Jon held onto the flask as he slowly crossed the tent, heart pounding hard in his chest. Her playfulness was definitely arousing, but he reminded himself that they had just met and knew very little about each other. Easing onto the bed, he took a long drink and then set the flask down. “What is it that you do round here?”
“Fortune-telling bullshit,” Sacha replied, handing off the blunt. “It is great to just sit there and fuck with the people, giving them hopes and dreams and whatever else they want to hear. Rubes don’t know shit and are unlikely to complain so long as you make them happy. Sometimes I do the bally with one of those big pythons. The other girls are afraid of them—imagine that when they put other snakes in their mouths all the time, you know?” She paused to laugh again, allowing the shawl to slip off as she leaned back into large pillows. “They are too scared because the serpents hiss, but never at me. They are my friends.”
“Sounds pretty interesting.”
“It is. While I prefer to work with the snakes, Damien says my psychic routine brings in the money and wants me to stick with that. What about you?”
“Oh, well I kind of just started.” Jon moved closer, a hand resting on her tattooed leg. “Nights and weekends I am going to be in the sideshow tent.”
“Really?” she replied with intrigue. “No offence, but I did not take you as a working act. You seem like a good-looking boy, actually.”
This time Jon laughed, extinguishing the blunt in a red glass ashtray set on a table next to the bed. “Do not let this handsome face fool you, my dear. The act that I perform is undesirable to most, and can send even the toughest man recoiling with terror.”
Those gem-colored eyes grew wide with curiosity. “Now you must tell me. Come on, I have seen all of the acts.” Her fingers intertwined with his, bringing the hand up to her thigh. “There is no reason to be shy, Jon.”
She spoke his name as though invoking a prayer to the devil inside, every moment besides her becoming more and more irresistible as lust raged. The words Damien had shared earlier echoed in his mind, and at that instant Jon truly knew what it was like to be filled with love to the point of feeling as though he would burst. Sacha was definitely beautiful and very attractive, but Damien would be rather wary of her suitors. Then again, he had practically set up the meeting and pretty much hinted of his desire to make her happy. One thing held true at the moment, and it was the fact that Jon was falling in love.
“Are you sure that you want to know?”
“Would not have asked otherwise.” Sacha brought his hand to her lips, kissing his fingertips slightly. “How bad could it be?”
Pleasure pulsed through his body, a sigh escaping quicker than he could silence it. “Enough that if I was not here, I would probably be in jail.”
“This is too much! Please tell me.”
Her persistence was charming, not to mention the fact that her flirtations seemed intentional to drive him wild. “Just remember that you asked,” Jon calmly replied, fingers slipping down to her soft neck. “When called for, I will be the Geek.”
While surprise was evident upon her face, Sacha had been too busy studying his eyes. They revealed the love that wanted to burst free, the desire to have her in a sexual way, and over all, the sincerity behind every feeling and thought. How could such a gentleman even consider wanting to be the Geek?
There had been an invitation waiting for Jon when he finished his last performance of the evening—a hand-written note from Damien that requested his company for dinner. Over the past few months, Jon and Sacha had shared wild passion that surely was only scripted in the movies, the connection between them becoming obvious to the other Carnies. Jon would often see Damien standing among audience members during the Blow-Off, those striking green eyes smiling despite the fact that people in the crowd were reeling with horror and disgust. It was the first time he had felt genuine praise, which seemed to irk Dean even though he would not come out and say anything. There could be no denial that Jon held a natural talent which appealed to curious spectators and was generating quite the income for everyone at the carnival. Damien certainly appreciated the eagerness and hard work, feeling obliged to thank him on a number of levels.
Staring at the simple note, Jon splashed cool water on his face to try and relax. The adrenaline was still flowing through his veins following the Blow-Off, and he wondered if it was going to be another one of those nights where he would have to depend on drugs to keep himself from yielding to temptation. Even as a blunt was lit and he downed a couple of shots of whiskey to help calm his nerves, Jon could feel the desire burning in the pit of his stomach, angry and dissatisfied with the contents which barely filled it. This was not a moment when he wanted to be dealing with such a thing, but ignoring the sensation would not make it go away either. With half the blunt smoked, he dunked his head into a bowl of water and enjoyed the temporary bliss as he floated there. Taking a few deep breaths when he lifted his head back out, it seemed that the uneasiness had settled. A stainless steel comb passed through his damp dirty blonde hair, fixing it into place as he watched his reflection in the mirror. The cleanest shirt he could find was slipped over his head, a quick glance at the dried up blood underneath his fingernails served as a reminder of a job well done. With no time to tidy them up, Jon hoped that his host would not take notice.
