The Clown, The Magician, and The Fortune Teller

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Horror
**WARNING: 18+ EXTREME ADULT CONTENT** This story is not for the faint of heart. Three old friends who used to tour with the circus in Europe meet again for a reunion. They are the only ones alive, the only ones who can let out the biggest secret they've kept quiet for so long. Until now. What will happen when the truth comes bubbling to the surface?

Submitted: June 24, 2016

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Submitted: June 24, 2016

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Warning!!! This story contains adult content. This is rated for those 18 years and older who can handle such extreme content.

Alan sat at the bar with a glass of the beer on tap that was already turning rancid. He nursed the bubbly, yellow substance despite the sour taste. He’s had worse. In his fifty years on the Earth, he’s surely had a lot worse. Alan chuckled as the thought of his ex-wife’s cooking came to mind. If anything was potent enough to kill a man, that would be it. The sad thing was, he thought to himself, that the cooking might have been the best part of their relationship. He took another sip of his beer. It was now warm and completely passed drinkable. Thankfully, the bartender noticed him push the beer passed the bowl of half cracked peanuts on the counter and gave him a fresh pint. Alan took a sip and savored the cold, crisp flavor. He nodded in appreciation at the bartender who must’ve changed out the kegs on the tap.

Alan turned on his stool to get a better look at the old, rundown bar they’d chosen as a meeting place. It was your typical dive bar with furniture dated back to the years when he was considered young and the customers were not any younger than thirty. The place would be lucky to reach a maximum of fifty people on a busy night. Right now, there were only a couple other guys at the bar; each around his age but their blue noses distinguished them from him. At the billiard tables, a few guys who looked like they could be part of a biker group were playing nine ball.

Alan wasn’t much different from these average men. Sure, he didn’t frequent these places often, or rather ever, but he wasn’t one you’d pick out of a crowd. His once black hair was thinning and graying. The top of his head was sparsely covered with thin hairs that he combed back every morning. It didn’t reduce the hair he’d entirely lost with his deeply receding hairline but he refused to cover it up with a hat. He was fifty; he was supposed to be showing the wrinkles around his eyes and the dark age spots on his forehead that seemed to duplicate every night. The way he figured it, he had more to worry about. Like his growing gut and the infrequent pain, he got in his right knee and the bones of his fingers. And even with those, Alan was quite comfortable in his skin. He wore the same brand of black t-shirt and tan shorts for the last decade or so, it may be repetitive, but it worked. And if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

“Al! What did I tell you about shaving that stubble! You’re not so young anymore, that salt and pepper fuzz isn’t going to make you look any younger!” A loud, throaty voice filled the quiet air of the bar. Big, meaty hands clamped down on Alan’s shoulders.

Alan turned to face the man that the unforgettable voice belonged to.

“Terry, you sonofabitch! How you been?” Alan’s thin, pink lips formed into a small smirk as he pulled the bigger man into a hug and patted his back.

“Oh,” Terry sighed, “I’m still living. How about you?”

Alan shrugged in response and waved at the bartender to bring another round. He hadn’t noticed he had drunk all but a couple tablespoons out of the last pint.

The bartender set down another two pints, taking away the empty. Both men wrapped their hands around the perspiring glass and took a sip. Terry, outweighing Alan by a good hundred pounds, had his mammoth hands covering all but one inch of the glass at the top. Alan’s own hands only covered about two-thirds of the cup.

“So,” Terry let a breath out of his nose. It was nasal like the air struggled to escape from his narrow nostrils in order to function properly for his large stature. “What’s new with Alan? Staying out of trouble?”

Alan chuckled, took another sip of his beer and set it down with a solid thud. “I always do, the question is are you?”

“Oh, man I always do.” The glint in Terry’s eye told Alan otherwise, but that wasn’t unusual. Terry was always the one causing trouble. Well, technically all three of them did, but Terry was a bit more extreme than the other two.

“Where the hell is that other bugger? You did talk to Clark right?” Terry looked at Alan with a stare that would have scared anyone who didn’t know him.

“Right behind you, jackass.” A gravelly voice grew a bit louder as the speaker moved toward the two men sitting at the bar.

A slender man with a shiny, bald head slid onto the seat next to Terry. He looked minuscule compared to Terry. The two paired together reminded Alan of George and Lenny. Paul Clark was slim as he had always been, but the thirty years since they’d seen each other showed clearly. Paul now wore thin, wire-framed glasses on the bridge of his crooked, pointy nose. His forehead was large and even more pronounced now that his hair was gone. The wrinkles that clung to the edges of his eyes and around his mouth matched those on the faces of the other two men.

