The Circus of the Golden Circle

“Ladies and Gentleman!” The echoing, dulcet tones of a man billowed across the damp cobbles stones of an obscure London side street. Gas lamps flickered in the slight drizzle that ran down their glass defence like fat tears; casting an eerie orange glow across the wet surface of the world.

The man’s long Stockman coat flapped about the mind like the wings of a giant bat, his white face the only thing that shone in the darkness; his wide grin framed by long black hair and a towering top hat.

“Ladies and Gentleman, your attention!” the few people who were out at this late hour slid past him like a group of eels trying to avoid the hungry gaze of a predator. Not to be dissuaded from his mission he slinked forward, his suit and tie wet from his hours in the rain and approached a gentleman who had been minding his own business, smoking a cigarette against the window of a shop.

“Good sir. You have the mark of a Gentleman who enjoys the thrill of the fantastical.” The man took a long drag on his cigarette and blew out a long, thoughtful puff of black smoke. He didn’t say a word.

“Illuminate your mind Sir with tales of old evils from dark times long forgotten. I can promise you an evening that is unparalleled with delights and thrills the like of which you have never seen before! Magic and mystery await.” The street seller poured over his hands, moving them in ways that looked mystical and foreign to his uninterested one man audience.

The door behind them pinged open, the bell above the wooden frame announcing the exit of a petite lady. Her brown hair was pulled tight and covered with a light blue bonnet, lace decorating the delicate edges and exaggerating her large green eyes. She hitched her black, full length skirt up as she stepped delicately over the threshold, showing over her brown patent shoes for the world to see. The man offered her his jacketed arm and the street seller sensed that he was loosing his grip on the situation.

“Lady! A beauty such as you must be interested in adventures? A woman of such rapture, and yet I sense, one of great intellect as well.” He moved swiftly, almost too swiftly and stood before the couple.

“What’s this?” She asked, tugging on her leather gloves as she spoke and offering the curious man before her a baffled smile.

“Nothing Lilly, just a street vagabond attempting to lure us in with pretty words. We’d best be back before the weather turns for the worst.” Her surly partner interjected. He rapped his cane on the cobbles in impatience, feeling the rim of his bowler hat beginning to wet his slicked back hair.

“No Madame! I simply aim to entertain and delight. Our little travelling company of theatre hands is in London for one night only. We promise to dazzle, entertain and enthral in ways you have never experienced.” He kissed her hand with a flourish.

“Oh Jeremy, lets!” She exclaimed, clasping her companion’s arm. “It sounds like such a lark. Oh please lets!”

Jeremy’s eyes moved from his eager young wife to the sly street seller, he didn’t like the way his eyes twinkled with the promise of mischief but he never had been able to deny his girl anything she’d asked for.

“How much?” He sighed, putting his hand in the inner pocket of his dinner jacket.

“For you Sir, not a penny’s charge. I insist.” The seller grinned a sickly smile and ushered them a couple of steps down the road and into a creaking wooden door that sat a little crooked on its ancient hinges.

“Well would you look at that? Isn’t it marvellous Jeremy?” Lilly gasped, full of delight and wonder as they shuffled into their seats. The room was rounded, like a giant lecture hall filled with uncomfortable wooden benches that stacked up and up the great tall walls. Dim light from candles and the odd gas light flickered in the darkness making the round clearing in the centre of the room just visible. It was unexpectedly busy.

“I can’t see a damn thing in here.” Jeremy muttered, straining into the gloom to pick out the odd face in the crowd.

“Hush dear!” His wife, tapped him on the arm, embarrassed by his harsh language. “It’s probably for dramatic effect.” Jeremy huffed in disgruntled annoyance.

“Ladies and Gentlemen of London Town. I bid you welcome, to the greatest show you shall ever have the pleasure to witness!” It was the street seller again, standing on an old wooden crate in the centre of the room. His tall, black top hat stood imposingly on top of his head as he swirled a great black cape about his skinny, pale frame. No one had seen him come onto the stage; it was like he’d just dropped out of the sky. “A world of mystery, wonder and a little fear awaits you. Come, join us, follow us on our journey. Welcome, to the Circus of the Golden Circle!”

A mass of bodies spread out onto the stage, glittering costumes of all manner swirled around in the half light, winking at the audience. From somewhere towards the back of the room the whining, pitiful sound of a violin being badly played echoed across the vast space. Lily shuddered a little at the sound.

