Carnival of Sin

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic


What be it if a sick game is not played by the crude? Satiel Farlove, an aristocratic child born of grandeur and wealth, was stolen and sold off into a rather odd blackmarket run by a ludicrous man
whom cares for only himself. With Luka and Carmen at his side, their fates are determined not by the prices wrung around their fair necks, though rather their sly intuition to evade capture during
the trials of childhood games, lurking with those from impolite society. As those around him begin to disappear, what may become of such an innocent boy?

Submitted: October 06, 2017

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Submitted: October 06, 2017

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Dusk reined over the still, seeming, camp wrought in the great summer heat. The moon’s great shafts of light gently caressed the creaking wood of the main house, the night’s wind, ebbing away at the parched establishments arid and cracked supports with its nimble sways. The stars, plentiful in the unpolluted sky, glistened with great beauty in an attempt to make up for the lost sun that toiled haughtily.

A perfect epitome of a simple, pleasant night, it seems.

Though the camp itself was otherwise.

It was gruesome and filthy, filled with unrestrained sin to its very core, and housed the worst sort of mongrels and worms in the entire British Empire.

Human Traffickers.

~ . ~

“Satiel! Sati-”

“I’m here, Luka. There’s no need to yell in such a roundabout manner. If you continue like that, the superiors won’t be the most pleased and sell you off to some pervert!” Satiel murmured almost inaudibly, his sharp yellow eyes shining mischievously.

Luka’s figure straightened and shuddered from the thought, seating next to his friend on the unwashed and grim instilled bed, careful not to cause much of a sound as his weight was pressed into the unmoving, stone-like mattress. He gave Satiel a brief pout before edging closer to him, cupping his worn, callused hand over the young boy’s ear.

“I heard from Carmen that tomorrow we’re going to play hide-and-seek. Have any ideas where to veil ourselves?” The opposing boy wore shock in his expression, his eyes in a state of concern and anguish. He blinked for moment’s notice in attempt to wear away the bewilderment and glanced uneasily at his lap, folding together his delicate hands.

With a quivering voice, he whispered, “A-Again? Didn’t we play that last month?”

Luka nodded, giving a quiet sigh, before burying his hands into his face, prickling, searing tears making way down his porcelain skin.

“It’s terrible that I’ve grown used to these sort of matters,” he began his body shaking in violent tremors, “Asking where we should hide… What have I come to be…? This sort of life is only increasingly troublesome…”

Satiel took hold of his friend’s frail figure and enclosed him in a warm, understanding embrace. He stroked Luka’s lustrous blond tresses, knowing that he’s had seizures from over-exerting himself with his emotions, and held his frame securely. After a short while, the young male wiped away his bristling tears and swathed Satiel in his arms, laying his head into his small chest.

“The Rougethorne Willow in Eastsides Bank. Up the tree itself, into its hollow trunk. I found it only recently. I think no other has discovered it as well. Its concealed well among the other willows, though I had briefly knocked on it, finding it was almost completely vacant of its wood. Its branches are long so it’ll cover the small hole at its top, where we can slip in simply,” Satiel proposed, his eyes peering around at the dark room that lay before him, filled with the sleeping forms of young boys aged around the same.

Luka’s crystalline, cobalt blue eyes began to widen, hope and will returning to his expression. He beamed and wore an idyllic face, unwrapping his arms from his friend and placing them into his lap.

“Is that true?”

“Indeed,” replied a weary Satiel, smiling in presence of his companion’s overly enthusiastic mien.

“Would you care to stay quiet a little longer, you two? Sleep is required for energy, after all,” a disembodied voice sounded, seemingly from the top of the bunkbed. A skeptical male hung his head over the top of his divan, adjusting his glasses over his dark, monotonous eyes, whilst strands of slightly curled ebony locks fell over his handsome, though pale, face.

The duo glanced upward and broke into a welcoming grin, Luka replying, “Excuse our conversation, Carmen. You know where to hide though, correct?”

The male, rubbed the sleep from his eyes and gave a brief nod, replying simply, “Naturally,” though he continued with more energy, curiosity in his emotionless tone “You said you were hiding in the… Rougethorne Willow, was it? How interesting… Do not fear, I wish not to steal your spot, I will be hiding amongst the Failberry Caves in the Northside, a small crevice I’ve been creating for ages in the walls has finally become a good-sized hole, no bigger that a dog, with a system of mazes I’ve made myself. I hope I may use it more than once, though.”

Luka was in astonishment, his eyes widening and his mouth hung slightly ajar, before he came to his senses in a flush.

“I can only imagine the time it took to make it…” the male said, moving his gaze to his lap.

“Anyhow, I wish to slumber so, please, take your talks elsewhere.”

Satiel and Luka glanced at one another before giving hesitant goodbyes, returning to their bunks amidst the rows upon rows of the sleeping bodies, unknowing of their fate the next day.

