Rewriting fairy tales
As I have two blogs going and am a bit lazy to write two challenges a week, following post appears on my other blog too. I hope you won't feel cheated:-).
CIRCUS UMBERTO & SNOWDROP
I’ve tried to get on that stupid tightrope for too long with not much of a success until I saw her. My fortune changed and I was all of a sudden the “gifted one”. I did not mind bloody blisters on my palms, deep scratches all over my legs, raw thighs on the inside; I would endure any pain connected with a satisfaction I felt whenever her eyes caught mine, when her velvet hands stroked my cheek in appreciation, when she spoke to me.
“Snowdrop” has joined the crew in the middle of last winter, after half of the animals died without explanation. Local vet looked puzzled every time he got called in again. The bodies of dead monkeys, parrots and other species covered two-thirds of the area of the largest tent we had, lying on the cold floor peacefully one next to another. There was no need to fight for their place on earth anymore. They were finally equal. “Snowdrop” stared down at those empty shells. Her cheeks glittered with tears falling silently down onto a sandy floor. I watched her kneeling down and stroking a head of an orangutan which eyes looked as though they were staring right through her, piercing her soul. I knew she is going to be special.
She knew her craft; ”Snowdrop” moved with grace, yet I could sense the danger in her performance while she’s been flying thirty feet above the floor hanging head down only by her knees. Her dress would obstruct the view but she knew what time she had to reach out and grab the pole and let go to transport herself onto a platform under the tent’s top. The spectators yelled with a fear, they would cover their mouths and stop breathing for a few seconds. Sometimes, if she would perform her most difficult piece, they would stand up and cover their ears, eyes locked on her swirling body, suspended in the air. I used to watch her every night, hidden behind the curtain dividing backstage and circus arena. My knuckles whitened often, as I prayed for her not to miss the bar each time she was getting ready to switch positions.
‘You don’t have to be afraid, my little friend. I’ve never missed it and I never will,’ she said while passing me by after performance, accompanied by people shouting in amazement for more. She strolled as though she did not have to touch the floor, her footsteps were barely audible. “Snowdrop” knew what effect she had on all of us. She knew we would never be able to hurt her.
She became the biggest hit of that season. Posters lined up the streets of each town we visited, our reputation stretching beyond state borders. My fellow circus performers were rehearsing new numbers trying to lure her in to cooperate but she was much of a loner, single act. I guessed she did not want anybody to outshine her. Like that was possible. My heart thumped with hers, my palms were sweating instead of hers, my eyes were wide open as though she could see through them in attempt not to miss the bar. She must have known I fell for her in an instant as she walked through the door. She always smiled and blew me a kiss; that was all I could hope for. I dreamt of her, visualizing myself as a tall, handsome and brave, someone she could not resist, someone worth her attention. I promised myself and her I will always look out for her, no matter where I was or how far. She laughed at me often. I could feel the pity in her smile.
‘You are sooo sweet, my little friend. What would I do without you. Would you be a darling and fetch me an apple?’
‘Of course, my lady,’ and I would run down the street to the nearest shop or if I were lucky I would climb up on the tree and bring her the best of best apples I could find. And I would taste it first in case it was poisoned. And I would pay for it, too.
I know she used me. But I would do anything to deserve one look, one smile, one stroke.
As the summer crawled closer, days became longer and southerly breeze warmed up the air, “Snowdrop’s” confidence grew. She began rehearsing her new solo act, deadly dangerous. The Principal did not agree with her, he refused to even look at it while she practised with a safety net. I tried to persuade her to quit this idea, she succeeded already. She had no reason risking her life any further.
‘You all are jealous of me and my success, I know that. And you will be even more. Who do you think brings the most money in? It is me, and only me,’ she shouted and her face contorted into an ugly grimace.
On the last night of August when the sun set in, Snowdrop positioned herself on a platform under the tent’s top, her tight dress sending sparks down the audience. The glitters shone so bright it blinded me. My eyes filled with salty water and I had to tear off the edge of my shirt to wipe them. By the audience responses I could tell without looking, her performance made their hair stand up on the back of their necks. Shouting and gasping grew louder and I knew the climax was getting closer and closer. As soon as my eyes could see again, I picked up all my courage and looked up to get a glance at Snowdrop. Her face stern, concentrating, lips moving as though she was talking to somebody. Both hands swung in the air and caught the bar, Snowdrop still hanging down by her knees, the little skirt uncovered her slim thighs in white leggings. She swung left and right, hair flying in all directions. White pearls necklace slipped off her neck and fell down to the floor where the pearls scattered around like marbles. I knew what was coming now. The triple twist, in the air with no support between two swinging bars ended with a firm landing on the platform after she would grab a red rose suspended right under the top of the tent. Snowdrop was gaining a speed she needed to perform this act successfully and audience fell silent in anticipation of something big.
And then many things happened at once. Just as she grabbed hold of the rose, the thorn pricked her finger and she lost concentration. She must have forgotten she is flying; her perfect body twisted and she looked like she writhed in pain. Snowdrop missed the bar as well as the platform and her body fell down onto the circus sand with a dull thud. Somebody screamed but most of us fell quiet in astonishment. I remember my body moving without my brain engagement. I was drawn to the body on the floor, with broken legs, hair spread around the bleeding head. The blood stains grew bigger as more blood was being absorbed by sand. I kneeled down to her, drew aside a streaks of her hair from her face which has been disfigured by a hard landing. I could hear her uneven breathing, wheezing as a dark blood run from her mouth.
‘You can kiss me now, my little friend,’ she whispered to my ear, ‘this is your last chance,’ and she smiled.
I bent down but changed my mind half way through. I did not want blood stains on my face. I did not want to taste her blood. I did realize she was not worth it.
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl called Snowdrop, lying on the floor, covered in blood who paid for her arrogance with death. Once upon a time there was a dwarf who finally understood his worth.