Pennyfellow Circus

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All you wanted was to catch a bus home after picking up some books from a stranger. But what would you do if you suddenly found yourself in a circus from years ago? The only way out is to buy a bus

Fantasy / Adventure
Leah Gray
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Start writing hThere’s a lilt of music in the air, something soft, romantic but a tune which would easily fade from the memory when it stopped playing. You’re not sure where the sound was coming from, perhaps it was down the beaten path or across the rickety bridge.

You slam the book shut and look around. There was no beaten path or rickety bridge, not for you at least. The music though was still there, a lilting song that grew and fell with the wind. Looking around you try and place the sound, here and there catching moments of the song. It was to no avail though, as the wind let it slip easily from all around.

Sitting at the bus stop, waiting for the old 139, you feel suddenly alone. There was nothing but a small field behind you and a road that needed more than a few new layers of tar. You had only come to pick up a few books from a fellow that lived in a house behind the field. He had been an elderly gentleman and as you had sipped tea he had told you of the amazing things which used to go on in the area. There had been a great circus when he was a child, which had brought hundreds of people onto the piece of land. After that it was used for cattle and since then, as he had grown old, the weeds took hold. The name of the circus eluded you, but you remember that when he said it it had surprised you. It was a name close to you, as if something you knew had been named after it.

You smile to yourself, he was a friendly sort and the tales he told of the circus were extravagant. There were roaring lions and dancing elephants, people on tight ropes with people peering up from beneath them. Wondrous colours and sights and noises. He had proudly pulled out a fraying brown picture of him in an oversized ringmasters jacket and hat. The picture had been taken by his father, who could see himself in the smiling child.

You hadn’t realised the music had stopped. Now there was nothing, only the whip of the growing wind shared its sound with you. Suddenly you see the bus rumbling towards you over the slight hill, kicking up the dirt as it went. Jumping up you wave to it, not wanting to be left sitting on the lonely park bench in case he doesn’t see you.

With a sigh it stops and with a creak the doors open.

“To Pennyfellow Lane please.”

The bus driver takes your few coins and the ticket machine begins to etch out a note.

“Don’t pick up many people out here now,” he says as the machine slowly stunts its way through the ticket.

“First time I’ve been out here,” you say. “I was picking up some things from someone who lives around here.”

He scratches his beard. “There was a circus out here once, there’s some high tales people tell about it.”

“I heard, it sounds like it was fun.”

With a final heave the ticket finally pushes out and the driver hands it to you.

“You ever been to a circus?”

You stare into his deep blue eyes. “No, I haven’t.”

He gives a slight smile. “My favourite parts the music.”

You take the ticket and sit down near the front. The bus is completely empty, bar the driver and you lean back against the window. The main town was a good half hour away, probably a bit more and you settle yourself in for the ride. Opening your book you find your page and begin to read, oblivious to the countryside flashing past outside.

“Here we are, last stop.”

You look up. Were you in town yet? You have lost track of time entirely. Peering out the window you see darkness and only the faint sign of things outside. This wasn’t town.

Quickly you get up and walk to the front of the bus.

“Did I miss my stop?” Maybe you had fallen asleep.

“No, here’s your stop.” He opens the door and a gust of wind blows in.

You’re starting to panic. You have no idea of where you are and the bus driver isn’t helping.

“I want to go to Pennyfellow Lane.”

His eyebrows screw up.

“Pennyfellow Lane? That’s not what your ticket says, and a bus driver who doesn’t stick by the ticket should be ashamed of himself.”

You had used the ticket as a bookmark and hurriedly you yank it from the book, trying to read it desperately in the small light of the bus.

With a shock you look up at the driver, who’s smiling at you with those deep blue eyes.

“This isn’t right, please can you take me to Pennyfellow Lane?”

He shakes his head. “Sorry, one way, end of the line.”

“How do I get back?”

“The first bus back is at 6am, that’ll take you home.”

You nod. It wasn’t ideal, at all, but it was a way.

“Thank you.” You don’t want to do it, but you step off the bus, watching the bus driver in the hope he’ll tell you it’s all a joke and you can get back on.

He doesn’t say anything though and you find yourself standing on the side of the street.

“One more thing.” He leans towards you. “Make sure you’ve got the right ticket for the bus, you can buy them in there.”

The doors shut with a surprisingly chirpy clang and the bus pulls away. You’re left standing on the road, staring out at the darkness on the other side. There’s a lilt of music in the air, a sweet, romantic song, which won’t be remembered when the music stops.

You turn around.

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