In the year 1912 The Crown Brothers Circus, at which I performed as a trapeze artist, was among the most famous in the world. We had recieved top ratings from every critic and had performed for every influential political figure you could think of. In fact, our circus was beginning to become a household name in many parts of Europe. So I was disappointed, to say the least, when we arrived in Dem Dare Hills.
The citizens of Dem Dare Hills went about their daily lives under constant cloud-cover. The trees were bare and the town had an utterly dismal atmosphere. I simply couldn't understand what a circus as prestigious as ours was doing in this dreary place. I was on the verge of lodging a complaint, when I met Boswell.
Boswell Beachly III was short, blonde, and handsome. He was the type of man whose appeal came not only from his physical appearance, but also from the air of confidence and security that surrounded him. I introduced myself as Lydia Broomwick, the circus acrobat, and before long, we had begun to meet secretly in a little clearing near the main tent.
October flew by. My vigorous schedule consisted of rehearsals during the day, performances at night, and Boswell everywhere in between. Every night I searched the audience for his face, and when I found it I was able to soar through the air with a grace that surprised everyone, including me. His optimism was infectuous, and his presence was enough to make even Dem Dare Hills seem like a glorious Shangri-La. Surely, I thought, this must be love. My life seemed utterly sensational until November rolled around and Boswell met Jezebel.
Jezebel, the sword swallower, had always been prettier than me, which is one thing I had never forgiven her for. Still, there was no deep-seated hatred between us. I had even considered her a friend. The moment her eyes met Boswell's, however, I knew our friendship was over. I introduced them politely, unwilling to reveal the panic that was blossoming in my chest. His eyes took in Jezebel's delicate frame for a little longer than the laws of etiquette permitted, then he walked briskly away.
Immediately, I began to see a change in him. He made excuses to avoid meeting me, and always seemed bored by my attempts to impress him. I knew in my heart that he no longer loved me, but I couldn't admit it to myself. I refused to accept the idea that Jezebel could capture Boswell's heart if I could not. Instead I made excuses for him, and convinced myself that everything was fine.
About a month later, before a performance, I caught sight of Boswell in the crowd. The familiar thrill that I experienced whenever I saw him caught me completely by surprise. I had to sit down and recollect myself. I had neither seen nor heard from Boswell in over two weeks. At once, I assumed that this sudden reappearance meant that his affection for me had been renewed. I got up to peek at the crowd again, and this time I took notice of the focus of Boswell's attention. He was gazing adoringly at Jezebel, who was gazing right back at him from the left wing. The apologetic look she gave me when she saw that I was watching did nothing to quell the wave of hostility that was rushing toward me with incredible strength.
Ice crept slowly through my veins and everything in my line of vision took on a red tint. Jezebel stepped onto the stage and began swallowing swords; a trick I had watched many times. Only now I felt differently. Now I watched with nothing but contempt. I was hardly aware that I had begun walking as I stepped onto the stage and moved toward Jezebel. Within seconds I was standing directly behind her. The sword was halfway down her throat by the time she saw me. As I watched her stiffen, I realized I had no idea what I was about to do. The mocking laugh that escaped my lips was not my own, and the little sense I had left in me tried to stop my body as it pushed Jezebel from the stage. It was no use. I was being controlled entirely by my emotions. The crowd let out a collective gasp as the sword swallower fell. The blade pierced her throat and she was dead before she hit the ground.
As Jezebel collapsed, I felt a sudden pang and realized that killing her wouldn't make him love me. Out of desperation I took another sword from the stage and plunged it through my own heart. As I lay dying, I asked myself if Boswell's affection was worth all of this bloodshed, but the only response was my dying breath.