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Ester Pradin

You know, it would be swell if we could have one night out of the circus.

0 · 395 views · located in Hallowbrook, Illinois 1925

a character in “Torture Circus”, as played by gezzygezzy

Description

Full Name: Ester Eloise Pradin
Age: 17
Gender: Female
Sexual Orientation: Hetereosexual
Stage Name: Madame Eloise
Species: Psychic Mutant
Role: Main

Image: Image
Appearance: Ester is what some could call a natural beauty. Even without make-up, her features are defined and seemingly stunning. But like most people like that, she doesn't think this at all. She feels that her flawless, pale skin is too pale. She thinks her hair that falls right into place always looks horrible no matter she does with it. Her eyes are a bold blue, filled with confidence and a kind of sorrow and kindness that cannot be described. It's impossible to mistake the feeling that hides behind the eyes, but not quite impossible to hide. She uses makeup to hide what she feels is a hideous face. When she hides behind the make-up, she changes completely. Her eyeliner and eyeshadow is alway darker colors that makes her eyes look more edgy and fierce. She uses blush to make her cheekbones stand out even more and puts on bold, noticeable shades of lipstick. Without all of this she feels out of place and unnatural. Some nights she even sleeps in the make-up in case somebody wakes her up to see her 'hideous' natural face. A real smile is rare to get from Ester, then again if you've never seen her real smile you wouldn't be able to tell when she was faking one since she's gotten good at faking her smiles.

Standing at 5'4 and only weighing 102 pounds, some mistake her to be younger than she really is. She hardly has any muscle and when you lift her shirt up you can see an outline of her ribcage. Ester feels that she's fat and needs to lose a few pounds but the last time she tried the ringmaster said she was getting too skinny and it looked like they were starving her so he forced her to eat. Now she eats when told to avoid such situations again, making her look a bit like a hungry model instead of a person being a victim of a famine. If she has any muscles they sure aren't noticeable, all she is is skin and bones really. The only part of her that isn't flat is her chest. Her C cups will prove that.

Her style really changes from day to day but most the time it's somewhere along the lines of sequined dresses and feathered headbands when she's onstage. In order to get that 'Madame' look she's supposed to have she often wears things that she isn't comfortable in on stage. The more bold and daring, the better. In reality though, she just likes casual things. The high-waisted trousers, pleated mini-skirts, comfortable things she won't have to fidget around in and won't draw much attention.

Mutation: Ester is a psychic mutant, making er abilities more, actually completely, mentally directed. She has the ability of telepathy and premonitions. Her telepathy abilities are extremely powerful. She can talk to people from mind to mind from a completely different room, although she has to hope they get the hint she's talking in their mind and will think back. She can only feel people's emotions however, if she touches them. The slightest brush from another person and all their emotions come crashing into her. Sometimes, if she's concentrated enough, she can make her voice sound like anothers in their mind so they think she's their mind.

Her premonition ability however, is not as keen. In order to get anything close two a vision she has to be sleeping, which makes it almost impossible to tell if it's just a dream or a vision. That's not it though. Her dreams are very vague. Sometimes the vision will hardly be understandable. It might have symbols to stand for things, or only showing bits and pieces of what's going to come making her get the wrong idea, sometimes only the tiniest details mean anything. She hardly counts this ability as an ability because it's difficulty to understand.

Act: Ester's act is that she calls people up from the audience using her mind and from up on the stage does a variety of things using her telepathy.

Personality: Ester is a tough person to understand. She acts like she's tough and nothing fazes her. That's her facade that she only uses in front of people she need to be strong in front of though. She doesn't like giving people trying to bring her down the satisfaction of knowing it's working. All the mutants know her as a softie though. Sometimes she may act a bit strict and cold, but nobody takes it seriously because everyone including her knows it's just an act she likes to put up. Since she's been part of the circus she's cried more times than she can count but nobody has ever seen her when she breaks down. She bottles up her negative emotions until she is overflown with them and breaks down, letting it all out just to fill back up again.

To the other mutants and most people she really is sweet. She takes care of the younger ones, protecting them in her own way, or at least that's what she thinks. She never snaps at anyone unless it's as a joke and hangs out with people that don't really hang out with anybody else. Although her smiles are fake and forced they are believable and often thrown out at the perfect moments along with a fake laugh here and there.

On the inside though, Ester always has that feeling of sadness lurking around. She can always feel it, gnawing away at her. She fights depression and hides it away for people not to see. If she isn't careful, when she reads somebody's emotions fully, she can accidentally transfer her own. She fears that she will do that every day. Ester wishes she wasn't sad all the time, but her past and present give her no reason to be anything but sad. She feels hopeless and completely out of free will. Although she acts tough in front of the people who control her, she knows they can have her do whatever they want her to.

Likes:
~Make-up
~Casual Clothes
~Water
~Nature
~Traveling Sights

Dislikes:
~Circuses
~Being over-noticed
~High heels
~Dreaming

Quirks:
~When Ester is reading something, she bites her lower lip
~When music comes on, Ester has to move. Either by tapping her feet or drumming her fingers, some part of her has to be moving
~When Ester lies, she always twirls her left pinky finger in a circle

Fears:
~Clowns
~Small Spaces
~Pitch Black Darkness

Skills:
~Neat handwriting
~Very quiet on her feet
~She is very flexible and can fit into tight spaces

Biography:
When Ester was a little girl she used to only live with her father. Her mother died when giving birth to her. Her dad mourned for her mother for years on end. When he finally pulled himself together she was already three, and he had become a heavy drinker. He blamed her for the death of her mother and would insult her every chance he could get. He would point out flaws she didn't have, scold her on things she didn't even do. When she was nine years old she ran away from home, unable to take the verbal abuse any longer. For days on end she would walk. and walk. and walk. and walk. Ester isn't quite sure how long she walked nor when she fell asleep but she remembers waking up in the pitch black darkness in the woods. She had heard voices in the distance, and she had been so hungry from not eating since she took off. She walked to them to ask for food but instead they took her and sold her. She was traded from person to person until one day she got into one of her owners heads and told them she was hungry. Her owner was frightened of her and sent her to the torture circus at the age of 13 and she's been performing and the way she is now ever since.

Relationships: (Your relationship with the other main characters. Remember, the human mains have known each just, just like how the mutant mains have. Can be anything from friends to enemies, etc. May be edited later)

So begins...