Good you could make it, buddy.” Alan raised his glass in Paul’s direction.

“A little late, though,” Terry grumbled under his breath.

Paul tapped his fingertips on the bar, indicating another round to the bartender. Alan noticed they were wrinkled, like old leather and bulging at the knuckles from arthritis. But they were still strong, sturdy, and able as when the boys were in their twenties.

“Better late than never.” Paul slapped a twenty on the counter, paying for the round.

“So, is this it? Just us three?” Terry asked. He sucked his lips between his teeth. Old habits die hard.

“Well, I’m not expecting any of the dead to come up out of their graves for this reunion,” Alan said. His dark humor instantly brought silence to the three men. They sat on their bar stools staring at the bubbly drinks in front of them.

All three of the men had met when they became members of a troupe of circus performers in Europe. They were just teens when they joined and stayed with the traveling band until the end of their tour. The only people left from the entire unit were the three men sitting at a rundown bar in Parowan, Utah. Alan had passed through the small town just off of the Interstate 15 highway. It was small and quaint like most of the places he sporadically stopped at to rest. He figured it was a good meeting place for the only remaining members of the troupe. They hadn’t seen each other since they left Europe for America and all three lived fairly nomadic lives. Regardless, Alan knew how to find Terry and Paul. And alcohol was surely a good incentive to agree to the reunion.

The three sat at the bar, finally talking after a few moments of silence and continued to reminisce over several rounds of beers. As the afternoon grew into night, the bar began to fill. It was a small town so naturally, the only drinking establishment in town would fill up on a Saturday night.

By nine that night, the jukebox was roaring with rock music from the late eighties and early nineties. The noise amplified as the night grew on and more alcohol was consumed, muffling the hearing of all those who were intoxicated. More people crowded around the bar, but the traffic was steady and came in spurts. Most didn’t linger and returned directly to the makeshift dance floor or the tables set up around the room. Alan, through his buzz, felt a sense of nostalgia. Sitting here at the bar with his two old friends reminded him of the nights in various cities across Europe where they did the exact same thing. Except, back then they would have been two shots passed drunk by this time of night. Most nights, the young men who hadn’t built up their tolerance for alcohol, would be passed out and leaning on a barstool or urinal and the other members of the troupe would take care of them. With this memory in his mind, Alan felt the need to bring up the real reason for this reunion.

“Guys,” he addressed Paul and Terry over the loud music in the bar. “I think we need to come clean. Tell someone.”

The other two looked at Alan, a bit shocked, but there was a tinge of knowing on their faces. Just as Paul opened his mouth to say something he was interrupted by a young man who stumbled up to the bar, leaning on it for support with his forearms and yelled to the bartender for another round. His words were slurred and spit gathered around his lips. The boy’s dark brown eyes were glazed over, eyelids drooping. Then he turned to Alan.

“Oh, man! Did I run into you? God, I’m sorry, man. I didn’t mean to.” The drunken boy stumbled even though he was only standing.

Alan patted the boy’s shoulder lightly; he didn’t want to make him fall over. “It’s alright, no harm done.” He gave him his charming smile he always used in shows and when he was meeting new people. Charisma went a long way when you were a magician.

The sandy-haired boy gave Alan a lopsided grin, exposing bright, white teeth that shone against his tan skin. “Cool, man.” Alan noticed one of his eyes was drooping lower than the other. He was ready to be cut off for the night.

Almost as if reading his mind, the bartender came over and told the guy it was time to go home. The boys features turned dark and he began slurring and cursing the bartender with his chin against his chest. He stepped away from the bar, after slamming a fist down onto it in anger, and then proceeded back to his group of friends.

Alan turned back around, now that they had privacy once again. The other two looked at him, saying nothing. They were waiting for him to say something else. The thing was, he didn’t know what else to say. He hadn’t figured that far ahead.

“I’ll admit, I’ve been thinking about the same thing. But it hasn’t gone far past a thought.” Paul confessed.

Alan let out a breath, a bit relieved to not be the only one with these thoughts. Terry and Alan both shifted their gaze on Paul. The small, slender man sat slightly hunched over the bar with his elbows propped up. Could you tell unruly circus men raised them?

Paul returned his gaze up after a couple of minutes; his brow was furrowed in deep thought. Alan noticed when he looked up; he was looking past him and Terry. Alan turned slightly, now feeling the presence beside him.

