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16+ Violence Mature Content

Leopold Shapcott discovers the power within!

by vampricone6783


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.

*This is the last origin of my “Elsdale Circus” stories.  This story is underneath my folder “Elsdale Circus”. Gacha Club character designs are under my forum “My character designs <33”. Enjoy!*



Introduction

Leopold Shapcott always had a gift. Or was it a curse? He wasn’t sure anymore.

If he thought of death, the people around him died.

His parents said that it was a phenomenon. His heart told him that it was a burden.

Deep down, he felt like a clown.

Chapter One: The first death

“Leopold! Leopold!” Evander said, knocking on his door. Leopold was reading a book that showed marvelous, painted pictures of a glowing, rainbow-iridescent circus.

“What?” Leopold asked. Didn’t Evander understand that he was trying to read?

“Race me around the house!” Evander giggled before running off.

Leopold tossed the book aside, a grin upon his face.

A game was a game and a game must be played.

……………………………………………………

It started as a race around the house. That’s how it started.

Then it extended off into the woods, with Evander’s voice laughing gaily.

“I’m going to catch you and you’ll be sorry!” Leopold said.

“We’ll see about that.” Evander chuckled.

I’ll catch him once and for all! I’LL be the winner! Then, he’ll have to give me all of his candies! Oh, I can’t wait to win and-

A crashing sound, like thunder, came into the woods.

“E-Evander?” Leopold called out. Something inside him said to call out Evander’s name.

No one responded back.

“Evander?!” Leopold tried again, running further.

Still, there was nothing.

“Evander?! EVANDER?!” Leopold screamed. He ran faster, his heart rate got higher.

Is he okay? Why isn’t he speaking? Where is he? Is he…

Leopold stopped. Right in front of him was a fallen tree, with branches curling over a small, pale body.

“Evander?” Leopold asked, leaning down to the body.

Brown only stared back at him lifelessly. No words escaped his lips.

Evander was gone.

Chapter Two: It’s not that bad!

Leopold held Evander’s body as he walked back home. What was he going to say to their parents? What would they do?!

It was so…so cold outside…

………………………………………………….

After a long walk, he had made it home. Leopold pushed open the door.

“What happened?! Is Evander alright?!” Mom asked. She was standing in the living room, the first to see such a sight.

“He’s…dead! A tree fell on him and…and-“

“That’s it?”

Leopold blinked back in confusion. How could Mom ask that? Wouldn’t she be mad at him?

“Y-yes.” Leopold stuttered, unsure of what to do.

“It’s not that bad. It was only an accident!” Mom said, clapping a hand on Leopold’s shoulder.

He didn’t understand. His little brother was limp, his eyes were wide and glazed over, like an animal’s, and his skin felt too soft.

Why didn’t she care?

Chapter Three: Only life…

“I don’t know why you’re so shocked, Leopold. Death happens. It wasn’t your fault.” Dad said.

A few hours had passed since Evander’s accident. Dad had come home from work and gave the same reaction as Mom did. Evander’s body was sent to the morgue, they were eating dinner around the table.

“But…he still died! He’s gone! Crushed! Aren’t you sad? Don’t you miss him?” Leopold asked, tears in his eyes.

How could he eat when there was an empty seat right next to him? How could he live his life when Evander would be six feet under, far from any chance of living the life he deserved?

Evander would rearrange the food on his plate to make a picture. Mom got mad at him for not eating. He would be doing that right now. Leopold thought.

“We’re both sad, but this happens. You have to move on. Now, eat.” Mom said.

“But-“

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore, Leopold. Just eat.” Mom said.

Leopold stabbed his fork into boiled potatoes, shoving down all the words he wanted to say.

Just eat and move on.

Chapter Four: The black puppy

Leopold stood with his parents over the coffin of Evander. He held in his tears, for they told him not to cry.

A small black puppy ran in the distance, barking happily. Leopold ignored it. The puppy was happy, the puppy was free.

But then, it skipped right over to Leopold.

Right next to his feet.

Chapter Five: Poor thing

It looked up at Leopold expectantly, as though it were waiting for him to reach down and pet it.

Leopold smiled, giving in. Surely, it wouldn’t hurt to stroke its fur for a little bit, right?

He petted the puppy’s soft black fur, grinning at how its tongue hung lopsided out of its mouth, how its eyes went big with joy.

Evander liked puppies. He wanted one so bad, but Mom and Dad said that the house was too big.

Leopold felt himself slipping away, the feeling of the puppy’s fur leaving his fingers.

Evander will be in a coffin soon. He won’t be able to hug the puppy. He won’t be able to do anything anymore.

His heart raced, tears slipped from his eyes. He couldn’t hear the words of the Priest, only a constant buzzing in his ears.

His body was crushed by the tree. It was an accident, but still…how did I not hear him scream? Why didn’t I pay attention? So focused on winning that I didn’t think to check on Evander.

What is WRONG with me?!

The puppy screamed.

Chapter Six: What an extraordinary power!

Leopold opened his eyes. What lay beneath him was a deflated puppy, eyes lost to death.

“I…I…I…” Leopold tried to speak, but the right words wouldn’t come out.

“That puppy was alive a minute ago, wasn’t it?” Dad asked.

“Y-yes! I swear I didn’t do anything, it just-“

“Obviously you did. How else would it have died?” Dad asked.

“I…I didn’t…”

Did he, though? Did he make the little puppy die? Was it really Leopold’s fault?

“It‘s extraordinary! We’ll discuss it more when the funeral is over.” Dad said, patting him on the back.

He didn’t care when Evander died and he didn’t care when the puppy died. The Priest droned on. Evander’s funeral would end soon. Evander would be pushed back into the Earth, far from the light of life.

What was going on with the world?

