Seattle, Washington. 2008

The world was quiet; only small nocturnal animals' songs could be heard as the last hours of the night beat in the night sky. The moon was beginning to wave goodbye and say hello to the sun that reached up toward the horizon to rise, to bring light to the dark and quiet world. The only lights lit in the large forest park of Seattle, Washington were the spotlights inside the Circo delle Scuro, or the Circus of the Dark; a famous circus throughout the generations and years. The circus went back as far as the early 1500's when a mysteriously tall figure with dark brown hair and glowing black eyes walked cities with his band of creature like people with strange eyes and statures. They all had unique traits to them whether that is red or yellow eyes or strange markings across their bodies, like long scars. These people would disappear after a few weeks to a month and would show up again in another city halfway across the world. Normally the Circus of the Dark left behind a trail of bodies along their way, as a sort of dark and depressive payment toward the cities for letting the circus stay inside their boundaries. The circus tents were black and white striped, their windows usually open to let in the fresh air of the night, the doors closed to keep strangers from entering without permission. Those that were in the circus were closed off from the world, from the age of technology. Some people have said that the people in the circus feared the light of day at times, that they didn't want to show their faces to the light. It was as if they belonged to Hell and the light of day was their mortal and immortal enemy. They rarely left the circus grounds, but when they did the cast members consistently left a mark on whatever city they were staying in. The circus painted the borough's black and white without any regret for who they killed or what kind of destruction they caused. I was a part of that circus, of that madness that my ring leader Alex thought was a masterpiece. I was one of those creatures with strange eyes and odd markings all across my body, each one representing a show gone wrong, a few more people that died for other's amusement.

My darkened heart sank, but continued to beat at an uncontrollable pace as I tossed and turned in my small twin bed that could fold up easily, that is, as long as you're strong enough to handle the resistance of the round metal. My thin snow colored fingers clenched the thick fluffy black comforter that covered my body from toes to the tip of my neck and nearly forced the end of the feather filled blanket to come out from underneath the mattress at the end of the bed. I could feel the resistance of the pressure that my body applied to the mattress in an attempt to keep the comforter from slipping up on top of the bed. Nightmares like these came ever so often and tended to take over my entire dreamscape until there was nothing left but a complete black void, void of anything except for the darkness that stood in front of me.

Darkness overwhelmed me as I sank into a deep mysterious dream, almost as if I was falling into a dark hole through the middle of my mattress, which spiraled around my brain that pulsed inside my skull at an unbearable pressure. I was sucked down into a whirlpool of my dream, reality was only a blip in the distance and I watched it disappear off the radar of my mind. I wished to apply my hands to my temples on either side of my head but I couldn't move my arms enough to reach my temples. I had to bear through the pain of each throb of my brain that seemed to rack my skull. A few shrieks left my lips as I laid limp in my cocoon of a duvet and comforter but at this hour of the night nobody would be awake enough to hear my cries for help to wake me up from this obscene fantasy that I couldn't escape on my own. I had to bear through this on my own.

I stood in a dark concrete hallway with cracked flooring beneath me that was wet with water that dripped from the ceiling. There were a thousand locked rooms that trailed down the hallway and disappeared into mist. Laughs and coughs came from inside the cells, but all I could focus on was the figure in front of me. A bright yellow light stood in front of me and sent rays that bounced off my pale skin like dancing fairies in a meadow filled happiness that couldn't possibly exist in the real world. My snow white skin reflected light, it didn't absorb any ray from the sun or spectral appearance. I lifted my feet from the disgustingly damp ground underneath me and began to walk slowly toward the strange light that appeared out of nowhere. Although I wished to stay planted where I was I had no control over my legs as they continued to guide me toward my inevitable doom of reaching this strange yet familiar light. The rays created a tunnel which I was trapped in with no chance of escape except to go inside of the illumination, which was, of course, a terrible idea that could possibly lead to my death. My world was filled with darkness and when a light feeling came inside of my world every bit of that light seemed alien to me as if there was nothing dark left inside of me. I could feel my body shiver against the light that sprang from my skin. As my feet came closer toward the origin of the rays, the creator took a step away, a smile of light coming on the middle of the form; it was darker than the rest of the figure. I squinted my eyes against the brilliance in front of me; my eyes became slits as I backed away from the light in order to keep my eyes from burning from their sockets. I could feel my orbs sizzle against the brilliant illumination. The light became too intense for me as I fell down to my knees and covered my face with my arms as the light grew closer and closer to me with each second that passed. The heat that radiated from the intense light form was too much to handle on my own. I could feel my flesh melting away, dripping to the ground as I kneeled there taking the hits as if I deserved each one of them. I swear I could hear small cries come from inside of them saying things like: you betrayed me! You left me to die… I left those thoughts scatter inside of my mind until they left completely leaving me alone with the strange light form that stood in front of me. I shook feverishly on the ground as the last bit of my skin stayed glued to my bones; I was slowly but surely melting away into nothing. I was afraid of the light, and the light consumed me.

