Jacyndra joined the Maxfield Parrish Carnival for the most uninteresting of reasons: she was bored and it was there. The others had dashing romantic stories; running from abusive husbands and fathers, running from a society that had no place for them, running from the law. Jacyndra just wanted to run.
Some took shelter in the Carnival to avoid ostracization; misfits and freaks. There was Jo-Jo the dog-faced boy. (In reality his name was Ralph, but one thing Panamon always said was that people believed the spectacle if they were expecting it, and Jo-Jo was just more of a dog-faced boy kind of name than Ralph.)
Thelma did indeed have a beard; which didn't go over too well among regular folk. Mark/Mary never fit in either, but he/she did here. Everyone did. Carnie folk had enough problems getting by and keeping fed to worry about judging someone for a little thing like bulges above and below the waist. Then there was Avarro, but better to leave that alone, for now.
Jacyndra loved the sense of family in the Maxfield Parrish Carnival, and often wished she had a dashing past to regale the others with. In truth, she didn't. A farmer's daughter; a kind man, if quiet and preoccupied by farming most of the time. An arranged match in two years' time to a neighboring village boy. Jacyndra had seen him at dances, and he had been nice enough. (The boy had bathed and could keep time, which put him two up on most of the others.)
He wasn't much to look at, but Jacyndra was no prize rose to have suitors lined at her door. Her long hair was ebony dark, not considered attractive in her village, and so curly it was forever getting tangled. She was tall, too, taller than some of the boys, which certainly won her no points.
Jacyndra almost secretly wished her mother had set her a terrible match, or that her father had been cruel, raising his hand to her and other things, so that she might have righteous justification for her flight.
None of that, though, and Jacyndra couldn't bring herself to lie about her family when they had always treated her well. When other Carnies asked about her past she put her head down and blushed, ashamed that no more motive than boredom caused her flight. This was usually taken to mean that the story was too horrible to share, and though this embarrassed Jacyndra all the more she let the misapprehension stand.
The truth was that Jacyndra was always a girl of high imagination, and she wanted more for herself than to be a farmer's wife. When the Maxfield Parrish Carnival came to town (papa took the whole family; all 10 of them), it seemed so exotic, so mysterious, so wild and care-free. That's all it took to take root in Jacyndra's heart, and on the last night of the Carnival she snuck away from her home, intending never to return.
Panamon never would have let her stay if he knew. He was considerably less than thrilled when he discovered her two days out, hiding among the Rousties, who were all too eager to have a girl among their midst. (No one made a move in the night, sleeping under the caravan, which half-disappointed Jacyndra and half-relieved her. Her mother had never told her how these things work, leaving Jacyndra to wonder if she was doing something wrong.)
Panamon was dead set on returning Jacyndra to her family along with fervent explanations that A) he hadn't known and B) nothing had happened. Jacyndra had to talk a blue streak to dissuade him, swearing up and down she was of age (which was not entirely the truth but would be in a year or two) and capable of making her own decisions. This convinced Panamon far less than the fact that returning Jacyndra now—even if physical proof of her un-molestation could be offered—would likely land the entire Maxfield Parrish Carnival in hot water.
Thus was Jacyndra allowed to stay, and thus—in her eyes—did her life truly begin.
Not strong enough to be a Roustie, way too shy to dance the Cootch (although she did like to peek in on the girls practicing from a hidden hole in their tent when no one was looking), Jacyndra found her home with the livestock. She had always loved animals, it had been her favorite part of farm life, and she had a way with them. Jacyndra would help feed and water the horses, and she knew enough about shoeing to aid Tad the farrier as well.
It was hard work but Jacyndra loved every minute of it. Tad took a gruff liking to her, and besides him Jacyndra became good friends with Anita and Joan, twin sisters who danced the Cootch, and Beulah, who handled the snakes. More than a few Rousties were exceedingly friendly to Jacyndra as well, though she was too shy to ever respond in anything but blushes. Anita said that just encouraged them but Jacyndra couldn't seem to help it. She'd feel their eyes on her body, almost as if they could see under her dress, and her face would flame the color of the sky at sunset.
There was one Roustie she stayed well away from, not needing the dire imprecations from Joan and Anita to do so. It became second nature to suddenly remember urgent business elsewhere in the camp when he would pass by. It got so that Jacyndra could recognize Avarro's shadow coming her way on the far side of a tent and would surreptitiously steal away to avoid all contact.
If asked straight out Jacyndra was too shy (or maybe too scared) to say what it was exactly about Avarro that bothered her so. The other girls were not so reticent. "He's so big!" Anita exclaimed once when the girls were giggling together. "He's half again as large as One-armed Jack, and folks call him The Elephant!"