Chapter Seven: The idea

“You could show everyone what you can do. You could be famous.” Dad said.

The funeral was over. The three of them were on the train headed home.

“I don’t want to be famous.” Leopold said.

Why would anyone want to see death? Death was the end, death meant eternal pain.

“Who cares? Tomorrow, first thing, you’re going to show the whole town.” Mom said.

“But-“

“End of discussion.” She said.

Why did she always stop him from speaking?

Chapter Eight: The dream

Leopold was running in the woods, to where Evander waited. He always lost in their chasing game, but Leopold would win that one round. He felt it, deep inside.

In the distance was the soft screams of a little boy. Leopold’s blood went cold. The only people in the woods was the two of them.

“LEOPOLD!”

He stood still. The voice crying out his name sounded like Evander, but it couldn’t be him, right?

“Look at me…LOOK!”

Leopold turned around.

Standing right behind him was Evander, but his face was all bloody and wrong. In fact, it almost looked like he had no face.

“You didn’t help me…you left me…” Evander said.

He reached out towards Leopold with shaking, bony hands, desperate, afraid.

“I…I didn’t know…” Leopold said hoarsely.

How could he have let it happen? How could he let Evander slip from his fingers?

Evander grabbed Leopold’s shirt and pulled him close. He could smell the rot in Evander’s breath, the rot that didn’t belong.

They were being plunged into the dirt, into the land of worms and maggots, but Leopold didn’t fight it.

He wasn’t there for Evander in life. Maybe Leopold could be there for him in death.

A smile spread on his face. Things weren’t so bad after all.

Leopold woke up.

Chapter Nine: The day awaited

He was in his room, safe and sound. They had come home many hours ago. Mom was going to take him to a kid’s birthday party to display what Leopold could do.

Mom was a magician for birthday parties, but her magic was fake, all for show.

And she wanted to bring him along, only for show.

Leopold looked out the window that held the bright, white moon. He could leave, but then, where would he go? How could he survive out there? He was so small and the world was so big.

He closed his eyes.

Maybe more rest would do him good.

Chapter Ten: The birthday party

“Now, Leopold. I want you on your best behavior.” Mom said.

Last night went by so fast, too fast. Leopold and Mom were already at the front door of the child’s birthday party. He was to do the same thing he did with the dog, the poor, innocent dog.

He tried to run, but Mom grabbed his arm.

“Stay.” She said.

Chapter Eleven: Once again

Hours had passed since they had arrived at the party. Leopold did his best to avoid everyone, but it was inevitable. When the time came, Mom pulled him away from the corner of the living room and to the front, for everyone to watch.

“Watch this.” She said, taking a white, fluffy bunny with little black eyes out from her hat.

The kids rolled their eyes, Leopold tried to leave, but she grabbed him again.

“Do it.” Mom whispered, shoving the bunny in his hands.

“I don’t want to!” Leopold whispered back.

“Evander would have liked to see this.” Mom responded.

Evander…Evander…no! He couldn’t think of Evander, he couldn’t….no…he had to try…he had to…had to…

His hand was the one thing that was sticking out of the tree trunk. I didn’t even hear him scream. He was just…crushed. Like a leaf under a boot. He…he…he’s dead and I’m still here. Why? Why? Why?

Why did the puppy die? What’s going on? What am I? Why does everybody like death?

Through his tear-stained eyes, he saw the small animal lying limp in his hands.

“He killed it with just his mind! Isn’t that marvelous?” Mom asked.

Leopold thought that they would cry, that they would yell at him, but instead, they all clapped and cheered.

“Do it again! Again! Again!” They chanted.

“No!” Leopold screamed.

He gently placed the bunny on the ground and ran for his life.

Chapter Twelve: New friends?

What did Leopold just do? Kill that bunny? But how? How could…

Did he just have bad luck? Was he a terrible person, unworthy to hold a sweet little rabbit?

Leopold wiped his tears as he ran. He never thought that he would have to run in his life, but he was. He was doing it.

No more running…I have to rest.

Leopold sat down on a wheelbarrow, trying his best to get rid of the bad thoughts that lingered and bit at his mind, but it was inevitable. The tears kept spilling down.

“Are you okay?” A voice asked.

Leopold looked up and almost screamed, but stopped himself.

Standing in front of him were two girls fused together at the hip. He didn’t think that it was possible for such a thing to happen, yet there they were, right in front of him.

“Please don’t stare. It’s rude.” One girl said. She had hair that was slightly shorter than the other girl’s.

“S-sorry. It’s just that…”

“We look different, I know. But please don’t stare.” The girl said.

Leopold had something odd going on with him, the girls were fused at the hip. They were both oddities, why should he judge?

“So what’s the matter?” The other girl, the one with longer hair, asked.

Chapter Thirteen: Come join us!

“I left a birthday party that I didn’t like.” Leopold said. He wasn’t sure if he should tell them what really happened, so he just gave them the general truth.

“Oh! That’s not so bad. So many people don’t like us because we’re attached to each other.” The long-haired girl said.

If only they knew. Thought Leopold.

Upon looking closer at the girls, he didn’t understand why he was scared in the first place. Sure, both were joined firmly at the hip and could not spend a moment alone, but they had brown eyes that sparkled, genuine, sweet smiles, and dresses that swayed.

They were just girls and he couldn’t bear to tell them the truth.

“What’s your name?” The shorter-haired girl asked.

“Leopold. Yours?” He asked.

Perhaps they could be his friends…

“I’m Circe and this is my sister, Eris. Want to go join us at the woods?” The shorter-haired girl, Circe, asked.

“Yes!” Leopold said happily.

He could never tell them the truth. They were friends. If they knew, they wouldn’t want to be his friends anymore.

That was a fact.

