“Step right up and see the most amazing, out-of-this-world spectacle your eyes will ever behold! Folks, I can guarantee this is the one and only chance you’ll have to witness what’s behind this curtain. The likes of this will never be seen again! It is the maker of legends! For one whole dollar, see the astounding phenomenon that folks will be talking about for generations to come!”
The barrel-shaped man puffed out his chest like a red robin as he pointed at the black drapes behind him and stomped his boots on a wooden crate to command the crowd’s attention toward it. Giant beanpoles leered and lurched over the throng of townspeople, who gaped at the lean figures teetering above them and wondered how they grew those long legs. They had never seen anyone on stilts before the Carnival rolled into town and popped up tents and kiosks in a vacant, dusty lot. One of the local barmaids swore she’d seen the strongest man in the world lifting a 500-pound barbell over his head as though it was a mere twig. Deep-throated roars bellowed from a cloaked wagon during the darkest hours of night, prompting folks to fear the strange band of freaks had brought the devil to their town.
And yet they still arrived in droves on the Carnival’s opening day. Like rodents they flooded the lot, streaming past doughy women spinning cotton candy and frying drumsticks the size of cows’ thighs; boys peddling on unicycles at a furious pace; and men the height of tree stumps waddling at the end of the crowd and beckoning to tents as they boasted of mermaids, bearded ladies, and limber men who twisted themselves into pretzels.
For a town that witnessed its miracles in church, the unusual characters who’d wandered into their place were nothing short of a fantastic dream. A few members of the pious congregation pinched their wrists to be sure they were awake as they wove farther toward the center of this wasp, driven by an inexplicable urge to see more.
Games and food and exotic, striped animals lured them to all corners of the grounds. From the church on the hill overlooking the lot, a lone man observed his members scattering to stands and tents and scowled. The Reverend was not pleased. The putrid stench of temptation drifting up the hill sickened him. How swiftly his neighbors caved to its odor. Disappointing. They were weak after all those years of him trying to build them strong. Loyal. Unwavering in discipline.
To the Reverend, this Carnival was a travesty, a detriment to the purity of his town. He needed it pure and untouched in order to serve his Lord. Otherwise, he failed, and for a man proud of his stalwart perfection, this was not a viable option.
He had to save his people from sin’s carnage, before these souls were damned for all eternity. In his Maker’s name, he vowed to destroy the Carnival…
(not sure where or how far this story will go yet…perhaps it will continue on its own, or maybe it will be jostled by another word prompt?)
– Written by Miss A on January 2, 2013