Ester Pradin's Story

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Ester Pradin

(Torture Circus- Staff Tent)


The voices outside of the tent were loud and distinct: joy, wonder, amazement. None of them felt pity, none felt anything that could comfort Ester. She put her finger through the thin sheet that seperated her from them. Her from the civilians. That was what she called anybody that wasn't in the circus. She had many names for them. Normal, passers, human. She liked calling them civilians more than humans, saying that was suggesting she wasn't human. But she was, wasn't she? Of course she was, she looked human.

She looked curiously at the mirror beside her, turning to face it completely. She looked human. Her face was normal, and her dark make-up concealed whatever ugly face hid behind it. Her eyes would sometimes betray her facade but it was fully concealed today, she did a good job. Happy happy Ester, always happy and sweet. Surely she had to be human, with feelings like these.

As she walked away, the strings on her dress swished around. Ester highly doubted they were called strings but she didn't know the actual name of them. All she new was her dress was covered by the red things and they tended to move around the more she walked. She felt overly dressed, yet, she always felt that way before a performance. Today she was wearing a bright red dress with gloves to match that went up to her elbows, a headband with a red feather attached to it, and black high heels. If she could without being scolded she would go on stage in simple sportswear, or not go on stage at all. But she could do neither. If only she could-

Her thought was cut off by somebody yelling close by outside the tent. "That's a lot of balony!" She heard a young voice say. Peeking outside of the tent she saw a little boy yelling at a kid about twice his size. This kid had enough weight on him to suffocate the poor boy, but he still would not back down. "Sorry kid, I don't have time to talk, now beat it." The boy would not back down though.
"That's my money!" The older boy sneered, and pushed the kid to the ground. Ester didn't even think before she rushed out to help the boy up.

"Are you okay?" She asked as she pulled the boy up. He sniffled a bit but wiped his nose and said, "Yeah, I'm fine." She turned to the older one. Even though he had to be a few years below her age he slicked back his hair and said, "Hey doll, sorry you had to see that." She frowned at him and could hear the thoughts in the back of her head. But she ignored them and placed a thought of her own in his head.
Apologize to the boy and give him back his money.
His eyes widened in suprise that shifted into terror then finally into awe. But the thought she caught was not the kind somebody would take kindly.
Freak
Before she could say anything to him he turned tail and ran, taking the money with him. She sighed. "So much for helping," and went back inside the tent.
I'm not a freak, she thought, almost like she was trying to reach out to everybody and convince them of it. But nobody else heard, and the end she didn't even convince herself.

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Character Portrait: Mark Williams Character Portrait: Ester Pradin Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Mark Williams
[Torture Circus-On the Move]



Mark sat up abruptly, the muscles connecting his left shoulder to his neck convulsing, drawing his entire arm up in a swift motion. He blinked and the muscle convulsed again, this time with a bit less anger. The fits were getting worse, the heat made his body fatigued and not able to resist the spasms. And it didn’t help that he wasn’t getting enough water in his diet. The messy young bloke stood up slowly, his body trembling slightly. He was exhausted and he didn’t know where he was. Looking down at the ground to walk, the blonde noticed that his clothes were utterly rumpled and dirty. Bleck. He slapped at his clothes and dust clouded around him. He fidgeted, and they fell straight again. There he looked presentable again.”There we are.” He said thickly, his tongue heavy still. Now on to the matter of his current whereabouts. To discover that he’d have to remember what he’d been doing before he woke up just now.

Absentmindedly the scraggly youth floated a handful of pebbles as he strained to remember. It was about midday now, and he knew that his workday didn’t start now, and this certainly wasn’t a place he usually woke up. Unless, of course, he’d broken down this morning. That would make sense, considering all the aftershocks he was currently suffering through, mostly on his facial plane. The muscle around his eyelids was a popular place for the convulsions, and his neck, which made his head jerk to one side for a second. Moving around in the summer usually did such things to him, and this summer was especially trying. And they put him way off in the back of their setup, away from anything he could damage or pick up and hurl. So that was where he was.

Luxuriously Mark stretched, pulling his muscles until they stopped jerking around. He needed to get back now. He had a faint idea that if he kept up all the breakdowns and seizures he’d soon be out of a job. And out of a body too. The thought sent chills down his spine. His act wasn’t very popular anyway, no more than usual, so he wasn’t particularly valuable, and he had a strong feeling that the seizures would only driving his worth down. But how to get across the crowds to where he was supposed to be? Mark stepped out of the makeshift structure and looked around, squinting in the sun. There was no one around at the moment, probably for the best, but a few metres away, just out of the range of his powers, was a pile of wooden boards. They’d do well enough. He paced forward grudgingly enough; it was good he’d just had a bit of a rest because it always took a lot out of him, but hell if it wasn’t great fun to fly.

The board was too narrow to sit on, and it was a bit soggy, but it would do well enough. Mark stared at it for a moment and it leaped suddenly in the air, shaking itself off before hovering a few centimeters off the ground. He jumped on it and groaned as it tugged at his mind. He wasn’t very heavy, but it was still rather painful to carry anything heavier than a kilo. He lined his feet up a few centimeters away from each other, right against the edges of the board, and held his hands out at his sides. He lifted one, and the board struggled up a metre, then another metre, and then it jumped to about twice his height and started forward. His shoulders shook slightly as he kept himself perfectly upright and scudded through the air, the front of his skull starting to ache already. The board creaked quietly; it was not pleased with the weight on it, its place on the refuse pile warranted by its poor constitution.

Impatiently Mark bowed his head and the board increased its speed at the cost of a bit of his balance, but the grin on his face made up for the discomfort. He rose a bit higher as he returned to the more populated part of the setup, trying to avoid rushing over large crowds of people just in case he did fall. Of course, it would kill neither party if he happened to tumble; he was too light to do any damage to the guests, and they would cushion his descent. Of course, then they’d be severely unhappy with him, and that’d be quite distasteful.

A few people noticed him, looking up and shouting something or nudging companions and pointing, but Mark was fully focused and didn’t wave as he normally would. He took a round-about way back to the staff tent; from there he could just walk wherever he needed to go with only a little trouble, but the board didn’t seem to like the idea. As he was approaching the tent, he could see Ester disappearing back inside its arms, the board let out a whine. It had been sagging slightly under his feet, and suddenly it splintered right in the middle, where Mark was standing. He had time to go into a rapid descent, but the board crackled before he’d managed to make it halfway down, and he plummeted, landing in a curled ball and rolling back out onto his knees and then his feet. The carcass of the board still hung above his head, almost as if staring at him smugly.

