When Sacha pried her eyes open, there was a strange feeling that washed over her. The room was in complete disorder, shards of glass spread across the floor accented with small trails of blood. She stumbled down the stairs, trying to shake herself out of the sleep which hit so hard, disappointed that James had resorted to such a drastic measure. At the same time, she knew he had a reason and curiosity drove her to find out what that was. Disdain filled her as she walked alone on the dark beach. If he thought that he was protecting her from something, she wanted to know why. After everything they had been through, what could have been so horrible that he refused to talk about it? She did not appreciate that he felt the need to hide things from her. They were supposed to trust each other and have discussions without worrying about being judged. It seemed to be a habit for him to shut her out of his personal dilemmas, much like her father had. However, that only fueled her curiosity, and she would stop at nothing to satiate it.
The midway buzzed with life as she carefully made her way through the crowd, blinking lights from rides and concessions dancing on her body jewelry. There were mixed emotions that coursed through her, but anger seemed most prominent. Sacha was disappointed with the whole event, knowing her husband would never intentionally bullshit her or treat her like one of the rubes, but it did not feel right to just let things pass. Understanding that James was in a battle with himself did not create an excuse for his behavior, and she contemplated how to handle the situation as the sideshow tent came into view. There were very few things that could stun her, and the sight of an albino on the bally stage certainly qualified as one. It had been too long since she had seen a real live freak. She was horribly fascinated by these creations of Nature, and perhaps served as a main factor in her love of the sideshow. Making oneself unusual could not compare to those who were born that way, and in the old days they were the ones who earned the most, utilizing what Nature gave them to turn a profit. She admired the way that albino used slick words to pitch the show, not once trying to capitalize on his appearance.
Sacha lingered among the gathered crowd who were intrigued by the promise of human curiosities and bizarre oddities, all alive and on the inside. She led the way in purchasing a ticket, causing a large sum of people to do the same, but leering at what was featured in the tent did not pique her interest. At the far end of the canvas, an illuminated sign flickered in the dimness, luring people closer with the simply proclaimed message: GEEK. Her pulse quickened as a lewd thought entered her mind. Sacha followed the brave few who dared to make witness to the human abomination—a man so refined and yet deranged enough to perform a most gruesome act. Those with weak hearts were urged to use caution upon entering. She loitered in the rear so as to remain unseen, feeling the anticipation that filled those around her. The Geek entered without a sound, an odd smile fixed on his face. In front of him was a table set for dinner, silver domes obscuring whatever food lay beneath. He politely bowed for the captive audience, then positioned himself behind the first platter. The lid was removed to reveal a squirming pile of maggots. Gasps of disgust rose from the crowd as he scooped up a handful and shoved them into his mouth. Watching him savor the fat insects sent a chill up her spine. The Geek moved on to the next dome, under which a bowl of roaches hissed. He easily snacked upon them as though they were potato chips. A few people gagged in response, averting their eyes to avoid getting sick. However, the best had been saved for last as a clucking chicken appeared on the third platter. Women screamed for him not to do it, but the Geek snatched up the bird and happily ripped off its head, blood dripping down his chin. The crowd ran out in horror, perhaps to find a bathroom or even a trash can in which to vomit.
Sacha remained, her composure calm and eyes set on the Geek as he moved towards her. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“Were you not entertained?” James inquired, gently stroking her cheek. “You can hide the excitement, buy why fight it?”
“Do not avoid the question.”
“Well, it would be pointless to state the obvious,” he replied, smiling sweetly. “What you really want to know is why.” His hand slipped down to her throat. “I do it for the same reason they did, because in the end, what else is there? I am a product of rage and lust, which I feel cannot be battled against, so I am just going to accept my fate.”
“You do not have to,” Sacha insisted.
“If I do not, then surely I would follow in your father’s footsteps. There will be no discussion about it, and I hoped that you would understand.”
“You could have just expressed the desire to me.”
James laughed as he released her. “How could I look you in the eyes and tell you that I wanted to be the Geek?”
“Were you too afraid of how I would react?” Sacha challenged. “As if I could ever feel any differently about you.
“That has become obvious, but part of me still refuses to let you see me like this.”
“It does not matter.”
“No, it does. You think you know who you are dealing with?” James grinned and pulled out a switch blade. “Perhaps I am a bit more unpredictable than that.”
“I do believe that we have played this game before,” she replied with boredom, pushing the knife away. “A few too many times, in fact.”
“You are such a smart little minx,” he replied, pressing the blade against her throat. “That boy you were playing with has nothing on me,” James said, the smile spreading across his face. “I am far more powerful.”
“So what?” she scoffed.
Certain she was purposely trying his patience, the knife bit into her skin. “So I will not hesitate to slit your fucking throat!” he growled.
Sacha could feel her pulse race, each beat spurting forth through the cut. “Well…you have my attention.”
James placed a handkerchief against the small wound, exhibiting great resistance. “Do not question why I want to do this. After all, if history teaches us anything, the Geek is an act that brings in the profits. The motivation I have is one which I share with your father, and if you understand that, then you should show me the same support.”
“Yes, of course I will. Was it necessary for you to get drunk?”
The whiskey was definitely prominent on his breath, and he could not deny having broken that promise. “Oh…I know it was wrong, but this sort of thing is not easy to stomach.” He paused to kiss the cut, ignoring her nails as they clung to his back.
“You are still my King,” she whispered into his ear as she held onto his arms, “and I will always be madly in love with you.”
“And you are my Queen, my love…my everything.” The knife slipped out of his hand as he pulled her closer. “Please accept an apology for my actions. You trust me, and I have to learn to reciprocate that. Baby girl, I swear to do right.”
Sacha gazed deep into his violet and gold eyes, searching for sincerity and easily finding it as dots of turquoise appeared. “You have my forgiveness as well as my undying support—and in the future, it would be appreciated if you communicate with me.”
“That means a lot to me, really it does.” James savored a wide smile. “And of course I will make the effort to openly discuss matters with you.”
“You know that I will always be here for you” she said, tenderly holding his face.
“Indeed.” James paused to kiss her, enjoying every moment she was in his arms. “Thank-you for accepting my apology.”
Sacha sighed happily and settled her head against his shoulder. “Of course. Your honesty and integrity is always honored.”
“Well, then you should know that I need to do this to keep myself from being destructive,” James admitted. “This is what brought me to being the Geek in the first place, and I can no longer escape from it.”
“Then we just have to get the people in,” she said with a wry smile. “Their expressions will be priceless.”
James kissed her once more, thrilled by the passion that seemed to flow from her soft lips. With nothing more to say, they exited the tent and slowly made their way through the throng of people who swarmed the carnival, surveying everything around them. The King and Queen walked up the midway with arms linked, rousties pausing a moment to pay them respect, as did any working acts that may have crossed their paths. They left that magical world behind and headed down to the glowing beach, where the light of the moon danced across the dark ocean. Neither of them could imagine where they would be if they had not found one another. The irony of the situation never ceased to amuse them, and both were grateful for the fact that things happened the way they had. Sacha rested her head on his chest, listening to the rhythm of his beating heart, fingers curled in the folds of his shirt. She could smell the sea embedded in the fabric and felt completely at peace. They laid by the surf for hours, slowly sinking into the sand as waves crept dangerously close, eventually falling asleep in comfort—two parts of one whole. They had no idea what the future held, but it did not matter as long as they were together.