"Stay away from me!" I screamed, though my voice was only an echo in the tunnel which seemed to inch toward me closing the gap between myself and the light that stands before me. There was nothing left but chunks of skin and meat atop bones now and my paper white eyes; I was a rotted corpse. I went down into a tornado protection position children are taught to do in situations now a day, though for me I was trying to keep the light from blistering my retinas from the sockets they rested in. As the light came closer I tilted my head forward more than I already had and shut my eyes in an attempt to create a skin shield but the light surrounded me in an envelope of white light. I screamed too loud for my own ears until a small ring went through my drums and the beat of the steady circus tune rang in my ears; a noise that could wake me up from any dream.

I awoke abruptly to the loud whispers that echoed through my small one person tent, and my eyes burst open toward the black and white fabric ceiling that was held up by a thick wooden pole situated in the middle of the tent. I stared consciously and listened to the strange noises of Spike and Rubella who spoke outside my tent in an extremely suspicious manner. I dared not make a sound yet even though their muffled voices were too hard to hear from this position. I sat up with my arms pressing down into the soft, cheap mattress and I looked toward the fabric door that flipped back and forth with the wind that whipped through the circus like a weak tornado. Their voices echoed through my ears like the ringing sound of the circus music had in my dream.

My breathing was loud, and I could tell they had heard me from their voices becoming softer as I listened closely. The white waves that flowed down my back were now stuck to my neck by the sweat I had exerted in the night from my nightmare. Bits of my hair stuck to my forehead until I wiped them back onto my scalp with the fingernails on my free hand that wasn't shoved into my duvet. I shivered against the cold sweat that seemed to glaze my skin like dew does to the grass in the early morning. My entire body was covered in sweat. I wrinkled my nose at the sight and began to breathe slower in an attempt to keep from sweating any more than I already had. I knew I smelled terrible from the nightmare moisture that had accumulated in beads across my delicate snowy skin but I needed to know what Rubella and Spike were talking about; my curiosity would get the best of me.

Their voices, even though I could hear them, were muffled through the fabric, and were cryptic, in spite of the fact that I spoke the same language as them. My hand threw the black comforter back onto the bottom third of the mattress, and once my bare legs, besides the short black gym shorts I wore to bed, were exposed I tossed my feet onto the wet grassy ground and lifted myself up so I stood in front of my small bed. I couldn't help the urge but yawn, and my left hand, as if by instinct, flew up to my face to cover my yawn from escaping into the outside world even though there was nobody else inside my tent at the time. A small amount of light poured into my tent through the open window and I could tell by that sliver of illumination that the time was around nine in the morning. I pulled on my gray slippers with the purple rhinestone on top of a bow that was placed artistically on the sides of each fluffy slipper. My black gym shorts with small white skulls plastered all over the spandex-y fabric covered most of the tops of my thighs but stopped right before mid-thigh. I pulled down the bottom of my black camisole so my stomach wasn't exposed along with the black tattoo that was drawn like script across my belly and onto my lower back, and I walked toward the door with my arms crossed underneath my B-cup breasts. I pulled back the flap of my tent door and leaned on the metal pole that held the fabric in place. As my left shoulder touched the cold metal, I shivered against it, and pressed my skin down onto the freezing pole harder. I bit my tongue against the cold and raised my eyebrows at my two cast mates with wide eyes as they realized my existence. Spike looked up from staring at Rubella and smiled at me with that crooked smile of his that made me grin even on my darkest days. I could see Rubella crunch her nose together at the sight of me. She even knew I smelled terrible from the nightmare sweat I had gained. Her and her diseased ridden body would have to deal with it until I found out what they were talking about while I slept.

