He ogled at the golden clock! Puzzled, wondering. He looked from it to his pouch, held it against the big clock to compare sizes.
“Naaaahh, that’ll never fit!”
He slid aside in a moment of dance and grabbed hold of a golden watch in a deft swipe.
“Uuuuu, now I can get those socks I’ve been dreaming about! Hehe,” he put the watch through the pouch. “See, it’s the darnest thing! My hand is there with the watch, but only the watch disappears! It’s amazing, don’t you think so?!”
He glared back! And he had a huge grin on his face, he looked right at the young couple on their pajamas who were grabbing on to their bed sheets like they would shield them. They looked both terrified and confused.
“What? Is there something on my face?!” He poked his left eye, slightly protruding it out of the socket. They both winced at this, freaked out. “HAHAHAHAHAH!!”
He turned and continued going through all the drawers, trying to contain his amusement. They had woken up to that, him going over their things with the giddiness of a child perusing his birthday presents.
“What are you doing?” The man had asked.
“Stealing,” he had explained, “I’m in this competition, ya know. I need to take things and put it in this pouch, is this valuable?!”
“Ah never you mind,” he waved aside, “when in doubt! Put it in the pouch!” He laughed, doing just that.
He was dressed in one of his clown outfits, a black thing with red stripes here and there, complete with a jester hat that had a black side and red side. He forgot which. And then there were the funny details. His hat seemed part of a tight-suit that went inside his clothes, and it seemed to be stitched to the skin of his forehead. His whole face was painted too, white, with black on his lips and in the eyes in a way that when he closed them, they would draw crosses, a cartoon drawing of him being dead.
Then there was the cape, which was cool, and his freakishly long limbs were wearing cloth that would stretch and deform weirdly, to give them an appearance of being mutated or otherworldly, when in fact they were just socks and gloves.
Hugo Martins, dubbed The Circus Freak due to his origins as a circus clown and acrobat, had the greatest sense of humor! It was at its best when anyone near him was scared, or freaked out.
He went through their stuff, delighting in the awkwardness and fear that exuded off of the two residents, he could hardly contain it! Because of that, he randomly giggled and joked while searching.
“Oh wow, what a pretty ring this is!”
“It’s our engage–” Hugo closed his eyes and looked back at them with a huge smile. “I…it’s our engagement ring…” she managed to say.
“Really? Wow wee, great work affording something like this! It’s so significant, huh? I guess I don’t have to give it to the pouch.” He eyed it with eyes closed, interested.
“Yeah, I’ll wear it!” He put it on his finger, cackling in joy.
He laughed some more as he continue to go through all their things. Eventually, though, the noise proved to be too much. A commanding voice called out from below.
“Hey! Hey in there! Is everything alright?”
Hugo turned at the two of them with a wide amused grin and they whimpered in silence. They wouldn’t talk.
“HELLO? Forgive me but I’m coming in.”
“Well, it seems like it’s time for me to leave, you’ve been so hospitable though! I will really have to return.”
Humming some circus music, he span his way to the window in a sort of mocking dance.
“Oh how I am enjoying this thing, I really am!” He held his hand to his chest in yearning, “I hope I get to meet some more of the others soon, I really do!”
He heard the yell from below.
“I can hear you up there, you bastard! I’m coming!”
Both the resident husband and wife, still young in their twenties, much like Hugo, were shivering, they didn’t know what to expect and that left them feeling so frightened. He loved it.
The door started to get beaten. But it was on the ground floor, he still had a long minute.
“Stay here in case he escapes through the window,” he heard from below as he sat against the window, his back turned to the street.
“What? But that’s like the third floor.” He grinned at the two, eyes wide open so they could see the dark brown, almost black, of his fun-loving eyes.
“Just do it!” The door gave way.
“By the way, would either of you know what the shadow conclave is?” They looked at him wide-eyed, fearing even trying to interpret the question. “Hey now, come now,” he snapped his fingers, calling to their attention. They looked aside at the door, hearing the guard getting closer up the stairs. “Hey, on me!” He shouted abruptly, clapping his hands, and they shivered and looked at him with the greatest of faces…he couldn’t help it, he just started laughing.
“The look on your faces! Ohhh maann!”
“Oh but really, Shadow Conclave? Ring any bells?”
“No,” she also replied.
“Ah well, someone oughta tell me about them already, eesh. But hey, at least I’m not the only one who doesn’t know, eh?”
The door was kicked open and Hugo reacted with a scare.