Chapter Fourteen: A strange object

“What do you do in the woods?” Leopold asked he followed Circe and Eris down the dirt path through the trees.

“We like to play together, but we also like to look at this weird thing!” Eris said.

What could they be talking about? Leopold thought.

“Ah, here it is! The thing!” Eris said. Circe was holding it in her hands.

Leopold walked closer to get a better look at it.

Circe was holding a metal box shaped like a coffin, with the name: “Leopold Augustus Shapcott” etched on it.

“We just found it in the woods one day! We can’t open it, it’s too hard.” Eris said, shaking her head sadly.

“It has your name on it, too. Isn’t that interesting?” She asked a second later.

What is that? WHY does it have my name on it? He asked himself.

“Probably a different Leopold. We have to go, Eris. We’ve been out here too long.” Circe said, gently placing the box back on the dirt, just as Leopold did with the bunny back at the party.

As the girls ran off, he picked up the box.

It had his name on it, he couldn’t just leave it there.

Chapter Fifteen: The box

Leopold was in the woods, holding the box. There was a man screaming in the distance, crying out for help.

He ran towards the noise, still clutching the box, making sure not to drop it. The box was important, he couldn’t let it go.

The scream was getting louder…louder…

Leopold was right at the source of the screaming.

A man seemed to be buried halfway in the dirt and was struggling to get out. His hands flailed wildly in the air, his eyes held great desperation.

Leopold ran up to the man and tried to pull him out, but he was too heavy.

“It’s okay, child.” The man said in a raspy voice.

He rose from the ground, his legs covered in twisting roots and vines.

“Only those like us can kill us.” He said.

“What?” Leopold asked.

He woke up on the grass, holding the box.

Chapter Sixteen: A bright new day

At first, Leopold didn’t know where he was and panicked.

But then, as quick as a flash, he remembered that Circe and Eris let him stay at their house and he decided to sleep outside.

The sky was a dewy dawn, with muted orange and violet streaks, added with a touch of white cotton clouds.

It was a bright new day. Circe and Eris said that they would introduce him to their other friends.

Everything would be fine.

Chapter Seventeen: To Aarin and Ascelin’s house!

Leopold followed silently behind Circe and Eris, so as not to disturb them. Earlier, they went outside to wake him for breakfast, which they all ate before their parents woke up.

At the moment, he was following them to Aarin and Ascelin’s house, the people that they wanted him to meet. Leopold clutched tightly to the box, trying his best to ignore the feeling that someone was watching him…

Chapter Eighteen: Arriving

“Here we are! Their house!” Circe said.

Leopold followed the girls into a small house painted white. Parts of it were chipped away. It didn’t look like much of a home, but it was.

The door was already unlocked, so they went in just fine.

“Aarin! Ascelin! Come out!” Eris called.

There wasn’t a soul in sight, but maybe they were hiding.

Chapter Nineteen: The adventure

From behind the couch popped out two little boys, one with blue eyes and one with green eyes.

“This is Aarin.” Circe said, gesturing to the blue-eyed boy.

“And this is Ascelin!” Eris said, pointing to the green-eyed boy.

“Aarin, Ascelin, this is Leopold. Now that you all know each other, let’s go on an adventure!” Circe said happily.

“An adventure?” Leopold asked, raising an eyebrow.

“We do it every day.” Eris gushed.

The way they said “adventure” made it sound like a game. Evander used to play games with him.

Hopefully it wouldn’t end the same way it did a few days ago…

Chapter Twenty: Another little animal

The five of the children walked in the woods, Leopold still clutching the box. He wouldn’t let it go, not after the dream that he had.

“Where are your parents?” Leopold asked Aarin. In the time that he spent with them, he didn’t see any adults around.

“Our parents go out for the day, so we just play!” Aarin said happily.

Huh. I’ve never heard of that before. Leopold thought. It sounded a tad strange, but it wasn’t much of a problem for him.

“Look, a snake! It’s so cute!” Ascelin gushed, pointing to the small, black and yellow garter snake in the leaves.

Ascelin and the others ran up to the snake, Leopold followed in confusion.

Chapter Twenty-One: The mistake

Ascelin picked up the snake and began petting it. He grinned as he did so, as though the snake wouldn’t bite him.

“Do you want to pet it?” Ascelin asked, holding out the snake for Leopold.

“No thanks. I’m good.” He said. He didn’t want to kill the snake like he did with the puppy and the bunny.

“Come on, just for a little bit!” Ascelin said, handing the snake to Leopold.

“I don’t want to hold it, I-“

Evander liked all animals, even if they were snakes. He wanted to hug and hold them forever.

Just like I did, before…before…

Oh no, oh no, oh no!

It happened again.

Chapter Twenty-Two: And still, no hate?

The snake was nothing more than a rope lying in his hands, black eyes staring at nothing.

“Did you kill the snake?” Ascelin asked, looking from Leopold to the snake.

“I didn’t mean to! I don’t understand why I have this power, but I do. I’m sorry! Please, just-“

“It was an accident, right?” Ascelin asked.

Leopold nodded vigorously.

“Then I’m not mad at you. We can help you stop doing it. All of us.” Ascelin said.

Everyone else smiled, eyes alight with kindness. Why didn’t they cast him out? Why didn’t they curse his name?

Despite himself, Leopold found himself grinning.

It was good to not be alone.

Chapter Twenty-Three: A wish to make

Leopold was alone in the woods, only, a man seemed to be smashing a baseball bat into another man’s head, blood spurting out.

The man who was being hurt didn’t fight back, but simply said:

“I wish to bring the curse of death upon you as I die.”

The man hitting him heeded no word, but continued to harm. He didn’t stop, not even when his own hands bled.

Leopold watched it all.

Chapter Twenty-Four: Dreams of a circus

Leopold woke up in the backyard of the girls, just as he did the other night.