The boy was back. He stood next to Alan, looking about ready to empty the contents of his stomach onto the hardwood. He was swaying back and forth as he stood. His mouth opened and closed like a guppy as he attempted to speak. His eyes were slits and Alan could see them start to roll back into his head and return. Roll, return. Roll, return. He was fighting the blackness.

“We-uh- my friends. My home. You, uh, come.” The boy managed to get out, although he was struggling. Like a first grader trying to pronounce the words in a picture book.

“What?” Terry asked, not understanding the boy’s gibberish.

“He was telling us he wants you guys to come over and drink with us. They’re wanting all of us out because of him.” Another boy explained from behind the first boy. The first boy’s eyes completely closed and he stood there swaying and nodding his head slightly. “He gets this way when he’s drunk, thinks he’s friends with everyone he talks to in the bar.” His friend was drunk, but in an earlier stage than his friend.

“John kind of gets angry if people reject him when he’s drunk. So we were just wondering if you could just help us out.” His friend explained further. Alan looked at the other two. This was absurd! “We’ve got some beer in the fridge back at the house, we’ll give you some.” Alan just about turned to politely decline the offer when Terry finally spoke up.

“Sure, we can.” He got off his barstool and clamped his hand around John’s shoulder. “Let’s get some cool water on that face and then we’ll go home, okay bud?” Terry led the boy to the washroom before Paul or Alan could protest.

The two men reappeared, ending the awkward silence between John’s friends, Paul, and Alan. Alan gave Terry a look that was almost threatening. Terry was always brewing up some sort of horrible plan that usually got all three of them in trouble. Alan figured it was a diversion to put off having to talk about the secret.

“What? Free beer.” Terry whispered to his two friends while John wrapped an arm around Terry’s shoulders and the other went around his buddy. Paul looked at Alan, but Alan couldn’t do much to influence Terry so they walked compliantly behind the group of young men and a bald man in his fifties.

The walk to the boy’s house was short. Granted, in such a small town, any walk was short. The entourage ahead of them, once a group of ten or so, was down to just John and the friend supporting him as they walked. The front door was unlocked, surprising to the three old men, but it made sense in such a close-knit neighborhood. A speeding ticket on a dirt road was probably the extent of crime in this area.

The five of them who were left walked into the dark house. Some light from the dim streetlights streamed in, leaving an orange glow on the hardwood of the living room. Some moonlight seeped into the kitchen that was at the back of the house.

John’s friend and Terry set the passed out boy on the brown leather couch in the living room. Alan and Paul stood awkwardly in the center of the living room with their hands in their pockets.

“Beer’s in the fridge,” John’s friend mumbled, his own eyes drooping from exhaustion before he walked into a room off to the side of the house. The three men waited, looking among one another, and waited for the man to emerge. He didn’t.

“Alright, Terry, I don’t know what your plan is but you got your beer. Let’s go.” Paul told Terry firmly. Terry sat on the edge of the leather couch, his leg almost touching the feet of the boy who was laying on his side in the fetal position.

“You wanted to talk, fellas, let’s talk,” Terry said with a fake grin that was almost menacing. He leaned back so his shoulder blades were resting against the back cushion of the couch.

“Terry, we’re in a teenager’s house, let’s go somewhere a bit more appropriate,” Paul told him, trying to knock some reason into him.

“Paul, go get me a beer, will you?” Terry ordered, twirling his hand in the direction of the kitchen. Paul was about to protest and Terry noticed. Before he could speak, Terry added, “You want me to talk, I will. But I need a beer in my hand first and we’re staying here.”

Paul looked to Alan for advice. Alan could do nothing but shrug and give Paul a look to tell him to do what Terry asked. This needed to end, the secrets and the hiding.

“Do you remember the initiation?” Terry asked, his confident and controlling voice was gone and was replaced with a nostalgic one.

Alan furrowed his brow. Of course he did. How could he forget? “Yeah.” He answered. “What about it?”

Paul came back and Terry was saved from answering. He cracked the tab on the beer can that made a pop and a fizz. Alan and Terry sat on the smaller couch that was perpendicular to the couch Terry and John were on. The boy lay on half the couch in between them.

“Why now? Why do we have to talk about it now?” Terry asked.

“It’s tearing me apart Ter, I can’t live with this guilt anymore,” Alan confessed, his voice close to cracking. He tried to swallow the bulge in his throat.

“Guilt?! What guilt!” Terry exclaimed, not bothering to be quiet in front of the boy blacked out beside him.