It was true. One-armed Jack was the strongest man Jacyndra had ever seen. By far. He could do things with is one arm that five strong men together couldn't do with theirs. Yet Jacyndra had the suspicion that Avarro could squash One-armed Jack without much thought.
Of course, the likelihood of that happening was pretty small. Avarro kept to the Rousties and had never to Jacyndra's knowledge uttered a single word. Joan once whispered that he couldn't talk; his tongue had been removed for some horrible sin years earlier. Tad had been close enough to hear that and cuffed the girl for it and sent her to back to the Cootch tent.
Tad looked at Jacyndra, serious. She felt about him now like a father, except more so. Her own father had never had these talks with her. "Is it true, Tad? Was his tongue cut out?"
"You'd be a bigger fool than Avarro is large to believe what those flip-skirts tell you, girl." Avarro talked rough about the girls, but Jacyndra knew he loved them like daughters too.
"Why does he never speak?"
"The lad's mute. Do you know what that means, girl?" Jacyndra nodded. There had been a mute girl in her village once. Jacyndra always thought it was the saddest thing ever. "As to why, well, that's his tale to tell, or not, as the case may be." Jacyndra knew that was all Tad would say on the subject.
Once Jacyndra learned about Avarro's muteness she felt drawn to him. Not attracted, more a morbid fascination. All the girls in the Carnival swore he was the ugliest thing they'd ever seen, but Jacyndra found herself thinking he wasn't all that awful. It was true some might say he could give Ralph a run for his money, but Jacyndra thought Avarro's features fit his immense frame. Everyone treated Avarro as if he was basically one step up from retarded—one small step—but Jacyndra thought that Avarro's eyes held hidden depths.
Another common point made about Avarro was how black his eyes were. How could someone with black eyes not be evil? It was true; he had the darkest eyes Jacyndra had ever seen, but once in full sunlight she got a good look at those eyes—not an easy thing to do since Avarro normally kept his head down—and she realized they were really the darkest blue imaginable; a midnight blue.
This made Avarro mysterious to Jacyndra and even compelling, but when she confided to the twins they mocked and remonstrated her with equal fervor.
"Jacyndra, you cannot say things like that! Avarro is dangerous; everyone knows that!" The way she said "everyone," sliding the word out of her mouth slowly told Jacyndra there was a story there, but none of the girls would elaborate further.
Jacyndra summoned up her courage and asked Tad about it, and he surprised her with his response. "Avarro is dangerous." Tad said flatly.
"But I thought you said that…"
Tad cut her off. "I said he wasn't some mutilated freak, and I said you ought not to go around telling tales of him, which is STILL true, but I never said he wasn't dangerous. He is. Very much so."
Tad looked at Jacyndra, as if mulling over his next words. "Child, I'm glad you don't think Avarro is a monster…but it would be almost better for you if you did. I want you to stay away from him, do you hear me? You don't have to fear him or scream in terror like some flip-skirt, but do not let your imagine lead you down one more hole. Hear me?"
Jacyndra nodded, eyes wide and solemn, but inside her head she wondered what it was that made solid-as-a-rock Tad so hesitant.
It wasn't her imagination. Too many times Jacyndra had turned around to see Avarro behind her a ways. He never closed the distance or made any threatening gestures, but Jacyndra was sure. She tried telling the twins about it, but Anita just accused her of wanting to be in the center of attention. Finally Jacyndra told Panamon, but every time she brought it up there was always a good reason for Avarro to be where he was. Panamon admonished her for wasting his time and told her to keep her mind on what the Maxfield Parrish Carnival was about: taking as much money from the public as possible.
This week that task had brought the travelling Carnival to Remington Texas, a town several times larger than the Maxfield Parrish group was used to playing for. More people meant more money, Panamon kept repeating, but it also meant more of what Tad called "the troublesome element," a fact made plain by how much Panamon beefed up security. The money definitely rolled in, but with so many times the regular crowd of people there was an edge in the air too, as if danger could be just around the corner.
But maybe that was just Jacyndra's imagination again. The fact was that the number of incidences when Jacyndra would come around a corner and see Avarro waiting for her had jumped dramatically, and it had her on edge, regardless of anything in the air. The giant was simply everywhere! One night she was taking one of the snake-cart horses over to Tad to tighten a shoe and there was Avarro, sitting on a log watching her. The next day she was sent to help the cook prepare the stew for the midday meal and who should be hauling ashes for the pot? Avarro. No one seemed to believe Jacyndra, but she knew what she saw, and it WASN'T just random chance.
The last night of the Carnival in Remington Jacyndra was especially tense. All day long she'd run into Avarro. The man seemed to be everywhere! The last time she didn't even make a pretense of civility; just screamed once and ran the other way. Beulah found her hiding in Haverford the Swallowing Swordsman's tent, cowering behind several blades, holding one in her hands as if to strike.
