There is not a thing in this world that is quite like the circus. Nothing nearly so extravagant. Nothing half so awe-inspiring. There is nothing else in the world that could bring a grown man to tears of laughter and joy that hadn’t been felt since the dawn of his past. For Noah Sinclair there was nothing quite like being in charge of the whole experience. To be able to reach out and give a memory to someone and have the ability to remind them of a memory lost was a power that the Gods from any story could only wish for. Noah had this power.
Noah would spend his days working his routines and his nights performing them. He would rarely ever miss a beat and when the off chance should occur that he would miss that beat he was so quick that not even his crew could notice. With that being said, he was a fun man but also a deadly serious one. In fact, when he wasn’t on stage in the middle of that ring giving orders and making children sing with laughter, he was hard faced and stern save for a small sad smile etched in stone of his rough face. It had taken him years to master the trick of happiness.
He was the ringmaster, the promoter, the talent finder, and the owner. Noah ran things his way, like his grandfather had before him. The man’s name had been Bartimus Sinclair III he had inherited the name and the circus from his father and his father’s father before that. Bartimus too was the ringmaster and commander of The Sinclair Family Circus. It had been a circus passed down from son to son, daughter to daughter, and continued a wide legacy for over nearly a hundred years. Though Noah had almost missed his chance.
Noah and Benjamin, his brother, had been given up for adoption fairly young. Sent out of their England home and to America where an eager family had waited for them. Although, when they had finally arrived paper work fell through and the boys were left to squander from orphanage to orphanage to orphanage. They were treated well, then poorly, and then horribly. It truly never stopped and only seemed to get worse until Noah was old enough to take care of himself and Ben. He had worked his way through a two-year schooling program where he was able to get a small paying job working at a clothing store as a store manager.
It wasn’t a glamorous life for them, but his brother had been happy. Noah however was slightly unfulfilled; something was missing. He yearned for home. For a life forgotten and abandoned. This life he had been given instead had been cruel and confusing and full of loss and pain. Noah’s mind was black as cole and his body empty and rotting from a smooth brown syrup he liked to call rum. He would drink to take himself home, and drink to forget about his job, and drink to remember his mother’s face, and he would drink just to drink.
A week before Noah turned twenty-five he had received a letter in the mail. Ben had originally hidden it from his brother, knowing who it had come from; their mother. It had been a letter of guiltiness. A letter that had all the words Noah had ever wanted to hear and words that Ben could never had understood the meaning of. Noah hadn’t found the letter until a month after it had arrived, tucked away in a draw of his brother’s desk.
Two weeks later they left for England and never went back.
“You can pull up on the side over there, Dennis,” Noah told the driver. “I’ll walk the rest of the way.”
The driver smiled in the rearview, “Are you sure?”
Noah nodded and got out of the cab and walked to the large iron gate. It stood as tall as a small tree, with thick iron poles with rusted spikes at the tips. A swirled S was manipulated into the gate; rusted and worn from time. Noah pushed the gate open and started up the hilled driveway. His black shoes crushed fined dirt as he walked. A grey bleak sun peak from behind dense clouds. Ben will be sleeping for sure, he knew. That’s all it seemed his brother did. Sleep, eat, and have sex. A bird chirped in the distance and smooth fog seemed to greet him as he rose onto the mansion hill.
Sinclair Manor was its proper name. Built far more than a hundred years ago by an ancestor who was beyond rich and beyond bored. It was a home so large that it could house four families, in fact, that was its main purpose at this time. It was the home to all of the circus crew during the time of the season when they were not traveling. Otherwise, they would be set up in trailers.
The manor loomed over Noah, crisp air filling his lungs. He slammed the knocker on one of the two massive oak doors. The knocker was a rusted silver wolf with its teeth bared and eyes black. Though time had warped the knockers and took away its presence of fear and only left its slight beauty.
The massive door swayed open at a dragging pace. Behind it stood Nigel, the home butler. He had a heavy slouch in his back from age and a wiggling neck from weight loss. His hands shook as he spoke and the crows feet around the edge of his pale grey eyes danced every time he said a word. “Ah, Noah,” he smiled, “I had hoped you would be returning. Where are your bags?”
Noah frowned and the smiled into a strained laugh, “I forgot them in the cab again. I’ll get them when I see Dennis later.”
