Circus Chapter 2: Shak
Circus Night 2
Shak was a young, working male. He had always been self sacrificing. He was seen as the nicest person his friends met. Shak was a busy body. Always on the move.
Shak woke up from a nightmare. In a cold sweat, he looked at his hands shaking trying to pull himself together. As he went to get up for the bathroom, a hand grabbed his wrist.
“You gonna leave already? I was comfy.”
“I’m just going to the bathroom.”
“Okay, hurry back.”
Heading to the bathroom, Shak went past his digital clock. It displayed nothing. Shak stared into the sink of the bathroom, taking deep breaths he started his daily mantra: “You are a good person. You do your best. Everything happens in time. Hard work gives a strong foundation. You are important.” As he looked up his mantra started to change.
“You have to be strong. You have to be kind. You have to be there for them. You have to do the right thing. You… You weren’t to blame… It wasn’t your fault…”
Shak looked up in the mirror to see a dark male with long black wavy hair, and eyes black with hints of green flecks.
“You KILLED ME!”
Shak fell back into the tub screaming. Shak heard a knock at the door. “Babe?”
“I’m okay.. I’m okay.”
The door creaked open slowly. Shak looked over to his girlfriend standing in the doorway. She walked in and hugged him as he caught his breath. As he calmed down he felt her holding him very tightly. Her nails started to sink into his back. He arched his back in pain.
“Shak…”, she called out in an airless voice. He looked at her only to see her face was slowly melting and asked in a distorted raspy warped version of her voice. “Am I not pretty?”
Shak began to hyperventilate as he could hear that sound. The sound that had been haunting him. The rolling gargled clicking sound. Something black was rising out of her melting face making the noise. It was almost as if it was calling to him. As if it was trying to say his name, but was so terribly distorted that it just couldn’t form human words. Shak let out a scream and continued to scream as the black thing continued to grow and morph into a shape all too familiar to him. He screamed until his voice dried out just before the thing jumped into his mouth and stuffed itself down his throat.
Shak jumped out of his bed and fell on the floor, breathing as if he was just being suffocated. His girlfriend ran in and tried to help him up from the floor, knocking his digital clock to the ground. It read 8:05am. As he got to his knees, Shak vomited on the floor. “Baabe, I told you, you drank too much last night.”
Shak was being looked over by his girlfriend after he woke up again. She told him that he’s okay, but he should stay home with her today since she doesn’t have to work. He could rest up and she could take care of him. Not wanting to let down his boss, Shak argued that he was needed at work. His girlfriend argued that he can’t work in his condition. He fussed about how he couldn’t call out so close to clocking in. She won the argument by telling him that she already hid his keys. He groaned and laid back down. She told him that she would drive out and tell their boss that he was sick for him and telling him to get rest. He reluctantly agrees.
“Remember, get some rest babe.”
“No staying up for games. You need to sleep.”
“No company either.”
“If you need me just text me. I won’t be gone long but I might go to the store while I’m out. To get soup and stuff. Ya know?”
“Are you even listening to me?”
“You better be sleep.” she said under her breath as she slammed the door.
Hours later, Shak woke up to his alarm going off. He lazily patted it, trying to turn it off. When he finally got fed up, he got up and realised that she had undressed him. He sighed. He turned off the alarm to hear a commercial on the radio.
It was a shame and a curse to hear that you feel so out of touch with your peers. Could it be that you put less important things first? Or how you push them away for your lover, makes you feel worse? Does your heart feels so heavy that you can’t think of words to say? How about how you shut yourself away everyday? Hoping that everything will come your way, but wonder why every night you cry? Sensing a darkness within you can’t deny? Is it more so that you want things your way, on your terms, and otherwise just won't do? Poor you. Even if there's more to your story. Don't grab a pen or paper, just come with me. Enlist communication skills that will help you keep focus. But until you learn to be a better person, welcome to The Circus
Shak raised his eyebrow before turning off the radio. After taking a shower, he came back to his phone to see that he had 6 missed calls and 15 messages from his girlfriend. He decided that he needed to get some air and left out to go to the park. He stopped by his usual outdoor restaurant, Chef’s. After ordering his usual pork chop ramen, a black bird flew past his face. He ducked quickly, swinging at it. Hitting it, he yelled out how much he hates birds as it flew away. Before he could really go off, the dark red haired waitress with gold-like eyes wearing round glasses cleared her throat. As he turned around, she elbowed him in the side.
