CIRQUE by Ashleigh Giannoccaro
A boy looked in a window, to see a naughty show
Through the pane of pain, the master clown did blow
The circus is a holy tent, the keeper of my rhyme
Where I forged my chains, creating this pantomime
Pretending to be normal, I wait until after dark
Then I paint the frown on, get a whore from the park
At the bottom of that bed was a darling in a chest
She watched with big eyes, horror hooking her from rest
She dances for the maniac, twirling on her strings
I will make her mine, sharing damaged things
I will be her riddle, she will help me grin
So why does she run away, she has to let me in
No one loves the clown, not even the midget
We’ve gone too far, she will know my secret
Love can break the hardest mask, I know this to be true
Nightmares have hearts too, I only needed you
— EXCERPT —
“You have to come with us dear, this is against the law for a child to be brought up like this.”
My mum is ripping at the man who holds her back from me, her red nails clawing at his big arms as they drag her out of reach. Black streaks stain her face where tears pour over the perfect paint that makes her so beautiful.
The white haired lady is talking to me, but I don’t hear her; she pulled me out of the box where I was hiding away practising to bend like mum. I wasn’t done, I wasn’t ready to get out, mum was still busy with the clown man and I have to wait ’til they are done or I will get in trouble.
I want to be bendy like her so I can sparkle when the lights shine on me; I have to be useful to stay in the circus. The clown told me if I’m not useful I’ll get taken away. I was trying to be useful. He makes us all be useful, and I’m good at doing what the clown asks of me.
When I wait in the box like a good girl, then he teaches me useful things. Not like mum who teaches me to swing and bend, he teaches me other useful thing we aren’t allowed to tell about. It’s secret circus magic. The circus is a magical place and we have to keep it safe, outsiders aren’t allowed to know our secrets.
“I’m special,” I scream at the lady who is now pulling me by the arm, hurting me. “I’m special, I have circus magic! Let me go!” I dig my heals in, and cry and shriek, trying to get her off me so I can go back to the trailer where mum is.
I eventually get free and run, leaving my shoes behind, bare feet slipping on the wet grass as I hurtle back to my life, my home and my mother. She is crying on the clown’s chest, she sobs and points to a man standing at the black car outside the gate. “I knew he would do this, I knew he’d come find me.”
Wrapping me in her arms, mum’s chest shakes with cries that I don’t understand. I want the magic mum, I want to stay.
I don’t say anything, I just stay still and look over her shoulder into the dark eyes of the man who waits for me. His black suit and dark hair make him look like a ringmaster, he just needs a tophat.
“You can’t stay with the circus Immy, your daddy has come for you and he doesn’t have the magic.” Mum held me tight as I fell.
I fell hard, plummeted into the darkness where magic didn’t matter and nothing was the same. “Don’t forget you have the circus inside you, magic lives in you my little one. Keep practicing and you can find us again one day. When you can, my baby, you run away back to the circus, because it’s your home. You will always have it in you.”
The clown man looked angry and bent down to where I was on the grass, he made me feel the fear as he whispered in my ear, “Imogene, you can’t tell the secrets or I will find you and get you in your sleep. Don’t forget we are family, and that means not telling anyone.” I whimpered as my world was falling apart. “Remember what happened to the lady with the dogs who said I was bad? You know how bad I am Imogene, don’t you ever forget.”
My father fetched me from the circus that day, and my mother and the clown didn’t return with them the following year, or ever again after that.
The tent disappeared from my vision, but never from my heart. I have the circus in me. I always will.
As a youngster Ashleigh grew up devouring thrillers and crime fiction, favouring Jeffrey Deaver all the while reading Sweet Valley High to fit in with her friends. When thrillers didn’t give her the love and the romance novels didn’t pack the punch she needed Ashleigh discovered the small genre of Dark Romance and her heart was happy. Here’s where the lines of right snd wrong get blurry and the bad guy gets the girl, Ashleigh found the perfect balance of what she looked for in a book. When the time came to write her own stories she knew exactly what they would be, dark and twisted with just enough love. Colour My Ugly was published in October 2014 and since then it’s been a whirlwind of words and adventure that included a trip to the Books Are Bigger In Texas signing in April 2016 and six novels beings let out into the universe to challenge readers and hopefully leave a lasting mark.
When she’s not dreaming up crazy stories or creating villains for you to love, Ashleigh spends her time reading and supporting the Indie author community. Ashleigh has a passion for words and is constantly seeking new ones to read and write.