-1 The tent was up, the performers all set to go. A crowd had gathered outside.. Tickets in hands they waited patiently for the ringmaster - unaware that one of them was doomed. Doomed either to a life of taking part in murder or to a slow, agonising death.
At last the ringmaster and the crowd trickled into the circus tent. At seat number 53 the future victim took his seat. it would be my job to select him, pretending that his untimely disappearance/demise was just what the cards had predicted. One by one, the rest of the audience took their places and the lights dimmed.
I had around an hour following this cue till I would be called to the ring. More than enough time to get my costume and makeup on. The time shortly afterwards would be the hardest - either have to calm down a terrified teenager or watch the same terrified teenager be torn apart. Literally. The rack had been Marco's idea from the start. Aside from the family who started this sick freak show, everyone here has been threatened with it.
All too soon my time arrived. Adjusting the black headscarf and checking the card was in my dress pocket, I stepped out into the spotlight. As always, the audience were surprised by my appearance. They always expect me to look more like some exotic creature from a fairy tale than a vampire from a horror novel. As riveted as the rest of the audience, he was perched on the edge if his seat as Marco asked me who's fate I had foreseen. I told him. The victim's eyes grew behind his glasses in fascination and shock.
"And what did you see for this young man?"
I handed him the card and prayed silently and motionlessly for the fates to have mercy.
"The card is..." he announced "card number 13. Death."