“Shak-nii, I shouldn’t have to remind you, this is a family environment. Keep your ‘language’ to basic, please.”
“You looked a bit worn out so I added an extra chop, chives, and a side of white rice. No charge.”
“Aw, you didn’t have to. I’ll pay for it.”
“Don’t worry about it. Just get better, okay? Or I’m telling mom and aunty.” With that, Shak took off.
Sitting on the roof of one of the gazebos, eating his food, Shak watched the sunset, relaxing, trying to ignore his phone going crazy. Seeing his girlfriend’s car he slide down to face the music. Until he saw a little girl with brown hair that had black highlights and black eyes wearing a black and blue dress walking towards the river with a yellow balloon. Knowing that there was a very steep slope from the edge into the river, Shak ran off to stop her. He kept calling out to her, to no effect. He ran at his best speed to just catch up to her as she slipped off toward the river. Holding onto her tiny smooth hands, he gave out a sigh that he made it. She giggled feeling the water tickling her feet. He smiled in relief. Pulling her up, he saw her staring at the balloon floating away. Thinking she was sad he told her that he would get her a new one. Taking her to the swing, he looked around for other people.
“Where did you come from little one?”
“... Oh? Are you your dad’s little princess?”
“No? You don’t wanna be a princess?”
“No. I wanna be a knight.”
“Oh, okay.. You leave nearby?”
“How did you get here?”
“... Oh, uh do you have a relative nearby?”
“Well that’s a start. Where do they live? I can drop you off there and get you a balloon.”
“Ok.” she jumped off and began to walk away.
Confused Shak started walking with her, holding her hand along the way. “Oh, uh, I forgot to ask…”
“You have a nice name Mr. Shak.”
“I think that Gwen is a better name.”
Before he knew it, they were walking up to a huge black and green circus tent. Gwen gave him a few candies in orange and black wrappings and asked him to try it. As he began to chew it, Avery walked up.
“There you are Gwen. Where have you been?”
“Oh, really now?”
Shak swallowed the candy and rubbed his eyes. “Hi, I’m Shak. I found her. You must be her father.”
“Absolutely not. I’m her… godfather in a sense of words.” Avery raised his left eyebrow and smiled. “Since you went through so much trouble to bring our precious Gwen back, why don’t you stay for the show. Gwen has an amazing act… performance.”
“Uh, I don’t know…”
“Oh please stay, I would even allow you to come see her backstage after her performance.”
“I’m sure she would greatly appreciate it. It’s just her and her brother left from her family. It would mean the world to know that she had a friend that wouldn’t run from her. And you wouldn’t do that would you, Mr. Shak?”
“... No. I’ll stay.. But just for a little bit.”
Ladies and gentlemen, may I remind you to turn off your phones and refrain from calling the performers freaks. We prefer to be called Nightmares. Also if you have coulrophobia or arachnophobia please remain in your seats. The lights used in the next performance may make things seem different than they appear. With that being said, enjoy the wild skills of the Painted Posse and Spider-girl!
Avery sat next to Shak and gestured popcorn to him. Shak swallowed more candy before eating popcorn. The lights turned off. A Snake Charmer began to play as the lights came up to a soft dim. Belly dancers began to rise from within the crowd and danced around audience members as the song played. The colored lights made the dancers seem as though they were changing colors as they danced around, slowly making their way to the center. Shak froze up as one danced passed him. He saw that their makeup was that of clowns and dark carnies. Avery assured him that he missed the clown act, but there would be a greater one later on in the month. Shak assured him he would not be coming to that performance.
The dancers danced in the center as they began to pick up daggers. The music came to a halt as the dancers pointed daggers into the air. A drumroll got louder as the lights centered on the center pillar with a cloaked figure holding onto the side. The figure jumped off and fell head first with the drumroll. As the drumroll trailed off to an immediate stop, the figure shot off a thick string from under the cloak onto another pillar and swung around to the restart of Snake Charmer.
