Sian Smith, Grade 11, Innisfail State High School
2nd in the 'Shades of Darkness - Inaugural 1997 Schools Short Story Competition - Horror/Thriller Theme' competition
He ends the show by bursting into flames, as usual – it never failed to amuse and shock the audience. He, Victor Tooms, was special. As one of these ‘different’ people (he knew there were others, although he had never met them) he had an obligation to the ‘others’. Victor didn’t know what it was, or why, but it was the reason for his existence. Until he resolved this he could not give up his job, because it was through the carnival that he would complete his task. On stage, he was “Marvo the Magician, Creator of Wonders’. He hated he name almost as much as the job, but he could not quit. His charge was almost upon him, and if he failed….
They laugh at me. They don’t understand. I don’t do this for their pleasure. I don’t want them happy. I care nothing for their pleasure, and they nought for mine. But who am I to speak of pleasure or pain? I do not feel it – I cannot feel this.
Victor wandered towards his caravan. Another day has gone – no sign of his goal. He knew it was coming, but when? He passed the various sideshows – these held no interest for him, so he continued. Then he noticed the woman. She was not pretty, but she stood out of the crowd like a flame in the ocean for Victor. An apt synonym, considering my powers he thought as he realised she was in some way linked to his objective. He felt the flame surge forth, and only with a great effort of will was he able to restrain it. An inconvenient loss of control, but it had served to identify his purpose.
Quickly he moved through the crowds. Experience served him well, and he was able to follow her at a discreet distance without hassle. He no longer felt tired – the consummation was nigh, and overcame all else. Victor took a mental note of her appearance – red hair, green eyes, tall. He suddenly realised they were headed towards the exit. The crowds became sparser, so he dropped back again, careful to keep her in sight – failing now would be disastrous.
They left the showgrounds and he watched her get into a car. With deft hands he hot-wired the car he had been hiding behind, and again followed. Even in heavy traffic, her pink car stood out against the macadam like a beacon. FOCUS!! He admonished himself. After a time she slowed and turned into a driveway. He continued for a few blocks and parked, then stole back to the house. Silently Victor opened the door. Fool! He padded through the house. Suddenly he came upon her – a look of terror crossed her face. He paused to savour the moment, then loosed his fire upon her. A piercing scream rent the air, but Victor did not hear it.