Donovan wheeled his Griffins back to their place as Jim Oristens helped push the double barreled daredevil cannon out to the the ring. As they maneuvered it into place, the General announced: "HURTLING THROUGH THE AIR AT DEADLY SPEEDS. OUR DAREDEVIL DUO WILL SHOCK AND AMAZE YOU WITH THEIR INCREDIBLE STUNTS!"
Jim, with the rest of the stage crew in their grey, worn, coveralls and skeletal face paint, looked like they were the walking dead. It fit the theme that even the backstage workers were in costume during a performance. The daredevils themselves were in black, and one of them had lit his helmet on fire, as they rode into the ring on fierce looking motorcycles. Striking a match, Jim dodged a tire as he lit a huge metal hoop on fire. Somehow, the flames on the hoop were not red and gold like normal flames, no these were black, with hints of blue and purple near the base, and green at the far edges.
Ducking away from the intense heat and heading backstage once more, Jim remembered his first day at Sinestro's circus.
It had been about 9 years ago, Sinestro’s circus had rolled into town, and Jim’s mother, Maria Oristens had seemed particularly nervous about it this time. For some reason, she had tracked the motions of that particular circus troupe, and something about it’s now booming popularity had caused her to push 12 year old Jim behind her when the parade had passed by, boasting new acts and powerful, supernatural creatures. Sinestro had waved at the crowd the way a tyrannical king waves at his subjects, without seeing any of them, his single eye full of greed, the other covered by a simple eyepatch.
Jim had begged to go see the new show, as they’d always gone to see it before, but Maria had said no. Until the final night, when she came to him with a ticket and a letter. “Give the letter to Sinestro when you see him,” she had said. “And have fun. I love you.”
Jim had gone to see the show, and cheered along with the rest of the crowd when the griffins had flown out of their cage, and the porcelain aerialist had performed her dance, and, laughing with excitement, an assortment of prizes and carnival snacks in his arms, he’d come home, to find his mother, laying dead on the kitchen floor. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to be sleeping, but she did not wake as Jim approached, and though he shook her mightily, she still did not open her eyes. The police had found no evidence of foul play, and after several weeks of investigation, they still had found nothing. Jim buried his mother on a Sunday, and the following Monday, he set out to find Sinestro’s Circus of Heaven.
Jim glanced at his reflection in a convenient mirror placed near the entrance to the ring, and wondered if his mother would like who he’d turned out to be. His eyes had been blacked out and his face was painted white. Lines crossed his lips to look like skeleton teeth, and his tattered uniform was faded and worn. It was just a costume, but this circus certainly wasn’t all it seemed to be. Glancing out at the Daredevil’s act, he saw them shoot out the top of the tent, so high into the air they became just two more stars in the sky before they began to come back down, landing in sync on their landing pad, completely unharmed, and bouncing high off the trampoline once more.
Jim ran out with the rest of the crew to remove the canon and other props. Grabbing a large rake, he smoothed out the sand as the Daredevils landed on their feet with a thump. They bowed low to the crowd, who screamed deafeningly as they walked out. Sinestro stepped out to the center of the ring and stepped onto his podium to announce the next act. Jim looked up at the man in the red and gold coat and frowned. The same greed he saw 9 years ago was still in his eye, but there was something else there too. Fear.
Sinestro glared at him and Jim realized he had stopped moving. Pulling his rake out of the dirt, he ran backstage, the last of the dead joining his brothers in the underworld.