"Girl, what are you doing in here? Freddie-boy said something gave you a fright and you took off like a bat out of hell. Got half the camp looking for you!"
Jacyndra's teeth chattered she was so scared, but she managed to tell the truth anyway. "It's Avarro and I don't care what Panamon says! He's following me around everywhere I go!" He voice lost its defiance and quietly she almost sobbed, "I'm scared of him!"
Beulah's face softened, and her eyes were clouded. "You don't have to be scared of him, child, but you're right to stay away from him. He's dangerous. I will talk to Panamon after tonight's show and have him say something to Avarro. He listens to Panamon. I think."
Jacyndra nodded wordlessly, her courage and voice failing her once she'd managed to tell someone of her terror. Beulah left her be; still holding the sword.
Once the crowd dispersed for the night Jacyndra began to relax, and even started to feel silly about her fears. Toward midnight some ruckus stirred up out front and all the Rousties were called to help. Jacyndra told Cole and Nate to go and then set back to her train car. It was dark in this part of the Carnival, but she knew the camp plenty well and had no trouble picking her way.
All of a sudden Jacyndra felt that prick in her shoulder blades again, and she knew she was being followed. She thought about screaming but was too frightened to utter a sound. She quickened her pace, straining to hear any sound at all. Even this far away Jacyndra could hear the commotion at the front, which drowned out any noise of pursuit, but Jacyndra was positive whoever it was had quickened too. She tried telling herself it wasn't Avarro, but in her bones she knew it was.
Approaching a small clearing between tents and caravans Jacyndra suddenly spun around, daring to see her follower. There was nothing. Not a ripple of movement anywhere. Angrily she turned back around and headed for home when all of a sudden powerful arms grabbed her.
The arms yanked her off her feet in one motion, one massive arm easily wrapped around her waist in a death grip with the other firmly over her mouth. There was no need for that one. Jacyndra was so scared she couldn't have uttered a sound for all the world.
Jacyndra's eyes darted around and after a moment she realized she was in a small section between two cars. It was dark as pitch, but she could smell Avarro behind her. She had been close enough to him before to know his scent; powerful, not unpleasant, but very musky. Jacyndra was so scared she thought she might have peed a little, but she was too scared to be ashamed.
One of Avarro's arms disappeared and to her continuing horror it reappeared with a dagger, a wicked-looking blade at least a foot and a half long. Jacyndra thought she might pass out in fright and decided to bite the giant's hand over her mouth. She had little hope it would succeed but at least she would go down fighting and maybe someone would notice later.
Jacyndra felt Avarro tense behind her. She was uncomfortably aware of his body pressed against hers, the closest any man had ever been. She thought he was preparing to take her by force and she steeled herself to bite with all her strength when suddenly she heard another sound. Somebody was coming!
Jacyndra felt a ray of hope. Maybe they would hear. She shifted her strategy from biting to trying to make a sound—any sound—but Avarro seemed to anticipate this and clamped down even tighter on her mouth. Jacyndra could not speak to save her life. But she could hear.
There were three men, moving slowly now. Jacyndra heard one of them say softly, "I know she's around here somewhere. You can't miss a cunt like that."
Another one of them laughed, low: "I can't wait to pull that long black hair back as I split her ass with my cock. I bet she's a virgin. I bet she screams like a horse!"
"You'd know." The first one said. Low chuckles. The three men came by the tents, and Jacyndra got a good look at them. They were from Remington; she'd seen them earlier at the Carnival, and they had a rough look about them. Two held clubs in their hands like cudgels and the third carried a sawed-off shotgun in both hands, caressing it like a baby.
Without making a sound Avarro lifted Jacyndra away from the men, putting his body between them. He held his knife out low, pointed at the men, and made a giant fist with his other hand. For the first time Jacyndra was free, she could run away, but she stood, riveted to the spot, her eyes as big as teacups as she watched. She had no doubt Avarro could kill the three men as easily as breathing, but with the shotgun…
The men continued to look around in vain, muttering quietly to themselves. Finally one of them said, "Maybe she slipped up front to see what all the fuss was about. Let's head up there and look for her. With all that ruckus I bet no one'd even notice if we grabbed her quick enough." The men moved off.
For several long seconds Avarro stayed still, eyes following the men. Only after they had truly left the area did he turn back to Jacyndra. The moon shifted suddenly, glinting on the blade still in Avarro's hands. He looked down at it, as if realizing for the first time he still held it, now pointed at Jacyndra, and dropped the dagger as if a burning coal.
The moonlight also lit up Avarro's eyes, so darkly blue here in the night. They were wild eyes, but held compassion in them too. Avarro watched her wordlessly, concerned what she might do, and prepared to grab her again if for some reason Jacyndra took off toward the three men.
