Acrobatics, aerial acts, animal acts, chinese pole acts, clowns and comedy acts, contortionists, foot jugglers and antipodists, German and Cyr wheels, hand balance acts, jugglers, rola-bola acts, rope walkers, springboard or teeterboard acts, trampoline acts, unicycle and bike acts, and various bar acts. This is all I've ever known, bright makeup, sparkling costumes, it has been my life for so long I don't know if I could live without it. I belong to the circus of mystery, my parents sold me there when I was 2 years old, to young for me to remember anything. I was quickly made into an acrobat, I would swing around on the bars, doing flips, having a team mate catch me as I flew toward them. Sometimes I was the one catching, flipping them up, all while we swung 50 feet above the air. I had 9 team mates, 5 boys and 4 girls, I was the youngest of them all, the oldest was 25, and I was 13. My best friend, Regan is 14, she was sold to the circus when she was 3, she performs with the jugglers. Most of the time they throw dangerous objects, such as knives, chainsaws, people, and sticks with fire on the ends. She has 6 team mates, most of the time they go into a pyramid formation or do flips while they juggle. We have another really close friend, he is part of the springboard team, most of the time he is being catapulted up into the air by 5 other people, he has a large team of 20 people, catching, jumping, flipping, he loves it. He is 15, the oldest of all of us, he ran away from his parents when he was around 5, he found the circus and has been doing acts here ever since. His name is Dante, we would all run around before the show helping each other put on makeup and find props, when we were traveling in our train we would run through the train cars causing mischief, nothing major, just small things like stealing a clown's wig or something.
Our ringmaster's name was unknown by everyone in the circus, to the audience he was known as ringmaster Graven, but to us he was Mr. Izzy, there were some suspicions that his full name was Izzy Graven, but that got cleared up by one of the bikers, Graven was just a stage name, and Izzy was for the way his first clown described his suit. His suit was black and red striped, it was sparkling and it would catch any eye. I suppose that's what made it so good for the circus, he was a very happy person, and on occasion he would pull a prank or two on us, or with us. Show after show, night after night, the circus of mystery was the most wealthy circus in all of North America. Everything was perfect, until that night, the night I could never forget, I remember it more vividly than my first show even. Regan was juggling with her team as usual, I was setting up with my team, and Dante was waiting in the tent. Somebody had brought a bomb into the tent, at the time we didn't have very well security, and bags weren't being checked, so they got away with it easily. Regan had just thrown a chainsaw into the air, her black shorts glistening with the light. Her orange leotard went under it, the sleeves transitioning to blue. Her long blonde hair tied into a long ponytail, she looked the same as every other girl on her team. The man carrying her wore black sparkling pants and an orange shiny shirt, like every other man. I was watching them from above, catching a chainsaw, throwing another one up, and one was just flying above their heads. I could see Dante and his group standing near the entrance, he wore a green tank top and purple pants, sparkly of course, his red hair stood out from the rest of his team. Then there was me, my long hair was tied into curly pigtails, I was wearing a blue leotard and black and white spotted tights. The rest of my team wore the same, then I saw it, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a man run down from the bleachers, place a backpack down, and run.
I didn't understand why this man had done this, being 13 and in the circus I didn't know bombs were used for anything other than performing. I shrugged it off, and Regan and her team left the stage, the lights headed to us, and I began. Holding on to the bar, swinging, letting go, catching, swinging, flipping, catching, Lilith jumps, catches, we swing, she flips, she catches him, then boom! I felt a strong force of wind knock me off the bar, falling falling falling, then I hit the ground. I rolled who knows how far and it hurt, but then everything went black, and the sound of screams and smoke was the last thing to say goodbye. Somebody was shaking me, something below me was wet, and it hurt, the pain in my head, I felt numb, I opened my eyes. Dante was sitting over me, there was fire behind him, blood coming out of his mouth, he had a black eye, and a cut on his forehead. He was mouthing something, I couldn't tell what he was trying to tell me, red and blue lights zoomed toward us. My hearing began to come back, I heard sirens, crying, screaming, "Coraline!", Dante screamed. "Dante, where's Regan, what happened?" I tried to get up, but only made it to my elbows. "Regan is fine, she's getting checked out by a parametric right now, we're lucky that bomb didn't work the way it was supposed to", he put his arm under mine. "We have to get some help", he helped me get up and we began walking toward an ambulance. I saw blood on the floor, scorch marks, and pieces of wood on the floor. I looked behind me and the animals were all standing together, one of the trainers, Blair, was crying and hugging her elephant Ayame. We got to an ambulance and sat down in the back seat with a few other people, my vision was blurry so I couldn't tell who was who, only by their costumes. After the others got checked out the paramedic came over to me, he put my arm in a sling, and gave me stitches on my head. He did a few more things like leaned out my cuts and bandaged them, then he gave me a blanket and made me sit in the back of the ambulance with five others.
The ambulance started going, I fell asleep in the back, I think I was sitting next to one on the hand balance acts. I woke up in a hospital bed, my head hurt, my eyes hurt, and everything seemed fuzzy. Like the world was engulfed in water, and yet I could breath, I was still in my trapeze clothes, and soon a doctor walked in. "Caroline Canfield, if you're wondering what happened, someone set off a bomb while you and your circus group were performing. Everyone survived but, it blew up the tent and your train, your ringmaster might have enough money to buy new, but don't count on it. Some of your friends want to see you, I'll take you to their rooms", he stood at the door as I got up. I followed him, walking down the halls of the hospital, and entering a room marked, '184', we walked in and Regan was sitting in a bed, reading something. I walked over to her, she was really beat up, but she had a smile on her face as I came closer. She put the book down, "Cora, I'm so glad you're ok!", she hugged me, her dirty leotard getting dirt all over me. It was barely visible though, I was already covered in bruises and mud, "I was so worried about you Regan!", I hugged her back. We talked for a while, you know normal stuff the sweet and the sour, how my trapeze could use some practice, how she almost dropped a knife on her teammate Austin. The someone burst through the door, it was Dante, "Guys! We're going to a show in Vegas, next week!", he grinned. I smiled at Regan and we got up to go practice, but that was the thing, where were we supposed to practice.