It’s a matter of timing, the nature of working the crowd. The nature of a carnival to be in the right town at the right time, picking and choosing those days or weeks where people have a few hours, a few dollars to spend on dreams, distractions, or for the young, something new to entertain them with. Stolen moments by teenage couples, times where school or home are not the focus of everything they are limited to be in the years to come. Timing, ever the most precious commodity for a small business, a carnival’s life no different than any other business, just like everyone else, a need to remain solvent and continue to exist for one more year.
They ride the rails, the roads, and all manner of vehicles that carry the small techno-city from place to place, hand-to-mouth at times; always a family outside those drifters or local kids that hire on for the duration of their needs, showing up from who knew where, disappearing just as quickly.
They were breaking camp one last time for the season, a long night to load the thousands of pieces of equipment, rides and animals, the roving gypsy like homes, motor home campers, cars with tents in trailers, even a few motorcycles.
“Did you find it?” Find what? Dasha asked, talking to her father. “I told you about it earlier before we loaded up the trucks, your mothers jade medallion. I set it on top of her teak travel case, the large one she used to keep all her good clothes in.”
“Dad! Why are you still dragging that stuff around? She’s been gone for months. I just don’t think she’s ever coming back, and I don’t want to keep thinking about it, she left me too!” Dasha ran back into the motor home, amidst all the surrounding hustle and bustle of breaking down the carnival and loading it up to be reborn in the next town on the list.
Sergei, Dasha’s father caught Madame Jessica giving him the eye, a knowing smile on her face, knowledge between them that both wanted kept secret from the others. Obvious anger and pain on his face, he swore under his breath, wanting to cuss out the old witch, the psychic side show for the carnival. All feared her, all that knew her past anyway. Reigning in his anger, he stalked off to look for the medallion one more time.
“Do you think he suspects.” Jessica turned at her son’s words. “He doesn’t yet, but I’ve been keeping him so angry and focused on me, that he won’t until it’s to late. His daughter has the medallion now, so it’s just a matter of time till her own powers become strong enough for our needs. She just needs to be wearing it at the proper time.
“What about Sergei’s wife? He talks to her every night.” “Yes! Yes! I know that.” Jessica said to her son. “I’m not senile! He thinks she’s trapped by the medallion, when it’s we who are trapped in this world, trapped in exile in this pathetically violent world.” She patted her sons shoulder. “You were too young when we came here to know the wonders of our world, but you will. I’ve spent years finding the right person to help us cross over, I’m not going to fail again.”
Dasha sat in her bed in the back of the converted bus twirling her mother’s medallion. The long gold chain heavy, and thick glittered in the moonlight which filtered into her room from the small windows set in the ceiling of her room.
She wasn’t sure why she had lied to her Father. The feel of the medallion for some unknown reason made her feel close to her mother. It was a feeling, a touch, she needed so desperately, but at times it was hard to admit such a thing even to herself. Sighing she laid down crying herself to sleep, the medallion glowing slightly green with every breath she took.
“Dasha dear?” “It’s mom, wake up honey.” The girl continued to dream, continued to hope that it wasn’t just her imagination in the voice that she heard so far away. Tatiana watched her daughter dream, watched the restless sleep match in cadence the throbbing pain of her heart. Looking over at the door, she watched her husband enter the room, the green glow from the medallion projecting her presence for others to see. He sighed in relieve as he saw the medallion, and her.
Sergei watched for a moment, his sleeping daughter, his wife lost, trapped in the old witches tricks to gain control of his daughter. “Miska I thought I had lost you forever when I couldn’t find your medallion.” “What are we to do now?” Sergei asked of his wife, a sigh of resignation as they both turned too looked at their daughter.
Sergei trapped by circumstance, doomed to do the witches bidding, his wife trapped within the medallion somehow, their daughter caught in the middle, never realizing the danger she was in. “Sergei, its time! Dasha is almost sixteen, her powers are strong now, I can feel them growing quickly, and the witch won’t wait much longer.” “I know! I know! But we don’t know what lies on the other side of the portal.”
Dasha continued to sleep, but it was that type of sleep where reality seems the dream, but your thoughts are crystal clear. She could hear her parents talking, knew what the Psychic was planning. The medallion seemed to hold all the knowledge she needed to know, even before she thought to think the question.
Jessica had lost her world years ago, and meant to bring it back by using her world to do so. There was a subtext to the universe, a harmonic pattern defining the very nature of that fabric it was composed of. One false note, symmetry was lost, a world disappeared. Jessica thought to use the power of the medallion and her life force to recast the song, destroying Dasha’s world and recreate hers.
Jessica froze, fear in her eyes. “She knows!” She said looking at her son. “Who?” He was confused not knowing who his mother was referencing. “Dasha! I can feel her now. Her powers are awakened and she knows what we’ve planned.” Jessica sat down, looking for the first time like the old woman that she was. “We are lost.” Holding her son’s hand. “We are lost.”
Sergei looked at his wife and sighed. “You’re right being together in a new world is better than being alone in this one while we watch Dasha’s heart weep each day.” Suddenly there was a green flash, a noise like storm waves pounding on a beach. A moment where they couldn’t breathe, and suddenly husband and wife were in each other’s arms, crying in joy, as they looked at their daughter sitting up in bed, the brilliant green glow pulsating for a moment, then disappearing into the medallion in her hand.
It was a new beginning, a new path for the world, but for now it was just three people, husband, wife and daughter together again at last.