The crowd applauded in a lively manner seeing the figure swinging around by a single string with ease. The music came to stop as one of the dancers threw a dagger that cut the string and the figure went into a free fall. As the music started up again, it was to an upbeat egyptian style. The figure created another string after making a strange clicking sound. A clicking sound that sent a shiver up the spines of the audience. As the figure swung around, the dancers danced and threw daggers cutting more and more strings. Only for the figure to click and shoot out more. All of this led to the figure jumping down in the circle of the dancers that all stabbed into the figure at once.
The music faded. The crowd went silent. Shak stood up, nervous. As he mouthed the words, “get up”, the cloak twitched. Clicking could be heard at an alarming rate. The dancers jumped back as the cloak shot up with string sprouting out sporadically. The string bloomed out like a lily. Another wave shot out from the cloak, as it emerged, it began to spin with the cloaked figure. The strings captured the dancers and decorated the tent. In a flash, the inside of the tent was covered in the string-like flower design; the silken strands draped the dancers in different poses throughout it. The cloak was shredded, replaced with a dress made out of the string. It was at that moment that the crowd burst into a mixture of screams, silence, and undeniable applause. Shak’s gaze to the center of the ring in disbelief and awe as he and the audience saw the cloaked figure. A small girl’s body, wearing a clean white dress with a spider for a head. Shortly after, the crowd realized that the string was webbing. Before the audience would truly go into a frenzy of fear and anxiety, the announcer spoke.
The Undeniable Spidergirl! Everyone give her a round of applause and if you wish to take home some of her home made webbing don’t be shy. She works very hard to make her acrobatic act special for you.
The crowd gave an awkward applause that became a wild cheer for more as the Spidergirl showed her true colors. She became very bashful and her blush was so distinct, given that it made her face turn slightly pink and the fur on her spider body glitter, that the crowd couldn’t help but get to their feet and chant for an encore and compliment how cute she was acting. Her blushing face and glittering spider body made the dress on her human body sparkle more. It almost seemed as though she was glowing. The more embarrassed she was, the more she glittered, the more the dress and webbing sparkled.
After the show, Avery walked up to Shak. “Ready to go see Gwen?” Shak nodded his head slowly. Avery walked him to the smaller tents.
Shak looked around at the other tents and asked, “Where are the other acts? Doesn’t everyone stay here?”
“Everyone does sleep here, but not everyone stays here. Most of the performers sleep here, some actually have families or other jobs.”
“And they still work here? Are they from the Adams family or something?”
“No, but they do visit us from time to time.”
Shak stopped. “The Adams family?”
“Yes, they donate lots of money to see the living nightmares comfortable and free.”
“You lost me.”
“No, you’re here.”
Avery left Shak in front of a white and purple tent with black trimming. Shak walked in as he spoke, “Knock knock… Gwen?”
A voice called out to him, “Don’t come closer…”
“Gwen? Did you get hurt?”
“No… I don’t want to scare you.”
“So, that was you out there…”
“How did you do it?”
“I can make silk and webbings of all kinds.”
“Like a spider.”
“Yeah… Guess you won’t want to be around me now.”
“Everyone's a little weird. I can’t roll my tongue, but I can touch my chin with it. I like sex but hate relationships. I love to eat but hate most veggies. Everyone is different. If we can’t accept each other for our differences then we don’t really like each other now do we?”
“Promise you won’t freak out.”
“I can’t promise that, but I promise that I won’t hurt you.”
Gwen stepped out from the shadows wearing the white silk dress from her performance. Shak froze up as she completely revealed her head in the form of a spider. He asked her if it was real. She used the spider legs to move around the tent. She asked him if he was scared. He hesitated. She frowned with tears in her eyes. He stepped forward and wiped her eyes, all eight. She looked up in surprise.
“I am scared, but I don’t like to break promises.”
“Thank you.” she said, beginning to cry.
“Wow, for you it really is waterworks, huh? And your fur is actually really soft. Almost like a dog. You know this is the closest I’ve been to a spider without wanting to squish it. I’m sorry, is that insensitive?”
“No, there’s lots of ugly spiders out there.”
“Can I ask you how you were able to make yourself look human earlier today? Not that you’re ugly just really curious how that worked.”
Gwen giggled. “I’ll tell you it you if you stay the night and meet my family.”
“Are they spider headed people too?”
“No. My big brother can turn into spiders, Mr. Avery is like a dad, Miss Onyx is like a mom, and Cuddles is like the family dog.”