"Oh, Cloud, I'm sorry for waking you." Spike said with his arms at his side as if to make the battlefield neutral. Rubella turned around and gave me an icy glare before frowning at Spike, who, of course, just shrugged and proceeded to stare at me with his large dark chocolate eyes that made me melt at the sight of the two marbles. He always looked so innocent even when he was as guilty as a robber caught in the act, but his smile and those eyes of his caught me off guard enough for him to hide the evidence of him ever being guilty of anything. Everything about Spike made me melt, even when I was in my worst hours. I shook my head and shifted my weight to my other foot. "We were just talking about tonight. You heard… correct?" There was tension that bled through his perfectly white teeth, but I only brushed the thought from my shoulders like dust on a mantle. My eye brows raised as I shook my head, and Rubella giggled from next to me, her eyes set on Spike who didn't lay an eye back on her. I wanted to laugh myself, though I had to control my emotions around Rubella, she could snap at any moment, and I would lose Spike forever. My eyes continued to stare at Spike who stood there like an idiot with his hands stuffed inside the pockets of his baggy black pants with chains that ran down the sides of the fabric and hooked onto the belt loops and back pockets. The silver chain links went all the way around his pants like a belt even though they were just his idea of punk fashion.

"I have not heard anything but the time, Spike. Anything else you have heard has not come to my ears yet, so if you don't mind sharing I would love to know the delightful news about tonight that you two deemed secretive enough to whisper about right in front of my tent." I sighed, my voice rose as I spoke, and locked my gaze on Spike who shrugged at my statement and batted his eye lids for a moment before focusing on me again, his eyes traced over my face. He knew about my dreams and how vivid they got at times. His eye brows furrowed when he noticed the tiny beads of sweat that seemed to dry on my forehead. He knew.

"Alex was talking about having you perform your alternate act, though I told him not to force you to do something you can't control. He sort of laughed in my face and walked off somewhere, probably to his office." His voice mellowed out as he spoke, and took a hard left back into tension as he finished. My eyes drifted toward the sky as I remembered my alternate performance, though nothing came to mind except for what I had done in 1875 in Beijing, China, on February 13th. I tossed this idea away only because Alex had promised me I would never have to act out that performance ever again, considering I killed nearly an entire audience and myself. I was so close to death I was knocking on Hell's door with my fingers crossed hoping I would be able to get in, though I do remember calling a priest so I could spew out my sins. Alex disagreed greatly at that idea of mine. My head rolled as I continued to go into trance about that night, that horrible, terrible night where I had officially become a psychotic killer without a soul to call my own.

My mind closed off every other thought that could ride through my brain, and my eyes shut for several seconds before opening back up to an audience full of anxious, nervous Chinese people, their arms crossed, and waiting for a performance of a lifetime. They had already seen three other performances and I was last; I would blow them away with my act, their heads would burn with amazement. My hands rose up to my face and dragged down lightly over my flesh; my eyes changed from a crystal diamond to dark cobalt in the instance that I pulled my fingers over my corneas. As I pulled my hands away from my porcelain white face a rush of energy came from my midsection, and my entire body erupted in electricity, lightning shooting everywhere uncontrollably throughout the entire tent.

I pulled my body back and the lightning shot straight toward me and I absorbed it with a great dark force, and it came to the tip of my fingers as I crouched down to the ground and pressed my right knee into the hard wood stage where I had performed so many times before this. I could feel the chill of the night, the wind that whipped through the tent doors down to the stage. My arm ripped out toward the sky and lightning flew toward the ceiling like an arrow and blew up into a giant lightning storm right under the top roof of the giant black and white striped tent. My other hand shot up and thunder erupted from the great mass of black and gray clouds, and lightning struck down, hitting in between seats sending people into other's laps as they screamed in pure fright. Some of the audience members stared at the storm in amazement, their eyes fixed on the dark clouds while the rest of the visitors stared up at me in horror, like I was a demon. This gave me energy, enough to make the storm bigger as my hands stood planted toward the monstrous storm above me, and a grin stretched across my thin face. I could feel myself whisper words I didn't understand, and lightning and thunder erupted everywhere, sending people flying through the through the tent, screams came from every direction, even backstage. I laughed hysterically over everyone's fear of me, and my eyes went darker and deeper until they reached a solid black with no white sclera's left to be seen. My blue and white pixie outfit darkened with the empty chasm in my heart where my soul would be if I had one, until the colors faded into back and gray, my tights tightened and began to rip until I could feel the gothic scene come out from inside of me.

