For the A to Z Challenge, I’ll be writing flash fiction pieces based in the world featured in my upcoming novel, Where the Carnies Are. You’ll meet some of the characters and learn their back stories. These stories are completely original and are not part of the book.
The Charmer’s Conflict
Rogan stood near the enchanted carousel. The horses neighed and stomped the wooden platform. They were eager for more riders.
People filed past him, but she didn’t. The one woman Rogan wanted to see wasn’t there. She had stood him up again.
After two hours of waiting, Rogan decided to call it a night and made his way home to his snakes. His thoughts swirled around like a swarm of bees. He wished he could control them the way he controlled his snakes. A charmer could never charm himself–not even with the right instrument.
A forbidden thought popped into his head. He may not be able to control himself, but he could control her. The instrument had been passed down through the family for ages and no one had used it.
Rogan’s slow saunter quickened and he made it back to his tent.
The basket waited. It taunted him. Playing the instrument is something he always said he would never do, but his heart ached for her. There was no one he wanted more than Madam Sergi. Her dark curly hair and blue eyes with just a hint of purple had always drawn him in, but it was her intelligence that had impressed him the most. She was a fortune teller, but she was so much more than that.
Rogan took a deep breath and stepped toward the basket. He pulled the lid off gently. Andrei, Bascal, and Cartier the three headed snake slithered inside and peered out at him. Once the three heads saw it was Rogan who had lifted the lid, they went back to resting in the basket. Rogan reached in and pulled out the golden instrument.
Merely holding the gleaming relic made him feel powerful. He could control anyone with it. He could control Madam Sergi and bring her into his arms once more. The only problem was that she would likely see him coming. Fortune tellers had a habit of being able to put an end to plots like this.
He shook the doubt from his mind and decided he would give it a try anyway. If it didn’t work, he’d lose her, but since she had stood him up for the second time, it was as if he had nothing to lose anyway.
Rogan made his way toward her purple tent with the instrument in hand. She was inside with a client. Rogan decided he would act as soon as the client left.
He peered down at the relic once more. His mind began to debate. His father had told him of the power of the instrument and that control came easy. The price to pay for it was knowing that the person charmed by the instrument would have no recollection of the time they spent under the spell.
“It’s the only way,” he whispered to himself.
It was the only way to keep her to himself, but then she emerged from the tent. When he saw her and the brilliant glow that always seemed to surround her, he realized that he couldn’t do it. He loved her too much to keep her under his control like one of his snakes. He bowed his head and waited for her to go back into her tent before doing the same. It was far too powerful and no one in his ancestry had ever used it. He now understood why. He vowed never to use the instrument, but to simply keep it safe.
Where the Carnies Are blurb:
Olive is having a very bad day. She caught her boyfriend cheating on her, she lost her job, and she stumbled into a portal leading to a secret carnival kingdom which she can’t escape. The good news is she meets an eccentric, but stunningly handsome knife thrower. The bad news is she can’t go home for another two months.
The world she lands in is full of sideshow characters, terrifying amusement rides and her biological parents’ past. She was born a carny, but raised as a normal human. Magic lives in her blood, but it hasn’t reached her heart. To find out who she really is, and why carnies are disappearing, Olive must deceive the king with the help of Alex the knife thrower.
Olive and Alex play a dangerous game with their emotions when they decide to have a fling during Olive’s stay. They both lead very different lives and decide that being together for the rest of their lives is not possible, but a short affair is certainly on the menu. Will they make it through the annual festival with both their hearts and lives intact or will the king take matters into his own hands?