Tag Archive for: circus

There’s One Born Every Minute

by James Rumpel


The ringmaster approached two boys who stood near the “EGRESS” sign.

“You’re not fooling us,” said one of the teenagers. “Egress means exit.”

The ringmaster laughed, “You’re smart. However, at this circus, the egress is much more than a way out.” He brandished a pair of tickets. “Take these. If you find yourself outside, you can return.”

The boys grabbed the passes and entered the passageway.

Later, the ringmaster watched a grotesque monster devour the last remnants of its meal. He picked two blood-stained tickets off the ground. “Did you enjoy your lunch, Egress? I’ll send dinner after tonight’s show.”

James Rumpel

James Rumpel is a retired math teacher who enjoys spending some of his free time trying to turn some of the odd ideas in brain into stories. 


A Circus Act to Remember

by C. L. Sidell


The house erupts in applause as a top-hatted performer steps into the arena, handling three hoops of fire.

On the sidelines: a monkey escapes its cage, pilfers blades from the knife-thrower’s stash, surreptitiously drops them into the cannon.

In the spotlight: the golden-maned cat growls and pounces; the startled entertainer drops his flaming rings.

From the shadows: the oldest elephant charges forward, trunk collecting and flinging each fiery hoop with practiced precision, igniting the cannon’s wick.

An explosion of blades pierces human flesh.

Among the chorus of screams: screeching, trumpeting, and roaring of long-suffering animals now free of their tormentors.

C. L. Sidell

A native Floridian, C. L. Sidell grew up playing with toads in the rain and indulging in horror stories. She holds a master of arts in both English and library & information science, moderates two creative writing groups, and reviews books for the Florida Library Youth Program. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in 34 Orchard, 805 Lit, Dark Moments, The Dread Machine, Frozen Wavelets, opia, Quarantine Quanta, Spark: A Creative Anthology, and others.
Twitter & Facebook: @sidellwrites


Work the Crowd

by Evan Baughfman


Applauding trapeze artists’ aerial excellence, Caitlyn declared, “Way better than some mangy flea circus!”

I agreed. “So fun!”

We must’ve misread the advertisements. The show was impressive, a dazzling evening inside a towering tent, complete with clowns, acrobats, and lion tamers.

A hundred spectators cheered as nimble performers gathered centre stage, taking their bows.

The ringleader thanked everyone for attending, adding, “Concessions are closed. Now, time for us to eat.”

Troupe members shed their skins—disguises—revealing insectoid mandibles, three pairs of powerful limbs.

Massive, agile bloodsuckers leapt into the stands, surrounding prey.

We screamed. Stumbled. Found nowhere to flee.

Evan Baughfman

Evan Baughfman is a middle school teacher and author. Much of his writing success has been as a playwright. A number of his scripts can be found at online resources, Drama Notebook and New Play Exchange. Evan also writes horror fiction and screenplays.



by Warren Benedetto


Deke woke from a dream of his life before the circus. He had been roaming under the endless Montana sky. A blinding light shone from above. A watery, gurgling voice spoke.

“This one.”

Then, darkness.

Deke’s eyes fluttered open. He was in a box of frosted glass, naked and cold. The lid opened. He squinted up at his captor, at its four tentacled arms, its translucent head, its singular yellow eye. Deke had learned that the least painful option was to simply comply. Perform his routine. Entertain the crowd. Survive another day.

His captor spoke. Its voice was liquid.


Warren Benedetto

Warren Benedetto writes short fiction about horrible people doing horrible things. He has a Master’s degree in Film/TV Writing from USC. He is also the developer of StayFocusd, the world’s most popular anti-procrastination app for writers. He built it while procrastinating. Visit www.warrenbenedetto.com


The Greatest Show on Earth

by Pauline Yates


Teaching a monkey how to strike a match was a clever trick. It required the use of electric shocks to his fingers, but when he lights the ring of fire for the Bengal tigers to jump through, the crowd applauds me as the greatest animal trainer in the circus’s history.

However, I underestimated the monkey’s cleverness. He can also wield a whip. Biting it from my hand, he directs one tiger to herd me from the left, another from the right. The third tiger crouches beyond the flaming ring, mouth open, fangs dripping saliva, waiting for my leap of death.