But in the distance, there were lights on a string, calliope and pipe organ music accompanying it. He had a blurred memory of his parents mentioning a “circus of music and lights” coming to town.

Could it be that the lights belonged to that circus?

Chapter Twenty-Five: Far too familiar

As it happened, the other children did have parents, and the parents were taking their children to the circus.

Leopold followed them, keeping a distance from the crowd. He didn’t want the other kid’s parents to know about him. What if they sent him away?

It wasn’t that hard since there were throngs of people everywhere.

Wait…was that…his Mom?

Chapter Twenty-Six: An idea of hope

His Mom, the birthday party magician, performing at the circus, for all to see. She didn’t seem to notice Leopold, which was a relief.

Why should he be scared? It was a circus, full of surprises and wonders. Families gathered to enjoy the festivities with bright smiles.

Maybe Leopold could bring the joy of the circus with him…

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Circus friends

After their parents had left to watch his mother perform, Leopold joined the other kids in a group.

“Would you like to be in a circus with me one day?” Leopold asked.

“You came with us?” Circe asked, shock and surprise in her voice.

“Well, yeah. I don’t want to be alone.” Leopold said, fidgeting with his fingers.

“Sure! We can all be in a circus when we grow up. It will be fun!” Eris said with a grin.

Everyone else voiced their agreement. In that moment, Leopold knew that he had friends that would last till the end.

Circus friends.

Chapter Twenty-Eight: His crimes

Leopold watched the man closely in the courtroom. That was where he was, after all. A courtroom.

It was the same man he saw crumbling into the Earth. The same man who got his head bashed in by a bat.

Sitting in the courtroom were the judges, of course, but also, families. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Sick children who coughed blood and mucus.

“Sebastian Sullivan Shapcott. For your crimes of stealing the life essence of youth, you will be sentenced to death!” The judge cried out.

Sebastian smiled, unfazed.

Right before Leopold’s eyes, he disappeared in a cloud of gray smoke.

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Becoming clear

Leopold woke up back in Circe and Eris’ lawn, the sky still specked with stars. From his dream, he learned that the man was Sebastian and he took the youth of young children.

The judge…the judge looked familiar…he…he was the guy who beat Sebastian’s head in!

Was Leopold descended from evil?

Chapter Thirty: So it began

Leopold took the box lying next to him and held it, studying its surface. It was shaped like a coffin, with his name on it.

Memories of the past began flashing in his mind.

Three days after Sebastian had left the courtroom, the judge was crafting a bat in the woods.

Then, the judge saw him. Sebastian. Taking a stroll.

The judge, holding his mallet, ran up to Sebastian. The two ran off further.

The moments of Sebastian’s death came quickly in Leopold’s eyes, but it all boiled down to one thing:

When Sebastian had sunk into the Earth, he focused his energy onto his far descendent, so that those after him would teach other people what it was like to die.

The energy became a box, just for Leopold. A box that opened up to reveal black smoke clouds that enveloped Leopold.

But it was all just in his head, right?!

The box had exploded and scattered into frenzied, malicious energy.

It was forever ingrained in Leopold’s heart, just like how Evander’s death was his responsibility.

Epilogue

Leopold ignored what Sebastian did for the rest of his life, trying his best to be good to his friends. They started a circus in adulthood, just as they had promised to in childhood.

But inevitably, he began to kill them all, like Evander and the animals. His thoughts of death never left him, his thoughts of Sebastian Shapcott stealing the youth of children stayed ingrained, the box that was Sebastian’s essence left a stain on Leopold’s soul, bringing out Sebastian’s own darkness and twisting Leopold’s into a greater evil.

Sometimes, people are destined to be bad, no matter how hard they try to be kind.


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KateHardy wrote a review...



Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening/Night(whichever one it is in your part of the world),

Hi! I'm here to leave a quick review!!

First Impression: Well looks like we're looking at a bit of a different one this time, just some born there fated to be evil and trying desperately to avoid it, but it would seem their attempts are very much futile.

Anyway let's get right to it,

Leopold Shapcott always had a gift. Or was it a curse? He wasn’t sure anymore.

If he thought of death, the people around him died.

His parents said that it was a phenomenon. His heart told him that it was a burden.

Deep down, he felt like a clown.


Well that's quite the note to start on there, Leopold has quite the curse, that's definitely not your run of the mill annoyance, that's about as miserable as it gets or perhaps as dangerous as it gets. Let's find out which one its going to end up being here.

“Leopold! Leopold!” Evander said, knocking on his door. Leopold was reading a book that showed marvelous, painted pictures of a glowing, rainbow-iridescent circus.

“What?” Leopold asked. Didn’t Evander understand that he was trying to read?

“Race me around the house!” Evander giggled before running off.

Leopold tossed the book aside, a grin upon his face.

A game was a game and a game must be played.

It started as a race around the house. That’s how it started.

Then it extended off into the woods, with Evander’s voice laughing gaily.

“I’m going to catch you and you’ll be sorry!” Leopold said.

“We’ll see about that.” Evander chuckled.

I’ll catch him once and for all! I’LL be the winner! Then, he’ll have to give me all of his candies! Oh, I can’t wait to win and-

A crashing sound, like thunder, came into the woods.


Oooh that's not good. It looked to be starting out about as gently as you could ask for, a nice little run around among friends, but going outside into an environment like that and a crashing sound so quickly does not bode well at all here.

“E-Evander?” Leopold called out. Something inside him said to call out Evander’s name.

No one responded back.

“Evander?!” Leopold tried again, running further.

Still, there was nothing.

“Evander?! EVANDER?!” Leopold screamed. He ran faster, his heart rate got higher.

