Dark Knight; School for the extraordinary

Chapter One

It was December, thirteenth to be exact and my thirteenth birthday, when the circus rolled into my little town in the middle of nowhere. I sat in the meadow beside the only sand road, the only way in and out of the town, compacting snow in my hands. My younger sister lay beside me, feet almost touching the sand of the road which had been turned into a white blanket, breathing in the morning dew. It was cold but we didn't care, we shook a little but relied on the coats out mother had made for us to offer us warmth, which it did mostly. We'd been sitting by the sand road for a long hour before we caught a glimpse of the first wagon.

Each wagon was a deep red with gold, spiky, wheels and each was pulled by deep blue horses. The wheels looked sharp but still each wagon was followed by a trail of children Alice's age. Strange people dressed in purple robes stood at the back of the wagons, greeting the excited children with big smiles, egging them on to get their parents to buy tickets, which most of them had already done. A very stout man with long black hair and a darker robe stood alone at the back of the last wagon, he threw golden paper at the children who followed his wagon. Each leaflet, which the children had at first mistaken for free tickets, drifted off with the strong December wind and got stomped on by the children following his wagon if not caught by their tiny fists.

By now, Alice was up and hurrying after the stout man's wagon, I jumped up and hurried after her, trying to follow her footprints in the snow. She turned back and laughed at me, a lovely carefree, shrill laugh that vibrated through my body as I dashed after her. "Cressinda!" She shouted, laughing. "Come on!" Alice's dark hair was embedded with tiny snowflakes that danced as she chased the wagon, her coat trailed behind her, she was happy. She ran and ran until they reached the top of the hill and started to disappear into the gates of our little, unknown to most, town. Alice stopped short at the gates and watched them close with all of the other children, she watched with precision as the last wagon rattled off into the little cave in the hill.

The cave, as my father had always told us, had been made thousands of years before he was born. He knew one of our ancestors had had a say in the cave's inners but nothing more. Nobody really went in there, raising the question of what really was in that little cave and why it needed so much protection. Rumours had always said Satanists, or mad people, or murders or anything that excited and terrified children. Truth was, as my parents believed in none of that horror story nonsense, that it was probably where the electricity, when we actually got it, was kept. Even still the cave had intrigued me from an early age and I would've done anything to catch a glimpse of the mystery it held inside.

I stood beside Alice and watched with her as the stout man gave his final wave and smile and turned back into his wagon to do what stout men from circus' do. "Come on, we've got to get back, father will be back now." I told her.

"Cressinda? Do you believe the circus is magic?" She asked me. I thought for a second, pulling her back down the sand road and to the meadow, I wasn't sure how to answer. Yes, I did believe in magic, but no, I did not believe that circus was magic.

"Yes." I smiled at her and she smiled back. I had only said that because the thought of crushing her wishes was horrid. I pulled her back to the meadow and started making the way across the snowy meadow and into the trees. Our home wasn't far from the meadow; it was literally the meadow's next door neighbour.

The little cottage loomed over us and Alice skipped up to the gate. Our house was something from fairytales, a real beauty. I'd always loved how the ivy wrapped itself around the sides and made it looked a little more aged but still beautiful. The white gate swung backwards, I caught with my left hand and swung it open again. Alice had already skipped inside to greet our mother. I followed her but was met with a cold glare by my mother.

Our mother went off to dress my sister in the newest dress she'd bought form the market that morning whilst I went off to clean up. I washed my face in the sink in the bathroom, the dinky bathroom that we all used. I brushed my hair and tied it up using a blue crescent moon bobble. My father arrived from work a few hours later, carrying his axe over his shoulder as if it were a small twig; he kissed my forehead and held up four blue tickets that literally shimmered with glitter. He grinned and Alice squealed in delight. My mother smiled knowingly and he wrapped his tree-trunk arms around her. He handed us each our tickets and sat in his chair grinning over his.

For one night only

We bring you, dear town of Serenity, the best circus in the world

We bring you all the way from a little cabin in the mountain...

Crescent Circus

At the cave beside the Meadow

Our doors open at exactly nine-o-three

Don't be late

And may the Moon shine for you

My family, dressed to impress, walked out of our door at ten to nine, as not to be late like our invitation had told us, and arrived at the cave opening at nine-o-two. A small dwarf with long ginger hair and an even longer ginger beard embedded with dark purple ribbons he wore long purple robes that matched his pretty ribbons in his beard. My father passed him the tickets and he pressed his hand over them. Each ticket had been punctured by the circus' name, just by waving his hand over it. "Enjoy the show." He grinned. We all nodded and took back the tickets.

The cave was decorated with deep purples and dark blues. Crescent moons lined the walls and the cave had been turned into one big, clean, hall with a huge stage. Above the stage, in big white letters that glimmered like moonlight, was the slogan: And may the Moon shine for you. Perhaps this was a saying of good luck for the performers of the travelling circus or maybes it was a good luck symbol for the audience.

Each chair in the hall was full. Every villager, young and old, had been desperate to see the supposed 'magic' circus and mysterious insides of the cave nobody went in. The room was full of excitement and buzzing with anticipation. The children sat with sweets in their mouths, as a way to silence them, and the adults stared at the stage and the purple curtains that restricted their view of what they wanted most. We quickly took our seats, reserved near the front for the man and his family who had help build the stage, just as the lights dimmed and the curtains opened.