Most of the Carnies were already in the cook tent enjoying their chow or standing on line patiently to receive a fair portion as he made his way towards Damien’s private quarters. Delicious smells filled the backyard and Jon’s stomach growled again, not having been fed since the previous day—unless whiskey counted. A few of them tried to gain attention and offer a seat, but he simply explained there was some place else that he had to be, smiling politely as an apology and avoiding having to engage in conversation. The aroma of food clung to the air as he approached a small tent, the occasional breeze feeling good on his skin. Whether it was the whiskey or continued adrenaline rush, Jon could not seem to keep himself from sweating, doing his best to wipe his face with a blue cotton bandanna. A quick shot from a flask was enough to be prepared, and so he slowly entered the tent with confidence.
Damien was already seated at the table, cleaning a carving knife while smoking a fat blunt, the smile on his face a bit unsettling. Whatever was cooking certainly smelled good, and caused Jon’s stomach to gurgle as he sat down across from his host.
The night was filled with humid scents of early Autumn, an ocean breeze keeping the atmosphere from being too uncomfortable. Jon’s mind was in several different places as he walked beside Damien, their feet leaving wet prints in the sand as they headed towards town. His heart raced and hands were sweaty despite the fact their extremities were chilled. Numbness crept into his face and a wave of euphoria filled him so quickly it was nearly overwhelming. Pausing for a moment to drink in the slightest movement of wind, there came upon it a most inviting scent. He restrained a smile and glanced at Damien, whose entire disposition was trained on hunting mode. Dark shadows became the perfect refuge as the pair wandered quiet streets. Certainly there were a few people who roamed about, with questionable characters making many appearances. Such as the drunkard, he who consumes one too many alcoholic beverages yet maintains his sobriety until not another drop can be forced past his lips. Then there is the lovely young lady whom smiles and flirts with just about everyone, her motivation coming from material desires. Selfish, greedy, dishonest human rubble that lurked in every corner and only gave mind when they wanted something. A hand reached out, begging for a coin, and perhaps a story meant to play heartstrings is offered. Jon could smell them, each one quite distinctive and yet the collective fragrances blended together as slightly offensive. Damien paid no attention to any of them, focused on the faint tinge of lavender perfume that permeated through their stench. It caused him to stop abruptly, the young protégé nearly colliding with him—a reminder that he was not alone and had been set on teaching Jon something.
Leaning against a cool brick wall, Damien sighed as he tried to keep a calm head. There was no room for a single mistake, and certainly being distracted would not assist him in a positive way. Ignoring the flowery scent, he climbed onto the stone ledge of a window and scaled his way to the second floor of the abandoned house—no doubt used as a squat by anyone who claimed the structure for an evening or two. Jon was slightly impressed with his dexterity, though for a moment he wondered whether any eyes were spying on their movements. Perhaps the paranoia was coke related, but nonetheless it felt real enough for him to slightly question what they were doing. The thoughts did not last long as Damien offered a hand and helped him into the house through the second story window. They were met with a darkened room devoid of furniture and wooden floors covered in a fine layer of dust. Moving towards the door, Jon caught a glimpse of himself in a dirty mirror and was startled by the reflection.
“Be still,” Damien whispered, gently placing a hand on his shoulder. “You need to calm down, son. There is no reason for you to be so nervous.”
“Sorry,” Jon mumbled, taking a few deep breaths.
“Just keep your wits up and follow me.”
Damien soundlessly slipped into the hall, each foot carefully placed so that there was minimal noise. Though being driven by an aching lust, he knew that a certain amount of restraint must be shown in front of Jon. After all, he could not lose control to diabolic urges when expecting to demonstrate how one indulged without succumbing to the beast within. Expertly the two descended a flight of stairs and then entered a study where they discovered a transient dozing next to a dwindling fire. How serene the young man appeared, breath hot with whiskey that was half finished in a bottle not far from his sleeping hand. Amusement was prominently displayed on Damien’s face as he helped himself to the warm alcohol, a glance directed towards Jon when his smile grew. He produced a straight razor that had a mother of pearl handle with a bit of flourish, stainless steel blade reflecting the dancing flame of the small fire. The razor was a fluid extension of his arm, carrying no weight or even a momentary thought of how it should be used. With precision he set to work on the slumbering lad, Jon’s senses immediately heightened when sharpened steel met skin and crimson was shed.