Episode TwoTent of the Freaks 5:28 minutes
The Circus Fair on the Isle of Trizzle was a big event. Blue strolled in gaping at the commotion. Circus tents had grown like billowing mushrooms. The crowd buzzed. Two men nearby gossiped.
“Tell me, good man. What freaks are yer showing this year?” a scruffy man said in the crowd outside a large orange carnival tent.
“Same as last. Two-headed boy. Bearded lady. Giant. Snake-eyed cow. Baby dragon. Yer usual,” replied the unkempt other.
“Not one new freak?” the first quizzed.
“No. Uh, wait. Oh, yeah, there is a new freak called Pearl Girl. Strange name, eh?”
“Never heard of her. Does she perform?”
“She not a performer. She sits and ya look at her. That’s it.”
“Are ya sure?”
“Fool. The maid’s covered by pearly necklaces. Thousands of ‘em.”
The man looked mystified.
“The pearls be made from her own tears, See? Every time the girl cries, she wears more pearls.”
Blue thought, The witch poem! Pearl of Love. Liquid drops hard as bone. Innocent tears. These were clues!
“Yer jokin’. Yer not serious, are ya?”
“Very serious. The poor girl gots a witch’s curse.”
Blue leans in closer.
“Well, can’t she just get rid of them pearls.”
“Nope. It’s part of the rotten curse. She walks all bent over ‘neath the weight of the pearls. Others feed her and bathe her. Her life’s a ruin. Poor, poor girl,” he said shaking his head.
“But, those pearls there worth millions in gold.”
“Wrong again, friend! She can’t never sell those wretched pearls. No sane person’ll buy them. They’re cursed, remember?”
“Too bad. Poor thing, eh?”
Fascinated by what the men said, Blue followed close as the two walked to the Tent of the Freaks. Blue dug for a coin and placed it on the ticket stand. He was ushered through the tent opening. His eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the dim light. Then, he headed straight for the sign that said: “Pearl Girl. She cries and pearls form right before your eyes.”
Then he saw her, the most angelic face surrounded by pearls. Strands and strands and strands.
Men snickered. Women oohed and aahed.
“Look at those glorious pearls,” says one woman.
“She’s so lovely. She should be a pearly mantelpiece.”
“Yeah. Wouldn’t she look good glowing above the fire?” laughed another.
Blue watched Pearl Girl’s face. He couldn’t take his eyes from hers. As the taunts increased, the first watery tear rolled from her dark eye. Halfway down her cheek, the liquid tear changed into a solid pearl, which fell to magically unite with a thousand others.
The spectators squealed with delight and amazement.
“Look. Here comes another! Watch, Mother!” said a young boy.
“There ‘tis. Another tear,” said an old woman.
“You are all fools,” Blue said to the mocking group. “She’s not a toy – or a thing. Can’t you see she’s human?”
In shame, the group hung their heads and shuffled off quietly. Blue looked at Pearl Girl, drowning in her sea of pearls.
“Pearl Girl, Can I speak to you, please?” Blue begged.
“You must go,” she whispered. “Look. The manager is coming over with his strongman. I’ll meet you at dusk near the big tent. Hurry. I’m worried.”
“Very well, lady,” Blue said slowly and tipped a pretend hat with an exaggerated bow.
“Enough silliness. Go. Please?” she implored.
Blue escaped under the back tent flap with a smile on his face. She was the unseen voice in the passing cart. Blue knew he could help Pearl Girl and she’d help him.
The sun crept slowly across the sky. Finally, the purple and red hues of sundown brought dusk. Blue ran to the main tent. He paced by the entrance impatiently. He asked one of the tent workers if Pearl Girl was there. Nothing. No one. No message. Time passed. They were taking down the tents and packing up. Blue slumped on a crate and wrung his hands. Why didn’t she meet him?