I looked up at my father and smiled as he placed the violin into the crook of his neck. He looked down at me, patted the top of my head and gave me a smile. I loved it when he smiled at me because the corners of his eyes crinkled together and he told me that each line told a story that one day I'll learn. He lifted his bow and pulled it against the strings of the violin and it made a beautiful sound. I couldn't help but move my tiny feet in dance, and I loved to dance. I twirled and lifted my arms above my head and when the song stopped, I stopped twirling and let my skirt wrap around my body in a funny fashion. The elder woman in the crowd that had gathered clapped and tossed coins into the empty violin case and after the last person had left, my father and I packed up and entered our caravan, where he made tea to fight off the cold outside.
"I love watching you dance, Christine" He smiled as he placed the mug down on the small table in the middle of the caravan.
I smiled and tried to crinkle my eyes the way his naturally did "I love listening to you play!" i smiled and stood on the chair "I think one day I'll be the best dancer in all of Sweden!" I jumped off the chair and twirled around laughing.
My father stood up and took my hand, twirling me around like a ballerina "No Christine, all of Europe!"
I smiled and fell down on the ground laughing "THE WORLD!" I screamed and laid back giggling my head resting on the tops of my fathers feet "You're spinning!" I laughed harder.
He shook his head and pulled me up before sitting me back down in the chair "So, tomorrow's a pretty big day, huh?" he took a sip out of his mug and looked over the top of his mug to me "oh.. don't you remember?" I shook my head and he smiled "Well then it will be a surprise. I can't believe you forgot. Now, finish your tea so i can get my little lotte to bed."
I sipped at my tea "But I don't want to go to bed daddy."
He took the cup out of my hands and placed it on the table as he chuckled "Well, you have to. We both have a big day tomorrow. We're traveling to a new city."
I pouted as he picked me up to carry me to the small bed "But I like this city, I like this city a lot." he laid me down and tucked me in tightly, causing me to yawn, maybe I was a little sleepy. "The old ladies seem to love me! They bring cookies and…" I yawned "lots of other treats for me!"
My father laughed and kissed me on the forehead "Go to sleep, little lotte.."
I closed my eyes "Tell me a story about mom… please."
I felt his weight sit on the edge of the tiny bed and fell a little more asleep as he stroked my bouncy brown curls "Maybe another night, Little Lotte." and with that, I drifted off into a sleep full of dreams. I dreamt about clowns and animals at the circus, I dreamt about the old ladies who gave me sweets because they thought I was too thin, whatever that meant and I dreamt of my mother, who my father said I resembled very much, which is why he called me Little Lotte. In the one picture I had seen of my mother she was very beautiful, with big eyes (papa said they were the bluest blue anyone could see. He told me her eyes were like tiny pools of oceans, which I found strange because there was no way a full sized human being could swim in the eyes of another person) hair that was long and straight (papa always said she hated to wear her hair up, he would always chuckle and say that her arms would get too tired after a while and she'd just give up.) and her hair was a light color, I think my papa had called it blond. Even at six years old I knew I didn't resemble her much, I resembled him in more ways than I did my mother. I had her big eyes, but mine were the color of my brown curls that danced upon my shoulders (which papa always had a hard time brushing out) but no matter how much I looked like my papa, he would always tell me that i looked so much like my mother.
The next day, I woke up to clamoring outside the caravan. It frightened me as the noise came closer and closer and when the sound stopped, and the door opened I screamed and hid under my blankets.
The clank came again and a chuckle followed "Christine, it's just me." I listened to the footsteps come closer and I felt the blanket lift off my head and I was looking up into the brown eyes of my father "come outside, I have a surprise for you."
I blinked slowly and pointed to myself "Me? a surprise?" I smiled "I never get surprises!"
My father scoffed and picked me up "Never get surprises?! what do you mean you never get surprises!" He spun me around and walked towards the door "You always get surprises, little lotte!"
I giggled and squirmed "papa, I can walk!"
He shook his head and backed into the door pushing it open "No way! You mean to tell me that you're not a baby anymore?"
I laughed and shook my head "No Papa! I'm six!"
