Tears of the Troupe
Story by Wolvun
The long drive outside of Samhein was getting to James and Cindy.
James wore a simple brown coat and dress pants. A man of simple culture, preferring this attire to the standard office power suit of his peers, he looked comfortable in it even outside of the office. His wife, Cindy, wore a sundress even in the slowly chilling air. She was the one that most reluctant to change with the seasons.
Both of them had come to visit some family members that were excited to see them. What was strange was that the family were horrified that they had come during the Hallowe’en festivities. When else would they have come? Nothing else happened in this town until the leaves turned and Hallowe’en was in the air.
Then they insisted that they stay the month! This was supposed to be a short trip. It had been nice to see them but would it have hurt if they acted a bit more consistently? Perhaps they believed the old legends. Who knows.
They needed a break though, and decided to take a quiet nighttime drive together to get some time just to themselves. They drove until they passed outside the town borders, enjoying the scenery in the night.
The empty black road stretched out before the couple. A strange melody came floating though the night air. A strange cacophony of music. Like that of a carnival. But this late at night?
A coloured wagon came into view. Tilting on its side off the edge of the road. The axle splintered in the middle.. Several brightly clad figures standing around in small huddles. One of the group working the broken axle bits out.
Pulling aside, the two approached to offer some help. The figures were dressed like harlequin clowns. Each of them wearing such boldly colored clothing, gaudy even in the dark night. Each figure also wore a carnival mask. Going over the top of each of their heads and covering their eyes and nose. The sound of bells hung from the mask-like hoods. Their eyes obscured, the masks stylized into expressions of laughter.
The car’s headlights illuminating the white make up each of them were wearing below their head coverings. Red streaks poured down their cheeks, creating a look of slightly sinister tears of laughter. They spoke pleasantly, explaining that while it was kind of them to stop, they had already contacted their boss who was on their way.
With a loud thunk, the wagon was righted with James’ help. The performers seemed pleased to see them. Talking excitedly about all the shows that were going on this month. Cindy nodded and talked eagerly. Recounting memories of performances she had seen before while James curiously peered inside one of the wagon’s wood barred windows.
For such a small wagon, it sure seemed large on the inside. James could see one…no, three rings set up. As though this wagon was set up like those old big top tents he had seen in movies. He had thought this wagon would be empty with it on its side, yet there stood what looked like a clown. Quietly juggling messy white balls on a coloured platform.
Cindy came over, asking what James was doing. He pointed though the window. A performer opened the wagon door. A smile and a gesture offering them to to step inside. If they were curious, why not go see the performance?
Hesitant but curious, the two entered.
Stepping over the rings, the couple could see empty stands and hay around the track. Truly the inside of the wagon looked like a real big top. Right down to the smells. In the distance, she could hear the sounds of animals. Yet it was the clown that drew their attention.
Without stopping her juggling, she turned to face them.
Milky white eyes framed in smeared white makeup. Red flecks dotted about her hair and hands as she juggled. Even in the dim light, they were now close enough to see what the juggler kept tossing through the air.
What they had thought were merely white balls they could now see trailing red ribbons coming out of them. Rings of color on each of the balls. Tossing and turning through the air.
The wagon rolled onto the Samhein Estate. The Clown juggling eyes and her troupe of performers began climbing out and heading inside. Dozens, hundreds of them all streaming out of the tiny wagon. Along with animals far too big for the a normal wagon to bare.
Yet, amid the sea of colors, two performers stuck out. A performer wearing a brown coat and dress pants grinning, alongside another performer in a sundress. Masks obscuring the upper half faces, leaving trails of crimson down their cheeks as they followed The Clown inside.
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