Satiel lay in his bed, uttering a goodnight to Carmen before toying worriedly at his long, straight, pastel turquoise tresses, concerned of the so-called life game of ‘hide and seek’.

~ . ~ .

The heat arose as soon as the sun began to ascend, scorching the victimized area in its arid temperature. Lined up, against the porch of the center, was the male group in the camp. Both burning sweat and tears trickled down their precious faces of porcelain, all boys of beauty and wealth alike.

Next to Satiel was Luka and Carmen, on both his sides, standing stiff in front of the director of the market.

Eluva Karikoa, was the malevolent man’s name.

He stood, his thin face pale, and his eyes narrow in their unpredictability, among his merchandise.

“As you know, boys, we run this sort of market a bit differently than others. Call it, the Carnival of Sin or Festival of Humanity, we are known to be a little… Off. Instead of the usual marketing, such as pickin’ and sellin’, an idea from the founder, my father, arose. What if it was turned into a game? So, a game to capture children and buy them or hunt again was created for each month. Hopscotch, where if one was to fall in a specific spot or touch a line a man bought for himself, the child would be sent off away with said pervert. Cops and Robbers, where one must flee from a small crowd of men, and unless saved by another child, would be in possession of those whom had tagged them. The list goes on and on, for miles upon miles of fun games that those greedy men and women hunger for, as if ravenous wolves. But, oddly enough, a fairly new game has come to be a crowd favorite in capturing children: Hide and Seek. Surely, you know the rules of this game already. Hide, and if caught, sold off.” Eluva wore a smirk of malice, before grabbing hold of a young boy’s hand, a male Satiel recognized as Rye.

He quivered in Eluva’s presence, but made no attempt to pry his hand from his fragile wrist. He simply stared in horror of the events that would happen next.

“And as you know,” Eluva continued, his eyes gleaming, “Disobedience is not to be tolerated.”

He quickly kicked Rye into the neat line of males, giving a swift tsk before glancing at a glaring Satiel. With a look of undying curiosity, he illusively smirked and winked at the male, before snapping his fingers and demanding that they’d follow him to the main point, the center of all chaos about to ensue.

~. ~

“Seems as if he’s in a good mood today,” Luka murmured to Satiel, swiftly sneaking glances of the director that lead them to the main point, “He usually breaks a wrist, arm or leg if he’s neutral. He’ll kill a child if he’s mad… I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen him happy.”

Luka put a thoughtful finger to his chin, “Ah, I remember that one time when he was about to pick me, but instead asked me to serve him for the day…”

He shuddered and extended his tongue in disgust of the events, “Humanity has gone rotten, I swear.”

Satiel nodded in agreement, “It’s almost as if this camp is worse than the devil’s underworld at this point,” he began, continuing with a mellow tone “Although I’ve already forgotten what it’s like to be at home with my sister, mother and father… I still recall the warmth of that household.”

He closed his eyes, exhaling a sigh.

“I wish to be there once again with you and Carmen.”

Luka smiled, his now dull, cobalt eyes ringed with melancholy, “You used to be from the rich and powerful Farlove family, correct?”

Satiel curtly dipped his head, opening his mouth in an attempt to speak, though Carmen chimed in before so.

“You’re from the Earl Tokrov, Luka, you have more power than any of us. It’s why Eluva favors you. Though Farlove is in close ranks with your family, considering they’re good friends with her Majesty, the Queen, and are the business owners of Sio & Von, a famous and rapidly increasing clothing, publishing and homeware corporation, he stands below you. Ah, excuse me for my selfishness, Satiel. I meant not to sound as if I was blackening your name… After all, I was simply parented by Taron Lale.”

Satiel wore a cross expression before speaking, “Taron Lale was a genius that stood by the Queen’s great side as her trustworthy financial manager. How on Earth do you explain that as ‘simple’ as if he was a commoner’s folk…? Anyhow, I could care less about our ranks. Our social statuses seem not to matter here, anyhow.”

Luka flushed in realization of their positions and nodded grimly, Satiel continuing with a tone of ice, “For now, our survival is what matters most at the moment.”

“We’ve arrived, boys,” Eluva announced, stopping and smirking with ill-intent, “A large crowd has formed, so I suggest that you’d hurry yourselves to a hiding spot instead of taking your time, as usual. I’m granting everyone five more seconds because of this, be thankful for my mercy, and no longer. You have fifteen seconds to run and hide, say farewell to your friends, because you’re most unlikely to see them after today. Without a moment to spare, shall I say, May God have mercy on your souls.”

He stepped away from the boys and glanced at Satiel once again, his eyes darkening.

“One… Two… Three… Four…”

Satiel’s heart at once began to pound with adrenaline, a course of anxiety and pressure of the thought of men swarming after him and the toiling sun burdening him, coming to mind. He clenched his fists and held Luka’s hand, readying his body to run as swiftly as possible.

