Darkness was his solace. Behind the red curtains of the Circus, all was in shadow. The crowd’s applause and Sinestro’s crescendos blended into an indistinct rumble beyond the edge of his world. Savian took a breath. For a moment, he almost felt at peace.
Pouring rain, ragged breath, bitter cold. A starved child ran from pursuit, a warm loaf of bread steaming within his grip, bare feet splashing in the wet and muck of flooded streets.
“GET BACK HERE!” the shopkeep called. He was getting closer.
The Circus of Heaven fell silent. The ring had emptied and lights were dimmed as the General took the ringleader’s dais once again. He let the quiet stretch, feeding off of the crowd’s suspense and anticipation. When Sinestro was satisfied, he began in a somber whisper, so softly the crowd had to lean forwards and strain to hear, “And now, my lovely friends, I give to you the most recent adjunct to our divine production. A shadow in a moonless night, a sigh from beyond the grave, eyes of ice and soul of pitch. Behold, the Black Walker.”
He emerged from the curtains, walking towards the ring’s gate. Every light was blackened save for a single beam outlining Savian’s slight form. Clad in a sleeveless black tunic, slate-grey belt and faded breeches, he was a stark contrast to the vibrant motley of previous performers. His feet were bare, yet his hands were wrapped in jet fabric from fist to elbow. No uproar greeted his entrance, just the way Savian preferred. He basked in the silence of his audience, felt thousands of eyes focusing on his every step. Once he reached the ring’s center, the dance began.
A single rope dropped from the rafters above. With his left hand, Sav gripped the line as it hauled him up into the darkened heavens. A hundred feet above the ground was a cable suspended from end to end of the massive show-tent. Only the bit beneath Savian’s feet could be seen, illuminated by the spotlight. The rest of the tightrope extended into obscurity.
He turned a corner, hopped a rusted chain-link fence, and continued to sprint. Right, left, left, right, left, he jutted through alleyways as if he mapped the city himself. His legs were aching, the constant torrent had pruned his fingers and soaked his bread through the center. Another turn and further down a cramped side-street his flight ended. Savian huddled in the doorframe of an abandoned building and nibbled his sodden prize.
With subtle grace he flipped and sprang across the highwire, making naught a sound. Faint sighs and gasps from awestruck onlookers accompanied Sav’s movements. After a no-handed cart wheel, he wobbled, feinting unbalance. Gasps turned to shrieks as the audience surely expected a long fall to demise. Yet in the end he righted himself, poised on one foot, toes clutching his lifeline. He extended his arms to either side, the wraps of his wrists fluttering like death’s pennants. Then he swung backwards, still hanging from his toes, suspended inverted in the darkness like some kind of man-bat. The limelight was extinguished and Savian was shrouded in darkness from head to callused sole.
The door opened from behind. In his famished ravaging, Savian did not hear, yet still he felt his presence. A hooded figure stood within the doorway, a shadow within the shadows. One red eye peered from the cloaked abyss of his face. “Come in, my son. It has been too long since you’ve known a home.”
Horrified, the half-starved urchin let out a cry and turned and raced away. “You cannot run from destiny,” the voice whispered to his thoughts.