Pauline Yates

Pauline Yates is an Australian author of horror and speculative fiction. Her short stories appear with Midnight Echo, Metaphorosis, Redwood Press, plus others, as well as several anthologies including Mondi Incantanti, published by Riflessi di Luce Lunare (RiLL), Italy. Links to Pauline’s stories can be found at https://paulineyates.com/


Tick Tock

by Vijayaraj Mahendraraj


The contorted body was lifeless, yet warm. Hollow eyes, horrified visage. Tick tock, a portent of doom. The mirthful laughter seemed a distant memory. The ‘Ringmaster’ promised a unique experience. Yet now she trembled, whip in hand. Sixty seconds. Soon, the oblivious soul entered. She glanced back at the body. Hers. Desperation coiled the whip about his fragile neck. Edges crudely tightened, his agonised gasps and frothing pleas were hushed. She awoke in her body, unscathed. The asphyxiated body laid by her side and a new ringmaster waited with sixty seconds to claim his own victim for salvation. Tick tock.

Vijayaraj Mahendraraj

My name is Vijayaraj Mahendraraj. I go by Vijay. I am originally from Malaysia but currently work as a physician in Canada. Writing has always been a burning passion of mine.
Facebook: @vijayaraj.mahendraraj


Spectre Spectacular

by James Hancock


We came to town at night. Cries of wild steeds broke the silence as a line of covered wagons brought hidden mysteries for a special performance. Word spread fast, and with the black tent erected, guests lined up for the evening’s show.

Spectre Spectacular. This was no ordinary circus, and if anyone told you they’d seen its kind before…they lied.

The twisted mimes danced through the waiting audience and set a tone of terror. Uncomfortable laughter stopped, a chill rolled in, and shapes leapt from the shadows.

Through the cacophony of screams and panic, the demons drank their fill.


James Hancock

James Hancock is a writer/screenwriter of comedy, thriller, horror, sci-fi and twisted fairy tales.  A few of his short screenplays have been made into films, and he has been published in print magazines, online, and in anthology books. He lives in England, with his wife and two daughters.  And a bunch of pets he insisted his girls could NOT have.


The Juggler

by Caoimhin Kennedy


The urge to piss led him behind the tent. He unzipped and released.

Footsteps forced a halt to his relief.

He turned and there the Juggler stood. Three balls tossed through the air. The roar of the crowd beyond the tent walls exploded.

The juggler stepped from the shadows, his face appearing in the moonlight. Pale, bloodied, savage, evil.

It was then he realised the Juggler’s tools were not balls, but skulls.

One swipe of the Juggler’s claws separated the head from the body.

His bladder let the remaining liquid free as the Juggler feasted to collect his fourth ball.

Caoimhin Kennedy

Originally from Ireland, Caoimhin Kennedy has always had a passion for telling stories. He currently lives in Ottawa, Canada, working in the engineering sector. His works can be found in a publication of Every Day Fiction and in three upcoming Black Hare Press anthologies titled: West, Cyborg, and Eerie Christmas Vol. 2.


Nightmares at the Circus

by Liam Hogan


There was no net. There was no audience, either. Not a live one, anyway. Just corpses, staring up into the big top.

If Sally didn’t make it to the waiting arms of the other trapeze artist, no-one would gasp as she fell screaming through the air, no-one would rush to help as she lay broken on the packed dirt.

She screwed up her nerve. They were in sync: now was the time. She leapt. For a moment, she feared she’d fallen short. But the hands were there. Sally grasped them, relieved.

Skeletal arms broke free and plummeted down with her.

Liam Hogan

Liam Hogan is an award-winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction and in Best of British Fantasy (NewCon Press). He’s been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flame Tree Press, among others. He helps host Liars’ League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London. More details at http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk


Near Miss

by Sophie Wagner


Blindfolded and arms outstretched, he turned to the crowd and asked for a volunteer. No one moved.

After a moment, a clown stepped into the crowd and hauled a sobbing Andrew to his feet.

“Please don’t make me,” Andrew begged.

“Don’t worry, he never misses,” the clown replied.

He dragged him to centre stage, tied him to a board, then stepped back and handed the blindfolded man a knife.

Quickly, he spun around, then let the knife fly from his hand. With a thud, it stuck in Andrew’s heart. Not missing a beat, the carny folk descended upon their meal.

Sophie Wagner

Sophie Wagner is an emerging student author who has had multiple short story and poetry publications. You can find her work at the Macabre Ladies, Black Ink Fiction, Eerie River Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, the Black Hare Press and more. She hopes you have a horror filled day!