There had been reports recently of strange goings on at the circus. Nothing concrete, just whispers of people coming and going at all hours, strange noises and other oddness.
Dave Montreal had his hands full organising the deputies and getting them ready for the great debate that was due to happen in a couple of days. He had tasked Lucy Clover with checking the place out. Dave had told her once that the circus creeped him out, she couldn’t blame him really, she wasn’t the biggest fan of clowns either.
Outside the big top there was activity everywhere. People coming and going, sitting and talking, or practicing their performance. Over in a dark corner Lucy spotted what can only be described as the single biggest person she had ever seen. A veritable mountain of a man. He was sat on the floor, legs stretched out in front of himself, staring at the ground.
Curious, she approached the elephantine figure.
A ridiculous streak of bright green hair ran down the centre of a comedically tiny head. This however was the only thing tiny about the man. His arms were thicker than the beams holding up the ceiling in Charlie’s Place. Barrel chested did not do the man justice. As she got closer, Lucy felt even younger than her few years showed. She felt insignificant against this mass of person.
As she turned to leave him to his business she heard him sob.
What could possibly cause a man like this to be upset? Interest piqued further she summoned the courage to approach.
The beast turned his miniscule head towards her and she saw tears rolling down his cheeks.
Hesitantly she edged closer.
“Are you OK?, Can I help?”
The man lifted his face slowly to look at her. A child-like innocence resonated behind his eyes.
“GO ‘WAY” He bellowed “NOT SPOSED TALK STRANGERS”
Lucy took a step back. She was stunned, this giant of a man was really nothing more than a huge simple child. Pity swelled in Lucy’s breast, how could Ivor use a poor soul like this in his ridiculous menagerie?
“My name is Lucy, if you tell me yours we won’t be strangers” she offered.
A moment of confused hesitation passed across the man-child’s face.
“Dey call me Brute. I NOT BRUTE!”
“I won’t call you that, can I call you… Bruce?”
The Brute seemed to consider this for a moment and then slowly nodded. He had stopped crying.
“Would you like something to eat? I have some chocolate”
The Brute’s eyes lit up. Nobody had ever offered him candy before, nobody offered him anything really. Children always threw things at him and laughed and ran away. The rest of the circus folk left him alone, he didn’t like being alone. The little girl in front of him seemed nice, but Mr Ivor had told him not to talk to the outsiders, he was only supposed to talk to circus folk.
“Not sposed talk strangers” he sighed and went back to staring at the floor.
“I’ll just leave it here, on this crate” Lucy left the bar of candy and walked away. She made a mental note to check on “Bruce” later on.
– – – – – – – – – – –
It was getting late as Lucy made her way through town back to the Sheriff’s office. To make up time took a shortcut between Charlie’s Place and the General Store. Just as she was reaching the end of the confined alleyway she pulled up short as a figure stepped out from behind some boxes.
“Well nah, lookit what we got he’ar”
Lucy backed up, slowly, her arms wide so as not to startle her ambusher.
“L’il Lucy Clovah! Well ah nevah”
She didn’t recognise the voice. She did however recognise the red bandana pulled up over his face.
“Sloaner” She hissed.
“Must be mah lucky night, catchin one o’ you’s Law Dawgs all on yo’ lonesome. Sloane’ll be pleased”
The Sloaner cocked his six shooter, the barrel now pointed into Lucy’s face
The cry startled Ethan. He hadn’t expected anyone else to be coming this way so soon. He need to finish this quickly and now he had to take out another. He turned his attention to the newcomer. The man was HUGE! if he even was a man. Ethan would have been less scared had a train been barreling it’s way towards him down the alley . Still he stood his ground and pulled the revolver away from Lucy to point it at the behemoth.
“GIRL IS FRIEND! STAY ‘WAY!”
Ethan fired, the sound of the shot reverberated around the alleyway, the slug passing straight through one of the man’s tree trunk like legs. it didn’t even slow him.
He fired again, twice more. Both hits finding their mark dead centre mass yet still the human boulder came rolling towards him. Then it was on him, he found himself being hoisted roughly into the air. He felt the air rush past his face as The Brute rammed his head into the wall. He felt pain. He felt the warm trickle down his nose. He tasted the iron tang of his own blood. He felt motion again as the brute swung him back at the wall. And then he felt nothing.
The Brute dropped the now limp form of the dangerous man on the floor and looked for his friend. She was nowhere to be seen. Sadness welled up within him, he had scared his friend and she had run away.
He turned and started his slow walk back toward the circus, Mr Ivor would not be happy that he had left the circus area, but that didn’t matter, he had chocolate.