"Go back by yourself.I'll meet you back at the house."
“I am afraid that I shall not be able to perform my usual act.” Gerard begins sadly, his lips twitching up at the corners. “My Spider has gone missing. I urge everyone to take great care and caution when collecting their belongings, as she is very dangerous.” He allows himself a brief smile that is all pointed white teeth. “In fact, one bite from this rare arachnid means certain death.”
There are a few gasps of terror from the audience.
“Instead I shall perform a few illusions for you all.” with an overdramatic flourish, he removes his hat. “First, I shall produce a rabbit from a hat-shit!” he jumps, causing everyone else to do the same. Whether he really was frightened or not was unclear, maybe it was just part of the act, but he certainly did look it.
Sitting in the hat was a spider, bigger than any I had ever seen, with bright red splodges and great big hairy legs. It looked up, unblinking at its owner, cocking it`s head almost like a loyal dog. A great big hairy, creepy dog. With eight legs, too many eyes and a bulging belly.
“May I introduce to you all, Madam Octa.”
Gerard begins humming an eerie little tune, and Octa begins to dance to it, darting out of the hat and up his arm, before spinning silvery web down to his feet before scurrying back up his long legs, making its way up to rest in the crook of his Lilly white neck, awaiting her next command. I liked spiders, I even used to have a pet one a few years back, but the thought of this spider`s hairy legs touching my skin made my flesh crawl. Anyone who didn’t was probably shitting themselves or chewing the insides of their cheeks to pieces.
It was about halfway through the act, when Gerard was having Octa balance on plastic football on only two legs, that I decided that she would be the perfect pet.
Shortly after the show ended, Gerard replacing his hat and bidding us all a good night. I expected the other freaks to come back to the stage take a bow, but they didn’t.
“Did you two boys enjoy the show?”I jump. So does Mikey.
Gerard smiles almost manically, before disappearing for the final time, leaving me to gather up both mine and Mikey`s belongings.
“So, did it live up to your expectations?” I ask, but receive only a small grunt as a reply.
I sigh and leave him to it, Mikey was clearly thinking about something important, and I knew from experience that nothing could snap him out of it. There was a strange look in his hazel eyes, a look of frightened determination that left me puzzled.
We had reached to tatty curtains where Gerard had first appeared when Mikey stops dead in his tracks.
“Go back by yourself.” He whispers urgently, digging around in his pockets for the car keys.
“You heard.” He chucks me the jingling keys. “I need to go back and do something, see someone. I`ll meet you back at the house.”
“Mikey?” I was uncertain.
“Just go for fucks sake, Frank!” he pushes me forcefully away from him. I won’t lie and pretend to be all macho, it hurt.
I get halfway to the car when I decide to go back for him. Heart racing I charge back inside the creepy building in search of the crazy teenager.
I hide behind a couple of chairs, not far from where we had sat and wait. A few minutes later a lanky shadow appears, looking worried, and lost. And so completely un Mikey like.
A figure wearing a billowing black cloak jumps down from above the stage, landing gracefully, dusting himself down. His plane skin seemed to glow in the dim room, even more so now that most of the candles had burned out or been extinguished. Mikey jumps, eyes widening, breath catching.
“Are you looking for me?” the ringmaster asks politely, but there was a menacing gleam in his glowing eyes.
If I was Mikey, I`d have shat myself, but he stands his ground, albeit rather shakily.
“I-I know what you are, Gerard Von Arthur.” Gerard blinks, clearly unimpressed. “You`re a vampire.”
Another eye blink.
“A-and unless you want me to tell the police then you will do as I say!” Mikey threatens.
Gerard sighs, shaking his head, an amused smile playing on his ruby coloured lips. I gulp. Blood.
As crazy as it sounded, what Mikey was saying was true, which meant he was in big trouble.
“I want you to change me.”
The silence that followed was as long as it was deafening. I couldn’t believe my ears. Mikey, the guy I had grown up with, played innocent little childhood games with, wanted to become a vampire? A monster? A murderer? Mikey, my Mikey, wanted to hunt people?
I felt faint.
“Don’t be daft.” Gerard scoffs. “Me, blood a child?! That is against all of my principles, not to mention against our laws.”
Mikey`s left eye twitches, never a good sign. It usual led to a bloody nose or a broken limb. Bad move, Vampy.
“Make me your apprentice then, I`ll work for you and then when I`m older…” he trails off hopefully, his cute knee melting smile visible even in this light.
From my hiding place I could see Gerard was considering it, his scarlet lips were pursed, head tilted. I wanted to jump out and scream for Mikey to run, but that would only have ended up with us being slaughtered, so I don’t. To tell the truth I was rooted to the spot in fear.
Gerard clicks his long, slender fingers and a velvet cushioned chair appears on the stage. “You want to become a vampire?” his almost mocking voice turns grave. “But, why? it`s a lonely life, although there is a lot of it. We can never marry or have children or even friends. You would have to leave this life behind. Why would you want that?”
I am stunned to see tears well up in his hazel eyes.
“I have nothing, no family that care, not even a dog. This is what I want.”
The white haired vampire sits up, clearly interested. “And what about that boy you came here with, Frank? Could you leave him behind?”
My heart stops.
“I-I…Frank is a good friend, of course I`ll miss him. But this, this is what I was meant for. Please.”
“What you were meant for?” Gerard repeats. “Very well then. Let me test your blood.”
And with that the monster launches at my friend with cat like agility and pierces his flesh with his razor sharp fangs. All of a sudden he begins coughing and spluttering madly.
“You have bad blood!” he screams, doubly over on the floor coughing. “You can never become one of us.”
A lot of yelling and cursing ensues, leading to Mikey being chased out of the building by Gerard. I had ducked down low, praying I won’t be noticed. It was then that I noticed the cage on the stage. Small and square, with a hairy, eight legged captor.
Unthinking, I race towards the stage and grab her cage, my chest acing, head spinning and run for the exit.