Hidden Freak, Part 2

This week we’re writing a Round Robin story. S.C. Green posted part 1 on Monday. Amy McLane will post the conclusion on Friday. For now, though, settle in for part 2 in our tale of circus weirdness…

Hidden Freak, Part 2

Fix reached the edge of the woods first. Bobby ducked beneath an elm branch and stopped beside him.

“Whatcha waiting for?” Bobby reached both hands up to grasp the branch and let his tall frame fall forward.

Fix said nothing. Just spit.

“Scared?” Bobby knew which button to push.

“I ain’t scared.” Fix’s bicep swelled as he squeezed his right hand into a fist. He sniffed and curled his lip like a gash. “Just looking for the right way in.”

Bobby kicked away a pine cone. “Uh-huh.” And he strode off toward the big top.

The fence surrounding the carnival was rickety at best. Easy pickings. The hardest part for Bobby would be to slip his height through unnoticed.

Fix followed him out from the cover of the woods, his steps scuffing the dirt faster to keep up. Neither spoke. Bobby kept his hands tucked in his pockets and felt his pulse knocking at his temple. Thinking and doing are two different things. But Bobby was determined in the doing.

The carnival hadn’t officially opened. Come dark, the place would swarm with the townspeople, curious to see anything outside the daily drudge of their dull lives. But now, midday on an otherwise sleepy Thursday, the grounds were all but quiet.

“Going through the front door, dumbass?”

Bobby hated when Fix took that tone. Same one he’d heard his whole life, teased and knocked around. So he didn’t answer. Just kept walking, listening to the wind rustling back in the woods and the occasional sound from the tents and trailers ahead.  When he got close enough, he rounded the chain link and headed toward the back. Later, the action would be inside the big tent, sure. But Bobby knew the trailers were the place to start. Bobby searched beyond the fence for signs they’d been seen or trouble to get into. Fix followed, marking his path with globs of rancid spit.

“There,” Fix said, and Bobby looked to where he pointed. The break in the chain link that would let them slip through. Disappointment twisted Bobby’s stomach. He wished he’d seen it first. He ducked his head beneath the chain and the other six feet of him followed. Fix had more trouble with his bulk. He masked his pain with indifference as the metal scraped his spine; but Bobby saw. Bobby knew.

Inside, they both stood rooted, looking. Listening. A line of road-worn trailers circled the back of the lot. Cheap, splintered siding and windows pocked with rock holes.

“Which one you think’s got the clowns?” Fix whispered. He cracked his knuckles real slow.

Bobby shook his head, his eyes trained toward the end of the line, on the shiny Gulfstream with the plaid curtains flapping out the windows. Clowns or freaks, he didn’t care. That trailer was the one that called him. Three wooden steps led to its metal door. He’d have to bend nearly in half to get through.

“Come on,” he whispered. He had no doubt Fix would follow.

To be continued…

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