It was a calm October night. The circus arrived unannounced. The moon glowed a bright jack-o-lantern orange. Red and white striped tents appeared out of nowhere. There was music: trumpets, drums, and xylophones.
Something wasn’t quite right.
“Jessie, it’s so pretty,” said my little sister, overlooking the view from high above.
As we revolved around the Ferris wheel, I could have sworn I’ve seen crowds of people disappearing then reappearing. As if they were glitches in an old security tape.
“Did you see that?” I asked.
“See what?” My sister’s mouth was full of cotton candy. Untroubled by her surroundings. She was too young to notice anything unusual.
When we reached the bottom, a woman in a pinstriped dress greeted us.
“How did you like it?” she asked. Her smile was unsettling.
“Losing your sanity.”
When I turned to see my sister, she was gone. And so was the circus. The tents, the music, the woman, ceased to exist. Instead, I was standing in a field all alone.
Terrified, I ran and screamed out my sister’s name – only the moonlight illuminated my view.
Then, I heard giggles.
“Here I am,” she said. “You’re bad at hide and seek.”
Relieved, I picked her up.
“I don’t want to back.” She tried to wrangle her way out of my arms.
“It’s late. We have to go home.”
When we arrived, the same woman from the circus waited by our door – except this time, she had no body.