For a little way away a child started clapping amused by his tumble, and Mark smiled at it and waved. It waved back until its mother grabbed it by the hand and tugged it away. Children were cute in that they didn’t have any worry, any foul premonition surrounding them. Mark stood, staring at the tent for a moment before ducking inside, the boards trailing after him. His head was beginning to ache but the excited pumping of his heart offset the pain. He spotted Ester quickly and grinned, moving over to her. He stopped a few meters away.

“Lo, Ester. Did I miss anything?” The muscles in his mouth didn’t want to work right and as he spoke the left one decided to stop altogether for a moment. In result he sounded quite drunk. The board halves caught up to him as he stood and began bumping against his shoulder as if wishing to be put down on the ground again.

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Character Portrait: Mark Williams Character Portrait: Ester Pradin Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ester heard a familiar voice behind her as she entered the tent and turned around to find Mark. "Lo, Ester. Did I miss anything?" He sounded a bit drunk, though she doubted her was. A bit too innocent for that, not to mention there was no way any of the mutants would find a drink. She'd tried to get one once, it ended with at least twelve whippings when they'd found the dead soldier in her dressing room. That giggle water isn't worth the pain she had to endure that night. No, Mark had the sort of carefree, laidback personality that his mouth was going slack on him.

"Hey baby, didn't miss much. A young sap took some kids money, and I had him leave." She looked behind him when se saw two flying objects come hurtling in behind him and stopping merely a meter or two from his head. They were two boards, not too cleanly cut. They actually looked like one board. She looked back at Mark and saw a bit of dust in his untamed hair and on his shoulders. His clothes were a bit ruffled, yet they always were so that was nothing too new. Examining his face she said. "What did I miss? Did somebody take a bit of a fall earlier?" Did he have any bruises?

She felt a bit overprotective when she found herself worrying but couldn't help it. It was almost like her job to look after the others. Especially Mark, since he was the only other psychic around. Not to mention his tendency to trust everybody too much. She wanted to make sure he was okay but was knew that if she got too close he would throw a fit. There would be no way she could touch him. He liked her enough to get decently close to her, but she knew better than to close the distance between them too much. Even though she wished she could leave this all behind she somehow found herself caring too much about it and everybody in it.

She dreamt of leaving here, this torture circus, but every time she got to the part where she escaped the dream would always change back to the circus, to the people she would leave. Mark was one of those faces. She didn't know what would happen if she left. Would he be okay without her? She would never know but it got somebody wondering how much a person is wanted. The others would probably get along fine without her, the people here were strong. Even Mark would probably make it without her. Sure he might make a few trusting mistakes but in the longrun he would make it.

There was no point in even trying to leave anyways, the thoughts she was thinking only brought uneeded questions that would darken her mood, although that wasn't that great already. Oh well, best not to make matters worse. Maybe she could smile today. It was doubtful, but maybe a real smile would emerge today. After all, how long can a person go without even the hint of an actual smile?

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Mark Williams

Mark shuffled his feet a bit, smiling down at the ground a little. He liked Esther quite a bit, and she seemed to tolerate his company. She sort of reminded him of his mother in that she seemed to always inquire after his health and make sure he was alright. Out of all the others in the circus she was probably the one he was the closest to, most because she was kind to him and put up with his eccentricities. And the air about her was rather calming, not as foreboding as some of the others. Perhaps because she was a psychic. And she respected his boundaries well enough.

"Yeah, love, I took a bit o'a tumble just outside. I didn't feel up to walking all the way back." He reached out and rested a hand on one of the boards as if it were a pet, then let them both fall to the ground with a dusty whump. "I'm right and dandy tough," He offered a cheerful smile that taxed his muscles a bit too much. He had to lift a hand to his face, over his mouth as the comprising connections jerked. He kept himself under control though, but the boards laying near his feet did jump up for little under a moment, triggered by his unconscious force. "I s'pose I took a bit o'a nap this morn'n." He said once he had control of his mouth and throat again, attempting a smaller smile.

After a moment he jumped topics, remembering what she had said about the kids. "Did you get inna tussle?" He asked, his colorless eyes lighting up slightly with worry of his own. "Need me ta beat some bloke up for ya, doll?" trying to elevate his own mood be adding a bit of a joke, lifting his fists as if he was a boxer ready to go into the ring. It was more amusing because for one, Mark would never actually draw close enough to anyone to actually fight them, and two because he was slender as a stick and truly had little strength to his sorry name. He might be able to hurl some rocks of something at an oppressor, but that really wasn't good form in a fight, now was it? And he wasn't the fighting type anyway. It was better to just stay out of such messy business.

Dropping his arms, the blonde swung them back and forth a bit, frowning. He opened his mouth and paused for a moment before any sound came out. "I don't remember what I was supposed to do today." He stopped for another moment. "What've you got scheduled, love? Mind if I tag along? I don't think I've got it in me to do anything stren'ous today." Seemingly to exemplify his words, Mark person twitched slightly, a quick, characteristic jerk. The smell tremors usually followed him around for a few hours after a fit, especially the particularly bad one.

He tried for another smile before making a half-planned gesture with his hand, leaning forward nearer to Esther than he usually dared to go. "I gotta bad feeling about today, love. Something's different." He said suddenly, his brow drawing together for a moment before he relaxed and leaned back on the balls of his feet. With a flick of his finger the boards jumped back up into the air and turned vertical so he could wrap his arms around them. He wouldn't just leave them lying around, but to be quite honest he had no idea what to do with the refuse. He looked quite unaware of what he'd just told Esther, as if speaking it had wiped it from his mind, which did happen quite a bit to him. His mind jumped around just as much as his body did, proof that his fits didn't just affect his muscles.

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Character Portrait: Happy Noko Character Portrait: Avalin Seranu Character Portrait: Mark Williams Character Portrait: Ester Pradin Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Ester was beginning to lose focus again when Mark said he had just fallen off his board. That would explain why it was broken, and his drunken speaking could be because of his nap. Oh good, he was fine. When he patted the boards they fell to the ground and for some reason they reminded her of a dog. Obedient and playful, what a silly way to think of it. Wooden boards being dogs, it was absurd to even compare the two.

At the mention of Mark tusseling Ester felt a little something in her. It was a nice feeling, and she couldn't help but wonder what it was. Happiness? Maybe, she didn't know how that felt anymore. Mark in a tussle? She was sure that he didn't seem like the fighting type. He was rather, extremely stick slender and just had this look to him that made it seem like if he had to fight a fly, he would let it win. She put a fake smile on her face that was as believeable as any of her best. She had gotten quite good at fake smiling. It wasn't that difficult, just a curve of the corners of your mouth and their it was, a beautiful and real-looking smile. "Oh Mark, you're my knight in shining armor aren't you? No, there wasn't a tussel, just a bit of words and thoughts tossed around here and there. Nothing to make a fuss about."