Is he okay? Why isn’t he speaking? Where is he? Is he…

Leopold stopped. Right in front of him was a fallen tree, with branches curling over a small, pale body.

“Evander?” Leopold asked, leaning down to the body.

Brown only stared back at him lifelessly. No words escaped his lips.

Evander was gone.


Oh no, that's a shocking start. Not too often we've got a mysterious murder going down at the very beginning. Well, well, well this has kicked off quite the chain here right away. Loving this start. Very mysterious, very captivating here.

Leopold held Evander’s body as he walked back home. What was he going to say to their parents? What would they do?!

It was so…so cold outside…

After a long walk, he had made it home. Leopold pushed open the door.

“What happened?! Is Evander alright?!” Mom asked. She was standing in the living room, the first to see such a sight.

“He’s…dead! A tree fell on him and…and-“

“That’s it?”

Leopold blinked back in confusion. How could Mom ask that? Wouldn’t she be mad at him?

“Y-yes.” Leopold stuttered, unsure of what to do.

“It’s not that bad. It was only an accident!” Mom said, clapping a hand on Leopold’s shoulder.

He didn’t understand. His little brother was limp, his eyes were wide and glazed over, like an animal’s, and his skin felt too soft.

Why didn’t she care?


Oh dear that's very much concerning. I mean you'd expect a mother to be hysterical and screaming, sure Leopold probably won't get blamed and get comforted but that's more casual than if just something got lost in the forest. Definitely a questionable moment.

“I don’t know why you’re so shocked, Leopold. Death happens. It wasn’t your fault.” Dad said.

A few hours had passed since Evander’s accident. Dad had come home from work and gave the same reaction as Mom did. Evander’s body was sent to the morgue, they were eating dinner around the table.

“But…he still died! He’s gone! Crushed! Aren’t you sad? Don’t you miss him?” Leopold asked, tears in his eyes.

How could he eat when there was an empty seat right next to him? How could he live his life when Evander would be six feet under, far from any chance of living the life he deserved?

Evander would rearrange the food on his plate to make a picture. Mom got mad at him for not eating. He would be doing that right now. Leopold thought.

“We’re both sad, but this happens. You have to move on. Now, eat.” Mom said.

“But-“

“I don’t want to talk about this anymore, Leopold. Just eat.” Mom said.

Leopold stabbed his fork into boiled potatoes, shoving down all the words he wanted to say.

Just eat and move on.


Oh dear, well both parents are being incredibly casual about it, that most definitely is not normal in the slightest. Although you do wonder just a little bit if maybe we're dealing with something hidden here now. If they were expecting this death for some time. That's the only way I can possibly imagine being this cool about it.

Leopold stood with his parents over the coffin of Evander. He held in his tears, for they told him not to cry.

A small black puppy ran in the distance, barking happily. Leopold ignored it. The puppy was happy, the puppy was free.

But then, it skipped right over to Leopold.

Right next to his feet.

It looked up at Leopold expectantly, as though it were waiting for him to reach down and pet it.

Leopold smiled, giving in. Surely, it wouldn’t hurt to stroke its fur for a little bit, right?

He petted the puppy’s soft black fur, grinning at how its tongue hung lopsided out of its mouth, how its eyes went big with joy.


Oooh well this is a rare occurrence here, a cute puppy walking up to a character in a vampricone story, this is most definitely quite unheard of, but I am most definitely not complaining about it at all.

Evander liked puppies. He wanted one so bad, but Mom and Dad said that the house was too big.

Leopold felt himself slipping away, the feeling of the puppy’s fur leaving his fingers.

Evander will be in a coffin soon. He won’t be able to hug the puppy. He won’t be able to do anything anymore.

His heart raced, tears slipped from his eyes. He couldn’t hear the words of the Priest, only a constant buzzing in his ears.

His body was crushed by the tree. It was an accident, but still…how did I not hear him scream? Why didn’t I pay attention? So focused on winning that I didn’t think to check on Evander.

What is WRONG with me?!

The puppy screamed.


Oh dear that's definitely not a good sign, given what we know of Leopold's power. I have a feeling the only reason an adorable puppy has appeared in one of these stories is to meet a certain terrible fate.

Leopold opened his eyes. What lay beneath him was a deflated puppy, eyes lost to death.

“I…I…I…” Leopold tried to speak, but the right words wouldn’t come out.

“That puppy was alive a minute ago, wasn’t it?” Dad asked.

“Y-yes! I swear I didn’t do anything, it just-“

“Obviously you did. How else would it have died?” Dad asked.

“I…I didn’t…”

Did he, though? Did he make the little puppy die? Was it really Leopold’s fault?

“It‘s extraordinary! We’ll discuss it more when the funeral is over.” Dad said, patting him on the back.

He didn’t care when Evander died and he didn’t care when the puppy died. The Priest droned on. Evander’s funeral would end soon. Evander would be pushed back into the Earth, far from the light of life.

What was going on with the world?


That definitely does seem like something is very much off about the world there. People are normally significantly more concerned about death, especially a cute puppy. The Dad being so noncholant about all of its really upping the creepiness factor here.

“You could show everyone what you can do. You could be famous.” Dad said.

The funeral was over. The three of them were on the train headed home.

“I don’t want to be famous.” Leopold said.

Why would anyone want to see death? Death was the end, death meant eternal pain.

“Who cares? Tomorrow, first thing, you’re going to show the whole town.” Mom said.

“But-“

“End of discussion.” She said.

Why did she always stop him from speaking?


Well looks like the parents are both unconcerned and now looking for a way to make some sort of profit off of this. Well that's definitely creating a very interesting situation here. Things are setting themselves up for very interesting outcomes here.

Leopold was running in the woods, to where Evander waited. He always lost in their chasing game, but Leopold would win that one round. He felt it, deep inside.