The characters on stage swirled around, contortionists crammed themselves into tiny jars, their crooked limbs bowing and bending like broken branches behind the glass. The fire eater, swallowed mouthful after mouthful of scorching flames, barely blinking an eye as he set his enormous beard on fire; his endless smile forever grinning out at the audience. One tall, willowy woman, towered over the crowd on giant stilts, balancing on one precarious leg.

There didn’t seem to be much plot, nothing amazing or exciting. The frozen grins on each and every pale, white face serving as the only chilling element to the whole charade. Something was not quite right.

Jeremy scanned the scene, and thanked God that he hadn’t paid for this tirade of drivel until something caught his eye. The chandelier winked at him from the ceiling, catching the light as it gently swung to and fro from its chain. Its gilt design was battered and worn, half the diamonds missing and not a single candle alight in any of its holders. He peered and leaned forward. There was something, some shape sitting atop the fixture. A figure, someone up there, holding onto the chain and watching the crowd below, shrouded in darkness where no one could see them.

He sat up, suddenly a little alarmed. He went to tap his wife and thought better of it, no good in worrying her just yet; it may be part of the show. Glancing around into the crowd he watched as dark, hooded figures streaked behind the back rows, weaving past each other as silently as the wind across a field. They were everywhere, they were surrounded.

Turning slightly he made to grab his wife’s hand; he didn’t like where this was going, the sooner they could leave the better. As he turned  his feet squelched with the movement. He balked and looked down, turning his once shiny shoes into the light. Something was splattered across the dark surface, reaching down he swiped one finger across the shoe and brought it close to his face. He leapt back in surprise at the blood that dripped from his finger tip and pooled under his nail.

“What is it darling?” His wife’s worried face floated into vision, he could see some of the other audience members starting to crane round to look at him too. They all had that same, sickening grin.

“We need to leave.” He hissed. “Now.”

“The show hasn’t finished yet.” She pouted, oblivious to the many faces now trained on them. Their deathly white skin reflecting light like death himself had visited them.

“Trust me.” He dragged her to her feet roughly, suddenly painfully aware that the music had stopped. Putting a hand protectively around Lilly’s waist he pulled her to him and glared around at the sea of faces. Every single one in the room was turned to face them, staring, sizing them up like wild dogs about to leap in for the kill.

“Jeremy?” Lilly’s voice was shaky; suddenly frightened as she began to grasp the gravity of the situation.

Something hit him on the head, only lightly but enough to get his attention. He looked down as a droplet of glass from the chandelier fell onto the floor with a tiny thump as loud as the explosion of a gun in the silence. With a racing heart and a stomach full of dread he looked up, slowly. The chandelier had stopped swinging, the man upon it leaned into the light displaying his taught, ancient face. Unhuman and ungodly, wild with delight and anticipation. He craned forward and tilted his head to one side, his long, black hair falling over his face a little and exposing sharp, pointed ears. He barred his teeth and in that moment both Lilly and Jeremy realised, the chase was up.

The Littlest Vampire’s Birthday Surprise

The Littlest Vampire was very excited. Tonight he would get to ride his very first steam train. The trains had never run at night before and he was so very keen to see the black pluming smoke and feel the prickling of dust in his eyes.

He stood on the moonlit platform, shrouded in his little black cape and with his father’s best top hat sitting atop his tiny head. The brim fell over his eager and bright eyes, obscuring his view of the star speckled sky.

The silence fell in droves around him as he waited for the train to arrive; excitement carving its way through his stomach like a sink hole. He glanced from left to right, hoping to catch a glimpse of its sparkling headlight in the distance, but something else caught his eye.

A dark figure sat upon the hard metal bench that loomed up out of the darkness a few feet away. Tall and imposing, the person made The Littlest Vampire uncomfortable. The shadow turned its head to face him, its bright eyes reflecting in the half light of the moon.

It was a man, tall and thin sporting a mess of facial hair and long red locks that reached his shoulder blades. The suit he wore gave him an air of sophistication and importance that the little vampire envied. The man grinned across the platform at him.

“I like trains.” He said, filling the silence with his deep and mellow voice.

The Littlest Vampire crept forward, taking tentative and slow steps on his chubby little feet.

“Today’s my birthday you know.” The man mused. “I’m travelling to find myself a top hat. My old one is all battered and bruised now so I thought I’d treat myself to a new one.”

The vampire crept so close he could rest his nose upon the arm of the seat, his wide saucer eyes gazing up at the man who stared out into the blackness and he wondered about him idly.

