"Forevermore" - A Monster Carnival Fanfiction

By 1313cookie

"RINGMASTER RAVEN'S CIRCUS OF THE BIZARRE!"

"OPENING TONIGHT!"

"COME JOIN THE FUN AND FESTIVITIES!"

Dr. Dan knew that this day was going to come. Gazing up at and around the posters, he saw the townspeople of Sanguenera outside gather around the site of the carnival. The different-aged folks, young and old, looked around at the marvelous sights that were before them. A clownish Ferris wheel towered over the festivities below. Balloons floated and the sickening sweet scent of cotton candy and powdered sugar filled the air. The games looked like they were ready to be played, and the other rides were extravagant in their own way. However, the buzz mainly ran around the circus that was to be held that night. What'll happen? What special effects will adorn the show and showcase its scope? What will the acts be like? What is going to be so "bizarre" about the circus? Who is Ringmaster Raven? Dr. Dan feared that he may know the answer to the last question. He had heard rumors, outside the ears of a town that wanted to move on, that Ringmaster Raven's carnival was going through "dark places". Were these rumors to be believed?

The longest 20 years of Dr. Dan's life had left a toll on him, now being an older man. People in the world had said that the older you become, the wiser you get. The doctor didn't feel he was much wiser. As a matter of fact, time did not change much of him. He still never showed his tail to the world for the same reason as 20 years ago. On the positive side, he still provided help whenever he could to his customers. Although old age was starting to make tasks much more difficult, he was still able to make a living a name for himself. His friendly smile, however, was only a mask for his hidden timidity. As he sat in his shop an hour before closing time, he reminisced on a day in the past.

It was the week after the Bird Boy's exile, and the atmosphere was just starting to lighten up. The people were no longer enraged unless provoked, and things were back to the way they should be- in the eyes of the townspeople. One day during that period, he saw a bug-eyed little girl run into his shop. She browed through the cards, saying that she was looking for one for her father's birthday. As Dr. Dan was helping the girl find the perfect card, she asked something that he never would have expected to be asked of again.

"Dr. Dan? Have you heard from the Bird Boy?"

Dr. Dan nearly dropped the cards he held when she asked that. He never would have expected anybody to ever ask him about the Bird Boy ever again – he's a monster in the town's eyes, and no one would dare to speak of the wicked. "W-why do you ask?" Dr. Dan asked back.

The girl answered, "I was in the shop when he was there, too. He seemed so nice an' you two looked like friends! I'm sorry that he wasn't so nice in the end, though."

Dr. Dan looked away, hiding a frown. The Bird Boy actually was a good kid – it was just that no one ever believed he was. Accused of being such a savage crime as arson, the deed seemed to have been done on purpose. He couldn't understand why the town suddenly assumed it to be a crime without hard evidence. Dr. Dan knew that Honest Gabe's business there was falling apart, and the owner wouldn't have cared if the shop were to suddenly disappear.

The little girl, growing confused at the lack of a reply, asked, "Doctor? Are you okay? Are ya going to tell me about the Bird – "

Just as she was about to finish the question, her mother pushed in through the doors, shouting, "Lizzie! How many times must I tell you not to speak of that fiend?!"

Lizzie looked down. "I'm sorry, Mommy. I was jus' curious." The mother took hold of her daughter's hand and then looked over at Dr. Dan. He was walking back to the cash register, a bit startled.

The woman approached the register and sighed, "I apologize for my daughter's unorthodox questions. She's just too curious about this town…especially that darned fiend that once resided here." Dr. Dan could only nod in response. "We'll buy a card and be out of your way."

Lizzie picked up the card and ran up to Dr. Dan. Not much else as said besides transactional information and the standard "Have a nice day" that's obligated between customers and employees. Dr. Dan watched as the mother and daughter left together, then turned back to the shelves of medicine.

He remembered thinking that day about what this was going to mean for him. What would be his future? What would people think if they saw him? Thanks to the Bird Boy's visit, the conclusion was made that – if people knew who he was – he too would be blamed for something unfortunate happening in the town and the same fate would lie for him. Age didn't matter, for the Bird Boy was only twelve years old at exile, and no one in Sanguenera cared that he was that young. Maybe Dr. Dan would have the same fate.