I stared at my hands; they were burnt beyond repair, completely black and charred, though I felt no pain at all except for minor stings that shot through the nerves in my arms as I sent lightning toward the sky, though those were bearable to the point where they only felt like pins sticking into my skin. Smoke rose from my body as the light escaped from my inner most soul and the storm grew bigger and darker until the entire top of the tent was wrapped with the gigantic lightning storm which shot down people from every angle with the lightning that squeezed its way through the dark clouds. Everyone's thoughts were my own at that moment, and my feet came off the ground. I rose into the sky, my hands going down to my side and my head tilted back so I was staring straight at the monster I had created. There was no turning back now, I couldn't, and would never turn back from something so beautiful and perfect as this storm. From the power I was absorbing from the people around me in the audience; I immediately shot it out at the storm, a white light coming from my mouth that was directed toward the black clouds that circled around the fabric ceiling. The cloud grew larger, and soon my body began to shake as I consumed the souls of the audience. I heard voices back stage, Alex and Spike were talking about the power, and how it was too great, and I would bust if I would take in any more. But I kept going.

The people left in the audience began to rise into the air, their arms outstretched on the sides, their mouths wide open as a white light came from their mouths and drifted toward me. I inhaled every bit of the illumination that I could, each soul tasted differently like different personalities. I could feel the power that kept rising, and at this point there was no stopping the rate at which the power was growing.

My airways closed, and my right hand, out of pure instinct shot straight to my neck as I tried to breathe, though nothing could get inside my lungs except for the feeling of dryness. I sunk to the ground, and uncontrollably the lightning shot out in every direction and fried anyone in its path, sending everyone to their death in the audience who had no idea if this was part of the act or not. My eyes shut tight as I gripped my throat with both hands, now, and I sucked in air into my mouth, though it had nowhere to go except for out into the open world again. I could feel the burnt, charred muscles inside my body begin to fry up the rest of my insides. My body flew back, though I still sat in the same place, and light came from every open area of my body including my eyes, nose, and mouth until there was nothing left. I heard screams everywhere that echoed through my eyes, their cries of pain, agony, and feelings of remorse… that they shouldn't have come… that if they had stayed home their lives would be saved. I shrunk to the ground, my back hitting the floor, the light dimming. I felt the storm suck back into my body until it was completely gone from the sky. My body began to shake uncontrollably, and footsteps ran toward me, which sounded like combat boots.

"Cloud," they screamed over and over until they slumped down next to my lifeless, burnt body that was gone without any chance of repair, that is with anything Earth could provide. Only time could decide whether my body would repair itself, or if Alex had to step in and save my life. "Cloud, please wake up!" They cried. It was Spike. I felt tears drop down to my face as he pulled my head up toward his face. "Alex, get the remaining guests out of here!" There was more screaming as people began to flee the tent, though as soon as they left their memories would be erased, and they would go back to their normal lives without any account of what had happened to them February 13th, 1875.

My eyes opened quickly, and I set them straight at Spike who stood there, across the way from me with his hands in the pockets of his black pants with chains that hung down from the pockets on either side of his body and all around his torso. My mind traced back the memory, and I shook in fear before turning around and going back into my tent. My hands flew up to my face as I stood in front of the mirror that was attached to my portable vanity. I put my hands down onto the old wooden vanity that had been chipped too many times, and stared straight into the mirror, my eyes twitched as I went through the memory several times, capturing each life lost, each soul I captured and consumed. I felt like a succubus. My eyes set on my shoulders that were covered in a black tattoo that spread down my back. My first and most powerful show gave me this. My fingers traced my shoulders as I stared at the black mark that would forever stay there in remembrance of what happened that night, my first show. There was tiny script writing inside dark swirls and fancy runes that fell upon my skin like a satin dress.

