Mar 16, 2013

The Carnival Without Clowns

When the carnival danced into the town, Sheriff Cowen wasn't so sure about their intentions. 

For all that they were, the dancers, magicians and jugglers in the carnival looked normal, but something was amiss about them. There was a trick of light when you looked at them that didn't let your eye rest on them for a time longer than it took to take in their presence. 

But the winter had gone on for too long and now that sunny days were here, the town needed some entertainment. So the sheriff relented and let them all in. This was his last wrong decision as a sheriff, because he forgot to notice that the carnival didn't have even a single clown.

The carnival folk set up their shop in the open ground behind the town hall and when night fell, the lit up their torches and lamps that bathed their tents in a golden light. The townsfolk came to see the carnival like moths to the flame. 

The jugglers juggled things, the rope walkers walked the ropes and the few sorry animals with the carnival went through the motions of entertaining the crowds. 

And boy, were the crowds entertained. 

The children hooped and hollered and laughter, the adults clapped and the teenagers scuttled away in the dark corners to do the dark deeds that teenagers do. Still, there were no clowns!

When the program for the evening ended and a collection hat was passed around filled with coins and paper notes of all kinds, the people went to their homes. Entertained and satisfied, they slept unaware of the fact that they had refused to notice the un-existence of clowns.

When night fell and the town slept, Sheriff Cowen heard a noise that woke him up. He got out of his bed and went outside. The town was burning. A child ran past his house with his night dress on fire and two clowns chased him on pogo sticks. The flames that burned the houses kissed the night sky and more clowns pored from the fire to create mischief and mayhem. The clowns had come.

Sheriff Cowen went back in his house and tried to sleep. He was still awake when the flames reached him.

Mar 8, 2013

The Gift - 8 - It All Ends in Fire

Razvik stood in the sunlight and let it wash all over him. He liked the subtle heat that spread through his skin and warmed his core with a golden glow. He was going to cause some mayhem, might as well enjoy the sunlight. He went back in the van that was parked some distance from the big bazaar.

"Will this end your problems?" he asked Elina.

"For some time to come. Without the bazaar, they can't send gifts out in the world. And without the gifts, strangers won't end up here."

Razvik nodded. "Hook up the keyboard. Let's do this."

The black keyboard shimmered in the dull light inside the van. One side of the van was occupied by a large screen on which a green cursor blinked with a muted urgency of waiting for something to happen.

Razvik took his place in front of the keyboard. He placed his fingers on the home keys, and started to type. The ground under the van shook and for a small moment his fingers were distracted from the keyboard. He got back on track and started to type. Outside, people were starting to scream. He had a maniac grin on his face by then. Elina looked out of the van's window and a shadow of doubt passed over her face. Had she gone too far by letting Razvik know what he was capable of? A geyser of molten lava erupted a few feet from the van and the heat made Elina shade her eyes and duck back into the van.

Wazif was looking at Razvik with a hypnotized expression on his face as the small man typed away to glory. The keystrokes grew louder in the small confines of the van and each time his finger struck the key, it jagged a ragged little nerve in Elina's brain. She knew the man had gone too far and it had to be stopped. She took out her gun and pointed it at Razvik's head. The van turned turtle in that instant. Elina fell into one of the seats and hung on as the van started to spin. Razvik sat in a floating bubble with his keyboard and the screen. Elina saw her gun float up to her face. It came closer and from the corner of her eye, she saw Razvik grin at her.

"What have I done?" she thought as the bullet sprayed her brains all over the dash of the spinning van. Razvik didn't stop typing. The van started to come apart around him and the pieces broke away. He floated there with his screen and his keyboard and he entered his final wish into the keyboard, crossed his arms and stared at the screen with a glaring anger.

The world around him started to bleed from the edges. There was a stink of sewage in the air and the wind picked up speed as it spun the broken fragments of the world that he had destroyed. There will be no more gifts. There will be no more travelers to this side. There will be no more of what once was. He took a deep breath and released it.

He was standing back in the field where he had entered the big tent. He looked at his watch. Only few minutes had passed and he could still make it back before the lunch time got over. He looked at where he had parked his car.

It was on fire.

The End

Mar 6, 2013

The Gift - 7 - Home Keys

The gun to his head was less of a terror compared to the blinking cursor on the screen. He forced his mind to work. To say something. To make the fingers hit the keys and write something that will save him. And nothing appeared on the screen. The barrell of the gun pushed into his skull, sweat pored from his face and got into his eyes, but he could not take his hands off the keyboard to wipe off the sweat.

Then, something clicked, and his fingers moved.

The sweat disappeared from Razvik's face.

He felt the cool sensation of sweat taking off from his face and he smiled.

The gun is a carrot.

The gun in Elina's hand was a carrot. And this made her laugh. She laughed loud and hard, bent over double with the carrot in her hand like an obscene trophy.

"He did it!" She pointed the carrot at her brother who also had a smile on his face.

She bit into the carrot. "Look, Raz," she chomped around a piece of carrot in her mouth,"you've to help us, man."

He looked at her. How easily she had switched to asking for help when just a few seconds ago she was threatening to blow his brains out of his skull. But Razvik was a gentleman.

"Sure, what kind of help do you need?"

"You remember the fair where you first came to this side?"

Razvik nodded.

"We need to burn that shit to the ground. We can't have more people coming here. It's creating a havoc with the magical ecosystem."

"Why can't you do it?" he asked as he put his fingers on the home keys once more.

"We're not allowed. Only someone from outside and someone with the right set of skills can do something like that."

"The skills with the keys." Wazif added as he picked the dishes from the table. "We'll go there and then you can do your keyboard magic to make that place dust. Then you can go your way and we can rebuild this place the right way."

Razvik thought for a few seconds and then he nodded. This was a way to get back home for him and it'd also help these people. A voice in his head asked him, how far he was willing to go with the keyboard? He didn't know the answer.