Uri flicked a stray blade of grass off of his leather boot and looked across The Meadow to the small grove of ancient oaks. The branches shuddered as if suddenly cold. It was time to go. He could feel it. He needed his orders though. He stood and arched his back. The Ringmaster usually wasn’t this late contacting him. Usually no sooner than he had flicked the blade of grass and noticed the trees then something would’ve happened. But moments had passed. Something was up.
Uri took his beaten up top hat and smacked it a few times against his thigh to release the dust. With great flair he placed it on his head at a slight tilt and began to walk. So the circus was on the move again and he must go to the chosen town and give fair warning. He was the Herald after all. He sighed. He’d been at this gig for an unknown amount of time. That was the way of things in The Meadow and with The Jackman Brothers Circus. Time passed...in its own way.
He looked around. Open fields as usual. In all these moments he’d never seen anyone else. That was also the way of things. And even though it had been only moments since he was last amongst the circus performers & its visitors, he still retained the ache in his heart that was very real.
Uri rubbed his chest and held back a sob.
‘The way of things...,’ he murmured.
He didn’t know it’d be like this. Lonely. His first memory was this pain, an unbearable ache in his chest. He next noticed the grassy fields of The Meadow and the concerned gazes of the Ringmaster and the Magician. They informed him, that he was ‘Uri’, the Jackman Brothers Circus’ Herald and had been with the magical circus his entire life. However he had suddenly become ill and to reduce his pain, he resided in The Meadow. For his safety he only left when the call came that the circus was on the move. At this point he would go into town and spend the day generating excitement about the circus’ arrival and on the side, try to find his replacement. He would have 24 hours outside before he needed to return to The Meadow. Since his first memory he had left The Meadow ten times. His time outside seemed like partial moments while his time in these fields were endless...and yet it had only been a few moments ago when he was last with them.
A sudden breeze caught his attention. Uri looked up to see a slip of paper on the wind. Uri grinned.
The paper swirled and curled around itself as it glided towards him. Once it neared it quivered briefly until Uri quickly snatched it from the air.
He gently uncurled the white paper and read the note:
We’re on the move to the town of Kilman. Remember, talk about the circus and possible job opening and we’ll see you in the evening. But only 24 hours on the outside and then you must return to The Meadow. The pain in your chest is really too much and The Meadow is the only place that safely reduces the pain. It’s a lonely life, we know, but we want you to rest assured that we’ve been screening all applicants, but with no success. Unfortunately we’re very selective, but we feel we’ll have luck in the next town. As before we wish you luck.
Uri gripped the paper tightly and let out a shout! Another chance to be free!
Oh sure the Jackson Brothers and company had been good to him. They sent him notes and little trinkets...all of which materialized in a similar fashion as the note. It made the moments between shows easier to bear. But the show was losing its appeal. Even though between shows seemed only moments, time felt indeterminable. But his heart could not be fooled. It knew the truth of how long he’d been here and it had been a long time.
The faint sounds of civilization wafted towards him. He turned and walked in their direction. After some moments he could make out the outskirts of Kilman as The Meadow quickly gave way to a paved road.