His little face lit up in the darkness, suddenly illuminated with the light of the on-coming train. Excitedly he bounded forward, his cape flapping behind him in the breeze.

The man stood, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his great, long trench coat. He moved not a muscle as the little vampire danced and whirled silently around him. The steam and smoke billowed up as the great, black engine roared into the station.

The Littlest Vampire gaped at the locomotive, open mouthed and awe struck, taking in its huge size. The man had stepped up into the train and now stood there in the doorway, a small smile playing on his lips as he watched the tiny creature become consumed with happiness.

Holding out a hand the man helped the little vampire scramble up into the carriage.

“Welcome to the Orient Express.” He gestured about him to the finery that the carriage played host to.

The vampire gasped with joy and wonder and twirled happily around in erratic circles; trying to drink in every last drop of splendor. The man had settled himself into a seat at the back of the dining cart; a cup of sherbet lemon tea in one hand and a saucer in the other. The little vampire peered around the door frame of the neighboringcarriage, a silent plea in his black eyes.

The man peered at him over the rim of his china cup, his reading glasses slightly fogged from the steam that rose in little clouds from the sweet liquid. Placing the cup and saucer on the table he patted the seat next to him. The tiny vampire let out a small squeak of delight before running full pelt up the doorframe, across the ceiling and down the back wall of the carriage to do a tiny summersault into the seat next to the man.

The giant poured a little lemon tea into his saucer and slid it across the table to the vampire, who chugged it down greedily, little drops of tea sliding down his chin. His happiness filled him like a warm, fuzzy glow of sunlight, pouring into his soul.

The man huffed in frustration as he attempted to fill in his crossword, his wooden pen with the gilded name “Luke” sprawled across it in golden lettering.

The little vampire was thoughtful. The man had been so kind to him he wanted to give him a present, it was his birthday after all, but what could he give his giant? He took off his top hat to scratch at his head as he pondered the question.

It suddenly came to him, a flash of inspiration. Turning to face the man he pulled his feet up underneath him and sat upon his haunches with an eager face. He held out his top hat, stretching across the small space between them to put it into the man’s upturned hands.

The Littlest Vampire grinned from ear to pointed ear as the man raised one eyebrow at him in surprise.

“Happy birthday Mr Luke!” The small vampire squeaked in delight. The man smiled as he let the little vampire place the hat atop his head. His look was now complete.

The Little Vampire who went to the Beach

The Littlest Vampire Sketch by  Alarura https://alarura.wordpress.com/

The Littlest Vampire Sketch by Alarura https://alarura.wordpress.com/

The littlest vampire had always loved the sea. The moon shone in dappled freckles across its shifting surface; reflecting back a light from the sun that he could no longer see. Something about the beckoning call of the crashing waves seeped into his soul and pulled at his heart strings. The littlest Vampire was lonely. Normal children did not suffer the blood lust, they could play in the sun without the itchy scratch of imminent disintegration. They still had parents, the littlest vampire had eaten his a long time ago. Darkness was his only friend now. When the clock struck midnight every evening he would creep excitedly through the streets of the nearby village, skulking in doorways and under bridges until he reached the white shore. His little bucket clunked against his leg, the hollow plastic sound penetrating the silence. Under the soft moon light he sculpted sand castles, chased crabs along the sand, struck with his supernatural reflexes at the fish that swam underneath his feet. In sudden fits of elation he bounded, jumped and twirled across the beach, kicking large clumps of sand up with his clumsy feet as he went. Tottering slightly he span around and around in a moon beam, reaching out his chubby little fingers to the sky to grasp as the moths that danced in the light. A large purple specimen floated down ethereally to land on his outstretched index finger. It flapped its huge wings, tickling the Littlest Vampire’s hand. He wondered what it would be like to fly, the soar away into the night like the bats that hung upside down in his cave. He’d tried to fly once and give himself a headache with the effort and crashed into a trailing wall of ivy that dripped over the local haunted house. The butterfly took off suddenly, its juddering movements flicking his colour through the air. The Littlest Vampire chased him, his feet pounding across the sand. One foot got caught in the other and he stumbled, flying through the air, arms outstretched. He landed with a thump on the soft ground, his face buried in the sand. Spluttering he propped himself up on his elbows to rub the dirt from his eyes. Two little feet stood in front of him, slightly turned inwards with chipped pink nail varnish over spilling onto the skin of the toes. The Littlest Vampire raised his head slowly, if he had any blood left in his undead body he would have blushed. A little girl stood before him, dressed in a white frilly nighty. The hem was dirty and a little wet from walking through the surf, her black ringletted hair coiled like Medusa’s around her, framing her startling green eyes in her pale face. In her hands, she grasped a bucket and spade. The Littlest Vampire looked at her, suddenly afraid; he’d heard stories of pitch forks and bonfires. What if this little human tattled on him? Humans were mean creatures and the Littlest Vampire was scared of their fear. The girl slowly reached down to put her bucket on the floor and stood inspecting him with an understanding look. She tilted her head a little to one side and smiled, a bright, brilliant white smile that showed off her young vampire fangs. The Littlest Vampire smiled too, suddenly filled with elation. She reached out a small hand, slightly blue and veined, he could see the dried blood underneath her finger nails. Reaching up he clasped her little fingers with his and allowed himself to be pulled upright. The Littlest Vampire and his new companion gazed at each with a look that only the creatures of the damned understand. Picking up their respective buckets they walked away hand in hand across the beach, off into the moonlight.

