FireEater

Dusty paths routed through the carnival, throngs of people moving like a river through the thoroughfare. Milo moved deftly through the crowd, weaving between the bodies. there was a kind of dance to it, but his quiet need made him clumsy and he bumped more than he slid. He hadn’t seen her in a year and only just heard she was here, their meetings were always brief, but the life had its price.
Milo entered the darkened tent, and saw her form. She was naked from the waist down. Her stomach was taut and adorned with an intricate Celtic cross off set from the ends with intricate cursive script. He couldn’t make out the words, but his eyes had no trouble tracing the loops and twists in the cross. Her pubis was shaved bare, he grinned looking at her face “What are you doing to me?” He asked coquettish. She bit her lower lip, her pixie cut hair framed her gorgeous face, her eyes took him in hungrily. He put his arm around her waist. she was light, he lifted her up and supported her ass with his other hand. They fell against the wall, she bit into his neck, he felt the sting of her teeth as his flesh was pierced. His eyes went wide for a moment, but he settled in and ground against her pelvis. She reached for his pants, pulled ineffectually against the denim in a quiet pleading way. “I have to go.” he said trying to pull himself away. She whimpered.
“You’ll come back?” She said.
“No one could stop me.” he responded. The stage waited for him.
Fire grew lazily on the torch. The red glow of the wick shimmered like a phantom beneath the flame. Wispy tendrils of yellow lit the Fire eater’s face from below. he pulled another torch from the decanter, whipped off the excess fluid with a flourish and lit it off the first torch, held them over his head and lowered both into his mouth extinguishing them. He smiled at the audience and held the torches casually at his side before lifting the first torch and igniting it from the fumes in his mouth. He repeated the routine and played the fire against his arms, stroking it lovingly with his hands until finally he dropped both torches on the stage, still lit and lifted the decanter to his mouth and took a hefty swig. He dropped to all fours on the stage and let the fluid loose, atomizing it in a fine mist. the mist ignited from the torch-flame and a fireball erupted. He moved like a beast , slow lumbering movements as he took another pull from the decanter, lifted a torch and blew another fireball out over the audience. They shrieked in delight, he finished the act with a series of fireballs each one from the same mouthful and each one bigger than the one the preceded it.
“Jekyll and Hyde. Beast and man, the primal nature of fire. that’s what I’m trying to get at.” He answered the reporter, the showman hadn’t left from him yet, not with the crowd still lingering. He belched under his breath the non taste of paraffin and the subsequent smell of petrol in his nostrils nauseated him as he tried to make his escape backstage.
“What about the possibility of being burnt or the carcinogenic nature of the oil?” The journalist pressed.
“Risk is the nature of life, I just take it a step further than most, but really my job isn’t as dangerous as a police officer, a fire fighter or even a bike messenger. jobs with inherent risk are the most satisfying I find.” he let off a smile that had coaxed more than a few women into bed.
He left quickly. No more showman, no more talking today, he had another appointment. Dusk was heady at the carnival, the games were louder, the smells of fried food more inviting. the day was for children, but night was when the lovers came. He wove behind tents and moved back into the crowd at varied intervals. As he stepped back behind a tent for the final leg of his walk he stepped into a man. he was big and very strong, Milo fell back from the force, but the man didn’t budge. He stared at Milo, “Sorry about that.” Milo said as he got to his feet.
Milo brushed himself off and was moving to continue his trek, but the strange man wasn’t quite finished with him. He reached out and stopped Milo from his path. The man was strangely still, his suit was purple save for the sleeves which were dark with moisture, his hands were coated with something gummy and his chest didn’t rise or fall. Milo was suddenly very aware of his own heartbeat. A chill fell over him in spite of the summer heat. “Listen,” He said, “I’ve got to get going.” The man gripped Milo by the throat, lifted him off the ground and opened his mouth wider then any human mouth Milo had ever seen. Milo tried to yell, but the grip on his throat was already draining him of oxygen. His vision flickered as his eyelids struggled to stay open. The purple man’s teeth grew sharp in his maw, black, yellow eyes boring into him, black. He pushed at him with whatever feeble strength he could muster and fumbled at his pouch with the other, reached his hand in. no knife, just a flask, pack of cigarettes and a lighter. In a wave of fear he grabbed at the flask, pulled a mouth full and dowsed the man with the rest. The creature’s teeth were closing in a half grin at the corners of his jagged mouth. Milo almost lost consciousness as he pulled the lighter, but managed a burst of strength, brought the lighter to his mouth and blew with as much force as he could. A conflagration burst to life between them.
Milo’s face was lit as well, but the purple man dropped him and he dove into the dirt face first patting his face in a flurry. He turned to the creature who was screaming through the crackle of flame. The creature ran through the carnival lighting tents and people on fire as he passed. Milo released a deep breath and grabbed at his throat. He finished his walk to his girl’s tent slowly and in partial shock.
He heard her weeping gently. he was weary, but quickly moved to her side, “what’s wrong baby?” He said quietly as pulled her into a hug.
“It’s, ah, it’s my brother…” she sobbed.
“What happened?”
“He’s dead. Tonight, he died. Somebody lit him on fire…” She looked up at him through teary eyes. “What happened to your face?”

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