The carnival is over
Canard felt the blood pooling in his brain and it felt like his head were an expanding balloon that was about to pop. The wire tightened around his neck, arm and leg. He was yanked in three directions, they meant to pull him apart like soft bread or a really fucked up pinate.
With his free hand and the last of his strength he pulled on the wire around his neck. Yanking the mime with the shaved head forward and off balance. The mime allowed a small smirk to creep across his face as he stumbled and leapt forward.
Canard dragged him forward with all his might and with a last desperate effort with the only blood left in his stump. He flicked his hidden blade in his peg leg open and cut the bald mime’s arm clean off. The smile didn’t move even as his own blood spattered on his still white face.
Canard had just enough time to cut the wire around his arm before he was pulled off his feet by the wire still wrapped tightly around his good leg.
He bumped his head a little and it felt like falling in a dream. He blacked out for a split second and then allowing for the rush of blood back into his brain. The oxygen back into his lungs he was awake again digging his heel in the dirt.
The fucker was dragging him, reeling him in like a fish on a hook. The one with his arm off calmly picked up his other arm up, maybe he wanted to see if he could reattach it with a little glue and tape.
Canard instinctively shot a glance up and behind the one that had hold of his weapon arm was advancing from behind now. He had to act fast or he was fucked.
He dug the pointy end of his spear in the dirt to try and slow him down. Then he got a cute idea and tossed some dry dirt up into the air that looked like an old man farting dust. Hardly the smokescreen or the mud in his eye that he wanted.
“Fuck it!” Canard spat as he angled his spear like a harpoon and lobbed it at the mime dragging him.
The mime dropped the line turning instantly to catch the spear out of the air.
Canard cursed under his breath as he quickly slipped his foot free of the wire “Shit, that worked last time” He could feel the one behind him closing.
Suddenly he felt like a crab on his back and rose up like a spider and did a fancy break dance spin. Trying to do his best impression of a blender and maybe take out the fucker behind him.
The one behind was too fast and nimble and had seen the blade coming from a mile off and summersaulted clear over the bladed spinning top.
The three were together now, the bald one with one arm on the right still smirking holding his other arm like a club. The one with his spear and the other one on the left. They paused for a moment allowing Canard to see how fucked he was.
Canard stood up and dusted himself off, he glanced over at them and sighed a little “Well, what are you waiting for?” He said as he held his arms out welcoming them to kill him. Hobbled slightly to one side as the knife on his peg leg elevated one side like a high heel shoe.
The mime with Canard’s weapon was eager, emboldened by his new toy.
Canard pointed at him and made a stupid face.
Pookie drove his blade up and under the mime’s jaw and pushed it all the way until he heard a scraping cracking sound. The mime’s spiked club fell in a stunted arc and scratched Pookie’s cheek as it fell from the mime’s limp lifeless arm.
“Over here!” He heard a familiar voice calling him.
In a cloud of brown and orange dust Riki’s little buggy skidded into view on what was left of the road. Riki leaned out and signalled Pookie. Pookie hiked Jersey up higher on his shoulder and cast a glance back at Efron and the dog and then over at Canard.
The mime with Canard’s spear lunged at him in a full speed dash with every intention of turning Canard into a one legged duck kebab.
But to Canard that was the most obvious way to attack, the acrobat pirouetted effortlessly to one side. Letting his spear to pass and grabbing it in both hands along the shaft. In one fluid motion he stepped on the mime’s chest and rolled him backwards. Making good and sure the mime’s body weight sunk his peg leg blade deep into his liver rolling back and launching the soon to be dead prick up in the air.
He landed on his back flopping like a fish out of water before some sensory mechanism kicked in. He flipped back to his feet dropping half a quart of black blood on the sand.
“Ya know it’d be really great if you guys could stay down.” Canard spat through the hard slit that had become his mouth.
The mime who had his spear moved mechanically, as if all sense had left him and only a husk bent on primal slaughter remained. He lunged towards Canards back, the acrobat leaned on his spear giving an exasperated sigh as he heard the mime’s feet scraping the sand towards him.
Canard turned his upper body in one fluid motion and drove the spear over his shoulder piercing through the mime’s skull. The shaft moving so fast it shot in and out like a piston. The mime stood swaying the last one to get the message that he was dead.