“WAH!” His body leaned back and all he heard was a “no!” from the guard who tried to stretch a hand towards him, but Hugo fell. “Whaeeehh” He back-flipped, tried to grab the window sill on the first floor and while he connected, his body rebounded off the inertia and his hands off the sill. He back-flipped again “wow wee!”
“Whoa hey!” The guard had not the time to react before Hugo landed on him hard, crushing him against the ground and knocking him out inside the armor.
He looked down at the guard under him and scoffed “ha!”.
“Wha…you bastard!” He looked up at the voice and found the guard, spear in hand, looking down at him.
“Haha,” he laughed, “what can I say? I’m a sucker for men in armor, I can’t help falling for them!” The guard’s forehead twitched in anger and Circus Freak winked at him.
“Though sometimes I fall too hard, I’ll admit to that!” He got up and sped away, laughing. He could be heard from several feet away but there was no way the guard could catch up in a normal chase, let alone when he still had to run down some stairs.
This is so fuuunn!!
Every moment in the competition reminded Hugo of the first month after he had left the circus. He didn’t know much of anything about anything, he was just going around people’s houses getting what he needed, and then running from the police. He had been caught several times but it was difficult to keep someone who could manipulate the body like he could. Very difficult indeed.
And now he was at it again. He’d been contacted in a mysterious way, told he was invited to take part in the “Shadow Conclave”, and for the life of him, he did not know what that was! Everyone he asked didn’t know, there was a cop who had heard of it, told Hugo it was an underground organization. Criminal.
But what help is that? That much was obvious. He eventually talked to an old lady in a hood but she talked really slow and had this one pen that could write without ink, he thought that was amazing! So he took it and ran, but he was caught, he still didn’t know how, it was magic stuff. He was then thrown into a wagon that took him to Japien. It was his understanding that a lot of shady individuals, professional thieves and criminals, were competing with him to see who made the most money.
And as he turned a corner, he saw one of them, pushing someone against a wall.
They both turned to him, flinching as he sped at them faster than they expected. He stopped a feet away from them with a giggle, eyes closed. He leaned forward.
“Wacha doing there?”
“What does it look like, clown? This spot’s mine, take a hike.”
“I am taking a hike, I’m just taking a pause from taking a hike. Are you robbing him?”
“No, what? What’re you–… he’s giving me money so I can eat. Or else,” the boy made a fist. And he was a boy. Wearing some kind of school uniform, shaved white head, he sure looked intimidating.
“Please don’t, just here,” the man gave the school boy a wallet. The boy took it and pushed him away, allowing him to run away.
“So what’s your name, kid? You people all have this nickname, right?”
“It’s a title,” he replied all flustered, “mine’s The Schoolboy.”
“Pfff,” Hugo laughed, “very imaginative.”
The Schoolboy frowned at him, “what do you want?”
“For you to check this out!” The Circus Freak grabbed his head and turned it all the way around. He span so he could look at the boy and see the horrified look on his face.
“What the bleedin’ hell, man?!”
Properly stunned, the boy staggered back, not really sure where to go.
“Wait!” The Circus Freak cart-wheeled and jumped with a little flip to land right in front of the boy, head still turned wrongly. “Tada!!”
Feeling the fear of not being able to run away from him, he stumbled around for a couple of seconds, frantically trying to figure out where to go.
“Just leav’me alone! Go steal your stuff and lemme steal mine, yeah?”
Unbeknownst to the boy, who was looking back at the Circus Freak while walking back, a guard was just turning a corner, to see what the ruckus was about.
“What is this, then?”
The Schoolboy immediately turned “Oh bollocks”. He tried to run but the guard quickly grabbed hold of his collar.
“You a thief, runt?”
“Uh, no sir, I certainly aren’t.”
“You just said you were, you lying runt. I’m taking you in.”
“But sir officer sir!”
“No buts, we’ll sort you out in the morning, we will.”
All the while, Circus Freak had gone into an alleyway, out of sight, and laughed into his hand.
The look on his face! This whole thing really is priceless!
The Circus Freak was not aware of how rich he was, he never bothered to keep an account of his wealth, but he knew he had a lot and he felt like not even all of it would be worth the look on these world-class thieving faces whenever he did his thing.
Meanwhile, he now had a small neighborhood to rob and little time to do so, since the local patrol was taking a schoolboy to his room.
Giggling, he ran around the wall and kicked open the door to the house.
“What was that?!”
Again, he was inside a two floor house. The voices had come from up the stairs, most undoubtedly the residents waking up because of the noise. He grinned.
The Circus Freak sent laughter up on up, up the echoing empty hallways of the house, it was a cackling which would make anyone’s bones shiver and tremble.
“I’m coming up,” he said in response.