Now-a-days, Dr. Dan was living in an entirely new Sanguenera, with some aspects the decades brought that he would have hardly expected to arise. Where the horse re-shoeing shop once was, an auto shop was run by a different owner, although the name "Honest Gabe" still haunted its sign. Signs had changed, times had changed, trends had changed, but Dr. Dan feared that the horrid tales of monsters under the bed never changed.

He couldn't help but feel sympathy for the man that was once the Bird Boy. He really did try to be a good kid, but society had forbidden him from being that person. Unlike Dr. Dan, he couldn't hide what made him a "monster" without looking ridiculous. On the posters he saw, Dr. Dan noticed the mask that covered his nose with a cartoonish fake bird's nose. He found that it strangely fitted him. Dr. Dan was tempted to go out to the carnival site and talk to his old friend. However, what would he say? How would he react? 20 years was a long time after all, and he hoped that he'd at least recognize him- for better or worse.

Just as he was about to head out, a youngster peeked inside and pushed on the door to enter the shop. Dr. Dan was confused – this same youngster had visited him earlier in the day to help him make sodium chloride, and later sucrose. He wasn't expecting the same person to come back.

"Why hello again! How can I help you?" Dr. Dan said, out of impulse.

"You see, there's this weight-guessing game over at the carnival, and I think the game is rigged," the visitor replied, looking at the cart near the doctor's desk, "I need something small, but heavy to borrow."

Dr. Dan looked at the same direction as the customer and came up with an idea. "I have an idea. Somewhere on that cart, I have just the thing that can do the job for you. It's a giveaway anyways, so you can keep it."

"Great, thanks!" the youngster replied, and then dug through the cart. Eventually, a vial of osmium was found and the visitor held it out. "Was this what you meant?" the visitor asked.

Dr. Dan nodded. "That's osmium, dear child. It's a very dense metal that can easily fit in your pocket and throw off the weight game. That is what you need after all. But… please be careful of that carnival."

The visitor grinned, visibly excited to win yet disregarding the warning. "Thank you so much, Doctor! Have a good night!"

The visitor dashed out of the door with a jovial eagerness on their expression. Dr. Dan, as the visitor was leaving, was about to say something, but then he was too late. Shoot! He thought, I missed my chance! Dr. Dan felt he needed to address his concern about the carnival to someone. Someone who wouldn't think he was insane. Someone who would actually listen to him. Someone who wouldn't suspect him of being something other than he appeared.

The sun set its orange glow and closing time drew to arrive. As Dr. Dan counted his earnings for the day, he couldn't help but see more people enter the carnival through the windowpane. Teenage couples clung to each other, wanting to go on the Tunnel of Love. Young children were looking to play games and ride rides. Older children and teenage friends were looking to walk through the Haunted Lab. Parents were secretly hoping this wasn't going to screw up their weekly budget too much. Some of these parents, Dr. Dan noticed, were children themselves when the carnival first came through town. With Ringmaster Raven's carnival now striding its way through, the parents thought this would be their chance to introduce a new generation to a great part of their own childhoods. With the thought on the back of his mind, Dr. Dan shivered – at the same time, children are probably learning to fear freaks from them as well.

Suitcase in hand, Dr. Dan left the familiar scent of vanilla and chemicals and into the crisp, somewhat cool dusk. After he locked the key, he turned to the left. The music repeated itself throughout the day, and no one could say that they were unaware that a carnival was there. It couldn't be missed, whether it'd be by audio or visual sign. Dr. Dan peered down the street and took a closer listen to the music. Earlier in the day, the tune seemed perkier and more lively, relying itself of the quick notes and the excitement of the organ's tone. Now, the music seemed a bit…off. The key had changed from major to minor, and the tempo seemed to have slowed. Dr. Dan didn't know what to make of it, yet it didn't seem right.

He turned to his right and started walking his way back to the apartment, when he saw out of the corner of his eye the woman who worked at the auto shop. Her name was Marnie, and usually, she'd leave around this time too. While Gabe was away serving a jail sentence, Marnie was doing the job for him. Dr. Dan was secretly grateful of this occurrence- Gabe was the primary reason why everything happened to the Bird Boy after all. All he ever saw in that red-bearded face was that occurrence. Marnie was a much better next door neighbor. No one knew the true cause of that fire 20 years ago, and at this point, nobody cared anymore. The world moved on, as it should.

Marnie, instead of closing up for the night, was sitting in the back of her shop, staring at the license plates. Upon seeing this, Dr. Dan tilted his head and knocked on the door. Marnie jumped back only to be soothed by the fact that it was just Dr. Dan. "It's open," Marnie muttered, taking in a deep breath.