Nigel nodded, smirking as he led Noah inside. “Would you like some breakfast? Or lunch? Depending on what you prefer at this hour. With Ben and the other boys they seem to want breakfast no matter if they wake up with the sun or with the moon.” He laughed to himself as they passed walls filled with pictures and memories.
“I’ll make myself something later,” he told his old friend. “I need to speak with Ben.” Nigel nodded and headed off into the old study, which is where he spent nearly all his time. Noah rushed up a wide set staircase that led to a massive landing with bedrooms, and pallors, and baths, and more bedrooms, and studies, and more bedrooms still and that was only the second floor never mind the third or fourth.
His brother’s room was at the far side of the hall where a large window laid out the massive backyard. Noah knocked on the door once, twice, and then again a third time. Yup, he’s sleeping. He banged on the door, and then banged again.
“Christ,” the door across the hall swung open, “what ya doin? Tryin to wake the dead?”
“Yeah, something like that. Why you sleeping anyway?” he asked Eugene down the hall. “It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon, you should be down at the tent working on your flips.”
“Oh, bugger those flips!” he swatted with a hand. “I can do them old things in my damned sleep.” He smiled widely his orange beard rising, “In fact, that’s exactly what I’ll do. G’night, friend. Good ta see ya back.”
Eugene went back into his room and shut the door. Noah knocked again.
The door swung open, “What!–” his brother’s sleepy face met his and shifted from annoyance to surprise. “Oh, you’re back.” He scratched his matted brown hair with a deep yawn.
“Your breath is rancid,” he stated.
Ben covered his mouth and said, “That’s probably the pussy. Well, will you be coming in or will we be doing this in the hall?”
Noah rolled his eyes and stepped into the room. It was dark and dank and smelled of sex. Clothes were thrown all over and long black sheets hung from wall length windows. “Why did you beg for this room if you were just going to block those amazing windows with sheets?”
Ben coughed, “Well, on the rare occasion that the sun comes out it’s quite the bitch when the sun jabs you in the eye till you wake up.”
“Graphic,” Noah nodded.
“Always,” he smirked.
Noah’s gazed drifted to the bed where a naked girl lay sprawled in twisted sheets. Noah pointed, “Is she okay?”
“Ah, yeah,” Ben said, “the drugs should ware off soon.”
Noah’s eyes widened, “What–”
“Kidding, kidding, kidding,” Ben laughed. “She’s just worn out is all. Long night, met her after the show.”
“Of course you did. Think it might be time you clean this room, no?” Noah suggested lightly.
“Nah,” Ben said, looking around, “it’s livable. What’d you wake me up for? Small talk?”
Noah frowned, “No, business.”
Ben huffed. “Oh, god. It’s so early can’t it wait till like....never?” he suggested with a smirk.
“No, we need to talk now. We have some decent offers for tours–”
“Great so you figured it out and I’ll see everyone in a few months,” Ben said sitting on the bed. The girl moaned and licked her lips and turned over and a small breast poked through the sheets.
“I’ve been thinking, okay? We’ve been here almost five years now and you’re getting older and I think you need to start getting involved here,” Noah said.
“I am involved,” Ben said. “Heavily. I please the costumers, I have tricks that Zach would die for,” Ben laughed.
“Look, I’m being serious now, okay? It’s time you join the business. It’s just as much mind as it is yours,” Noah said.
“I’ve told you, man. Time and time again I want nothing to do with ‘the business,’ all right?” Ben told him. “I don’t even want to be in this damn country never mind running this business.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Well, I’m just being honest. I never wanted to come here, or stay here. That was your decision after she died. Not mine.”
“She’s not a she, she’s our mother,” Noah told him.
“Noah, she’s your mother. She was never mine.”
Noah turned away from him at that, “Why do you have to say things that, huh? She was your mother just as much as mine. Her blood runs through you, no?”
“Yes, but piss runs through me too and I don’t think of it being my father’s piss.”
Noah sighed, “You’re impossible.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Ben, tonights our last show here for a while. I’d liked you to come tour with us. Maybe ring the show once? Call it, maybe? Look, I just need you to come okay? You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want I just need you to come with us when we leave.”
“What the hell is so important that you need me there?” he asked.
Noah forced a half-smile, “My baby brother’s turning twenty-one. I gotta throw him a party, don’t I?”