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Dead Men Don't Speak 4
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The carnival seemed a lot less cheerful than when you first entered the tent. People were still laughing and cheering around you, but you were numb to the joy. Even Aoban seemed quieter than his usual self. Your father and sister were out of sight, so you simply found the nearest curb and sat down. A thousand thoughts were rushing through your head at once. You couldn’t tell if they came from Aoban or if you thought of them yourself. You had to kill them? How? You just got lucky with the man in the blue mask. How were you supposed to kill other trained murderers? Lure them all upstairs and shove them out the window? What if you had to actually fight them? What if you couldn’t do it? What if you died? What if your family died? So many questions. You rested your elbows on your knees and your head in your hands. You didn’t want to think about it, but you knew you had to. Let your guard down for a minute and one of them would get you, Aoban told you over and over. They’re everywhere; you just can’t always see them. They might look bizarre as the clowns on the stage or as normal as you and me.
You were about to tell Aoban that you and him didn’t exactly look normal, but then something caught your eye.
“Speaking of clowns…” You slowly raised a finger and pointed at one of the raised stages in the center of the street. An oddly costumed performer was staring straight at you. When he saw you catch his eye, he waved in a way to say ‘come over here’. Without going to Aoban for advice, you stood and pushed through the crowd, coming right up to the stage at his feet.


The clown was dressed just as bright as the others, but his costume was a bit different from the traditional clown suit. His shaggy hair swooped down to his shoulders, unlike the usual red or rainbow curls the other clowns sported. Bright white feathers tipped with all colors of the rainbow plumed from both of his shoulders, held in place by stripy suspenders. He crouched down so his pointed nose nearly poked yours.
“Hello, hello!” He chuckled, flashing a cheerful smile.
“Hi…?” You stepped back a little, not appreciating his breath on your face.
“I just wanted to say,” He leaned closer still, and when you tried to back up further you bumped into the people behind you. “I’m sorry for your loss.” The man pulled a handful of candy from behind his back and patted it into your hands.
“What do you me-” But before you could finish, the man had stood up again. He looked down at you, his smile going from pleasant to unnerving, then turned and made his way to the opposite side of the stage.


“Where did they get to now…?” You grumbled as you began searching for your family. The crowd wasn’t as big, since it was getting later by the moment, but it was still difficult to locate them through all the children and parents. Very few people your age were there, and when you did see a group of teenagers you didn’t stop to talk. They were crowded around nearby and alley and you didn’t want to be that close to somewhere so dangerous.
Once you finally spotted your father over the crowd, the sky was nearly black and half the visitors had gone home. Popcorn and wrappers littered the street and you found it hard not to slip on things as you hurried over.
“Dad. Hey. Can we, uh, go now?”
He looked down and smiled at you. “Did you have fun (Y/N)? What did you even do, this whole time I never saw you!”


Without seeing if he was following you, you turned and began walking to the car. Glancing at the stage, you saw that the oddly dressed performer was not there anymore. For some reason this made you feel afraid. Ducking past a woman in stilts, you broke into a run towards the car. You slowed down slightly when you left the carnival grounds. You sighed, feeling slightly safer.
“See anyone suspicious?” you asked quietly.
“Not really, but you never know, keep your guard up,” Aoban suggested.
You nodded and kept an eye on anyone you passed. When you were closer to the car, you pulled one of the candies from your pocket. Why had he given them to you? Was he just nice? Before Aoban could object, you pulled the wrapper from the toffee and popped it in your mouth. Aoban couldn’t say anything when your mouth was full. AS the nervousness wore away, you smirked a little, enjoying the silence. You took a bite of the toffee.
Seconds later you spat it out. A sharp sting had hit the roof of your mouth. A tack! There was a tack in the toffee! You felt pain surge up to your brain and blood fill your mouth. You pulled the tack out and threw it on the ground in disgust. You dumped the other candies onto the street and stomped them with the heel of your boot, spitting blood from your mouth.


A sudden dizziness hit you like a gunshot. You swayed back and forth, holding out your hands to try and keep your balance. You could faintly hear voices around you. Your own, and a voice you’ve never heard, calling in unison, your father, somewhere behind you, and another voice. Closer. You fell to your knees, candy bits sticking to your jeans. The voice was closer now. Familiar, but not familiar enough for you to recognize it. You could feel hot breath right in your ear, and cold thin hands grab your shoulders and you drooped.
“You seem like a good kid. Fun to mess with. But your sister…” The voice laughed. “Sweet little girl. Too bad. Sorry, but you shouldn’t be there to see it. Your loss.”
Something sharp began to slide across your throat. You were too numb to realize what was happening. Something bashed the attacker over the head, and you fell with your face to the concrete. Shots could be heard, and out of the corner of your vision you could see people moving. That was your last bit of strength.


A penny for a spool of thread, 
A penny for a needle. 
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! Goes the weasel.
Round and round the mulberry bush
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey stopped to pull up his socks
And Pop goes the weasel.
All around the cobbler's Bench
The monkey chased the weasel.
The monkey thought it all in fun,
Pop, goes the weasel.


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