He looked at me with a quizzical expression "You're still six? You mean to tell me that Gertrude and Myrtle made you this delicious birthday cake for your seventh birthday for no reason?" He turned around and I gasped at the sight of my two favorite old ladies who always gave me the best cookies. "Happy birthday, Christine!"
"Happy birthday!" the old ladies said in unison.
I laughed and clapped my hands together "Thank you! Thank you so much!" I wiggled out of my fathers arms and started to curtsey to the three that i was now standing in front of. They all clapped and I jumped on to the small table that sat outside, waiting to devour every inch of my birthday cake.
For the next few hours we sat and ate birthday cake, we danced and the old ladies gave me two very pretty dresses which my father said I could wear in the next town we traveled to. I bid my farewells to the old ladies who held my heart so dearly and climbed upon the carriage next to my father who pulled at the reins of the horse and it obediently took off. A few hours later we stooped off at a place in the woods where my father did is customary tuck in and I did my customary falling asleep while the caravan provided the shelter it always promised.
I woke up to the noise of people outside the caravan, my father sleeping next to me, blocking my way towards the door, toward the noise of everyone outside. I looked longingly at the door, we must have been in the city with as much noise as they were making. I imagined that we were next to a fruit cart, with wonderful apples and pears and my favorite peaches! I imagined that beyond the door there was a palace, a beautiful palace with a princess and a prince, just like my father had told me about. He told me that my mother was a princess in the sky, and that she watched down on my father and I. I wanted to meet a princess like her.
"Papa!" I shook him and watched his eyes slowly open. He closed them again, so I shook his arm "Papa wake up! We're somewhere loud and it sounds exciting!" I crawled over him and padded my way quickly to the door.
"Christine" He grumbled "Don't go out there without me. It could be dangerous and I don't want to lose you." he slowly sat up and rubbed at the top of his head moving his hair back and forth for a second. I watched him, impatiently as he stood up and slowly moved his way towards the door "excuse me." He grumbled slightly as he reached for the door and opened it.
The excitement I had for the world beyond my door came crashing down the instant I had seen it. We were in a gypsy camp, I had come to know them quite well as my father and I hunkered down in a few of them when I was small, to avoid the men on horses who wanted to take me away. This one seemed different. They were travelers, that's for sure, and as I looked around I noticed that one of them was tossing fire into the air and catching it, another was a woman, but she had a beard!
"Is this a circus or a gypsy camp?" I looked up at my father who had placed a hand on my shoulder.
He looked down at me "It's a performing gypsy camp, so to speak." He looked back up and scanned the people who had started to walk past our caravan, the bearded lady gave me a smile and it made me shrink back into the protection of my father.
"Ah! Gustave! pleasure to see you again!" A man, who seemed far too large for the outfit he was wearing walked up to my father hand grabbed his hand, shaking it violently to where my father actually started to tremble with every arm movement the man in the leopard outfit tried to make.
"Brutus! pleasure to see you again." My father removed his arm from the man's grasp and rubbed his shoulder.
"Never thought you'd come back here after you took away our Lotte!" He chuckled and looked down at me "Ah. seems you've been busy." He held out his hand but I shrunk back into my father, grasping at his leg "No bother!" He smiled and looked back up at my father "Where's Lotte anyway?"
My father cleared his throat "She um… she passed away, seven years ago yesterday."
I watched brutus' face fall "oh. I'm sorry. 'ey, 'ow about we take little Christine here around the camp, eh?"
My father looked down at me "I think we would love to take you up on that offer. Let us get dressed and fed for the morning and we will meet you out here in a few hours."
The man nodded and my papa and I walked back inside, I was shaking on the inside, I didn't want to be here anymore. I wanted to be back with the old ladies who gave me cookies and chocolate cake for my birthday. It was my home or at least it seemed. I had been there for as long as I could remember.
"I don't want to go out there, it's scary." I pouted as my father loosely tied the strings of my corset together "That man was scary."
