The One and Only (12.6) – The Circus Freak

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FINALE

“You are? Well, good for you?” He raised an eyebrow, eyes still closed. “What an odd thing to announce. I’m led by fun?”

“What?” The man sounded confused, “no, we’re not…what is he talking about?”

“Bugger me, sir.”

“I think he doesn’t know what LBA stands for, sir. He heard as a phrase? We are being led by—”

“Oh, right right. You misunderstand, jester, I mean to say we belong to the organization that is called ‘Led By Anarchy’.”

“You called it verb by anarchy? That’s gotta get confusing, no?”

“It never has, Hugo, but I gather when someone is trying to rile us up, it will, yes.”

The Circus Freak smiled and opened his eyes in a twitch of embarrassment. They knew his name and were sort of onto what he was doing. He looked around, noticing people were standing clear, knowing a face-off when they saw one.

Strangers standing in front of each other, all looking menacing? Time to go back home and get ready to weather the storm that was about to erupt.

“Okay, I guess I’m pretty tired, I’ll skip some o’ the jesting,” he shrugged, “why’s your effort so important to me?”

“We hate the world,” the man said very commonly, taking an educational stance without a hint of emotion to the statement, “civilization has been set up by men who are good with numbers and little else. They play with the rulers, they play with the rules and the laws of government. It is an established system that is now central to the very construct that is humanity.”

The Circus Freak lifted his hands with a face of disgust.

“Lordly lordy lord. What are you doing? Tryin’ to put me to sleep?”

The man sighed.

“We told you it’s boring.”

“It’s what we believe in, darn it!” He clasped hands. “I don’t expect this buffoon to respect it but you sure will.”

“Yes sir,” they chorused, without giving any inclination to actually wanting to hear it again.

“We believe there is no real freedom to the world, lad, and so it should die. Be destroyed. The rise of the beasts presents the best opportunity to do this.”

“You’re helping the beasts?” His voice took a high tone, an octave too high so his surprise could be evident as lack of understanding. “What’d they offer you? East or west continent?”

“They offer nothing, they simply destroy and take over. Humanity will fall, and we will do our part.”

“Wait, so you’re one o’ those mass suicide cults?”

“What,” another of the three scoffed, “we aren’t religious, perish the thought.”

“Well neither are those cults,” the Circus Freak japed, “there’s nothing religious about just killing yourself. Dying for something, sure, but you’re just…what? What do you want from me, exactly? You want me to kill myself, is that it?”

“We will survive,” the leader simply said, “but not as humans. We will be free. We expect the Circus Freak would appreciate the idea.”

“Would he?” He closed his eyes again and grinned in amusement.

“You are notoriously free,” the man said, “or you try to be. You care not about factions, ideals, any of the sub-systems put in place to ensure compliance. You fight them all. We take it to mean you are a prime candidate for our organization.”

“What kinda anarchist belongs to an organization?” Hugo asked, confused, “I thought the idea was to be on your own.”

“The joker things he knows what anarchy is.”

“Tell ‘im, boss.”

“We have always done, each of us, what we please. We formed an alliance, not an organization. When the beasts rose, we agreed, unanimously, that it was a good thing.”

The Circus Freak raised the other eyebrow, eyes stills closed.

“Unanimously? Really?”

“The Mad Genius and the Eye included. They stormed their vessel to offer our assistance, did they not? And you aided them even then.”

“Sounded like fun, freaking aliens out,” he stated very excitedly, then bowing his head to the side inquisitively. “Do you know how that turned out?”

“We know. We don’t blame them for not trusting us – we are, after all, human. Liars and cheats.”

“Murderers,” Hugo added.

“Yes.”

“Cowards!”

“Just human.”

“Hypocrites.”

All three paused at that.

“Think he’s takin’ the piss, sir.”

“Excuse me?”

“Oh? Apologies, I thought we were playing a game,” he smiled, “listing the traits of someone who’d call himself an anarchist while being in an ORGANIZATION working TOGETHER on an ORGANIZED effort!” He laughed to himself, having a hard time of containing the ridiculousness. “On an ORGANIZED effort to help some crazy underground monsters to destroy the world! You know, you go then I go then you until we can’t think of any more!”

They stood in silence. Stumped.

“Well.”

“He was takin’ the piss,” one of them nodded helplessly.

“…I take it you won’t join us, then?” The leader asked.

“So you’ve run out? I got like five more!”

