Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Midnight Circus

The rain had stopped for the time being, but the moisture still hung in the air like a thick curtain and Mab, for one, loved it. It kept their soft, green membrane nice and wet, the way it was made to be.

About ten years ago they had lived deep within the tropical rain forest of Indonesia where the air was constantly heavy with water vapor from the regular downpours. They remember the small shack they had built with the help of some of the locals. Hardly anyone ventured that far into the forest, so Mab was freed from their human disguise- no wig, no makeup, nothing. It was a simple life, but of course, as Mab is usually inclined to, they grew bored of the isolation and left not a year later.

Sometimes they still miss Indonesia, but mostly they just miss their lips not being perpetually chapped and not having to carry a tube of moisturizer everywhere they went. It was so bloody dry in Winthrop most of the time, and Mab praised any sign of rain.

That morning they awoke to the faint shouting of a man outside of their apartment (they thanked their lucky stars that they weren't on one of the lower levels, else the noise might have truly been a distraction. As they peered through their kitchen window, pulling on their wig and scarf in preparation for work, they could see a garishly dressed man standing at the bus stop- obviously the source of all the racket. With a deep sigh, they hoisted up their window to see if they could possibly hear the man and see what all the hullabaloo was about.

"For one night only! Come see some of the most beautiful and enchanting creatures of all the earth! Come see the albino tiger, a beautiful miracle of nature, who has never before seen the light of day! Creatures of all shapes and sizes..." The man continued, feverishly handing out slips of paper to everyone who passed. Mab couldn't help but roll their eyes. A circus was in town, wasn't it. What a load of baloney.

Mab's... er, condition had landed them in many a freak show and circus alongside caged and abused animal. A horrid industry, it was.

They left their apartment with an hour left before work. Whenever Mab had time to spare, they headed to one place: the greenhouse. It was a little overgrown and neglected, but Mab tried their best to keep the plants living through the harsher seasons. Many of the plants their were even planted and cared for by them, which they took great pride in. But when there wasn't any plants to be watering, Mab found solace sitting on the bench on the far side of the greenhouse, where no one bothered to venture.

They found a few minutes of peace when they arrived their, looking at the churning grey clouds above them until they heard the sound of dry grass crunching under footsteps. "Can I sit here?" The person asked, but without even waiting for a response, they plopped right beside them. A rather odd thing to do, considering their was plenty of other seating in the area. But Mab didn't mind the company.

They began to sketch with the dull end of a charcoal pencil, making a soft etching sound against the paper. Mab watched uneasily until they finally decided to speak.

"I like your style." Mab didn't take their eyes off of the paper. "Of drawing, that is. It's pretty."

"Oh, um, thanks. That means a lot."

"Don't mention it."

More silence. Mab's thoughts wandered back to the man she saw that morning. "This is a bit unrelated, but did you hear that the circus is in town?" Mab looked at their watch- half an hour to go before work.

"Oh, yeah." The girl continued to sketch. "It's a little strange, though. I don't remember them ever coming into town." She swiftly brushed a stray clump of hairs behind her ear. "And that guy? At the bus stop? He gives me the creeps."

Mab let out a breathy chuckle. "I wouldn't know, I didn't get a very good look at him. His pants are... eugh." They wrung their fingers nervously with a soft smile, making sure to keep their pointed teeth behind their lips.

As Mab grew more comfortable in the girl's presence, they chatted back and forth for a few minutes. About the rain, the circus, the apartments. Small talk, nothing more. But at one particular thing the girl said, Mab laughed heartily, displaying their teeth to the world. Their monstrous, razor like teeth. As soon as they realized what they had done, their eyes widened and they immediately moved their gloved hand to cover their mouth.

"Is that...?" The girl looked at them funny, and the only thing Mab could think of to do was run.

"I have to go." Was all they said before they sped off, hand still covering mouth.

Mab didn't even get the girl's name.

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