“Terry, we were monsters. They turned us into monsters!” Paul exclaimed, the small man speaking up for himself for the first time that night. Alan looked close to tears. “You, they made you into a fraudulent fortune teller; those people turned Alan into a deceptive monster; they made me into a child’s worse nightmare!” Paul’s face was red with rage.

“How dare you talk about them like that,” Terry shook a finger, “they were your family! They took you in and took care of you like their own children. We did what we had to do to get by, no one can blame us for that!”

“Oh, give up the act, admit what you really did, what you really were.” Alan scoffed, regaining his composure. Grief was replaced with contempt. “You were a fortune teller, sure, but you made your fortunes come true. Every single town we entered, you would tell your filthy lies, and then you would turn those lies into truth. No matter what it took. You’ve committed murder, theft, fraud, and countless other offenses. All of that blood on your hands is because of them! The blood on your hands as well as the blood on ours.

“Do you really think that without them, Paul would have taken those children? They made him a clown, something every kid loved then. They trusted him and he took them right under their parents’ noses, made them orphans and sold them to the people you’re defending.

“I’ve bared the guilt for all three of us. But mine is the heaviest weight on my conscious. My magic tricks were nothing but schemes to run people out of their money. Put it in my pockets, and then be passed on to them.”

Terry cut off Alan.

“Alan, we did what we had to in order to live. The only thing you should feel guilty about is what you did to them! They were so good to us! You were just always jealous that I was the only one allowed behind the doors of their tent. I was special, and you both are jealous of that. That’s why you killed them.”  

“We got rid of them to protect ourselves, to let liberty into our lives again. We were sick of this constant torture and abuse of everyone we set our eyes on.” Paul defended himself and Alan.

“You ungrateful sons of…” Terry was cut off by Alan.

“This is not being ungrateful, Terry, this is waking up and smelling the roses. They were abusers. They took away our lives, our freedom, they stole from people. They took and they took and they never gave back!” Alan’s nostrils flared in rage. “Why are you protecting them? After everything they’ve done to you. What they put you through, the abuse you endured.” There was a brief moment of silence where all eyes were focused intently on Terry.

“They were my family. They loved me. I was special to them and you two weren’t. That’s why you have so much hatred for them. But they were my family, they treated me good. You wouldn’t understand that. You didn’t have the bond we did.” Terry whispered, tears welling up in his eyes.

“You think they were your family?” Alan scoffed. “What did they do that made you feel so special? To feel like you were a part of their family?”

“They took away his innocence,” Paul whispered, his posture seemed to sink into himself. Alan looked at him with confusion and Terry looked at him with a sad knowing gaze. “They took away your virginity,” Paul looked up at Terry with tear-filled eyes. “That’s how they may you feel special like you were one of them. They brought you into their tent, they looked at you with those lustful eyes. You loved the attention at first, the hugging, the constant brushing up against your arm, the hand holding. It made you feel loved and special. But then, that wasn’t enough for them. They needed somewhere to stick the bulges in their pants. At first, you thought them touching your ass when they hugged you was an innocent mistake, but then you could start to feel them press their hardness against your body.

“They were your superiors, you knew it was wrong, you didn’t like it, but you also knew you couldn’t speak out about it. And the longer you stood there and took it, the more confident they got. They’d start fondling you and letting you see the most private parts of their body react to what they were doing to you. The worst part was when your pubescent body betrayed you and reacted to their touch. No matter how disgusted your brain was with what they did, your body was confused and reacted the only way it knew how. They really got off on that, those sick, sick men. They loved to watch and they loved to take turns pleasuring themselves at your expense. Occasionally, they’d join together in multiples. No matter your reaction, fear, anger, sadness, or even pleasure made them stop. It was all you became to know as normal, so you accepted them as your family, as people who loved you. I know because they did it to me too.” Paul was in tears by the time he finished.

Alan knew something was going on in the tent, though, he didn’t know the details of it until now. He looked to Terry and noticed his head was bowed so Alan couldn’t see his reaction.

“That’s what families do!” Terry looked up in rage. The big man’s forehead bulged and his eyes were filled with tears. Tears of sadness, not pain. “They protect you and they love you! You killed them because they loved you?!” Terry’s hands balled up into fists. “You didn’t deserve their love! Only I did! Why couldn’t they see that? I was their only child who ever really loved them. You two, you were frauds.” Terry looked at Alan. “They didn’t even love you enough to show it to you. You had your first time with an outsider. A town girl in France in an empty ticket booth.” Terry sneered as he stood up, “you must have been so jealous of the bond we had. That’s why you killed them!”