Canard drove the point home as he drew the blade up in an arching slash across his chest. The strike splitting him from gut to sternum, he fell almost in two pieces into the loose earth.
“Hey are you done fucking around over there?” Pookie shouted.
Canard turned to look over his shoulder at the two remaining mimes who stood like they were carved out of terracotta.
“Yeah I’m done” He said as he edged an imaginary line. Never taking his eyes off the two that remained as he hopped his way over to Pookie’s voice and the rest of the gang in the makeshift mystery machine.
Likewise the two mimes eyeballed him so hard his balls started to hurt a little bit like when you sit on them wrong.
He broke away from them at a loose dash and looked back and saw them standing there, not following. The night sky behind them orange and backlit by the fires and the rising smoke. Looking like some funhouse smoke machine, the lights just leds flashing. The mimes watched them go and then vanished into the smoke.
He got to the car as Pookie was loading the girl into the back. Efron and the dog were already sitting comfortably like they’d been waiting there the whole time.
“Hey get in” A familiar but odd voice said.
“What the hell’s he doing here?” Canard asked as he gawped at the weird fumer kid Brandon sitting in the drivers seat.
“We’ll talk about that later, wait is that, Jersey? What’s with that shit on her face?” Riki asked as Pookie bundled her into the back.
“We’ll talk about it later” Pookie said. “Drive.”
“The sword is part of you, when you cut, it cuts.” The old clown master said wistfully to the young boy with the clown face.
“When you fight, think not about whether your sword will cut or you will be cut by another’s blade, only think of defeating your opponent”
“Nothing exists but defeating your opponent. If you think only of intercepting their blade you will lose. If you think only of dodging their blows, you will lose. Victory is found in the mind of the one who has already won.”
“If you cannot seize victory in your own mind how will you make it a reality?”
“Most importantly, if you must die, die with a smile on your face”
A sharp pain, a muted scream as they tattooed his face so he would never stop smiling.
A strange fluttering noise woke Pookie from his dream.
He rose onto his forearms to look around and he was in some place that was not familiar with and could barely recall how he got there.
It looked like the inside of a shed or barn, some habitat for beasts. The floor lined with straw and what looked like feathers or fur.
The fluttering sound was close and in flew a strange small white creature with a yellow beak and feathers. It was making a weird noise as it skittered about the room.
Trundling after it came a strange fat girl with pigtails and a ruddy face wearing worn denim dungarees. She caught the creature and gently held it close to herself. Noticing Pookie was awake her face widened with stunned surprised and without a word she fled out of the room.
“Ah you’re awake” Riki said as he ducked to enter the small wooden room. “You sure do sleep a lot” He laughed. “If I was some desperate outlaw running away from the circus I don’t think I’d be able to close my eyes for a second.”
“Yeah well” Pookie sighed and shrugged.
“Right” Riki said nodding as he picked up a piece of straw and started to pull at it and play with it.
“Where are we, what happened last night” Pookie asked.
“Beats me brother, but during all the confusion that kid Brandon showed up in my ride and I wasn’t about to ask any questions.” He said as he started to rip pieces of the straw and drop it onto the wood floor. “This is his place, well I guess it is, the fat girl is his girlfriend or his sister, I don’t know, she doesn’t talk much.”
“Are you gonna train him now?” Pookie smirked slightly.
“Maybe, gotta start my clan again from somewhere.” He sighed as he threw the straw pieces on the floor.
“All your friends are dead” Pookie said.
Riki laughed wistfully but couldn’t hide the sadness in his laugh “Jersey made it, thanks to you.”
“Jersey” Pookie said almost as a question.
“She’s ok, she’s still out but she’ll be fine.”
“Was she one of them?” Pookie asked.
“In another life perhaps.” He laughed.
“What did I do to make her want me dead all of a sudden?”
“She thinks you brought them here.”
“Hmm, maybe I did.” Pookie said.
“Maybe, but I can’t blame you for the actions of others.”
“What are we doing here?” Pookie asked defiantly.
“Surviving.” Riki sighed “If you need me, I’ll be around the farm” Riki said as he started to turn.
“Wait” Pookie said.
“I need you to train me.”