Caught in the Act

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4

It was hard to believe that for the past four days, the Lost Circus has inhabited the town of Minera. To be honest, I was exhausted. Each night we performed was another night that I wearily waited for Ringmaster to try something sinister. Since my debut during the first night, I’ve become a regular cast of the performance. I hated having to work in the same arena as Ringmaster, but my siblings were finally warming up to the new me. I think.

Even though they didn’t understand why, they finally started calling me by my true name. On more than one occasion a little voice in my head kept telling me that my siblings were only being nice to me because of the increased profits since my “performance”. I tried to tell them that Ringmaster tried to kill me, but they all laughed. They were still blinded by the man’s lies, and now I was the Lost Circus’ money maker. A small smile laced across my face as I put away costumes. Well, maybe if I can bring success to the Lost Circus, then my siblings might stop stealing and conning people. I shook my head realizing that my brain was crossing into dangerous territory.  I was thinking more like the old Mel.

Since the night I received the armor, I had yet to see Grace. I wonder if I ever will see the mysterious creature. I asked Chef about her, but I could barely understand the man. From what I could make out, he told me that he has encountered her on a number of occasions.

“Hey Melody!” Daisy nearly ran into me in the dark with her excitement. “Hurry up and meet us at the carriages as soon as you can!” Then she scattered away. I locked the final box containing costumes and made my way to the caravan. Tonight was our last night in town, so the Lost Circus wanted one last hurrah before hitting the road and finding a new town. Deep down, I knew that I probably shouldn’t follow after my siblings, but my sister Daisy personally sought me out and invited me. It would be inconsiderate if I didn’t go along with everyone.

Ignoring that one voice, I climbed onto the front of the wagon next to Chrys who was driving the team of horses. Chrys eyed my sword, but she didn’t say anything. I figured it couldn’t hurt to bring it along since my armor vanished after that first night. The weight of the sword against my back was barely noticeable. It was almost as if it was part of me. At first, I had a difficult time drawing the sword with a single swing. Whenever I had a chance, I would go out to the woods and just practice my strikes against tree stumps. Let’s just say I still need practice.

I rubbed my left forearm, and I could feel the sheath covering my skin. My eyes told me that I didn’t have the armor, but my skin told another story. Has the armor become part of my body, or is it just invisible? Chrys kept eyeing me shrewdly, and I mentally groaned. My siblings would think that I’m a freak if they ever found out how different I really am…

As soon as the wagon stopped, I jumped out. About a hundred feet away, I could see my siblings, some of the Lost Circus people, and some townspeople encircling a towering bonfire. The flames reached so high, the stars appeared to be burning. When Chrys and I got closer to the bonfire, I noticed that our circus musicians were playing, but it was very different from the songs they normally played during performances. No, this was more tribal. The pounding of the drums reverberated throughout the dancing crowd. Some dancers kicked the dirt and stomped the ground. Others swayed to the rhythm and let their arms do the dancing.

Someone snatched my wrist and pulled me into the middle of the foray. I felt less panicked when I realized Thara was the one who held my wrist. Paris joined in behind me and grabbed my other free hand. Before long, Chrys and Daisy joined the human chain. We jumped, shouted, ran, and laughed until we were all breathless. I forgot the last time when I had so much fun! The atmosphere was completely energized. As the number of people continued to increase, more people kept bumping into each other. Abruptly, I got separated from my siblings, but they were all having the time of their lives to notice. No matter. They weren’t going far away. I just closed my eyes and threw my arms into the air.

“Excuse me.” I turned around to face a girl near my age. “Here, try this!” The stranger thrust a cup into my hands and ran off. I looked around and noticed that many other people were drinking from similar looking mugs and appeared fine. I took a sip. Then I began to gulp down the sweet nectar. A foreign giggle escaped my mouth as I began to dance again. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.

The familiar words stopped me cold. It was only three days ago that I received a letter from a dove that contained those words. I staggered to keep my footing as the ground tilted. Something was terribly wrong. Father warned me, but I didn’t listen. What have I done?  Images began to blur, and colors began to swirl and pop. Then it was just darkness.

When I opened my eyes, I moaned aloud feeling as if someone dumped a bucket full of bricks on my head. Then I noticed that my hands were tied behind my back. I could hear the distant sounds of the drum beat, but I was nowhere near the bonfire. Looking around my surroundings, I was transferred to an area of dense woodlands. Hearing the snap of a twig, I sat up alert. My jaw nearly dropped as the girl who gave me the cup earlier approached me with a malicious grin. No longer dressed for a party, the stranger wore suede leather and a fur vest over her shirt. She dressed and walked like a true hunter. I didn’t appreciate how close her dagger was as she crouched down to my level. If only I could grab my sword somehow!

“Who are you? Why have you done this? Please, just let me go!” I pleaded. Distant cold eyes stared back at me before she broke off the stare and stood up. The girl spoke without emotion. “My name is Harper. I’m a bounty hunter.” She suddenly pulled out a folded flyer and showed me the front page. My eyes widened with disbelief as I looked at a portrait of myself with the big bold word “Wanted” scrawled over the top of the picture. Harper sneered at me, “You are going to make me rich as soon as I turn you in for your crimes.”

My crimes. I shouldn’t be surprised that my past was finally coming back to haunt me. I thought of Father who saved me and gave me a new life. Hope rose up within me until I realized that I went against His words. I partied with my siblings. I cared too much about what they thought of me. No, there is no way He will come to my rescue. I deserve this ending.

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