Her schedule! She completely forgot that she had to perform today. Oh no, what act was she? She knew what she was going to do but what if she had already missed her performance? A crease of worry formed on her forhead but was quickly, and forced, to disappear. No need for Mark to know she might be late. But to make sure none of the staff overheard her she spoke to Mark in the most secretive way she knew how. "Sure you can tag along, I have to get to the performance tent like yesterday though. Before the Big Cheese finds out I'm not there anyways." She almost reached out to grab his hand to pull him along but stopped herself. She had moved it towards him slightly but hardly enough to get too close.

As she moved out of the tent she could pretty much feel his breathing on her neck as he followed. Normally he wouldn't even dare to get that close. She had never been near him so much as to even feel his breath. "I gotta bad feeling about today, love. Something's different." She almost stopped but thought twice about it when he said it. Did he mean a premonition? She hadn't dreamnt of anything. Then again she probably wouldn't have noticed if she had. Such vague visions they hardly told her anything. ’But what if he- they… were to-… No Ava, that’s silly, leave that thought alone. … But what if….’ What did that mean? She dismissed it as she pushed through the curtain and into the performance tent. Happy was performing, blindfolded, while charming snakes. Didn't Happy hate charming snakes? Ester couldn't remember. She hardly talked to Happy, not that she didn't read her mind a few times.

She passed the aquatic tent without even looking twice but did give a second glance to a girl she saw just as she found the performance tent. She was holding onto the bars of Ezekiel's cage. Ester frowned and read into her thoughts without stopping moving. ’But what if he- they… were to-… No Ava, that’s silly, leave that thought alone. … But what if….’ What did that mean? She dismissed it as she pushed through the curtain and into the performance tent. Happy was performing, blindfolded, while charming snakes. Didn't Happy hate charming snakes? Ester couldn't remember. She hardly talked to Happy, not that she didn't read her mind a few times.

Looking at the acts she sighed in relief. She was next. Good, she hadn't missed her part. But that had been to close, if Mr. Torture had found out...she didn't want to think of that. She made it and that was all that mattered.

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Mark Williams

When Ester's voice whispered into his mind, Mark ducked his head slightly, as if her words were so secret that he couldn't even stand straight to hear them. He liked the voice in his mind, it wasn't offsetting at all to him. Perhaps it was because he was a psychic too, but it felt a natural way to communicate, and he wished he could speak back that way. He smiled gratefully at her. Tagging with her would be less stressful than struggling to remember his own act, especially in his current rather delicate state.

As they moved over to the performance tent, the wooden boards in his arms became more of a shield. He hated moving through groups of people. It was times like these when he wished he was more like Ezekiel or Happy with a visual warning to keep people away from him. He was just a normal looking human on the outside, even though there was a bit of a mad look to his unkempt visage. His scruffiness did little to keep people away in this place.

He had to detour more than once, his lanky form moving swiftly to try and keep up with Ester. His eyes were wide, as they always were when he had to navigate crowds, and quite honestly he looked about ready to cry with nervousness. His fingers were completely white as he clutched the board, and they grew whiter every time someone unwittingly stepped inside his comfort zone. He wanted to run screaming and catch up to Ester, pass her and then hide in the tent in a dark corner and just close his eyes and calm down. He could feel the seams of his self-control unthreading, not an unusual happenstance to feel his tolerance rip at the seams.

He could see Ester disappear into the tent, and he ran the last couple meters to the safety of the shelter. His jaw was trembling in an almost constant convulsion by the time he made it. Merely walking through crowds was one of the most trying parts of his day. He was thoughtless enough to make it through many of the other aspects. Each breath was shaky and heavy as he made pace to Ester, his mouth still wobbling. He snuffled quietly as he looked at her. Then past her at Ezikiel. A lass was staring at him. Ohh, he wouldn't be happy with that. Sure enough, a few seconds later Mark watched the mutant leap backwards within the confines of his cage before recomposing himself. Mark stared for another second, wondering how things would turn out before realizing that he needed to catch up with Ester again.

Feeling much lighter, Mark bounced through the tent flap to the performance tent, almost completely forgetting the terrible ordeal he'd just been through yet again. He spotted Happy doing her act with the snakes and all that, then his eyes flicked back and found Ester. relived, he hurried to stand near her, as close as he could comfortably approach.

"What's the plan, Doll?" He asked, his eyes still looking a bit tear filled, but a grin on his trembling face.

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Ester turned to Mark as he spoke. His jaw was trembling and she felt a bit bad. She knew walking in crowds was hard for him, but he had to do it everyday. Maybe she could help him get more comfortable closer to people, it sure would make his life a lot easier. But he never tried to push the boundries, and she wasn't going to force him to do something he didn't want to do. She wasn't one of those people, who forces innocent people against their will or wants to do something. She loathed people like that. Mr. Torture especially, looking at Happy was more than enough proof that he was cruel. She hated dancing with the snakes, and their she was on the stage doing it as she spoke.

"Okay, here's the plan. Once Happy's done I'm going to go out there and will do my 'amazing' act. Then when I'm done we'll haul our way out of the tent through the back so their's less people and can head back to the staff tent. Sound good?" She looked back out to Happy and saw her picking up a snake that almost made Ester's blood run cold. She wasn't particularly afraid of snakes, but a snake of that size could scare anybody. She shuddered a bit and a bit of nervous laughter absent-mindedly escaped her mouth. "That's a pretty big snake, huh?" She said.

Even though Ester had seen this act so many time she never ceased to be amazed by it. Blindfolded even, Happy could charm the snakes with ease. To the crowd it probably looked different, they didn't know anything other than that she was charming snakes. But Ester knew how much Happy disliked snakes, she could see that however vaguely, and could read that very quickly. Sometimes she could hear peoples thoughts even without trying, depending on how strong they were and how close. That rarely happened, it had certainly never happened during a performance she had watched. Until now.

She heard the balloon pop and the the thoughts became clear. They didn't sound too frightened, but it was obviously Happy. She looked closer and saw the snake had actually tigtened a bit. She watched, as it began to coil around her neck and as Happy bit into it, making it uncoil. When she bowed and left the stage Ester was about to walk up to her to ask if she was okay, but when Happy moved she saw Mr. Torture staring at her from the other side of the stage. She felt anger boil in her. She couldn't even see if Happy was fine? She gave him the bird but as the applause died down from Happy's performance she turned to Mark and said, "Showtime." Then walked onto the stage.