Alan’s head jerked back in surprise.

“I got rid of them because they were abusing you! They were hurting you and you masked it as love! They were hurting everyone they touched. They were horrible people, Terry. We were young and impressionable, they made you think that what they were doing was normal.” Alan explained even though he knew it useless. Terry had grown up believing it was right. He truly believed that’s what love is.

“You are wrong!” Terry’s face grew an even brighter shade of red. He was quick on his feet and lunged at Alan. Alan tried to fight the big man but his attempts only got him as far as off the couch and onto the hardwood floor. Terry kneeled over him, straddling Alan’s squirming body beneath him. Paul cowered on the couch, knowing he would only make things worse if he intervened. He also saw an outline forming in the groin of Terry’s jeans, he was enjoying the struggle. For once, it wasn’t Paul who was helpless to Terry’s strength, so he let him continue.

Terry’s large hands wrapped around Alan’s neck, squeezing and pressing his head to the floor. Alan’s eyes were large and looked pleadingly at both Terry and Paul. Paul shut his eyes tight, looking away. He didn’t even have to look at Terry to know he was enjoying himself. Paul could hear Alan’s breaths get wheezy and shorter. The breaths he took seemed to sync with the sounds of jeans rubbing together. Just shutting his eyes wasn’t enough, Paul brought his hands up to his eyes, pressing them there until the only thing he saw were light dots against the black. He knew what was coming. His ears were sharpened by the sound of a zipper getting undone. Paul couldn’t hear Alan breathing anymore. The familiar, sickly, sweet and salty smell filled the living room. Terry had finished.

Paul wished he had prepared himself more for the image he saw when he opened his eyes. Alan lay flat on his back, arms limp at his side. Terry was off of him now, standing at his feet. Alan’s eyes were wide open, unblinking. The liquid on his face glistened under the light coming through the window. It slowly rolled down the sides of his face into his receding hair, his ears, and some dripped onto the floor. Paul felt his stomach churning, threatening to come up.

“Let’s go,” Terry said calmly. Paul thought he sensed a hint of a smile on Terry’s lips. Everything in Paul’s body and mind told him, no, but he dragged himself behind Terry’s calmly walking figure.

 The two men made the short walk back to the bar in silence. Paul thought back to earlier in the night before this all came to the surface. Back to when he could fool Alan into thinking that he was alright ever since he got rid of their superiors. The problem was, they left behind another that they raised. Terry. Paul thought of all the times he’d stayed with Terry after they quit the circuit. What he did to him, what he did to all the other boys and men he brought into the apartment. For Paul, it never stopped. Alan tried hard to protect him, but he had no idea who Paul really needed protection from.

 

***

 

“Police are investigating the murder of a fifty-year-old man found strangled in a residential neighbourhood in Parowan, Utah today. Our sources say the police are testing some DNA found at the scene for possible sus-”

Paul clicked off the TV. He knew it wouldn’t take long for them to start looking into the murder. The two boys in the house were prime witnesses if they weren’t too traumatized by the scene they would have found in their living room. The DNA results would instantly prove them innocent and give the police a lead. As far as Paul knew, Terry wasn’t in the American system anywhere so they wouldn’t find any matches. It still wouldn’t take the police long to retrace their steps from the bar to the house. There were plenty of witnesses who could describe them. It was only a matter of time. As much as Paul hated hiding in the same apartment with Terry, he also didn’t like the idea of more rape in the American jails. At least when Terry did it, he knew who he was and what to expect.

Paul knew he needed to do something. The sounds of Terry taking advantage of yet another teenage boy he found on the street encouraged Paul’s need to take action. That’s why he held a small handgun in his lap.

It wasn’t anything fancy, but it held bullets and it shot them at a high enough speed to kill. That’s all he needed to end this. Just one bullet.

Paul looked at the bedroom door that Terry had left open slightly. He wasn’t ashamed of what he did. He thought he was showing love. It didn’t justify his actions any, just explained them. But Paul knew he had to pay.

The shot rang through the apartment. The sound reverberated against all the objects in the small space. Beside the body on the couch with an extra hole in its head, lay a small envelope. A confession. Even if Terry ran, all the information the police would need was in that envelope. Paul didn’t want justice particularly, though it would be nice, he just wanted the world to know. He needed to find his voice, even if it was from the grave.

 

 




© Copyright 2017 SuzanneE. All rights reserved.

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