In the distance was the soft screams of a little boy. Leopold’s blood went cold. The only people in the woods was the two of them.

“LEOPOLD!”

He stood still. The voice crying out his name sounded like Evander, but it couldn’t be him, right?

“Look at me…LOOK!”

Leopold turned around.

Standing right behind him was Evander, but his face was all bloody and wrong. In fact, it almost looked like he had no face.

“You didn’t help me…you left me…” Evander said.

He reached out towards Leopold with shaking, bony hands, desperate, afraid.

“I…I didn’t know…” Leopold said hoarsely.


Well you can clearly see a lot of guilt on display by poor Leopold about the whole affair and it seems Evander is only about to get in there and solidify that claim which is not going to bode well for poor Leopold's mental state.

How could he have let it happen? How could he let Evander slip from his fingers?

Evander grabbed Leopold’s shirt and pulled him close. He could smell the rot in Evander’s breath, the rot that didn’t belong.

They were being plunged into the dirt, into the land of worms and maggots, but Leopold didn’t fight it.

He wasn’t there for Evander in life. Maybe Leopold could be there for him in death.

A smile spread on his face. Things weren’t so bad after all.

Leopold woke up.


Hmm well that looked to be a terrible nightmare there although I have a feeling like most nightmares in this particular kind of stories, this one's a little bit more real that you might think.

He was in his room, safe and sound. They had come home many hours ago. Mom was going to take him to a kid’s birthday party to display what Leopold could do.

Mom was a magician for birthday parties, but her magic was fake, all for show.

And she wanted to bring him along, only for show.

Leopold looked out the window that held the bright, white moon. He could leave, but then, where would he go? How could he survive out there? He was so small and the world was so big.

He closed his eyes.

Maybe more rest would do him good.


More rest is definitely always a good thing to have although in this instance it looks like we're being faced with a particularly special conundrum for poor Leopold.

“Now, Leopold. I want you on your best behavior.” Mom said.

Last night went by so fast, too fast. Leopold and Mom were already at the front door of the child’s birthday party. He was to do the same thing he did with the dog, the poor, innocent dog.

He tried to run, but Mom grabbed his arm.

“Stay.” She said.

Hours had passed since they had arrived at the party. Leopold did his best to avoid everyone, but it was inevitable. When the time came, Mom pulled him away from the corner of the living room and to the front, for everyone to watch.

“Watch this.” She said, taking a white, fluffy bunny with little black eyes out from her hat.

The kids rolled their eyes, Leopold tried to leave, but she grabbed him again.

“Do it.” Mom whispered, shoving the bunny in his hands.

“I don’t want to!” Leopold whispered back.


Oh dear this is really expanding out into some level of craziness now. The mother is being absolutely ruthless about using that talent here and we're even going to use the cutest possible animal.

“Evander would have liked to see this.” Mom responded.

Evander…Evander…no! He couldn’t think of Evander, he couldn’t….no…he had to try…he had to…had to…

His hand was the one thing that was sticking out of the tree trunk. I didn’t even hear him scream. He was just…crushed. Like a leaf under a boot. He…he…he’s dead and I’m still here. Why? Why? Why?

Why did the puppy die? What’s going on? What am I? Why does everybody like death?

Through his tear-stained eyes, he saw the small animal lying limp in his hands.

“He killed it with just his mind! Isn’t that marvelous?” Mom asked.

Leopold thought that they would cry, that they would yell at him, but instead, they all clapped and cheered.

“Do it again! Again! Again!” They chanted.

“No!” Leopold screamed.

He gently placed the bunny on the ground and ran for his life.


Ooh well it seems no matter what Leopold is doing to try and avoid being responsible for death, the ease with which his gift triggers is not helping matters in the slightest here. At least it seem he's doing his best to get away from this lot.

What did Leopold just do? Kill that bunny? But how? How could…

Did he just have bad luck? Was he a terrible person, unworthy to hold a sweet little rabbit?

Leopold wiped his tears as he ran. He never thought that he would have to run in his life, but he was. He was doing it.

No more running…I have to rest.

Leopold sat down on a wheelbarrow, trying his best to get rid of the bad thoughts that lingered and bit at his mind, but it was inevitable. The tears kept spilling down.

“Are you okay?” A voice asked.

Leopold looked up and almost screamed, but stopped himself.

Standing in front of him were two girls fused together at the hip. He didn’t think that it was possible for such a thing to happen, yet there they were, right in front of him.

“Please don’t stare. It’s rude.” One girl said. She had hair that was slightly shorter than the other girl’s.

“S-sorry. It’s just that…”

“We look different, I know. But please don’t stare.” The girl said.

Leopold had something odd going on with him, the girls were fused at the hip. They were both oddities, why should he judge?

“So what’s the matter?” The other girl, the one with longer hair, asked.


Well looks like he's found some companions after all, wasn't expecting Leopold to run into people quite that quickly after running away but here we go, that's looking to be quite nice for poor Leopold.

“I left a birthday party that I didn’t like.” Leopold said. He wasn’t sure if he should tell them what really happened, so he just gave them the general truth.

“Oh! That’s not so bad. So many people don’t like us because we’re attached to each other.” The long-haired girl said.

If only they knew. Thought Leopold.

Upon looking closer at the girls, he didn’t understand why he was scared in the first place. Sure, both were joined firmly at the hip and could not spend a moment alone, but they had brown eyes that sparkled, genuine, sweet smiles, and dresses that swayed.

They were just girls and he couldn’t bear to tell them the truth.

“What’s your name?” The shorter-haired girl asked.

“Leopold. Yours?” He asked.


Well looks like the two of them appear to be friendly and nice for the moment although knowing the kind of people we run into in these stories especially when they appear innocent or seem a little bit on the friendly side of things.

