Lost in the Spiral


Author’s Note: Inspired by Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus and based on the Writers Write writing prompt: “Need advice Which fictional character would you turn to?”

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

I wander through the black and white spiraled paths that wind through Le Cirque du Reves, finding myself lost in thought and melancholy.

“You look as though you could use this,” comes a voice and a small bag of chocolate drilled kettle corn is held under my nose. The warm, sweet smell seems to fill my head and clear it for a moment, replacing my anxiety with a momentary comfort.

I turn to meet a lovely face, framed by brilliant red hair. Penelope Aislin Murray, known lovingly to all in the Cirque family as “Poppet”. She smiles in that knowing way she has and bids me eat.

“And tell me what has you so twisted up?” she requests as well, beginning to lead the way along the windy circular paths between the black and white tents.

It is late, nearing dawn. One can see the telltale line of light beginning to illumine the horizon. Soon, the cirque will close for the night, the lights will dim and silence will fall.

“I…am stuck, Poppet,” I finally tell her after we have passed a tent or two, “I do not know whether to come or go, stay or venture. I know what will happen if I leave but what might not happen if I stay?” I know that I am being vague but vagueries have never stumped Poppet before and I know they will not now.

The young woman walks silently alongside me, our path curling and circling in on itself. “You are not stuck,” she tells me, “You are afraid.” She regards me with those poignant eyes and gentle mouth. “You don’t have to be afraid.”

She’s right. I am afraid. Deathly afraid. “What if–” I stammer, “What if this is all the magic there is in the world? What if there is no more?”

Poppet gives me that enigmatic, ethereal smile. “How can you think that, dear heart? When it was magic that brought you here?” she asks, her voice like the most soothing music. I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

I noticed that when she was giving advice: her voice took on a musical quality to it. It calmed me. My heart beat more slowly and I felt less like I was going to collapse.

“Don’t be afraid,” she says, turning and taking my hand to lead me into a certain tent. Within it are jars of all shapes and sizes, filled with a myriad of different things and the labels all different. It is my favorite tent. Dreams and memories. My favorite place in the entire circus.

“There will always be magic, dear. It is around you, within you, a part of you. And you will always be a part of us and we of you, no matter where you go.” Poppet then picks up a bottle that I had never seen before. It is warm, the glass almost feels silky. The label has my name on it.

“Always.”

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