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Mark's shaky smile grew as Ester spoke and he nodded vigorously, showing that he did indeed understand.Yes he did. Completely. Except for one little problem. He actually had no idea what exactly was going on. He figured he'd just continue to do whatever Ester said and things should turn out just fine. Yea, very good idea. And then Ester distracted him by pointing out the snake. He shuddered, more because she seemed nervous than because he felt anything towards the reptilian beast. He could also sense the tension in the crowd, which told him that the snake was very dangerous, or the fact that Happy was dancing with it was dangerous, or some such thing.

"Oh dear, I do hope the doe'll be okay then." The exact moment he expressed his sentiments, a balloon popped. That sound frightened Mark nearly as much as it had startled the snake. The male made a movement towards Ester, as if intending to cling to her, before being repelled and backing away, clutching his own torso and flinching as if he'd been struck about the face. Loud unexpected noises usually did that to him. It didn't help it that the room then instantly filled with palatable tension, another thing Mark couldn't take. He had no idea what was going on, but he did know that it was scaring him near out of his mind.

The lad sat down hard and closed his eyes to cool himself down, flicking them open when Ester spoke over her shoulder at him, offering a wan smile and wishing that she didn't have to go out there. Or that he could follow her out there. But her couldn't, not in this state, the rational scrap of his mind knew. So he just gathered his knees to his chest and stared blankly at the ground, trying to master the new wave of involuntary muscle spasms that were now plaguing his recently frightened form. He was easily frightened, that was for sure. He wasn't very partial to surprises or any of that lot.

To calm himself down, he contemplated what had just happened. He hadn't spent any time around happy, so he hadn't felt this coming at all, not that he ever really made an effort to use the weak, uncomfortable skill for anything. She'd nearly died. The snake would have crushed the life out of her if she hadn't have thought so quickly and did whatever it was she did to make it let go. Mark shivered. How long would it have taken for her to die? It would crush her ribs, which would puncture her lungs, but she wouldn't pop like a balloon, she'd just hiss out life until she was out of air.

As he thought, the spasms and twitched reduced until just Mark's fingers were trembling slightly and there was a faint stricken look half frozen on his face. Thinking about such things made him calmer, but it was still severely distressing in a quiet sort of way, taking its tolls on his emotions without leaving much of a mark. it was better than falling into a fully fledged fit though, to be certain. That would be terrible for most of the people in the tent at the moment, not just him. If he did, then he would surely end up dead as a fencepost, merely for accidental manslaughter. They wouldn't even have to justify killing him. He was a mutant, not a person, and he could be killed just as easily for making a nuisance of himself as for failing to earn his keep in the circus, adding an easily removable burden to the rag-tag bunch of messed up half-creatures-half humans that they were.

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'Ladies and gentleman! May I present to you the lovely Ester Pradin!' There was a large applause and she figured she heard a whistle come from the crowd. She looked in the direction it came from but couldn't see who had made the sound. Everybody was looking at her, like she was just some display item in a museum. Maybe that's what she was, meant to be displayed and then locked up that night. Her life wasn't all that different from an item displayed in a museum, except that museum pieces were treated better.

The announcer, who it was she wasn't sure, continued. "Now, earlier this evening we had given a watch to a random member in the audience. Ester is going to pick out the person with that watch without even leaving the stage. Whoever is holding the watch may conceal or hide it more so if they wish." Looking out into the audience Ester met several people's gazes and began racking through thoughts. They were all relatively the same common thoughts she heard when doing so. "They probably rigged this thing" or "I wish I had the watch", or one of her favorites "I have the watch. I have the watch. I have the watch." Whoever thought that obviously did NOT have the watch, why would you repeat that in your head if you did? It was easy to tell when somebody was forcing themself to think something.

About thirty seconds in Ester's eyes stopped on one girl. She checked to make sure her thoughts weren't fake and digged a bit deeper for a name. She found it and smiled the fake, warm smile she was told to do on stage. "Evangeline Davis, I believe you have my watch, correct?" She looked at her for a moment more and something registered as a little...different about her. She didn't really have to look at the girl much to know she wasn't the average snobby teenage girl she would see here. She couldn't quite find what it was though. "Would you mind coming on up with it?" She didn't find very many people that she couldn't just sum up in moments of reading their mind. Maybe Mark was right, something was different about today. If so, she was going to find out what it was.

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#, as written by slcam
Evie heard some shouting and general fighting behind her, but ignored it for a moment. A skinny, secretive looking man, one of the stage hands, came up to her, gave her a watch, and told her to put it in her pocket and keep it hidden for a bit, before disappearing back into the crowd. She looked at it for a moment in confusion before stuffing it in her pocket just as the next act was announced. However, when she heard the thud of someone falling, she whirled, nearly falling herself, to see what was going on behind her. Seeing Jack on the floor, she gave a gasp, covering her mouth with her hands, before hurrying over to him. Tears were already streaming down her face when she crouched beside him, hurriedly and gently checking for injuries. She looked up into the crowd and saw the bright red, angry face of the man who had started the fight. Recalling his words earlier, she realized it was her fault. Because of her clumsiness and stupidity, Jack was hurt. The man who had pushed him merely grunted and turned away as if he had done nothing wrong, and Evie felt even worse.

She quickly dried her tears, not wanting to upset Jack, and helped him into a nearby seat when he was ready. "Are you alright, Jack. I am so sorry I got you into that. You gonna be okay?" she gushed, almost hysterical. Just then, Ava walked up and asked what happened. Evie quickly explained that she knocked a guy's popcorn out of his hand and Jack got hurt because of her clumsiness. She heard the announcer mention a watch, and her thoughts briefly flashed to the one she held, but her mind was quickly filled with concern for Jack once more. She heard her name called, and she realized the watch was part of the act. So that is why a stage hand gave it to her! Quickly asking Avalin to look after Jack, she uncertainly walked up to the stage. She realized the woman was a mutant as well, and immediately wondered if she was happy here at the circus, or if she was just forced to act like the snake woman seemed to be.

Arriving at the steps, she walked up the steps, slowing as she realized everyone's attention was now on her. As she reached the top step, her foot caught under the step and she tripped, falling on her hands and knees. Embarrassed, she rose as the crowd roared with laughter. Her cheeks blushed a flaming red, and she brushed the dust off her skirt as she timidly walked over to the woman and stood beside her, head down, abashed by her awkwardness as well as the crowd's attention. Realizing she was up there because of the watch, she dug in her pocket, fished it out, and held it out for the woman, daring to look in her face for a moment. She expected to see either disapproval or mocking. That is how her mother would look after Evie had just embarrassed herself in front of a room full of strangers after all.

