The evening dragged on, like it does when tomorrow brings dread. Cassidy hated setup day, she usually ended up clearing out the animal trailers or attempting to put up the main tent and getting numerous rope burns. Cassius, her brother, sat by her side, he was playing his harmonica – a sad, melancholy tune which their mother had sung to them as a lullaby. It was called ‘The Circus Dream’ and soon the whole camp was humming along to the tune. Cassidy leaned into Cassius and closed her eyes, letting the melody swirl around in her head. The song ended and she was shaken awake,
“Bed time,” her father breathed, Cassius got up slid his harmonica into his pocket. Cassidy followed him back to their wagon, it was a simple vehicle despite the fact their father was the ringmaster. It was the wagon their mother had grown up in and he didn’t want to throw away one of the only tangible memories he had.
Cassidy pulled the sheets over her body and rested her head on the straw covered by another sheet. The circus tribe didn’t exactly live the life of luxury but it didn’t matter, despite the odd rivalry everyone acted like one big family.
The morning bloomed and the Italian sun rose from the east, Cassius was already up and dressing by the time Cassidy woke. He made his bed and then sat on the makeshift stool,
“Cass, can I help you out today?” she asked him sitting up, “If Father makes me clean out another trailer…I’ll….” Her empty threat hung loosely in the air.
“You just want to sit and let me do all the work, don’t you?” Cass smiled at her,
“I’ll help, I promise!” she pleaded a small smile on her lips. Cassius nodded and stood up, he left Cassidy to dress and soon the twins reconvened with the tribe.
“Ladies and gentlemen, today we have ten hours of daylight to set up the circus. Lunch will be served at noon. Get to work!” Bartholomew Monroe, the twins’ father, led the circus. He was strict, forceful and effective. The tribe split up and went their own ways, Cassius joined the main tent builders and Cassidy tried to follow. “You, my dear, can go and help Dakota,” a broad smile crossed Cassidy’s face. Dakota had acted like a mother for the ten years since her own mother’s death. They were best friends and nothing was going to change that. “One of her horses is lame and she needs someone to stretch the horse’s leg out, off you go now.”
“Yes Father,” Cassidy smiled and headed towards the horses. Dakota was grooming Apollo and humming the tune from last night in his ear.
“Dad said one of the horses is lame.” Cassidy stated as she drew near, Apollo’s ears moved back as she approached.
“It’s only Cassidy Apollo,” Dakota soothed, “she’s here to help out.” Dakota spoke to her horses as if they were people, they almost were. “Sky’s done something to her knee, I’m thinking if you took her around the site and let her stretch it out it should be alright for tomorrow?”
“Okay,” Cassidy agreed, she looped a rope around Sky’s neck and gave her a pat. “Come on Sky, let’s go.”