The curtain opened up and everyone began to enter and take their seats. Ringleader came down from his podium and approached me as I stood there. "Please follow me my lady!" he said as he stepped past me. I followed Ringleader to the back of the tent. He turned to me and said "In order for us to discover what it is you are afraid of we will need you to assist us today my lady! " I looked at him and realized I didn't have a choice in the matter so I nodded. "Good! Now please wait here" he said as he flashed me his intense smile. Again I felt myself shiver but what for I wasn't sure. "I must introduce the first act and then I'll be back." With that Ringleader walked to the center ring and began the show. I watched as he interacted with the crowd and saw how easy it was for him to speak in front of so many. Suddenly I heard someone approach me from behind. "Ringleader has away with the crowds doesn't he?" I turned about and came face to face with another man. This man was about five foot seven and had blonde hair with light red highlights. His attire was that of a jester with a black and white checkered pattern vest and white baggy pants. He wore a red belt, red choker, and red wristbands.
Under the vest, he wore nothing and so it was open showing his pale skin with a well-muscled and defined chest and abs. He looked at me and smiled. His smile was different from Ringleaders. Ringleaders smile was mysterious whereas this man's smile was mischievous and playful. When I looked at him I got the feeling he was planning something but what I didn't know. I looked at his face trying to figure out what it was he was thinking when I saw that the left top portion of his face was covered with a white mask. The mask had a black point star painted over the eye. The other half of his face including his smile wasn't covered. Just below the corner of the eye that wasn't covered there was a lone red tear painted on. The eye that wasn't covered with the mask was a sea blue but in it, one could see mischievous intentions mixed with kindness. The eye that was covered was a red color but not like Ringleader's eyes. This man's eye was more of a fire-red whereas Ringleader's were crimson like blood. "I am Jester!" the man introduced himself with a dramatic bow. He looked up still in a bowing position and said "I am the first act and you will be my assistant princess! Best hurry and get changed!" I looked at Jester a bit confused and said, "What am I to change into?" Jester smiled and suddenly produced a costume much like his own only in the style of a lolita dress.
The top part was red checkered and the skirt was white like his pants. The accessories were similar to his own accessories except that they were black instead of red. Holding the dress up Jester said, "I believe this will look beautiful on you princess!" Jester then snapped his fingers and before I knew it I was wearing the dress he had shown me. Jester stood in front of me looking and put his right hand to his mouth while thinking. "We have to do something with your beautiful hair princess! What to do what to do- Ah! I've got something that will do wonderfully!" This time a red ribbon appeared in Jester's hand. He snapped his fingers again and when it was done my black waist length hair was held back from my face by the red ribbon which was tied into a pretty bow. Jester clapped his hands together and said, "You look wondrous princess!" Jester once again snapped his fingers and I was amazed when a full length mirror was suddenly hovering before me. "Curiouser and curiouser! How did you do all of that Jester?" I asked stunned and amazed. Jester simply smiled and laughed. "Trade secrete princess! A jester never reveals his secrets!" I looked at Jester and said, "I thought that was a magician." "Ha ha ha! Neither do magicians!" Jester came and stood beside me. "We'll be going on soon princess, are you ready?"
I wasn't sure if I was ready or not. I was confused about how I felt at the moment. I knew I should be scared but for some odd reason, I was not. It was like I never knew what fear was in my entire life. "I'm confused about how I should feel and how I do feel. I know I should be frightened and wanting to get away from this place but I find that I can't." I admitted to Jester. Jester smiled as he watched the clowns doing their routine. We watched as the clowns performed their funny antics but someone else then caught my eye. Towards the back I could see Ringleader hiding in the shadows, hidden from the crowd and myself. I don't know how I knew it was him but I did know, I could just tell by the way he stood there leaning against the side of the seats. I watched Ringleader as he watched the clown's performance. As one of the clowns ran by him with his butt aflame the spotlight alighted on Ringleader.