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Happy Noko

Torture Circus-Staff Tent


As Ester performed, Happy was victim to a long tirade of yelling from Mr. Torture. Obviously, he was blaming her for what had happened. Who else was their to blame? Certainly not the little boy who had squeezed his balloon too tightly. No. That little boy was getting a free lollipop for his troubles. Couldn't Happy have handled things better? Kept the snake under control? Hadn't she been here in this business long enough to know these things?

Happy hardly paid attention to the shouts, though. Her blindfold was off, but her blind eyes looked just as disinterested as her emotions. She had the excuse of visual handicap, though, to keep Mr. Torture from further yelling at her unfocused gaze.

Finally, he finished screaming at her, and Happy stood still until he had stalked off a good ways. Free until the evening, Happy went to her personal changing room and stripped off the tight-fitting outfit. She donned on a light tunic, the fabric thin to the touch. She had no idea what the color was, nor the opacity, just that it felt light and cool. Breezy. Loose. She could move in it and feel the air around her while she was wearing it. Something she liked. Unlike the snakes, she wasn't a fan of being coiled in a closed basket. Then again, perhaps the snakes weren't fans of it either.

She let her hair loose and felt the long strands cover most of her face. Not that it mattered. It made no difference to her already dead vision. She stepped out of the changing room and went in search of a sunny spot. She found one close to the opening of the tent, and she could hear Ester performing, a girl by the name of Evangeline called to the stage. Happy sat down and closed her eyes, giving the appearance of sleep even though she was far from it.

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As the girl walked to the stage and fell Ester felt an urge to rush over and help her. She didn't however, because she knew that would break her act, and Mr. Torture specifically warned her to never break character. She didn't need to be punished to help a girl she didn't even know, but that didn't stop her from worrying. As the girl reached her Ester felt a bit sorry for her. After all, in her head she was already thinking about how her mother would scold her for accidentally losing her balance, and thinking that Ester herself would do the same thing. The thought of scorning somebody was simply incredulous.

Ester took the watch as the girl held it out to her and said, "Thank you." She didn't say anything about the fall, because she didn't want the girl to be embarrassed any further. She had made a fool of a few volunteers in her time but that was only because they had been oh so kind as to be either drunk, extremely snobbish, or somewhere in the conversation the word 'freak' had been exchanged. None of those was true in this situation so she would just get this act over with and be done with this whole facade.

"Could you please stay up here for one more thing? It will take but a minute then you can go back and sit with your friends." She cringed at the words as she said them. She sounded so...gypsy-like, or regal. Either way she didn't like the way she sounded on stage. If these people saw how she acted up on stage and then had a conversation with her after the show, they would be shocked by how different she was. Then again, if that happened, Mr. Torture would see to it that she wouldn't let it happen again. She hated that stupid bimbo. No, not stupid. If he was stupid than she wouldn't be here, she would be walking the streets, blending in. She wouldn't have to be this...this, freak. Who knows? Maybe she would have been happy if Mr. Torture had been too stupid to catch her.

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Character Portrait: Jack Kempton Character Portrait: Avalin Seranu Character Portrait: Ester Pradin Character Portrait: Evangeline Davis Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Skwidge
Avalin Seranu


Ava put her hands on her hips as Evie explained what had happened. She grinned largely and shook her head, clicking her tongue against her teeth. “Oh, Evie, you silly bird, you really need to learn how to be more graceful. Just think of it, it’ll be a great story addition, the guy tries to save the damsel in distress, and the villain ends up pushing him off a few rows of seats. It’ll be better once I write it, of course, but it’s still good stuff! Jack just needs to watch what he’s doing and try to stop harassing people.” She grinned, her tone teasing and not worried at all by what had happened. Her friends were pretty strongly built, and she knew they were both fine.

Ava plopped down into a vacant seat and placed her elbows on the armrests, her eyes intently focused on the stage as the next act came out. It was almost as if she had completely forgotten about her encounter with the mutant just moments before, but in all honesty, it was still a very present factor in her mind; her friends just didn’t need to know about it, not to mention now wasn’t a keen time. Lynn’s eyes trailed after Evie as she was called up to the stage, and then frowned slightly when she tripped. However, as she got back up, Avalin smiled brightly, “Attagirl, Evie.”

She was more than ready to see what the next act would do with her friend, however it seemed like there was a small amount of tension, especially considering those around her were still chuckling at the girl. However, she had a small amount of time to herself by the pause onstage, and Ava let her mind wander back to what had happened.

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#, as written by slcam
Relief plainly showed on Evie's face when the woman, Ester if she remembered correctly, took the watch with a kind smile. There wasn't even a hint of disapproval or mocking in her gaze. In fact, Evie even thought she saw concern in her eyes. In that moment, Evie felt closer to that woman than she ever had to any acquaintance she had just met before. She could not fathom why she felt that way exactly, but it seemed clear to her then.

The woman continued with her act, never mentioning or even hinting at Evie's earlier embarrassment. As Ester asked her to stay for something else, Evie noticed Jack trying to get her attention, waving his arm wildly. She tried to figure out if it was the arm he fell on or not, but she could not remember. She shyly waved back with a small smile on her face, which increased to a full giggle when Jack made faces at her. Loud enough for Ester to hear, she said, "That would be fine." She gave a little nod and waited expectantly. Turning to find her friends in the crowd again, she smiled at them. She was glad that she had received the watch, though the events that followed were not the best. It was better to be up here and a part of the act than it would be just to watch from the audience.

She wondered what the woman would do. It seemed, at least so far, that her act was mainly to do with psychic tricks. Perhaps she would read Evie's mind. Evie wondered how it would feel to have someone read her mind. Would she even want anyone to do that? It would seem odd for anyone to know her personal, private thoughts. Would she start thinking differently if she knew someone was reading her thoughts? Maybe reading minds was not even a part of Esters acts and Evie was just thinking through this for nothing.

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As the girl, Evie, agreed to stay up, Ester was already thinking of the fastest way to get this done acceptably and go off the stage. There were only so many things she could do, so she picked the classic 'ask a random question'. "Okay, I want you to ask me a few questions. Some personal questions about anybody in the audience or yourself. It can be anything, from the favorite color to if that person has ever broken the law. After this you can go sit back down and we'll be done." Then she could get out of here. Already her dress felt itchy on her, so much in fact she broke character for a moment. She felt a bit of her emotions enter her eyes, but she pressed them back down where they belonged so quickly that if anybody had seen they would doubt it had been there at all.

