Herman Fuller Presents: Meeting the Maker
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The following is a page from a publication entitled To the Circus Born: Herman Fuller's Menagerie of Freaks. The identities of neither publisher nor author have been established, and scattered pages have been found inserted into Circus-themed books in libraries across the world. The person or persons behind this dissemination are unknown.


To the Circus Born

I honestly don’t remember this night as well as the rest. I doubt I’d want to from the little bits I already know. Started the same as most nights; with Herman hollering out for folks to “role up, role up,” and take their seats in the stand. I was in back, smoking with a few of the caretakers when it was first brought in.

A few of the local kids were grinning ear to ear, gripping onto the box that apparently had Herman’s star attraction for the night inside. I tried to talk to them. Get some information about the damned thing. They didn’t utter a word, rather they cut past me right to the man himself who was grinning ear to ear. I could barely see him as he lifted out the thing. One of the guys to my left called it was a rib, the other to the right scoffed that it was an ulnar. I paid no mind to the argument that ensued, rather I watched as Herman tossed it around in hand. He ran his eyes down the thing, touching every crack carved into it before standing upright. It went back into the box with a thud and the caretaker's arguments stopped. Herman glanced over at us and gave us his signature smile. I opted to look away. God only knows what he had in mind. I lit up another and moved aside as the little kids ran back out with a quarter in their hands.

The night could've taken longer to come, and the first act was running short. I could tell by the look in Herman's eyes that the poor girl wouldn't get off without a whipping of some sort. The act ended with a crash and a bang. Something Herman was involved in, no doubt. The audience gasped, and out came another act. Within the minute the audience was cheering again, already forgetting about the girl, who was desperately crawling her way into the back.

Midway through the second act I found myself at her side. She was an acrobat, I learned, with the name of Hills. I would nod at her words as I continued to patching her wounds. Sometime through the process I pushed back. That was when I tried to get a good look. There was a piece of cloth was tied tightly around her arm, dirt smeared across her face, and a still bleeding wound on her thigh. I sighed. The night was going to be long, even longer if Herman caught us. I grabbed my lone bottle of rum and apologized as I poured it on the wound. She screamed,

and then the Third Act started.

Nothing much signified it. There was barely even a yell. After that there was a snap that hit the air and everything went stale. The audience went quite. I kept tending to the girls wounds when more snaps filled the air and the audience began to scream. I whipped around my head only to see Herman running, from the center of the Big-Top, a horrified-manic look on his face. Behind him was a skeleton half formed. The pieces and bits of it were covered in gore, save for a rib which was snapped in two. I found myself standing up and walking away from the scene when I heard laughter spill out behind me. Clowns.

I moved out of their way, pointing weakly to the creature reforming himself from bits of the crowd. They nodded, but I soon learned that it wasn't their target. My stomach burned and bile rose as I watch the first clown rush into the crowd. I turned and ran before I could see more.

That night when I came back the circus was almost fully packed, save for a case or two. I looked around at where the Big Top once was, but all that remained was ash. I tried to ask Herman, though all he said was "We can't live with a reputation like that," followed by a harsh backhand. I left to my carriage though found myself wandering into the acrobat car, where I found Hills. Still alive though, now with a skeletal leg. When I asked she laughed, and told me it was a fair trade with Herman and the beast before pointing to an indent where a rib should be.


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