Dr. Dan entered the shop and the scent of pine air fresheners overwhelmed his senses. License plates scattered the walls with various strange letter and number combinations. Bottles of gasoline and oil, some absent, stocked the shelves. Dr. Dan could hardly believe that this was the same grounds on which the horse re-shoeing shop once stood. What happened to the times? The world where metallic, gasoline-powered motor vehicles dominated the grounds were in development for years now, a gradual evolution, and now this is the world that he lived in. What could come after this?

"Is everything okay?" Dr. Dan asked, focusing his attention back to Marnie, who was still staring at the license plates.

Marnie, barely turning her head, quickly replied, "I'm fine. As long as I stay here, I'll be fine."

"Something's up, I can feel it," he said.

"I swear, it's nothing. You don't need to worry about me!" Marnie sighed.

Dr. Dan approached his friend and neighbor and gave a serious look. Marnie realized that she couldn't stay quiet. Slowly turning her gaze to meet Dr. Dan's, she responded, "It…it's this carnival! I never really liked them in the first place – they give me the creeps – but this one…" Marnie stammered her speech a bit, breaking her usually confident tone, "…this one is really off. Have you heard the music in that place?!" Dr. Dan nodded. "I could've sworn it was different earlier today, and even its vibe! Right now, I feel like some monster clown or something is going to creep around the corner and jump out at me! Something's not right…"

"Marnie, as long as you're in here, you'll be alright. You're not there, don't worry," Dr. Dan said, "but I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking this. And I think I have an idea of what's going on."

"What's going on, then?" Marnie asked.

Dr. Dan opened his mouth, but suddenly, he instinctively felt it shut. At that moment, he almost told her everything. He almost told her his own dark secrets, from his friendship with the Bird Boy, to even eventually getting to his tail. Almost as if it were second nature, he ended up quiet again. He couldn't tell anyone. Not even his friends. He didn't know what they actually thought of him. He didn't know how they would react. He didn't know if they could keep a secret between them.

"Dr. Dan?" Marnie called, visibly concerned.

After thinking a bit, he said, "It's a long story," He looked outside. "I need to get home before it gets too dark out. Do you need anything before I go?" Marnie shook her head. "Okay. Well, I'll see you tomorrow, then."

"Wait!" Marnie shouted just as Dr. Dan was about to push on the door. "…thank you. Thanks for checking up on me… I don't think I've gone insane anymore. Just, thank you."

"Any time. Good night, Marnie."

Dr. Dan exited the auto shop only to be greeted by a slightly darker sky The carnival music still echoed down the street, and he tried to turn to the right again. However, he couldn't help but look at a fallen poster down in the street. It fell from a wall nearby, and it fluttered a bit on the wind. For some strange reason, Dr. Dan ran to the street and swiped the poster from it, bringing it back to the sidewalk. The paper still was crinkled, although these were just put up earlier this morning. Despite being trampled by whatever seemed to have run over it, the color was still as vibrant as if it was just recently created.

Dr. Dan realized that this poster was different from the violet ones he saw before. In the center of the poster, a cartoonish raven bird dressed in garish ringmaster's attire gazed back at whoever would be looking at it. The bird's look alone seemed to say to them, "Come one and all, tonight! This will be the experience you'll never forget!" Sprawled over the cartoonish bird was the title: Ringmaster Raven's Circus of the Bizarre, with promises of fun, food, rides, and games for the entire family. It's almost any child's dream come true, yet any frugal parent's worst nightmare. Even the poster seemed gilded, Dr. Dan felt. All the aspects this carnival promised were stereotypical to what was to be expected. It seemed almost too good to be true.

Folding up the poster and putting it in his suitcase, he turned around one last time. The sun was low to the sky now, and what could be seen of it could be considered somewhat strange. That strange music still chimed its same minor tune. He clenched his suitcase. Should he dare? Should he dare try and see if he could see the Bird Boy again? He took in a deep breath. Maybe this was all a coincidence. Maybe all of this was just in his head. Maybe all of this were just leftover bad memories resurfaced from the last time there was a carnival in Sanguenera. Trying to keep that mentality, Dr. Dan made his way down the street. Don't look back, he told himself, all it's going to do it tempt you.