She couldn't help but prod just a bit into the girl's memories. Who could blame her? With the ability to know everything about a person you pretty much want to know at least something about every person you meet. Just a simple name did not suffice when you could know so much more. Ester knew that the more knowledge you had the less innocence remained, but there was no innocence left in her to be drained. She had nothing to lose as she learned more about everybody around her. She trusted nobody, cared for everybody, and never wished to love somebody. It was a life she had gained along with her powers. The lucky ones like Mark may still have their innocence, but most of the people that were 'blessed' with their 'gifts' had lost that privelage long ago, much sooner than they should have probably. Ester knew that she had anyway, with the world being as cruel as it was she was amazed anybody had any peiceof them that was still innocent.

When she read through people's memories, it was different than just reading their thoughts. It took no effort at all to hear what they were thinking. It took a little effort to put a thought in somebody's head. But going into memories? That was something else entirely. As the years passed by in front of your face, time seemed to distort. What seemed like hours was only a few seconds. What seemed like years could simply be a few minutes. She could go through two months in somebody's life in a matter of five seconds but it would seem as though she had been there much longer. In the five seconds she had spent in the girl's head, she had felt every pain, every guilt, every jolt of adrenaline. She had experienced it all, and she almost wished that she hadn't. Almost.

Ester had gone through this feeling enough times to keep her composure. She had done the same with many others like her and had needed to learn to act as though nothing was wrong so it wouldn't set off any alarms in their heads. She wanted to look out to the others who had done the same with her, but decided against it. For some reason she thought if she saw all of them at once, she wouldn't be able to handle all the information she had just learned.

What Mark had said earlier once again popped into her head. The farther into the day they went the more different the day got. If he had a bad feeling about it, what if these people would end up doing something to ruin the average reputation she struggled to keep at the circus. She never drew too much attention to herself, or she tried not to. That way she wasn't punished more than the rest and she wasn't shown off like some prize at every circus. She didn't know what these kids, around the same age as herself, could possibly do though. After all, they were normal, weren't they? She stole a single glance at Mark, wondering if Evie registered to him at all. If so, Ester had to leave. She had to leave this stage before things got any worse that day.

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#, as written by slcam
'Ask questions about others?' Just the thought made Evie blush. It was hard enough to talk to someone normally and ask about them, but now she was being asked to ask personal questions that would be answered without the person's permission. Her blush deepened as she thought about whether she could just ask about herself. However, that might just make people think that Evie had planned this with Ester, and the show would not be as much fun for people. She supposed that having personal questions was just part of this and the people she asked about could benefit if she asked the right questions. But what questions could she ask?

She carefully looked out on the crowd, wondering who she could ask about. She saw the little boy who had caused so much trouble earlier and a question popped into her head. "What does he want to do the most right now?" Her eyes went to a young woman standing by a tall man who had his arm protectively around her shoulder. "What is her favorite thing to hear?" As she was saying this, a question about Ester was forming in her head, but did she dare ask it? She then looked at a sullen young man in the back of the crowd. "What was his favorite food as a child?" With that, she decided she would ask, and she took a moment to figure out the best way to ask it.

Giving Ester time to answer her first questions, Evie spoke before the woman could move on. "What is the answer to the question I am thinking of right now?" She heard a couple murmurs in the crowd, but ignored them the best she could. She tried to focus solely on the question so Ester would be able to get it. It was a question that had become increasingly important to her during the day, and she felt she had to know. She wondered if the woman would even tell her the truth, but supposed it was worth a try. She hoped that the way she asked would also help the woman be honest. After all, no one knew what the question was, so she could answer without getting in trouble for putting down the circus, right? Concentrating on the woman's face, she thought, 'Are you happy here?'

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Ester answered the questions with ease. "That little boy wants to come on stage, the woman's favorite thing to hear is that he trusts her. Although he doesn't." She gave the man a disapproving look and sent a little message "You should trust her you know." He looked shocked at the thought just popping into his head but she continued, dismissing him. She looked at the last boy and smiled as his memory filled her mind, reminding her tastebuds of the taste she had never tasted yet it felt as though she had. "That boys favorite food was the homade carrot cake that his grandmother used to make every year for his birthday. It always had a secret ingredient that she never told him." She didn't mention, however, that he wouldn't be having it anymore.

Then just as she was about to wrap up the act, one last question was asked, "What is the answer to what I am thinking?" The girl asked, and then as she read her thoughts her blood ran cold. Was she happy here? Of course she wasn't happy here, she was miserable. But she couldn't tell her that. What if she could though? Surely nobody would ever know that she told her, and it would be nice if somebody on the outside world knew. Yet somehow she couldn't say it. She could only bring herself to look at Mr. Torture, watching her performance, and nodding his head. She didn't know how long she had stood there. Seconds, minutes, it could have been instantanious.

But when she looked back at Evie she knew her answer. Taking a deep breathe the one word seemed to travel along with the wind, carrying it to any ears that wanted to know. "I hate it here! Why doesn't anybody realize that? Isn't it obvious?" She had always wanted to say those words, scream them at the rooftops. But for once, it seemed that the simple word "No" did more than she thought saying those words ever would. But soon a different pressure seemed to form around her. She had to get off the stage, now.

Looking out at the crowd she smiled, but now even she could not fool probably half the people in the audience. "Good night everybody, that was the end of the act." With that she walked off stage without so much as a glance behind her. She didn't stop until she reached Mark. "Mark," She said, the name coming out so quiet she could hardly hear it herself. "Mark," She said, this time loud enough to hear. "Was that girl in your dream?" She asked. Although Ester was telling herself she didn't want to know, she didn't want things to get any more complicated, she felt she had to know. She needed to know, even though every instinct she had told her NO. It was like something even more powerful than that, more powerful than common sense, was taking over.

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Mark sat patiently after his fear had quieted, folding his legs underneath himself as he craned his neck to look up at the stage. He was entrapped by the girl on the stage. Not for any physical feature, he hadn't gotten a proper look at her face and he wasn't exactly one for amour anyway, he couldn't do anything to a girl who was further than arms length away, and if she came nearer she'd be dead. It was her silence. The air around her was completely, beautifully, still. No fear, no pain, none of the frightening premonition the lad had come to expect from the fragile human bodies. She was silent. As if she didn't exist at all, or she had no future, no past, no nothing. It was a pleasant shield from the fear he felt towards every in the audience for their own terrible emissions, it was only her and Ester. And he was used to Ester's, hers only really bothered him when she was very close to him, within his arm-span, which was rare. She was a nice, cognizant young lass. Mark smiled up at her back, feeling more relaxed than he had since he entered the God-forsaken place.

