A short story by Alexander David Esten

The following is a true story.

Bela Nicos was born to a poor family on a dusty Sunday afternoon.  He was a beautiful baby, healthy and strong.  He showed great dexterity and aptitude with his hands when he was a child.  His parents planned that he'd be a juggler in their traveling gypsy circus.

So, Bela was in the circus as a juggler.  He found the work entertaining, but nowhere near thrilling.  Even juggling knives gave him no thrill.  So Bela found other ways to have a good time.

Pretty soon animals would show up dead, their jaws a bloody mess.  Bela's parents didn't know what was happening.  Each town they visited, they would find animals dead after a few nights.  They didn't know what was happening.  They were losing money, for towns no longer wanted them to perform.  The townsfolk thought it was a curse.  But, reader, it was no curse.

Eventually, Bela's parents were broke.  The circus had gone bankrupt.

All the acts had to be fired.  Esmerelda, the seductress, whose stealing still couldn't keep up with the sinking profits, was let go.  Kintar, the strongman from India, was fired, also.

Bela was heartbroken to hear of Esmerelda's leave.  He was in love with her.  And his parents sent her away.  Bela decided at that moment to have his revenge.

His parents were found dead the next morning, their jaws stained with dried blood.  Their teeth were missing, as well.  The townsfolk knew not what happened, nor did the town's leaders.  Bela was the only clue, and he was nowhere to be found.

There then were a rash of murders along the countryside.  The victims were not of any special kind, they were beggars, animals.  They were wealthy in life, and they were paupers in life.  They were all innocent strangers.  They were all dead.

Nobody knew what was happening.  They blamed the Devil, they blamed witches, they blamed demons.

Bela was never found, never caught.  To this day he eludes his pursuers.  And to this day, the murders keep happening.

This is a true story…