Perhaps they could be his friends…

“I’m Circe and this is my sister, Eris. Want to go join us at the woods?” The shorter-haired girl, Circe, asked.

“Yes!” Leopold said happily.

He could never tell them the truth. They were friends. If they knew, they wouldn’t want to be his friends anymore.

That was a fact.

“What do you do in the woods?” Leopold asked he followed Circe and Eris down the dirt path through the trees.

“We like to play together, but we also like to look at this weird thing!” Eris said.

What could they be talking about? Leopold thought.

“Ah, here it is! The thing!” Eris said. Circe was holding it in her hands.


Oh dear the longer this goes on, the higher my suspicions are rising with this lot, there's just something about it that feels very very dangerous the longer and longer that this goes on here.

Leopold walked closer to get a better look at it.

Circe was holding a metal box shaped like a coffin, with the name: “Leopold Augustus Shapcott” etched on it.

“We just found it in the woods one day! We can’t open it, it’s too hard.” Eris said, shaking her head sadly.

“It has your name on it, too. Isn’t that interesting?” She asked a second later.

What is that? WHY does it have my name on it? He asked himself.

“Probably a different Leopold. We have to go, Eris. We’ve been out here too long.” Circe said, gently placing the box back on the dirt, just as Leopold did with the bunny back at the party.

As the girls ran off, he picked up the box.

It had his name on it, he couldn’t just leave it there.


Well that box definitely is utterly terrifying, there's no two ways about that. Now its Leopold who's actually taking this just a bit more nonchalantly than you'd expect him to be.

Leopold was in the woods, holding the box. There was a man screaming in the distance, crying out for help.

He ran towards the noise, still clutching the box, making sure not to drop it. The box was important, he couldn’t let it go.

The scream was getting louder…louder…

Leopold was right at the source of the screaming.

A man seemed to be buried halfway in the dirt and was struggling to get out. His hands flailed wildly in the air, his eyes held great desperation.

Leopold ran up to the man and tried to pull him out, but he was too heavy.

“It’s okay, child.” The man said in a raspy voice.

He rose from the ground, his legs covered in twisting roots and vines.

“Only those like us can kill us.” He said.

“What?” Leopold asked.

He woke up on the grass, holding the box.


Oh dear, now that is a very interesting greeting and although its maybe just a little bit terrifying there the idea of another like that although maybe there could be some sort of guidance going back and forth here.

At first, Leopold didn’t know where he was and panicked.

But then, as quick as a flash, he remembered that Circe and Eris let him stay at their house and he decided to sleep outside.

The sky was a dewy dawn, with muted orange and violet streaks, added with a touch of white cotton clouds.

It was a bright new day. Circe and Eris said that they would introduce him to their other friends.

Everything would be fine.

Leopold followed silently behind Circe and Eris, so as not to disturb them. Earlier, they went outside to wake him for breakfast, which they all ate before their parents woke up.

At the moment, he was following them to Aarin and Ascelin’s house, the people that they wanted him to meet. Leopold clutched tightly to the box, trying his best to ignore the feeling that someone was watching him…


Well they're definitely going places with that box, for now it seems everyone is mostly safe for the moment so at the very least no one's exactly in immediate mortal danger so that's great.

“Here we are! Their house!” Circe said.

Leopold followed the girls into a small house painted white. Parts of it were chipped away. It didn’t look like much of a home, but it was.

The door was already unlocked, so they went in just fine.

“Aarin! Ascelin! Come out!” Eris called.

There wasn’t a soul in sight, but maybe they were hiding.

From behind the couch popped out two little boys, one with blue eyes and one with green eyes.

“This is Aarin.” Circe said, gesturing to the blue-eyed boy.

“And this is Ascelin!” Eris said, pointing to the green-eyed boy.

“Aarin, Ascelin, this is Leopold. Now that you all know each other, let’s go on an adventure!” Circe said happily.

“An adventure?” Leopold asked, raising an eyebrow.

“We do it every day.” Eris gushed.

The way they said “adventure” made it sound like a game. Evander used to play games with him.

Hopefully it wouldn’t end the same way it did a few days ago…


Oh dear poor Leopold's really just still super traumatized by the whole Evander situation, although it looks like he's able to lose himself just a little bit through being with the rest of them here.

The five of the children walked in the woods, Leopold still clutching the box. He wouldn’t let it go, not after the dream that he had.

“Where are your parents?” Leopold asked Aarin. In the time that he spent with them, he didn’t see any adults around.

“Our parents go out for the day, so we just play!” Aarin said happily.

Huh. I’ve never heard of that before. Leopold thought. It sounded a tad strange, but it wasn’t much of a problem for him.

“Look, a snake! It’s so cute!” Ascelin gushed, pointing to the small, black and yellow garter snake in the leaves.

Ascelin and the others ran up to the snake, Leopold followed in confusion.


Oh dear another cute animal is not a good sign for Leopold her given that track record and the whole little reference to the strange circumstances surrounding the parents is just a little bit questionable right now.

Ascelin picked up the snake and began petting it. He grinned as he did so, as though the snake wouldn’t bite him.

“Do you want to pet it?” Ascelin asked, holding out the snake for Leopold.

“No thanks. I’m good.” He said. He didn’t want to kill the snake like he did with the puppy and the bunny.

“Come on, just for a little bit!” Ascelin said, handing the snake to Leopold.

“I don’t want to hold it, I-“

Evander liked all animals, even if they were snakes. He wanted to hug and hold them forever.

Just like I did, before…before…

Oh no, oh no, oh no!

It happened again.


Well looks like this is not about to end well for the poor snake, at the very least its points to Leopold this time for trying as hard as he could, now that he's finally aware of it, although it seems him getting control over his thoughts isn't happening any time soon.