He was content enough to sit and occupy himself with sunbathing in the pretty silence, playing with a splinter of wood and a rock, hurling them as far as his ability could reach, in a flat line very very near to the ground, until they fell useless. Then he'd shift slightly, bringing them back into his ambiguous field, and they would hurtle back at him and bounce off his knee or his foot. It was great fun, but it didn't last too long. He noticed that Ester looked rather uncomfortable. She was silent, perhaps what had alerted him, because he'd been drifting in the wash of female voices sitting not too far away. Indeed, if the girl had looked behind her, she would have seen him tucked up right behind the rise of the stage, His upturned face not visible to the audience. But no own looked at him. The silent girl was looking at Ester, and Ester looked to be troubled. Sad. Poor Ester, what made her sad?

Then she spoke. The word was bold. No. He hadn't caught the earlier part of the performance, he'd just listened to the smooth sway of the voices, so he was rather confused. What did no mean? It looked important, as Ester bid the audience good bye. She looked stressed. Distressed. Her eyes found him and he stood up, intending to follow her, but she came towards him. He took an unconscious half step back, he always did that when someone approached him, no matter how close or far they intended to stand from his space. Her voice was soft an urgent. This was important. Mark forced himself to focus in on her words.

"Er..." He rubbed the back of his head and rocked on his feet. "I don't know, doll." His eyes wandered across the ground and up to her face, his mouth was pulled down lopsidedly. "But she's quiet. So silent. Like being alone." He closed his eyes blissfully for a moment. "None of it from her, none of it at all, I think I could stand next to her and not even flinch." He grinned. "She's a special bird. I don't know what she is, or where she's from, but she's special." He hesitantly took a step towards Ester, his eyes fixed unwaveringly on the other's face as his expression fell into seriousness.

"I've got a bad feeling about her. Something's different. She's going 'ta change things."

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Ester tried to dream, but none would come. She spent what seemed like days with her eyes closed, hoping the dreams would come. Every once and a while she would here a sound and open her eyes but scorn herself and close them moment after, needing to start the sleep process all over again. Yet it somehow seemed that she still found the cold, hard cage to be unbearable. Most nights she could doze off, even with the uncomfortable position she had herself in. When she had first gotten her cage, Ester had been a kid. Now that she was older and there was more of her the cage that was small to begin with seemed almost unbearable. She had asked many times to get a new one but was only rewarded witha laugh in her face and a backhand to the head. In order to fit in the cage she had to press herself against the wall and tuck her legs so close to her chin she had to wriggle a bit just to open her mouth. Her toes stuck through the cage once it was closed and if she didn't get in perfectly her head pressed against the back bars so much that her head hurt most of the next day. She was lucky though, today she felt no pain as she tried to sleep.

Sometimes she wondered how the others slept. She had never seen them when the slept. What if she was the only one to be locked in a cage? She didn't find that fair, after all she couldn't do anything to escape using her powers other than put thoughts into somebody's head, and she was sure that a cage made other people more vulnerable to her than if she was locked away in some room. The others must be in cages too, maybe they weren't as small as hers, but it would be absurd to think that they would have any better sleeping places than Ester. She was the least danger to anyone.

She tried to move her fingers, and found that they were pressed between the bars and her leg. With a powerful she she moved her leg about a centimeter to the right and got her left hand free, banging it on the top of the cage as she did so. She held her breath, not knowing if there were any people around who would get onto her for making that sound. What if they thought she was trying to escape again? She didn't want to see what they would do to her as her next punishment. She could recal quite clearly what Mr. Torture had said the last time. "This is the last time that I let you off easy Ester, don't make me lose my patience." After her last punishment she had sat curled up in a corner mumbling to herself and rubbing all the places that had been hurt for over a week. The only reason she had stopped was because they had forced her to move, eat, drink, and so on. She didn't want to know what he would do the next time, even if it was a misunderstanding.

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#, as written by slcam
'Are you happy here?' "No."

The scene kept running through Evie's head. Just that one 'no' had shocked her. It felt like everything had changed for her in that moment, and she had been surprised the rest of the crowd did not share her shock. She had quickly realized she was the only one who knew the question. The only one who knew the truth. When she shakily returned to her friends, Jack was curious what question she had asked. When she told them, it was as if her buzzing thoughts came to a halt, and she knew something with certainty. She had to help them, the mutants.

If Ester was not happy there, there were surely others who felt the same way. Evie doubted it was just as simple as walking away from the circus when they had enough. Suddenly, those cages that held the mutants in the other tent held a whole new meaning. It was not just to portray them as dangerous, or to make people assume they were less than human. They were captives. Evie recalled the look Ester had shot the man who seemed to be in charge after Evie asked if she was happy. She had seemed so uncertain, nervous, and even scared.

After talking a while, they came up with a plan. Jack would find someone with keys. They would go find Ester, and Ava insisted they find Ezekiel as well, and find out if they would want to escape, who else they could free, and how to best use the stolen keys. All happiness at being at the circus had fled long ago, replaced by a dread of what might happen, and determination to do what she could to help. It could be that Evie was wrong, and the mutants did not want to leave the circus. If so, as long as the keys were returned, no harm would be done. But on the other hand, if they did manage to escape and were caught, there was no telling what kind of trouble they would be in. The thought sent chills down her spine, but did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm.

She wandered aimlessly through the circus for a while, waiting for it to get dark. Though time seemed to drag on endlessly, night finally came. It was time. Jack came with the keys and they began their plan. They went to a secluded area of the circus, hopping over a rope that held a sign saying, 'Staff only beyond this point.' They soon saw small trailers and everything was quiet and still. They carefully sneaked through, having to stop a couple times and hide from some circus worker before moving on. Along with the trailers, some of the cages were also being used, and Evie could see dark forms slumped in sleep and huddling under ragged blankets. There was even one familiar looking mutant chained by his leg to a post. It seemed they were captives in this Torture Circus.

Finally, they came to a tiny cage. At first, Evie almost passed by it without notice, not thinking Ester could be the pitifully huddled form scrunched in the cage. After a second, she realized that was exactly who it was. She stood completely still for a moment to make sure before silently walking over to the cage and cautiously kneeling near the bars, completely in sight if ester turned her head. After looking around to make sure no one was around, Evie hurriedly whispered, "E.. Ester?" When Evie knew she had the mutant's attention, she continued. "We... well we can help you escape. That is... if you want to leave...." She gave they rings a small shake as if to prove her statement and they emitted a tiny jingle. She nervously looked around again, noticing how absurdly squished Ester was in the tiny cage. What had she done to deserve that?