"Brutus is a dear friend of mine. Hardly scary, Christine. Here.." He handed me the navy blue dress with the lace at the collar and at the bottom of the sleeves. I was convinced that it had somehow been in the hands of a princess for the jewels at the collar were fantastic. "You know," He said after a while "Your mother wore this dress." He smiled and leaned against the wall "When she was young, just like you. When she was with child..you…" He sat down on the edge of the bed and I crawled next to him "she prayed for a little girl, just so she could see her wear this dress" He smiled "She'd be so proud of the young lady you've become."
I smiled and wrapped my arms around his giant one "Papa, when mother was pregnant, with me, she wanted a girl… what did you want?" I looked up at him.
He planted a kiss on my head "I just wanted a healthy child, and I got one." He looked down at me and smiled before he cleared his throat and stood up. "Let's go, Little Lotte. We must not keep Brutus waiting."
I sighed and nodded before I stood up from the bed. The world outside was scary, it wasn't like it was back home. I took hold of my father's hand as we walked outside, and stayed close by his side when we met Brutus who was waiting patiently at the end of the small wooden ladder.
"Ah. Gustave! Didn't think you'd be showin'!" He looked down at me, and smiled.
"Of course we would. Had to get Christine ready. We can't go out looking un-proper. Her mother would have my head."
Brutus nodded "shall we?" My father nodded in agreement but I shook my head no. The gypsies scared me and as we started to walk, brutus started to talk "Over 'ere ya got the bearded lady. Let cha in on a bit o'secret. It's not really a lady. Carl really likes 'is past time, if yeh know what I mean." I watched him wink to my father who looked down at me, his brown eyes wide and he kind of shook his head. "An' over 'ere ya got me."
I looked at the sign and the heavy-looking item sitting on a makeshift stage "Sir." I tugged at his printed outfit and he looked down at me "Can you really lift five hundred pounds?"
He laughed "O course I can!" He then scooped me up and placed me on his shoulder, causing me to squeal with delight. Perhaps Brutus wasn't so bad after all. "Oh and over there ye got the lady with giant feet, natural of course. Checked 'em out myself!" Brutus put me down and I went right back to the side of my father "Right o'vr there ya got Dojo the dog faced boy. Let me tell ya something." He looked at us "We has our-self a prize winner right over there." he pointed with a stubby finger.
I scrunched my eyes and looked over at the cart. It was a cage that seemed rather lonely sitting over there all by itself "Is there an animal in there?" I looked at Brutus before I looked back at the cage.
"Ah, yes. There's a fearsome beast over 'ere." He started walking to it "somehin' your pretty little face should be very afraid of."
My stomach churned as we walked closer and closer to the cage "Is it a big lion?" I said in a small voice
"oh no, it's something even scarier!" We stopped at the side of the cage and I listened closely, but didn't hear any strange breathing like a lion or tiger and I felt the cage was much too big for a bear "go closer, lass."
My father put a hand on my shoulder and looked over at Brutus "Is it going to seriously harm her?"
Brutus shook his head "Nay. He's been tamed for some time now. We've 'ad 'im for a while. Since 'e was young. He 'ows better than to harm a pretty young thing like 'at." He patted the top of my head "Wait 'ere." I watched Brutus walk into the cage and come back out a few seconds later with a potato sack in his meaty paws "Alright. Go and see it"
I looked up at my father before I inhaled deeply and made my way up to the cage, eyes closed. I touched the cage and slowly opened my eyes, expecting to see a terrifying animal but instead I saw the dirty feet of a human, then the dirty legs of a human, teared trousers that looked like they might have been a few sizes too small at one point. I let my eyes travel up to the dirty torso and into the face of a frightened young boy, who had something wrong with the side of his face. I placed my face in between the bars and looked around to the boys cage, which was strewn with hay and a bucket in the corner.
"Hello." I looked at the boy "I'm Christine." I reached my hand inside the cage and in a second I was ripped away from the cage.
"Christine!" Brutus' rough voice echoed in my ear "You must never speak to the Devil's Child.."
Authors Note: Hello everyone! I know I have a few stories up in limbo but as you may know I'm now currently living in florida and working for the Disney Company. I have a lot more free time than I thought I would so I decided to write a new story for you all. I'd start writing on my older ones, but I left my flash drive at home so TADA new story. I hope you all enjoy!