"Come one come all to the fair.
See wonders beyond your wildest imaginations.
Go on the adrenaline packed rides.
See amazing spectacles
Met the infamous magician, Madame X
And met what our fair is so famous for!
Met the hybrid people.
Part Animal, part human.
Watch them perform for your entertainment.
And if you are enthralled by them
Head go to the shop and buy your own hybrid.
Pet, bodyguards and bed-warmers. You name it.
Just be sure to check the labels to make sure you get,
Just what you want from your new pet.
Come down to the fair.
For the wonders you will see and meet here,
May very well change your life."
How those words haunted Terrence's nightmares. He remembered oh so clearly the first time he had gone to that god-forsaken fair. Remembered the thrill of excitement of watching amazing beasts perform. He had even gone to the shop and see the creatures you could buy. Few hybrids mind you, the shop mostly sold exotics pets. The hybrids on sale were creatures who had disobeyed the owners of the circus.
Back then, he had thought the circus was simply a home for the exotic creatures. But how wrong he was. He learnt quickly just what that place was. He, like so many others before him, had be drawn towards a particular tent. He had entered carefully.
That was when he had met Madame X.
The look in her eyes when she spotted him was burned into the back of his skull. A bored child looking for some entertainment. However he had been native and something about her very presence lured him towards her. Like a enthralled pry to the predator. X was a cruel woman. But oddly soft to those she cared for. A woman who knew how you use seduction and tricks to lure her prey. Whether that be a young innocent child, or a lust filled man. A spotty youth, or an old woman.
She had turned him that night. Stealing him away from his family and friends. Stealing his live from him. He had fallen into her web now, and like so many others, was forced to remain with the circus. The older hybrids were kind to the new child. They were a family of sorts. A family forced together, but a family none the less.
He was Terrence Jason Casey. But he became Jaz. The white lion hybrid. Shown off proudly by the circus, despite being so young. He was eight when he was changed and hybrids lived much longer then there human counterparts, and took twice as go to develop. He didn't go through puberty until he was eighteen. But when he did, his so called guardian was there to 'take care' of him.
Marquez. A tiger hybrid who was in his prime at twenty eight. Similarly to Terrence he had been bitten at a young age. Younger then Terrence actually. Five. So all Marquez knew of live was the circus, having not memories of before. He ran on a potent mix of cleverness and instinct. Even so, when he smelt Terrence go into heat, he had reacted.
The cub had grown into a handsome young man. And Marquez wasn't going to let that go. That and Marquez was a leader. In the circus he was the ringmaster. He only answered to Madame X and even then that was because of the power she had. He was strongest of the hybrids. All his instincts screamed at him to teach the younger male his place. Which was under him. Terrence allowed himself to grow close to the tiger hybrid, but soon he became scared of the man. Too aggressive. Too possessive. Then he hit Terrence across the face for refusing him.
But unlike so many before him, he used his brain. He knew if he was to survive on the outside world he would need a way to blend in. The circus would find him quickly if he was still a hybrid when he left. If magic could turn him into a hybrid, surely it could turn him back? Secretly he read Madame's books. He learnt how to change back. He took it.
He ran from the circus. Ran from Marquez and Madame X. He got himself a job. Lived with a kind old man who looked after him for nothing. Literally nothing. The man had lost his son and was willing to look after the stranger. That was a little under ten years ago. Was it a coincidence? He wondered.
The kind man had just died. He had been own his own for a week. Not that he needed help. He had a good job and friends. But part of him longed for some company. He had dated girls and guys, but had never felt confident enough to go all the way with them. Part of him was still Jaz. He shook that thought off. He wasn't Jaz any more he was Terrance.
Still, he looked out of his window and saw the circus camped on the common green. A poster declaring they would be there all week. One of the hybrids on the front gate looked up at his window and smiled at him. He smiled back before closing his curtains. It was getting dark. He was staying in tonight. There was no way he was going out when the circus was in town. Too much chance of one of them knowing him. That is, if they didn't already.
His nerves were high. The familiar noise of the circus filtering into the apartment he had shared with the old man. Even now, something in his chest was tightening. The urge to go almost overpowering. Sometime was drawing him back. And he had a feeling he knew what. Madame X. She had a way or drawing people to her, he didn't know how.
He stood and walked to the door, grabbing his coat. So much for not going out, he mused, knowing what he was about to do was stupid. But for some reason he had to go back. Likely they wouldn't work out who he was anyway. He hadn't recognised himself when he had looked into the mirror. His appearance from being a hybrid to a human had changed dramatically. He paused at the door. Steeling his nerves at it were. He was about to take his coat back off when fate took matters out of his hands.
"Oi Terry! You in?" shouted a cheerful and familiar voice.
Terrence rolled his eyes. Pausing a moment to let his heart calm down before opening the door. He hadn't expected that. He found a young man standing there. He was about twenty and was Terrence next door neighbour. "Dan?"
"Hey, was about to ask if you wanted to go to circus, but you're already ready" commented Dan, "Come on lets go see it together!" Terrence gave the younger man a cold look which made the cheerful look in Dan's face falter. "Terry?" he said pouting.
Daniel was in essence a big kid and he seemed intent on clinging to Terrance. However he did it in a way which made it had for Terrence to work out if he was just being overly friendly; he'd met some of Dan's other friends. They were an interesting set of people to say the least. (This coming from someone brought up in the circus) Or whether the younger had feeling of him.
"Fine" he sighed walking out and closing the door behind him. Daniel let out a noise of excitement and promptly attached himself to Terrence's arm. Terrence smiled and listen to the younger talk about random things with amusement. Commenting every now and again to make sure he knew he was still listening. But every step felt like a mile. He felt like he was walking into the lion's den.
Smiling at the hybrid who was giving out tickets, he paid for both him and Daniel. Daniel never having any money. The hybrid smiled back, welcoming the gesture. Too often people only stared at the ones who worked the gates. It had always been people hated job.
"Enjoy the circus" the Hybrid smiled. Terrence nodded at the boy and continued in, Daniel already pulling him in the direction of the main tent. The show would start soon. Terrence laughed and hurried up. If he was going to risk coming to the circus, he might as well enjoy himself while he was here, he mused. Running past a tent, he wouldn't help looking over his shoulder at a suspending tent in the corner of the field. A woman standing in front of it, watching the crowd.
Their eyes met briefly. Only for a second, but they were glued together. It felt a bit like she was looking into his soul and to be fair, she could have been. Terrence stumbled as Daniel continued to pull him along and had to pull his eyes away. When he glanced back, she was gone. Madame X, he mused. Part of him sinking. She had seen him now. But the question was, would she figure out who he was?