I stood there unable to look away from the strange man. After a second or two, his strangely colored eyes met my green ones and he flashed his mysterious smile at me. I still couldn't look away even though I had been caught staring at the odd man. Jester asked after a few minutes of silently watching the clowns "Why can't you?" Having forgotten what I had said, "Why can't I what?" I asked. "Why can't you be frightened?" he asked as he looked at me. Forcibly pulling my eyes from Ringleader, I turned to Jester and looked into his oddly mismatched eyes. "I don't know how to explain it, Jester. It's like I don't know what it feels like therefore I don't know how to be frightened." He smiled and said, "But you've had to have known fear somewhere along the way in your life, don't you think so?" He continued to look at me as I continued to look back. "I guess so but I don't really know," I answered honestly. "How is it you don't know princess?" he asked with another smile. I thought about it but couldn't think of an answer as to why. "I don't know how I don't know."
At that Jester just laughed and said "Well princess that is why you are here! We will find out what you don't know! But let me ask you something," His eyes took on an eerie look, "do you really wish to know the answer?" I suddenly felt a chill down my back again and said "Yes." Once again Jester was smiling his mischievous smile, the eerie look had vanished. "Good! Ah! Looks like we're on princess!" The clowns had finished their act and were passing us as we were waiting for Ringleader to introduce us. I looked at the clowns as they passed us and realized they had masks on similar to Jester's but unlike Jester's theirs covered all of their faces except for the eyes. Where there should have been eyes were black holes. Seeing my confusion and study of the clowns' Jester explained. "They are just like the no-faces. So we have them wear masks to give them a face!" "No-faces? Like the people in the audience?" I asked him. Jester smiled and nodded yes. "And now ladies and gentlemen, I give you Jester our own King of entertainment and his lovely assistant Princess!" "That's us princess!" he said as he offered his arm to me. I took his arm and walked out to where Ringleader stood in the center of the middle ring. Ringleader turned to us with his mysterious smile and as we approached he whispered to me "Now is the time to find your fear, my lady!" Confused by his mysterious words I looked to Jester. Jester just smiled and winked.
Oddly enough I did not feel that Jester was a danger to me in the least. I felt comfortable with him. Ringleader, on the other hand, was an enigma to me. He was very mysterious and I had trouble understanding how I should feel about him. I was thinking this over when I heard Jester call to me. "Princess, are you ready to begin the show?" he shouted. I looked at him and snapped out of my thoughts and said with a smile "I am!" Jester stood opposite me at a distance of five feet. Suddenly juggling pins appeared out of thin air. I was still amazed at how Jester was able to do this and stood there staring at him facing the audience and juggling the pins. He then turned to me and whispered "Ready?" but I heard him clearly as if he were standing next to me. I nodded to him and whispered back "Ready!" knowing he would hear me. He smiled as he juggled the pins and then suddenly I saw one coming towards me. I caught the pin and like rapid fire, the others followed. After the shock of seeing the pin coming at me, I caught it and sent it back to Jester. Before I even realized it I was juggling the pins back to him as if I'd done it my whole life. I heard the crowd applaud. After a few minutes of doing this, I heard Jester once more whisper to me. "We are going to increase the distance between us now!" Suddenly instead of being just five feet apart Jester and I were ten feet away. The crowd was applauding even more. Before I knew it, there were twenty feet between Jester and I.
The crowd was amazed and to be honest I was too. I figured Jester's magic had to figure into this somehow but didn't dwell on it too much. I then heard Jester speak to me once more. "Now for the next trick! Watch out, this one is a hot one princess!" Suddenly the pins caught fire and now I didn't have just juggling pins flying at me but flaming juggling pins! Again I feared nothing; I only felt excitement mixed with curiosity. I caught the pins and was even more amazed as I realized the pin didn't feel hot at all. "Now for the final trick, look at me princess!" I did as he said and looked him straight in the face. As I stared I saw that his covered eye was an even more intense fire-red. It looked as if the eye itself was on fire like the pins. "Jester your eye!" "Concentrate princess! Focus on my eye!" I focused on Jester's eye and soon found myself being pulled in. I had the sudden sensation of falling into nothingness, but as suddenly as it started it stopped. I stumbled as I landed on my feet in soft white sand. In the not so far distance, I could hear the sound of waves crashing on the sand and in the air hung the wonderful scent of the ocean! I knew instantly where I was without even looking. I was at the beach not far from my childhood home.
