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  • Writer's pictureSania Jain


In the farthest corner of the town, wild grass and broken roads would lead you to where Nocturnival would set up camps. With the evening slowly melting into nightfall, the circus would come alive. Neon sparkly lights highlighting the name of the show in colorful marquee. Nocturnival. The grand circus that would set up camp at nightfall and with the first light it would vanish like it never was there. Patrons from around the world would track the circus and would never miss a chance to see this grand event of the night. Nobody knows how Nocturnival did what it did. Though some would say it’s magic. It’s so hard to get the ticket to Nocturnival but if you have it, make sure to be inside the gates by midnight. This is a story from 20 years ago when the lives of everyone at Nocturnival changed forever! On a chilly October night, Nocturnival was crowded with people from across the globe. The air smelled damp and earthy with a hint of pine and something burnt. A lot of children stood near the doughnut stand buying the ‘dark sin’, one of the speciality of the circus and others were scattered across various vendors that lined the cobbled pathways of Nocturnival. Cries of excitement swam through the air as the Ferris wheel took another group of people to kiss the stars while the spectators on the ground were spellbound by the shimmering lights of the wheel. Inside black and white tents that scattered across the pathways various shows were going on. Somewhere in those tents a contortionist was trying to fit in the smallest container, or a trapeze was defying hundred feet of gravity. Some of those tents were giggling with silly pranks of the world’s famous clowns while some hid the most magical experiences you would ever have. Merry-go-round music played throughout the event grounds to entertain those who came to give their taste buds a flavor of paradise. In one of the tents on the less crowded side of Nocturnival, something was not right. “Don’t do it brother! It will not work!” a plea of helplessness with a hint of warning escaped from Dorian-the ringmaster’s lips. “It most definitely will work. After it is done, there will be only one ringmaster of the world’s greatest show and that would be me,” there was a dangerous darkness in Lucien’s eyes. The Murphy brothers have been running Nocturnival for many centuries. While Dorian has been handling the front row madness that comes with managing a thousand employees, Lucien was panning a plan of his own. Lucien handed a golden card, which may have been a part of the magical deck that belongs to Nocturnival, to Madame Esme. “Do not do it Lucien. Esme please. Nocturnival needs two pillars to stand and function, you take out one and the magic will go haywire,” a whimper, probably a last desperate attempt to stop his twin brother from doing something that he will regret later. But with his hands bound to either side of the chair, it was not easy to convience. Madame Esme took the golden card which had twin faces pointed in opposite directions. The Gemini Card. A slow satisfying smile scattered on her lips as she started enchanting some incoherent words and the lamps in the tent started flickering. “It’s time for goodbye brother. From now on you will no longer be tied to Nocturnival and it will belong to 'Lucien- the only Ringmaster',” pride tainted Lucien’s eyes. Madame Esme's voice picked up pace as one of the Gemini boys started fading away from the card. Dorian shuttered his eyes. He could not see his lifetime of hard work- Nocturnival- crumble before his own eyes. A weight lifted off his chest and a purple energy excavated from Dorian's heart to seep inside Lucien's chest. Lucien welcomed the power as if he would die without it, savouring the idea of being the most powerful man alive. A million tingles swam through his senses. Ecstasy hitting him hard. He could feel it. He could feel the heartbeat of Nocturnival within him. He could feel the magic of the circus flowing through his veins. All of it. “It’s gone,” Dorian touched his chest where the power once lived as his own but now there was nothing. Empty. His connection to the circus was broken. With a thud the ground shook. A deep concern replaced the ecstasy on Lucien’s face. A quake electrified through the circus and Lucien could feel it in his heart, burning. “I am sorry brother. I told you, the magic of Nocturnival needs two pillars. The circus will crumble along with everyone linked to it,” tears rolled down Dorian’s eyes. He wanted to hug his brother one last time, even after his betrayal. But there was no time. Madame Esme spun around realizing the grievous mistake she made. A purple energy blasted through Lucien’s heart and out of the tent. The violet flames eating every tent and stall and in mere seconds there was no Nocturnival. Just a huge empty ground with wild grass and a Dorian sitting on a chair staring at the golden Gemini card with just one face on it.

Note: An episodic series of this story is over at my Instagram posts. Hope you enjoy reading them.

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