Tears threatened to wrench themselves out of his closed, forced shut eyelids, his ears hearing only the silence of the calm trees and sniffles of those around him, Eluva counting upwards to the unholy number he prayed he’d not reach.

“Seven… Eight…”

Satiel’s heart began to beat, Luka flinching and squeezing his friend’s hand back before whispering, “Please God, have mercy on both Satiel and I…”

“TEN.”

In a flurry, as if rats scattering from danger, everyone bolted every which way. Satiel, without further notice was darting toward the east with all the strength he could muster in his lithe and spry legs, clutching Luka’s hand tighter than ever. The echoes of Eluva’s voice began to reverberate through the entire foreground, counting upward steadily.

Satiel could only wince at every rising number, the brambles and foliage of the forest tearing at his soft-skin whilst sprinting in an unprecedented hurry. Luka could only slightly lag behind though try his utmost hardest to keep up with his more capable companion. He began to puff in a wild attempt to breathe, his other arm shielding his face from the incoming branches that tried to stall their evasion of capture.

The bank was not far now, through Eluva had reached ten, nearing fifteen, and the Rougethorne Willow was nearby.

They could make it.

Satiel’s feet pounded against the dirt as they rushed down a sloping hill and approached the water. At thirteen seconds, there they saw, on the other side of the bank, near another willow, their destined hiding place.

The two boys, unable and hoping not to jeopardize their time limit, carefully edged themselves onto two stepping stones, sauntering to the other side. That is until, Satiel lost his balance. Luka quickly straightened him, placing his hands on his friend’s waist and pushing him towards the other side. Satiel helped the male to cross over and with no more seconds to spare, scrambled towards the tree in a frenzy.

They both, bruised, cut and now wet, used the rest of their wearing energy to haul themselves up the tree, wedging themselves into a gap that lay at the top. The duo scuttled down the tree, using what was left of the raw wood to make their way down to the base. And with a sigh, no louder than a gust of short wind, they laid their tired heads against the trunk, gasping for oxygen.

It wasn’t until they heard a sharp scream and hush that they became dead silent. Satiel glanced at Luka, who was quivering violently once again, tears rimming his eyes, and mouthing the words, ‘God please help us.’

The turquoise-haired male took hold of his friend, and at once buried his face into his shoulder.

This was the only warmth he was granted in such a place.

As he enveloped Luka into a tight embrace, he rhythmically moved his hands over his back in an attempt to soothe him. Though his companion’s shaking did not cease. Tremors ran through his thin, frail body repeatedly, and before Luka was seemingly about to have a seizure, Satiel sung.

With the sweetest voice of silk, he began to quietly sing a strange tune he learned from his mother. He was always gifted in the arts, his main being singing, though never before did he perform in front of crowds of people who weren’t in his family. Oddly enough, he had only sung for his sister and mother. And because of their absence, for only today, and to calm his beloved friend, he used his beautiful vocals once again.

As he neared the end of the song, Luka breathed an unstable sigh, embracing his friend tightly and murmuring, “Thank you.”

They sat in the trunk, trying to silence the screams of the young boys being found and taken by covering one another’s ears with their worn, callused hands. The smell of fresh dirt and gravel wafted into Satiel’s nostrils, following with the scent of blood. The heat, because they were inside a cool, hollow tree, luckily didn’t affect them, though their voices were echoed without a moment’s notice if they dared to speak. Fortunately, when Satiel was singing, it was slightly muffled, for he had buried his head in Luka’s shoulder.

After what seemed like an eternity, midday followed. Satiel was resting his head onto Luka’s shoulder- considering they had departed from their embrace since it’s usually midday that the hunter’s take a break, returning at dusk and retrieving many children once again- loftily dozing after the hype of the past events. Luka simply sat still, careful not to wake him, but became alarmed when hearing a tapping on the tree. Reassuring himself that it was a fauna of some sort, he edged closer to Satiel, and readjusted himself to cover his friend slightly.

Another tap followed and another, appearing all around the tree, in exception to the spot their backs were against. Realizing it was likely a hunter checking if a child was leaning inside the truck, Luka quickly grabbed Satiel and placed him in front of him, moving his back from the edge of the wood. The once slumbering boy woke up and widened his eyes, beginning to ask the reason for his actions, before Luka grabbed hold of him and forcibly buried him in his chest, covering his mouth with his other hand. A stale silence ensued.

A rustle was heard in the branches above them, an immediate following of dread ebbing at them, when suddenly a boy, seemingly the age of six with curly brown hair and vivacious green eyes peered through the hole. His eyes widened and he immediately flushed crimson in seeing it was ‘occupied’ and began to retreat when Luka stopped him.

