?”
“My name is Monsieur Médicamonstre - but you can just call me Mr. DM. Do you mind if I look at your arm there?” He pointed at my left arm, upon further examination I noticed that it had a large gash on it and it was bleeding on my sleeve. He held my arm gently and took out a vile of purple liquid. He uncorked it and let a single droplet fall on to my gash. It burned for a few seconds but the gash had healed instantly leaving only the dried blood behind. “There all better now, wouldn’t you say Marie?” He stood up and started to walk over back to the stage.
“Wait!” I said yelling back. “Please teach me how to do magic, please! I know what you did up there was real magic… right?” He looked back at me, but instead of a happy look he looked at me as if I had just offended him in the most displeasing way possible.
“It’s better off not going down that path, I’ve had many students but all had left. They forgot what real magic was, and started to go on television and Las Vegas shows. You will end up the same and die not knowing true magic!” His tone at the end was filled with poison. I had to convince him to teach me, I wanted this more than anything.
“What if I promised?” He still didn’t believe me.
“Like I’ve never heard that one…” I thought about it and thought until…
“What if I make a deal with you, what if not now but latter when I’m an adult you come back and if I’m not into real magic anymore you won’t have to ever see me again! How 'bout that?” He stood, puzzled in thought. But after a few seconds, or so, he looked at me and said.
“We have a deal, but only under my conditions...” A contract materialized in his hand, the rules were simple enough:
"Dedicate myself only to magic, not allowed to have any relationships without his consent"
"Taking care of the carnies like family."
The last rule had me a bit scared; "Under no circumstances was I allowed to leave the carnival without his presence and if I was to say die in a tragic event he would resuscitate me with any means necessary so that I may continue to live and serve." I looked up at him after reading it.
“What does resuscitate mean?” He looked over me with a small frown.
“It means if you die you will be brought back to life just as you are now, no more, no less. If you don’t want to sign no one is forcing you, you are free to be whatever you want. And even after you sign you can always change your mind by not coming back…” I gave one more glance at the contract. I saw no real reason not to sign.
I took the feathered pen and signed my name in red ink. The contract vaporized. He then looked at me once more with a Cheshire’s grin, “I see great things from you should you decide to focus yourself on magic. But be warned, you may not like what you see…” and with that, he turned and vanished.
I found my sister once more and we headed straight for home, my mom and dad would be home soon and we didn’t want to get in trouble.
The next day a couple down the street reported their son was missing, and two other boys on the next row over also reported missing after going to the carnival.
Police went to investigate the next day, but there was no one at the carnival, reporting it had been empty for several years and looked to have caught fire during the past few days. My parents took great caution as more children started to disappear, they would lock me and my sister in the basement at night just to make sure.
A few weeks later I woke up to find my sister was gone. My parents grieved thinking the worst had befallen her… and soon enough I was the only child left in the whole town.
People started blaming my parents calling them murderers, kidnapers, and words I wasn’t allowed to repeat.
My mother lost herself, she was going on and on about my sisters death saying how it was her fault, and my dad turned to a whisky bottle for comfort… our once cookie cuter town was now in shambles and disarray.
Then one night… they came for me…
A loud bang rang through my ears as the basement door was knocked in. Two grown men grabbed me tightly and brought me to the surface, “Let me go! You’re hurting me, I cried.
I could hear people chanting out side, “Burn those demons, Burn the witches, and Burn their bodies to Hell!”
The front door opened revealing my worst nightmare.
Both my parents had been tied to separate stakes and were charred and still burning, I knew soon I would be joining them…
“LET ME GO I DON’T WANNA DIE!” I struggled and started to kick and scream, my efforts were in vain, the two men were too strong…
They held me up to a third pole and tied me with thick rope and tied my wrists behind my back around the stake, as others started to pile wood around me…
They all screamed at me “Burn her! Wipe the sin off her, and make her pay!” A woman took a large torch and set the pile of sticks alight and soon enough I could feel the flames warmth. As I screamed in agony my flesh just melted off, my hair burned and hardened into black chunks, my bones became almost as black as my burnt skin…
I felt excruciating pain…
As the sun set in the west, so did the fires die around me...
so why was I moving?
Why was breathing?
WHY WAS I ALIVE?
People stared at me in shock, they couldn’t believe what they saw...
a ... little... moving... corpse
I tried to scream but all that came out was a hiss and a gurgle. A man took a large stick and tried to bash my head in, but yet again. I was saved. There he was.
His eyes full of monstrous hate, his sharp teeth shaping into a horrid scowl, with a flick of his wrist an invisible force slammed the man to the ground breaking his arm and making the man cry in agony. Behind him, was an army of little monsters, with child like glee. Some had small horns, others had multiple limbs, each one looking different than the next, but they all had the small eyes of children. They charged at the adults and started ripping them apart, eating them, and clawing their eyes out.
While all the commotion was happening, Mr. DM crouched down next to my charred body. He untied my ropes and laid me down on his lap and took the same vile from before and held it to my remaining lips. My body trembled, my skin and hair grew back, my eyes no longer dry, and my body was once whole again… no more… no less… He held me up in his arms and brought me back to the carnival.
The lights flickered on as we walked inside not looking back to what became of my home.
Since then we’ve traveled from town to town, sometimes even cities. Whether we setup in a park, the woods, a parking lot, or a rodeo; it’s always the same. That day I burned meant the end of my child hood, and when I rose from the ashes I was an adult. I now live here at the carnival with my teacher, I learn of the true power he possesses, and I do his bidding; by leading bad children to the carnival, and turning them into something more… useful. Because there is no such thing as a good man, only good monsters.