“Like? Well it could be worse, you guys could be clowns.”
“I know a clown.”
“I don’t want to meet him.”
Avery smiled looking at Gwen’s tent hearing her laugh for the first time in years. His pocket began to vibrate. He pulled out Shak’s phone to see that ‘Babe’ was calling.
Shak’s girlfriend was sitting on their bed when she saw Shak calling back. She rushed to the phone that was near the T.V., falling along the way.
“Shak, where are you?! I called work and your mom and no one heard from you. I tried to call your brother and your friends, but no one picked up. I think they’re still mad at me or something. I miss you where are you?”
“I’m okay. I just couldn’t find my phone. I went to this circus and asked the staff to help me find it.”
“What circus? I thought you didn’t like circus clowns? Why did you leave me? If you didn’t leave me nothing bad would have happened. I was worried sick because I didn’t hear from you and everything. You need to come home right now.”
“It’s really dark. I can’t really see and my phone is on 10 percent. Can you come get me?”
“Sure where you at?”
“Uh, the big top is near the forest on the other side of the old bridge. Could you hurry, I’m really hungry.”
“Yeah, I’ll grab you something on the way.”
She drove fast, getting through the lights and such until she got close to the bridge. Her phone began to ring. She answered, “I’m almost there baby, you okay?” There was no answer. She started slowing down, still trying to get a response. “Shak?”
In a low whisper she heard from behind her, “Keep your eyes on the road.”
She quickly turned her head back. “Shak!?” The car swerved. She snapped back to the front and stopped just before the bridge. “Shak?!” She looked back again to see nothing.
She rubbed her eyes in disbelief. She thought she saw a man with grey skin in a black vest and eight red eyes glowing from behind messy black hair in the back seat. But he wasn’t there. She picked up her phone seeing she was still on a call. Asking if Shak could still hear her.
“Yeah, I hear you. Was that you crashing?”
“You can see me?”
“I saw the lights. I’m coming to you now.”
“I’ll meet you.”
“Stay on the phone.”
She began walking and saw a figure in the distance. She ran up, upset and excited. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t last long as she saw that the figure was Avery walking up. She asked who he was. He politely answered her speaking into Shak’s phone imitating Shak’s voice.
“I am Avery. And it was interesting to see you in one piece.”
She took a step back and tried to run away, only to see a figure that looked like a small dog coming out of her car. The figure began to walk forward with an odd looking step and barking. It began to gallop towards her still barking. As it got closer the fear in her eyes began to leak out her face as her color melted away as she saw what she thought was a dog, was really a very large spider. It jumped up, wagging around her. She freaked out and kicked it into the wall of the bridge. It stopped moving. Avery’s voice began to overtake his perfect imitation of Shak’s.
“You really shouldn’t have done that. The more you hurt him, the more of him come.”
She looked over to see the spider breakdown into multiple smaller spiders. All barking and getting closer to her.
“You know, it is very funny how you were once his only problem, only to become the source of all his problems. Neglect, pain, suffering, loneliness, and isolation. From one to many, whether a problem or situation. There’s no solution like having cuddles.” He continued talking as if he was talking to an infant. “Show this bad lady a good time.”
Avery stood there as the spiders began to growl, click, drool, and hiss. Their fur became spiky, red, and black. The more she hit them, the more they broke down into multiple smaller ones. Avery turned away and with a devious smile and stern voice, “Sick her.” Thousands more of the tiny spiders came from the trees, both sides of the road, from the river under the bridge, and even within the bridge itself. They soon completely overwhelmed her and swarmed all over her body.
Avery walked up to Gwen on her bed and Shak in a web hammock above her. Avery put down a bag of food on the dresser. Gwen woke up slightly sleepy and asked where he had been.
Avery smiled. “I just needed to take Cuddles out for a walk and a short bite. He really is a sweet dog.” Avery tucked Gwen back in bed and as he walked out of her tent, he looked out at the nearly full moon. In the distance he could hear the howl of a dog, so he thought to himself while looking back at Shak, “Good boy.”
About the author
Start writing...I am the Author of Circus by Christopher Shavers and the Author in Faceless Entertainment. I love to write and perform. Be it me bringing nightmares to life in stories or my journey through poetry. Enjoy the Show.