The light of the sun faded more and more as the journey continued for Dr. Dan. The lights of the streets turned on and lit up the street as the sky's main source of light was vanishing. Despite these new light sources, the air seemed to remain dark. The moon was showing its face, and the stars slowly revealed themselves in the expanse. Dr. Dan was used to the sky, yet he wondered why it still felt darker than usual. He already had started denying the connection between the carnival and his own past experiences. Every time the denial grew stronger, the world grew darker. It was almost like it was trying to prevent him from being in denial. Powdered sugar now activated the senses. The music chimed its haunting tune. Laughter and fun-loving screams emulated along with the music. Vivid colors were seen out of the corner of his eyes. It was at this moment, as these senses grew stronger, that he realized he was walking in the wrong direction. He ended up walking to the side of the carnival. He didn't know what lured him to be over here, yet here he was. All that denial, all that refusal to believe, all of it… it was just a ruse to trick his mind into accidentally turning this direction.

He turned to his left and saw the rope fence separating the carnival from the farmland. The laughter and joyful screams had faded, to the point where Dr. Dan wondered if he actually did hear them before. Instead, the townspeople he saw were looking around in bewilderment, checking behind tents and booths. The carnies had vanished. The lights were starting to turn on, except the first things to turn on were signs instead of the regular bulb lights. The Ferris wheel seemed strange too. Towering over the carnival, Dr. Dan paid particular attention to its face. The clown face that it demeaned looked surprised, almost as if it had saw something strange. There were faces all over the carnival, all over the signs, the rides, and the balloons even. And all of those faces were staring back at whoever would try to look at them. Dr. Dan immediately turned his gaze away from the carnival – he was right, he thought. Something was really wrong with this place. The attendees seemed to have noticed now too, since they had that same bewildered look on their face, yet something seemed to have them stay.

Dr. Dan turned his attention to whatever was in front of him. Awaiting in front of him were the woods, ever so darkening along with the sky, almost to the point where the leaves were nearly indistinguishable from the tree branches. This was it. He felt that as soon as he entered these woods, he'd get some answers. There was something about these woods that was stranger than usual. In the mornings, he'd take a stroll through these woods to give himself time to breath and be independent. Those same woods were now beckoning him to enter – whether doom was waiting beyond the trees or not. Dr. Dan froze in his position as he gazed back at the darkness. Should he dare this time? Almost as if he was being drawn in, Dr. Dan took his steps into the woods.

The woods were silent sans for the music still repeating itself from the carnival behind. It was getting dark, and Dr. Dan wished he'd brought a flashlight with him. Despite everything, he kept walking forward. He wasn't used to this path- it was not as clean of a path, and the woods were not kind to his aging self. Climb up this hill, nearly stumble down that hill, and watch out for that rock, and that log, that mosquito, that frog, that rubber duck... rubber duck?

Dr. Dan, along his journey, stepped on a rubbery, round head that responded with a high-pitched squeak. Setting his foot back, he bent down and looked at the strange yellow toy. The top was dirtied from the footstep, and the bottom was both dirty and wet, like it was freshly out of the water. Its black beaded eye still looked like new, yet there it was in the middle of the woods. "Hello?!" Dr. Dan called out into the abyss of the woods, "Is anyone there?"

There was no reply but the typical sounds of the wilderness. Dr. Dan tried again, "Can anyone hear me? I know someone's there – "

Suddenly, he felt someone bump into him. Dr. Dan stumbled a bit as he saw who bumped into him from behind. It was a short, stout woman wearing an apron around her shirt- a staff member from the carnival. She still had a spatula in her hand, despite the kitchen being a half mile away by now. Even a quick look at her could determine that something was weird. Her posture was straight, she kept walking forward unfazed… and then there were her eyes. Those eyes were most certainly dazed.

"Excuse me?" Dr. Dan tried to call. The cook didn't bat an eye at his calling. He chased after her, "Excuse me!" He tried to tap her shoulder, yet she didn't even flinch. All she kept doing was walking forward, only veering a bit when there was a tree or rock in her linear path. "Ma'am! Where are you going? What's going on?!"

"She can't hear you."

That voice did not belong to the female cook. A shudder ran down the doctor's spine. Dr. Dan looked quickly around him as the cook vanished off into the darkness. He shouted, "Who said that?! S-show yourself! Who are you?!"

"I think you should know the answer to that last question."