"Eh, let her go Spike, all she is going to do is ruin your day with her pity party and feelings." I could feel Rubella roll her eyes as she stood in front of Spike in an attempt to block his path.

"Stay out here," Spike commanded to Rubella who, I could hear, grunts from outside the tent. The grass ruffled noisily under Rubella's fashion combat boots as she left. I shut my eyelids to escape reality in the best way I could. My ears perked up as I heard Spike approaching from behind me, and reality was back as I clenched my jaw together and blinked several times. "Cloud… I don't know what to say. I tried to stop him, Cloud, but he won't listen. He says you can handle it, he says you have enough control to know when to stop this time." I shook my head violently and turned around to face Spike who stood directly behind me, his dark chocolate eyes melting as he saw tears come to the inner corners of my own eyes.

"Two hundred people died that night because of me, Spike… two hundred!" I emphasized how many deaths there were. "There was a bounty on my tail for twenty years before they figured I had died in a freak accident, thanks to Alex's wonderful skills of creating newspaper articles, and sneaking them into printing shops... I can't do this act Spike. If I do I know more people will die, and I don't want that to happen!" I turned my head away from him, and he took my face in his hands before I could remove my eye sight from him completely. He stared at me and shook his head lightly before pulling me into one of his sweet and caring hugs. I felt his arms around me; they were warm and comforting as he grazed over my back with his pointy, yet muscular knuckles. My torso arched as he massaged my back, and he only held me tighter as I closed the gap between us and pressed my head into his chest.

"Cloud, I know how many people died: I was there to bury them all with Alex. I know what it took out of you, and I know what you thought about for years after that. Even though you don't want to take on the role of performing that act again you have too; there is no changing Alex's mind now." He whispered into my ear, and held me tight against his body. Tears dripped down my face, and I buried my head into his collar bone, absorbing as much of his scent and warmth as I could. His smell was toxic to me and seemed to calm my nerves whenever I inhaled any of his luscious manly scent that smelled of oak and sandalwood with a hint of deep dark lust. A small chuckle escaped his lips when he listened to my nose taking in as much smell as I possibly could, and he pulled me tighter to help.

"I need to speak with Alex. If anyone can change his mind it's me. I am the one who is in danger right now, not him or his precious audience." I pushed Spike away from me, only to have him stumble over a small pile of dirty clothes in the middle of my room, and grabbed my black leather jacket Spike had given me for Christmas a year before now. This jacket, filled with Spike's scent and warmth, was the one thing I had of his now, it had previously been his, and he out grew it so he handed it down to me considering I wore it more than he ever did when the jacket was his. Spike grabbed my hand and pulled me back slightly, but I only shook my head and he let go quickly as if he got the signal I was trying to pass onto him. As I walked outside a sudden realization had come to mind, I was walking into something I couldn't get out of, this was a decision I couldn't take back. Alex would think lightly of me coming to him with an attempt to change the schedule, though he would only shake his head at me and tap the schedule that hung on the fabric walls of his office tent. If it's on the schedule there is no changing my mind, he always says.

I wiped the thought from my train of thought and walked out into the cold October morning with wind that whipped through my hair at great speeds. I pulled the jacket closed and zipped it up at an effort to keep myself warm against the brisk wind that seemed to outweigh the bright sunrise that beamed over the trees in the distance. A shiver went up my spine as I passed a black and white vertical striped tent that was four down from mine. This tent sat upon a dead spot of grass and seemed a little darker than the rest of the circus. The only lights that lit the grayscale tent were two white melting candles that sat on a small side table in the window on the front panel of the fabric room. My head turned toward the window and a shadow of a man sat inside of it, their head back, the chair rocked as if it were a rocking chair. He stared at the ceiling of his tent, his dark eyes wide open. I shook, my bones trembling against the aura that came from the open tent window, and I moved past the tent as quickly as possible. In that tent held Bartimus the pirate. He was the loneliest man I had ever met, though I had never introduced myself directly, just seen him from a distance while he spoke with Alex to get himself out of performing at each show. I don't know how he was able to convince him, but I had never once seen him perform or use his abilities; he just sits in his tent in that exact spot with the same two candles lit. I had never seen his face, only a shadow that strayed itself across his features and a silhouette that was always visible wherever the mysterious man was. He never spoke to people other than Alex, and even that was a rarity to visualize. I crossed the path of the tent and walked through the dewy ground toward Alex's tent. A short and fat white candle was lit inside the window and three shadows were visible through the thin fabric that separated me from Alex. I lowered myself to the ground and crept up next to the opposite side of the tent from the candle and pressed my ear to the rough fabric and listened inside. Although hard to understand, I did make out most of the conversation, and the clarity was much better than at my tent, which had a thicker fabric attached to it.