“Well then, I’m afraid you mistake civility and respect for friendliness, don’t you? I ask again, you are not interested, then?”

“If there were anything fun to do, of course I would, but you’re all a bunch o’ stick-in-the-muds! You just wanna kill, you don’t see the fun in any o’ this,” he opened his arms and spun around in a little dance, “and you dunno what being free means! I don’t know either, by the way!” He laughed. “I can’t put it into words.” He stopped in a bow-like pose, much like he would do to the crowd in his circus days.

“I just am.”

“I told you,” a familiar voice sounded out from behind him, punctuated by the sound of a pistol cocking into murderous readiness. He turned and opened one of his eyes, landing it on the girl.

Third time they meet. A fact that didn’t escape her.

“The third time’s the charm, they say.”

“Uuuu, I like sayings!” He clapped in a silly manner. “Here’s one for you.”

He heard more noises from his front and landed eyes on all three men, their armored arms had protruded blades, their gauntlets had produced spikes, and they were standing like boxers. Their helmets grew from their collars, taking shape around their faces, hiding them behind cold metallic visages that had big insect-like mouths that split to each side with numerous holes in it. It looked like a breathing apparatus.

“Surrender the book, there’s a good lad. We’ll make it quick and painless, we will.” The old geezer’s voice was filled with static and resonance.

“Now that’s not nice, don’t you want to know my saying?”

He felt soft-tissue brushing against his face and immediately ducked out of the way, he would not suffer the king’s fate. One of the machines thundered forward, the steps heavy but still fast, and punched at the Circus Freak.

He stepped out of the way and giggled uncontrollably. They were fast for how heavy they were, but they were still too slow.

“You put on a suit of razor-blades and steel plating and come after me? What’d you think would happen? A fight?”

He leaped back, knowing there was some attack coming from the Magnificent Magician. He landed, watching as a puff of sparkly smoke expanded where he had been. What effect the smoke had, he didn’t know – it was a curiosity he was okay with not satisfying. 

The back of the armor abruptly birthed fire. Four flames ignited in an instant, replaced by vapor the moment after, the noise of motorized turbines grunting into essence. The rush of smoke pushed the man forward as he also jumped, increasing the speed with which he moved, and with which he came down to punch him.

The Circus Freak did a little ballet twirl and easily avoided him, laughing as the man sunk his armored heels into the ground, scraping open a three-feet long gash across the floor as he forced his body into a stop.

Literally laughing his butt off, the Circus Freak turned and sped away.

But he quickly stopped and turned around, running backward at a speed that was still beyond theirs to catch without the suits’ propulsion.

“Oh right, that saying I have for ya, Magician!”

She frowned. She wasn’t chasing, she knew there was no use.

“See ya!” He hopped to the side with another deft spin, avoiding a motorized tackle from one of the armored geezers. “Don’t wanna be ya!”

He dove through a window of a house. His cackling filled the interior before another crash sounded out as he shoved his way through a door.

He turned again, and again. Made his way back to the barn where a man was waiting for him with sword in hand.

“Is this your hor–” The Circus Freak had had enough fun in that country, he was now very focused on extending that fun into other parts of the world. Because of that, he offered the man no time for a quick jape or any such theatrics, he simply rushed past the man with a quick jab that would knock him down for a few minutes.

He then freed the horses before mounting his own. He yelled and shouted to scared them away, they would provide additional tracks so his wouldn’t be so easy to follow. He liked saying he was crazy, not stupid.

Then he mounted and raced off.

Uhm…wait a second. How do I get in contact with the Shadow Conclave again?

They had not let him know. Perhaps they didn’t want him to return, but if that were the case, they would be sorely disappointed. He bet if he went back to the tower, he would find the cane man again.

Griff, right?

If not, eh, the place was full of people so whatever happened, he would have his fun.

That was the truth he lived by.

“It’s the ciiiiiirclee of liiiiiiiifeee!” He yelled out into the night, as he exited the city into the far empty escape of a snowy landscape full of hills. “And IIIiiii’m it’s freeeaaakk!!”

That was the truth. His chest swelled up, his heart more than happy with how he had spent his last couple of days. He was looking so much forward to the days that were coming.

“I prooowlll the niiight!”

Because no matter what happened.

“And I also sing!” He scoffed.

Then he giggled, then he noticed his horse was shivering, freaked out by him. That made him laugh out loud.

No matter what happened, or where he was, the Circus Freak would have his fun.

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