I should know… Dr. Dan's mind felt like it was running a marathon…I should know? As soon as Dr. Dan turned around, his eyes met with a hooded figure. The moon's aura gave a violet tone to his cloak. Upon seeing this figure, he flinched back with a yelp.

The hooded figure shook his head. "So it is you, Doctor. And you haven't changed one bit. Your hair only got white."

Dr. Dan got himself up and stood in front of the hooded figure. He had to pick his words carefully now. "P-please…take off your hood…I need to know for sure…"

"I can't do that just yet until I clear the air, Dr. Dan."

"You…you remembered my name…"

"Unfortunately for Sanguenera, that isn't all I remembered."

The figure pulled back his hood a little bit so only his face could be seen. Upon looking back at the face, there it was. That same beak-like nose. That same dark tone of skin. That same black hair. Those same inverted eyes. However for all that the same there was change also. His chin now had a beard, and of course his face aged as well. In that face along with the typical aspects of age, his face kept a constant demeanor- almost as if all happiness was constantly sapped out of him. Saturnine, cold, full of inner rage, the face hardly changed.

"…Bird Boy…" Dr. Dan stammered.

"Call me Ringmaster Raven from now on. I hate that past name."

Ringmaster Raven. Dr. Dan knew it. He knew all along that this would be him. Yet…how could he? What was this? His voice was no longer the frail one from his childhood. Besides the fact that he's now an adult, every word from his mouth filled with inner rage and spite. A spite that could make its expanse to all the world.

"What…what do you what from me?" Dr. Dan asked, trembling.

"Is that how you talk to someone you once knew, Dr. Dan? Shame. You're just as pathetic as you were before," Raven said, glaring, "but to answer your question, I should ask what you want from me. You were the one that came here after all.

Was this really the same boy from 20 years ago? How could it be? How could something that seemed constant change? "What…what are you doing here? The others had banishe-"

"I'm aware I'm a criminal in their mind. That's all they see me as after all. As for why I'm here…" Raven looked at the doctor from under his brow. "All I'll say is that I have some unfinished business here."

Dr. Dan thought of the people who were back at the carnival that was missing its staff. He thought of the cook he saw entranced to wander into the woods. "Unfinished business…?"

Raven gritted his teeth. "We'll get to that later. By the way… I know that you have a tail."

Dr. Dan flinched. How did he know?!

Raven smirked – a rare instance of a change in expression. "I know a monster when I see one, Dr. Dan," he stood up straight, "These carnies are like us. They're also freaks, except they convert in the night. I want the town to feel the same way that I did. They tried to overpower me, so now, I'll overpower them and bend them to my every whim. That part couldn't have been part of this plan if it weren't for you, Doctor…" Raven reached into his cloak's pocket and revealed an empty bag with little white specks still stuck to the sides of it. On the front was labeled "sodium thiopental". "Now how did you say it again…? 'In a small amount, this compound can actually make one more prone to one's commands… in a way like brainwashing and hypnosis.' Such a wonderful art that you've taught me in those few 2 days, from the sugar to the sodium thiopental. And from there, I was able to go above and beyond after you were gone from my life."

Dr. Dan felt his hands tremble a bit. Did he really use his teachings… for evil? Evil… such a strong word. He never though he would have that dishonor of having a trainee misuse the powers of chemistry and bend it to their own whim. Sodium thiopental in the wrong hands is a dangerous substance, and the freedom of the townspeople were at stake here. Threatening others with it… that's evil…

Raven said, "I now have people, specifically the staff of my carnival, that treat me with respect, and therefore, I respect them back. Dr. Dan, there was a point when I respected you. Part of me still does mostly because you were the one who took me in. And because of that, and your identity…I invite you to join me."

Wait, what? Dr. Dan was startled. Am I hearing right? Did he just…offer me to join him?

Raven stepped forward. "If you join this carnival, you'll befriend people who are experiencing the same as you. We'll welcome you. You'll blend right in. You don't have to fear the normal world anymore. You'll have a reason to be scared, nevermore. You'll have a purpose in life, forevermore."

Dr. Dan desperately wanted to say no. The problem was, this was exactly what Dr. Dan wanted. It was almost like Raven delved into his mind and picked out all of his insecurities and solved them. However, Dr. Dan realized he needed to remind himself, this was not the bird boy he grew to admire so long ago. Despite his desperate desire to do otherwise, a memory still slipped into his mind

It was the day that shared with the evening the fire was to occur. The bell jingled its brief tune as Dr. Dan let the Bird Boy into the apothecary, who was waiting to experience the second day of his new daily life.