“Ah, this isn’t as it seems. Please, join us if you will. I wish not for your capture,” Luka whispered, beckoning the child. He looked around uneasily and nodded, slowly edging himself into the tree. He dropped into Luka’s arms and slid onto the ground, dipping his head in thanks for the refuge.

“The name’s Toff. Toffen McKinley, pleased to meet you, good sirs.” He wrapped his hands over one another and laid his head on the trunk smiling, “I’ll be quiet now, don’t mind me, you odd lovers.”

“Lo-” Satiel writhed in disgust at the words, a sudden blush arising on his face, “Not at all! We’re only friends!” He murmured as quietly as possible, visibly furious.

Luka could only flush and shake his head, covering his face with his hands.

“Oh. Is that so?” Toffen inquired, tilting his head and analyzing the duo, “Huh. I suppose it’s true then. You both don’t look like you’ve been with anyone in that way, dear sirs.”

“Oh, and I suppose you have?” Satiel scoffed, a mischievous look playing in his eyes.

“Yes, indeed, dear sirs, four of em’. Beautiful little beings… Sandra, Reya, Lio and Penelope. Ah, I miss the days they cooed at me and toyed at my heart. Now I’m stuck here with a load of fanciful aristobrats. Of course, no offense, I mean no harm. I only speak of those that cry for their gold platters and silver spoon rather than their hearty families.”

Satiel closed his eyes and sighed, “Yes, well, if leading a grand life with wealth, it’s hard to adapt to any other sort of lifestyle.”

“That is, indeed.” Luka chimed loftily, staring upward at the branches.

“Now, now, we must stay quiet,” Satiel assured, placing her index finger in front of his mouth and looking at Toff. He curtly nodded and repeated the symbol before resting his head against the tree again.

~ . ~ .

It was dusk.

The hunters became frustrated, tearing up and down to find the six well-known aristocrats in the forest. Though the said boys didn’t know of their grand value in this hunt, Eluva watched in the dark, waiting for the man or woman to be lucky enough to find them.

The people on this list, of course?

Carmen Lale, Luka Tokrov, Satiel Farlove, Fin Lockley, and lastly, the mysterious twins with only nicknames: Sanguis and Caedis.

All brilliant and beautiful children with splendor and power many hunger for. Though Eluva knew that there was only one man who could find all of them, gobble their pride and use them as he wishes: Himself.

With a chuckle, he submerged his obscure form into the darkness of the crowd and watched the fleeting lives of the children under his power taken away in matters of seconds.

~ . ~ .

Satiel sat by idly, the screams and shouts of his peers rising from all directions. Luka, whom sat next to him, was praying for Carmen and their safety, mouthing the words repeatedly until all grew silent. Toff was drawing a boat in the dirt floor with this thumb, swaying his figure as if dancing to an inaudible tune.

It wasn’t until twelve when the game would stop. At the moment, judging from the knowledge that Carmen shared about the position of the moon, it was only eight o’clock. With four hours to spare, Luka and Carmen decided to play a game of tic-tac-toe. An hour or so passed, when something most peculiar happened.

A voice.

A man’s rough voice sounded from outside the willow, directly speaking to them. He said, “Beware, beware of the thieves to be, you ought to hide more secretly, though to me you’re scrap and nothing more, heed, heed, heed my lore. For I am a great dusk pirate, of sailing the great pearl sea, I only look for my beautiful son, my beautiful son Toff-ee!”

Toffen’s eyes widened, without warning tears spilt from his eyes and he raced to the very top of the willow, a look as if God sent a miracle before his eyes reined.

“Fathe-” his eyes became horror struck, his body began to quiver, and he clenched his fists, his knuckles turning white.

“U-Uncle… Reed? What are you-” Toffen’s skin paled.

He briefly glanced downwards at Luka and Satiel whom stayed utterly still, holding their breaths. He blinked and, with slow movements began to climb down the tree. Luka reached out to him, about to shout, when Toff, eyes of anxiety and emptiness, screamed, “Don’t!”

Toffen veered toward his uncle, acting as if the statement was directed to him, “Don’t you dare lay a finger on me!”

Though they were out of sight, a loud, cracking snap sounded in the cold night air.

Toffen was slapped.

“I ought to teach you some manners, boy…” He growled, spitting on the pitiful boy and dragging him from the duo. Toff struggled in his unrelenting grip, screeching at the top of his lungs for help and sobbing his repentance until his meek voice quivered into nothingness.

And there, sat Luka and Satiel, staring at the ground in revulsion of themselves, contemplating and pondering their reason for living in such wallowing selfishness. Luka, noticing that it was nearly twelve o’ clock, began to say with downturned eyes, “Satiel, what’s the point in living if I can’t help others.”

“You allow others to help you until you become stronger and repay them for their kindness,” he replied grimly.

“Then… Satiel, what do you think of escaping with Carmen and I?”

---


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