"Do not worry about the people of Seattle; there will be no harm that comes to them." Alex said from inside. I could hear the lie through his teeth, he and everyone else inside the circus knew people would die. There was a grunt that came from the opposite side of the tent, and I shook my head against it as I continued to eavesdrop on the mysterious conversation between the two mystery men and Alex who seemed abnormally calm. The two mysterious voices were muffled unlike Alex's powerful voice that seemed to rock the ground beneath him whenever he opened that mouth of his.

"We are worried only because the safeties of those who live in Seattle are our main concern and if any harm comes to them it will be your neck that pays the price, you understand?" The other voice was harsh and raspy as they spoke, and I frowned as I heard him speak against Alex with such a tone. Although I knew Alex as a superior I have spoken to him with a harsh voice before and later regretted it when he forced me into a special acid shower to 'elaborate the white shine on my skin and hair'. I eventually learned to control my mouth around him from then on. Hearing anyone speak to him like that made my blood boil, because I knew that Alex wouldn't touch anyone that wasn't a part of the circus. The circus didn't need a lawsuit around its neck, that would make travelling and running away difficult.

"Please, do not be worried, for if you are your nerves will be high, and then there will be no trust to gain. I assure you if anything happens to anyone, which none will, I will pay for everything." I felt inside of me a smile that came to Alex's face as he said this, and that made me smile. If there was anything I knew about Alex, it was that he always had some card up his sleeve, and that was always manipulation, if he could play it without question coming to whoever he was speaking with at the time.

"If anything happens your head will be on a silver platter and your little band of minions will be locked up in a mental facility for the rest of their days." Venom spewed from the man's mouth as he spoke. It was the same man as before; the other stayed silent, his arms crossed. The one who was able to speak turned around and left the tent; I crept up close to the front and saw them leave. They wore black suits and black shoes, and their footprints left fire in the grass as they left. I watched them leave for a moment, they were strong built, their suits stretched across their arm and leg muscles.

Before I could make my move another man made his way into the tent. From the silhouette that I could see his dark hair was slicked back with gel and he wore a dark suit as if he was going to a wedding. He had on a pair of black loafers that seemed especially clean for where he was wearing them. His voice was dark and hoarse as he said hello to Alex.

"Xeno my old friend how are you?" Alex laughed and I froze. He was laughing, my ringleader, father, and mentor, was laughing. I had never heard Alex laugh in the entire time I had known him. He always had on a straight face or a small smile that was barely visible unless you squinted your eyes.

"Oh you know same old same old. I was on this side of the country and heard a few whispers on a circus being in town so I got curious and stopped by since you have already given me permission to pass through the invisible fence line." Xeno replied his voice dark and filled with a chill that sent shivers up my spine. "Also," he paused. "I got your letter and I wanted a clarification on it. I bought Alcatraz Island from the previous owners. After they renovated the place I bought it and made it my own. If you wanted to use that then go ahead, it will just take some time to hire some people and get everything set up like the beds and rooms."

"How much will this cost me? I need to get this off my shoulders and you're the only way out." Alex said sternly and sat down at his desk. Xeno laughed and stood next to the large pole in the middle of the room, his shoulder resting against the wood.

"For you, Alex… nothing," he decided and clapped his hands once.

"Thank you, this is the only way I can get rid of this problem. I can't take any more charges like this, I'll go insane." Alex murmured and shook his head once. Xeno nodded in agreement. "Oh and there isn't a need for beds; they won't need such luxury." Xeno nodded and then leaned against the large oak desk in the middle to back of the tent.

"I can remember what it was like for me, that's why I left."