"W-what are we going to learn today?" the feathered boy asked the doctor in his natural stutter.

"Today," Dr. Dan said, pulling out a pair of bottles, "you're going to learn how to make sugar. You like sweets, right?" The Bird Boy was confused - sugar can be made? "This bottle over here contains glucose, which is the sugar plants produce for food during photosynthesis. The other bottle contains fructose, the sugar found in fruits." Dr. Dan held up each respective bottle as he told him. "Now, these two, when molecularly combined, can produce sucrose, which is the scientific word for the white sugar that is usually in sweets."

The doctor brought the Bird Boy up a ladder to a strange device. The exterior was made of metal with two electrical rods sticking out of the top. "What's this?" the boy asked, peeking inside the machine.

"You'll see!" Dr. Dan replied. The doctor then grasped on to the metal handle and opened the device. After pouring in the glucose on one side and the fructose on the other, he closed the door again. He looked then at the buttons panel and pressed one of them. The whirring sound echoed throughout the apothecary. "What this machine does is pretty amazing," Dr. Dan stated, looking through the door with the boy, "It divides the chemicals found within the glucose and fructose - hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen – and then those chemicals combine with others to make the products, in this case, sucrose and hydrogen oxide.

The boy blinked, "Hydrogen oxide?"

"It's just water." The doctor continued his work on the machine for a few minutes until the final "ding" was heard. Upon opening the machine and pulling out the tray, it revealed a tray of water.

"Where's the sugar?" Bird Boy asked, looking into the tray confused.

"It's in there, but it's in the water," Dr. Dan answered, "Luckily, the sugar hasn't dissolved completely, so we can evaporate the water away so we can have solely sugar in our container."

The doctor poured the tray into a beaker and heated it under a flame of a Bunsen burner. The blue flame was quite a wonder to look at, especially while it's at work. It was at that moment the Bird Boy's expression grew to be quite full of wonder. Chemistry was such an interesting thing- more interesting than he could have thought.

The bubbling water eventually became just bubbling sugar, so Dr. Dan turned off the heat and poured it onto a tray covered with paper.

"Now here we have it!" Dr. Dan said, pouring the sugar out, "here we now have melted white sugar!"

The Bird Boy stared in wonder of the science and then looked outside at the blinds. After a bit, he sighed a bit, "H-have I said 'thank you' to you yet?"

"Hmm?"

The Bird Boy cracked a small smile, "For taking me in. For teaching me. I can't wait to see what else we can make, doctor! Thank you!"

It was at that moment that they both had a genuine smile. At that moment, it seemed like all of their troubles went away. A child could instill that smile! A child! This was Dr. Dan's greatest boost in confidence in years, and it came from a child! This child had a particular talent in taking away the doctor's troubles, and he never felt greater.

There were some aspects that despite anything else changing about a person that still stick within him. To Dr. Dan, Ringmaster Raven was once again attempting to take away all of his troubles, almost like he did as a child. Except… this didn't feel right. This offer of confidence felt more like a deal with the devil than anything that was true. Raven had a fierce look upon his eyes, and it was almost as if he was never as soft-spoken as he was in the past.

"Have you made your decision, Doctor?" Raven asked, his arms crossed.

Dr. Dan tried to chase away that memory. The past is dead now. Raven wants to hurt the town. The doctor could never do that anybody. Not the kids, not the adults, not the parents, not the teens, and especially not his friends. This was his home. After finally mustering up any remaining courage he had within him, he replied: "No."

"Excuse me?"

"No," Dr. Dan repeated, trembling a bit, "I can never join you, Raven. Not now. When I look into your eyes now… all I see is evil. I can tell…you want to own the souls of the people who live in this town. I can never do that to the town. I… I care for this town very deeply. It's my home. And… I can't join anything that's has the purpose of evil."

Raven was quiet for a moment, his face still stoic as it was before. Dr. Dan found himself stepping back a bit. Raven finally stated, "Evil… that was the word that you called me? That was what the townspeople of Sanguenera called me when I was a boy! However, I was not the evil one back then. All these people…even you…were the evil ones."

Dr. Dan, taken aback by the accusation, stammered, "What do you mean?! I didn't do anythi-!"