I loved the beach! From the feel of the sand between my toes to smell of salt in the air! I remembered that when I was a child this was my favorite place to go when I needed to get away from family troubles. For me, the ocean offered a silent but dependable shoulder to cry on. It was there for me when so much in my life was uncertain and easily broken. In a way the waves were a gentle hand, there for me when all I needed was a gentle touch; the warmth of the sand a blanket ready to wrap me within its secure embrace; the sound of the surf breaking upon the sand a lullaby that gently soothes. I listened and took everything in. "Do you know where you are princess?" Jester asked as he approached from behind me. I turned quickly to him with a smile on my face. "Of course! This is my most favorite place on the earth! Can you smell the salty sea air?" When he reached me Jester stopped in front of me. With a sad smile on his face Jester asked, "I guess the more appropriate question to ask would be, do you know when you are princess?" I looked at him confused again.
Suddenly I heard a child crying nearby. I turned toward the shoreline and saw a small child with a little yellow puppy both sitting in the sand facing the water. The little girl shook with sobs as the puppy did his best to comfort her. "Who is she, Jester? Why is she crying?" "Look closely princess, you know her very well." I looked at the crying girl and began to approach her. When I was standing next to her I said, "Hey there sweetie, what's the matter huh?" The girl had chinlength black hair. I knelt beside her but still couldn't see her face. The puppy continued to nuzzle and lick the girl's arm making little whimpering noises. "Looks like your little friend here doesn't like that you're sad much. Dogs are a good friend to have when you're sad, sweetie." I sat down beside her remembering my own dog who did exactly what this little dog was doing for this girl. Suddenly a childhood memory came rushing back to me. Jester was beside me when the scene changed from the beach to the house that my parents owned. I heard more crying and looked around. When I went into the kitchen I found a woman sitting at the table there crying.
"Does she look familiar princess?" Jester asked. The woman lifted her head and I found myself looking at the face of my mother. Her shoulder length hair that was normally kept so nice was a mess. Her make-up which was always perfect was running down her face with her tears. Her green eyes that were always shinning and sparkling with life were dead and dull now. They looked like the eyes of a dead corpse. As I went to comfort her I heard the front door open and close. "Mama, I'm home! Guess what! I got an A on my-" The little girl rounded the corner to the kitchen and saw her mother sitting at the table. The little girl stopped in her tracks. "Recognize her now?" Jester asked. I nodded, before me stood the little girl I saw on the beach. The little girl dropped her school bag and went to her mother. "Mama, what's wrong?" she asked. "Do you remember this day princess?" Jester asked with a note of sadness in his voice. I nodded yes and said "This was the day my father died in a car crash." I turned from my mother and I crying in one another's arms. I looked up at Jester with tears in my eyes when the scene changed back to the beach. I was back with my younger self and my dog, tears flowing freely now. "Do you remember how you felt that day?" I looked at him and nodded. "I was scared. I didn't know what was going to happen to my mother and me after my father died."
"You felt sadness and fear princess. Fate dealt you a cruel hand that day and things only got worse didn't they?" Unable to speak I nodded yes and completely broke after that. As I collapsed I felt someone catch me. When I opened my eyes again I was back in the circus tent with Jester and the audience. He had his arm around me supporting me. "This is never easy but it must be done princess. Remember to be strong!" We bowed to the audience and exited the tent, tears still streaming down my face. I turned to Jester and said to him "Thank you Jester. I can't believe I blocked that memory from my mind!" He smiled at me and said "A human's mind is fragile, the subconscious will do what it takes to keep the mind from breaking. Even if it means blocking heart breaking memories princess. Just remember what I said and be strong!" I closed my eyes in an effort to stop the tears. As I did this I felt a gentle hand upon my face wiping the tear from my cheek. "Stay strong…" his voice faded and when I opened my eyes Jester was worried I searched for him. "Jester? Jester where are you?" I walked around looking for him. "Jester please, where are y-" "Did you enjoy your trip down memory lane my lady?"
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