"Everyone missed you, Xeno, but I'm glad you're happy where you're at now. Maybe I'll come to you one of these days after this problem subsides, and we can get out of here." Alex laughed once and stood from his seat. "I'm glad we could come to an understanding." Xeno nodded again and left the tent without another word spoken between them. I heard footsteps, thinking they were Xeno's and let out a breath of relaxation.

"Stand up, Cloud." I heard behind me. I jumped and stood quickly, backing away from Alex who stood there, his arms at his side, his right eye brow raised as he stared down at me. My arms went behind my back and I linked my hands with one another, my head hung low. "What are you doing out here, and what have I told you about eavesdropping?" He shook his head and stepped closer to me, the grass cracking underneath his feet. I looked up at him with my big, white eyes that grew bigger as I used my own card trick against his bipolar emotions. Every thought of the strange man named Xeno left my head and I was filled with a sudden fear that seemed to overwhelm my body.

"Please, I was only wishing to come and talk to you, but you were already speaking so I decided to wait outside." I put my hands up and shook my head innocently, though Alex heard none of it.

A tiny, low chuckle came from his mouth, "with an ear pressed up against my tent; that is the definition of waiting to me as well." He shook his head once again and took a step back. "What did you wish to speak to me about?" I gulped down saliva and stared up at him, now that I was standing in front of him nothing could come out, I was completely speechless until he snapped his fingers in front of my face in an attempt to get me from my trance that I had suddenly rested in. I blinked and gulped. I had to tell him what was going on, I needed to get my opinion out on the subject of my act; it was just a matter of opening my mouth.

"Change my act in tonight's performance." I spit out, and Alex pulled his head back as if I had just yelled at him. I looked away immediately, and he only patted my head and walked back into his tent past me, and I followed closely behind, my vision set on his suit covered back. It was an old black suit with a few wear holes in the back and a tear on the seam where the shoulder meets the sleeve. I paused at his door as he tapped on the calendar that was nailed to a post that held up his tent. With his free hand Alex fixed the bright orange tie that was tucked into the black jacket he wore around his broad shoulders. His jacket fell down into the black shirt and pants he had on.

"Once it's on the calendar, there is no changing it. This has been a rule since you have been around, Cloud; you should know it by now." He scolded, and I only rejected him with my expressions of disgust that ran across my face.

"I can't do that act, Alex. If I do people are going to die." I stated, and he only shrugged his shoulders against my words. It was as if he didn't care about what would happen if I did this act. He cared very little for a human life, and I could never convince him otherwise no matter how hard I tried. I paused my thoughts and looked up at Alex who stared down at me with his big dark eyes. "Why does Bartimus get to get out of performing but I can't even when hundreds of lives are on the line?" I folded my arms and shifted my weight. Alex sighed and shook his head before walking behind his desk and messed with a few free papers that were strewn across his desk.

"What Bartimus does is none of your business and it is barely mine. He comes to me with logical reasons on why he should not perform; you come to me with nonsense." He paused. "You have developed your powers over the years and I feel as if you are ready to complete this performance with minimal damage in the audience. Think about it as a second try, a perfect one this time." He patted my head with his large right hand and I shrunk against it, and he walked from the tent, leaving me alone in the darkened tent only lit by a single candle in the window. I stood there in the middle of this tent, my hands at my side, my heart sinking as I thought about the people who were coming tonight, about the lives I would take. I couldn't help but smile this time. If Alex agreed with me taking people's lives, why couldn't I? I mean it's not like I knew any of them, they were strangers to me so why should I care about their puny lives?

The lives I would take, the souls I would capture and take as my own, the darker the dark chasm where my soul belonged would get. My smile grew, as hard as I fought against it; I knew inside of me that I couldn't stop smiling against those whom I would kill, against those people whose life cycle would come to an abrupt stop tonight. These were thoughts of a killer, thoughts of a psychopath, and that just happened to be me, and these thoughts brought butterflies to my stomach as I stood in Alex's tent, my hands at my side as I stared at the candle in the window. The flame flickering in the lighter wind that had calmed as the morning passed, and soon it blew out, and I was left in complete darkness besides the natural rays of light that came from the open window. The flap of his tent no longer flew open and closed, but was completely still now, and I stood in the pitch black area of his tent, my thoughts on fire of how many people I would kill tonight, of how many souls I would absorb.