Jacyndra felt wetness on her thighs again, but this wasn't from being scared. It was a new sensation, one that made her entire body tingle. Without thought she moved toward Avarro. The giant stumbled backwards awkwardly, as if their sizes reversed. She pinned him against the cold metal of the car, and his eyes darted left and right. He looked hunted, and if Jacyndra had stopped to think about it she would have said he was scared!
But she didn't think about it. With no idea where she got the nerve (or the know-how), Jacyndra reached up and pulled Avarro's head to hers. For all his great size and strength he came meekly. Jacyndra rained kisses on his face, kisses everywhere; his cheeks, his eyes, his forehead, his lips. The blinding terror that had consumed her just a few minutes ago transformed now into white-hot passion that she poured out on the man who seemed confused and timid.
A state of being that didn't last long.
Whatever reserve, reticence, misgivings or outright orders Avarro had about keeping away from Jacyndra, there are very few men on this earth who can willingly put themselves in harm's way to save a beautiful young woman, and then have that young woman attack them with furious passion and not respond in kind.
Avarro was not such a man.
His confusion quickly receded as instinct took over, and his arms went around her like steel bands. This did nothing to dampen Jacyndra's ardor, for she had just pried Avarro's mouth open for the first time in anyone's living memory to delightedly discover that he did indeed have a tongue, and whatever problems the man might be afflicted with it worked quite well, thank you!
Soon enough Avarro's hungry mouth found Jacyndra's breasts, her nipples hard, swollen and already sore. The pain was exquisite and the girl thought she could die happy just doing this, but it was at that moment that one of Avarro's hands made its way under her skirt up between her legs, and all thoughts of swollen nipples disappeared.
So powerful was the sensation that mere seconds after Avarro's fingers found her sex Jacyndra exploded in her first (of what would soon prove to be many) orgasm. So unschooled in the ways of love was she that Jacyndra did not even know what had happened. All she knew was that it took biting down on Avarro's shoulder to keep from screaming like a wounded animal. She briefly worried she had injured the man, but whatever pain the bite might have caused seemed to have none but positive effect on Avarro's disposition toward her. The thought flittered briefly through her mind, I guess biting him wouldn't have done much good after all, and the irony of how short a time ago her teeth had different intent almost caused Jacyndra to laugh hysterically. The thought passed quickly, though: there were other things to be about here in this place, on this night.
At this point we should definitely back away; t'would be unseemly to rush breathlessly into details of the union like some hormone-addled adolescent, n'est pas?
Aaah, what the hell.
For such large fingers they moved with commendable dexterity, again and again Jacyndra felt herself biting down on Avarro's shoulder and neck to keep from screaming. More than once she tasted blood, but if anything this only encouraged the man. In short order she discovered the laces to his trousers and managed to remove that within which yearned so forcefully to be without.
It is perhaps a blessing to the occasion that Jacyndra knew so very little (read: nothing) about the physics of such things. Were she more learned Jacyndra might have blanched at the prospect of what she was about to undertake. It bears mentioning that at this point in the proceedings it is entirely possible that such misgivings (hell; maybe not even the Third Cavalry) might have given Avarro pause, but we will never know the answer to that as Jacyndra put her arms around Avarro's neck and—to use a livestock term the girl would be familiar with—mounted him.
In one glorious "how on earth did she not pass out" moment Avarro penetrated Jacyndra (or maybe it would be more correct to say she engulfed him). Later there would be much more pain, and soreness (and an inability to walk more than a few feet at one time), but for now there was just Jacyndra and Avarro and their shared need.
Silently in the darkness of that night, between the tents, he took her. Or she took him. They would be together many times after that night (they would rarely again ever be apart), but nothing could ever match the intensity of the moment. Their shared fear (her of him and him for her) brought them together spiritually as they now came together physically. It was more animal than human.
You had to be there to understand.
(I bet you wish you were.)
"Oh, he's fine…." Panamon trailed off, as if unsure how to answer that.
"Would you ask him to stop by my car later? I…uh...I want to apologize to him for thinking all those horrible things about him."
Panamon looked at her, his eyes blank and neutral, but if you thought him unknowing of anything going on in his Carnival more the fool you. Finally he said, "I will tell him…when he gets back."
In spite of herself Jacyndra sat up, worry on her face. Panamon reassured her. "Oh, he's fine; don't worry. He just had to go into Remington. Something about unfinished business. You can never tell what the hell his drawings mean."
Panamon shrugged as if it were no never-mind to him and stepped out of the car. Jacyndra lay back on her bed, relief in her face, and wondered how she was going to thank Avarro this time.
(see all of Carnivus's stories over on Literary Hype)