Shadows

Gray’s shoes resonated along the long, dark corridor like the rapping of impatient fingers upon a wooden desk. The smart, rapid click of his highly polished shoes gave off the demeanour of a man in a hurry. The dawn was just beginning to think about peaking over the horizon and the sky was tea stained with a smart pink that hinted at the bright day to come. To anyone watching him from the shadows they wouldn’t have seen anything out of the ordinary, simply a man clothed in a black trench coat stretching to his highly polished formal shoes. One lace flapped idly in the breeze that scuttled over the bare floorboards, barely catching the attention of its impatient owner. The shoulder length black hair curled lightly around Gray’s shoulders framing the pale face that was barely visible in the shroud of his upturned collar.

The door to Gray’s bedroom slid open as silently as a breath of wind. Throwing off his trench coat and prying off the tight shoes, he gazed around the room with keen eyes. At first glance there was nothing irregular about the place; from the dark, oak desk littered with papers and financial documents to the strong backed arm chair that stood proud next to the large fireplace on the southern wall. The only startling thing about the place was the lack of light, even at this late hour the vague waxy shine of the waning moon light should have been creeping through the slits in the curtains that remained hurriedly pulled to did not penetrate the thick darkness. He shifted his presence over to the window and took one last longing look at the rising dawn before dragging the curtains together to completely envelope the room in darkness. He reached up and using the index finger of his right hand gently wiped away the winding tendril of blood seeping from the corner of his mouth before lifting the lid of his coffin, the satin as inviting as the softest pillows. Lowering himself in the vampire closed up the lid and settled down for the day.

The footsteps of someone approaching the heavy door of his bedroom could only have been heard by his keen vampire ears. The sound of padded feet crept their way up the winding staircase of the stately English home. Shifting his position in the chair he’d moved himself into Gray hurried his face into the deep shadows cast on his left hand side as the door gently swung open a crack on the hinges. The light from an oil lamp spilled into the room, creeping its way around the doorframe and pooled around a delicate pair of bare feet that appeared in the doorway. The petite toes stopped short of the carpet, tentatively bending over the wooden instep that separated Gray’s inner sanctum from the outside world. A small, brunette head peaked around the doorframe, nervousness showing through the haze of fascination in her eyes. Amelia; young, sweet, fresh and pulsing with a life so strong it made his heart pound with longing to drain it from her.

As she stood in the doorway; her hair coiling around her pale pink cheeks and a dusting of the ends falling prettily on her chest; he praised himself for his impeccable choice. A desperate silence fell upon the room as the pair took in each other, unsure of the first move that should be made; Gray, nonchalant in his uncaring fashion and Amelia, mindful of his difficult moods and brooding stupors. The silence dominated and all but swallowed them until one dared to break it.

“You required my company Master Gray?” The vampire sat forwards, his elbows now resting, poised on his knees; his flawless white complexion falling into the light available for his scrutiny. Her sharp intake of breath was the only indication she had seen the vampire light in his steady eyes. He shouldn’t really have asked her here, she was too lovely to be playing his usual games of cat and mouse with, but it was that beauty in the face of his unnatural evil that drew him to her. Still he said nothing as he beckoned her into the room with one long, pale finger that curled enticingly with each new gesture. From the moment her delicate feet touched the carpet she was destined to die.