"That was exactly it!" Raven interrupted, stepping forward, "You watched me, and then turned away as I was banished by the town! You did not do anything to stop them! You stayed silent while I was jailed! You did not put in a single effort to get me out! And that's just as cruel as being part of that crowd!"

Why did I turn away? Dr. Dan thought. Why didn't I speak up? These questions reeled in his head until he reached a point he somehow spoke exactly was in his mind. "Because I was a minority! Okay?! You're taking things way too far. You don't need to do this." As Dr. Dan was saying this, he had his own self-realization. Was what he actually was saying true? Was he making a point with himself – if not with Raven?

Although Dr. Dan was comprehending his own words, Raven still hadn't changed his expression. "I know I do not need to do this. I want to do this. The town needs to know what they did."

"Back then, I couldn't say anything even if I tried, but…that…that's in the past now. The past…it's dead, Raven. The world changed. Please…don't become the monster the town thought you were…trust me…things change," Dr. Dan pleaded.

Raven tilted his head down, glaring his inverted eyes right at him, "If you are so confident that the world has changed, then why are you not showing your true self to Sanguenera, then?! If the world is what you claim it to be, then you should be confident in yourself and not hiding behind a mask! But no. You still hide yourself in the corner and fear the judgment of the world. And you even refused to accept my offer- after quite some thought I must add! You would have denied me right away if you really believed in what you said. The world may be easily to change physically, but it is not easy to change mentally. While cars are allowed to dominate the roads now, there are still children who fear monsters in the closet! It is tradition to be disgusted by freaks! Do you think the world suddenly would think otherwise, in such a short twenty-year span? You do not even seem to believe so. Wake up from your delusion, Doctor. The world is hard to change. Some things even stay forever."

Dr. Dan found himself trembling even more. He didn't even know why he was arguing anymore. "R-Raven… what… what kind of mentality is that? How do you allow yourself to live like this… all this hate… all this pessimism?"

Raven gritted his teeth. "You and I are not so different in that aspect. You are a pessimist yourself. Because no matter how gilded you want your words to be, you know that reality still stands. If they ever find out about your tail, the world will fear you as they have feared me. Do not say they will never find out. They will find out. And when they do, you will have the same fate as me. Thrust to the wayside, abandoned by humanity!"

"No!"

"Forevermore with nowhere to go!"

"Stop!"

"Forevermore without a purpose!"

"No more!"

"Forevermore a life you never wanted!"

Dr. Dan suddenly became quiet, all shine and vigor fading from his eyes.

Raven finally finished his words: "No human would dare befriend a monster." Dr. Dan said nothing back. "Since you seem to have nothing else to say, I bid you farewell, Doctor. I have business to attend to. I recommend you stay away from my carnival. And if you dare speak of what I just told you to anybody in Sanguenera, I will make sure you regret it. We are everywhere, tonight."

With these sudden parting words, Raven put on his hood again and walked back into the looming dark fog of the night.

Not too long after Raven had left into the darkness, the music of the carnival had changed again in the distance. It had an even slower tempo than before, and each organ's note was grim and foreboding. A green glow was developing in the distance as unnatural sounds started to pierce the heavens from there. The Ferris wheel's clownish face now had glowing lime-colored eyes and a malicious, sharp-teethed grin on its face. At this point, Dr. Dan couldn't care about anything anymore.

He sat down next to the tallest tree in the forest, trying to keep himself together. But he found that he couldn't. Even if Raven failed, he would destroy any hope freaks had left in this unforgiving world. He had to stay far away, for now. Far from the carnival. Far from Sanguenera. Far from the world. This was going to stay this way, forevermore. Forevermore the world will know nothing but prejudice. Forevermore, Dr. Dan should wait here.

This was for the town's sake. He didn't want to worry anybody anymore. He wondered if they would even notice he was gone. Tonight will probably be the worst day of their lives, and he hoped that someone is going to save the town and Raven would not win the day. "Please… be safe…" Dr. Dan silently prayed to his town, knowing he was powerless to stop him. Even if by some chance, some brave soul were to confront and end his reign of terror, all the words that were said, all the looks given, all the statements and truths revealed, these were all immortal.

Dr. Dan set his head back and rested his eyes underneath the strange shelter of the shadow of the tree and to the sound of the sinister hum of the music. Tomorrow would begin a new chapter in his life, after all. And he was right. However, contrary to the inflicted beliefs, tomorrow would become a better day. A day where he was to feel no fear forevermore.

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