The snake was nothing more than a rope lying in his hands, black eyes staring at nothing.

“Did you kill the snake?” Ascelin asked, looking from Leopold to the snake.

“I didn’t mean to! I don’t understand why I have this power, but I do. I’m sorry! Please, just-“

“It was an accident, right?” Ascelin asked.

Leopold nodded vigorously.

“Then I’m not mad at you. We can help you stop doing it. All of us.” Ascelin said.

Everyone else smiled, eyes alight with kindness. Why didn’t they cast him out? Why didn’t they curse his name?

Despite himself, Leopold found himself grinning.

It was good to not be alone.


Well it looks like these people are at least a little bit different in not judging Leopold and understanding that he needs some help to stop having this curse. Definitely a lot better than the way things went with his parents.

Leopold was alone in the woods, only, a man seemed to be smashing a baseball bat into another man’s head, blood spurting out.

The man who was being hurt didn’t fight back, but simply said:

“I wish to bring the curse of death upon you as I die.”

The man hitting him heeded no word, but continued to harm. He didn’t stop, not even when his own hands bled.

Leopold watched it all.

Leopold woke up in the backyard of the girls, just as he did the other night.

But in the distance, there were lights on a string, calliope and pipe organ music accompanying it. He had a blurred memory of his parents mentioning a “circus of music and lights” coming to town.

Could it be that the lights belonged to that circus?


Well that's a disturbing image once again with a lot more food for thought as it seems we're taking a small detour with everything thanks to a little circus although knowing your stories, circuses are really just fun and games and good things.

As it happened, the other children did have parents, and the parents were taking their children to the circus.

Leopold followed them, keeping a distance from the crowd. He didn’t want the other kid’s parents to know about him. What if they sent him away?

It wasn’t that hard since there were throngs of people everywhere.

Wait…was that…his Mom?

His Mom, the birthday party magician, performing at the circus, for all to see. She didn’t seem to notice Leopold, which was a relief.

Why should he be scared? It was a circus, full of surprises and wonders. Families gathered to enjoy the festivities with bright smiles.

Maybe Leopold could bring the joy of the circus with him…


Okay this is interesting, a reunion with the mom although it is tough to say if this is going to actually be a good thing given how that last meeting which really did not seem like something Leopold was enjoying at all.

After their parents had left to watch his mother perform, Leopold joined the other kids in a group.

“Would you like to be in a circus with me one day?” Leopold asked.

“You came with us?” Circe asked, shock and surprise in her voice.

“Well, yeah. I don’t want to be alone.” Leopold said, fidgeting with his fingers.

“Sure! We can all be in a circus when we grow up. It will be fun!” Eris said with a grin.

Everyone else voiced their agreement. In that moment, Leopold knew that he had friends that would last till the end.

Circus friends.


Well that seems like a cute little promise to be making there, that's for certain although you do have to wonder if all of this is truly going to end well here given all of the evidence that we have had upto now.

Leopold watched the man closely in the courtroom. That was where he was, after all. A courtroom.

It was the same man he saw crumbling into the Earth. The same man who got his head bashed in by a bat.

Sitting in the courtroom were the judges, of course, but also, families. Mothers. Fathers. Children. Sick children who coughed blood and mucus.

“Sebastian Sullivan Shapcott. For your crimes of stealing the life essence of youth, you will be sentenced to death!” The judge cried out.

Sebastian smiled, unfazed.

Right before Leopold’s eyes, he disappeared in a cloud of gray smoke.

Leopold woke up back in Circe and Eris’ lawn, the sky still specked with stars. From his dream, he learned that the man was Sebastian and he took the youth of young children.

The judge…the judge looked familiar…he…he was the guy who beat Sebastian’s head in!

Was Leopold descended from evil?


Oh dear that does not look great again. With each passing little vision, this is really starting to get worse and worse. You really have to wonder if Leopold is about to get some sort of attack now, with how this is building up.

Leopold took the box lying next to him and held it, studying its surface. It was shaped like a coffin, with his name on it.

Memories of the past began flashing in his mind.

Three days after Sebastian had left the courtroom, the judge was crafting a bat in the woods.

Then, the judge saw him. Sebastian. Taking a stroll.

The judge, holding his mallet, ran up to Sebastian. The two ran off further.

The moments of Sebastian’s death came quickly in Leopold’s eyes, but it all boiled down to one thing:

When Sebastian had sunk into the Earth, he focused his energy onto his far descendent, so that those after him would teach other people what it was like to die.

The energy became a box, just for Leopold. A box that opened up to reveal black smoke clouds that enveloped Leopold.

But it was all just in his head, right?!

The box had exploded and scattered into frenzied, malicious energy.

It was forever ingrained in Leopold’s heart, just like how Evander’s death was his responsibility.


Oh dear that is some box right there, although it seems finally at least despite the horror within it, poor Leopold can at least know a bit about how the box came to be and why exactly its got his name on it. Definitely tells you a lot about Sebastian too.

Leopold ignored what Sebastian did for the rest of his life, trying his best to be good to his friends. They started a circus in adulthood, just as they had promised to in childhood.

But inevitably, he began to kill them all, like Evander and the animals. His thoughts of death never left him, his thoughts of Sebastian Shapcott stealing the youth of children stayed ingrained, the box that was Sebastian’s essence left a stain on Leopold’s soul, bringing out Sebastian’s own darkness and twisting Leopold’s into a greater evil.

Sometimes, people are destined to be bad, no matter how hard they try to be kind.


Well that definitely seems to be absolutely true of the people in this world that's for sure. If they're destined down an evil path they hardly ever get any kind of chance to actually even think about stopping it and you really do have to feel for them quite a bit the poor things.

Aaaaand that's it for this one.

Overall: Overall it looks like quite the little prophecy there, definitely coming together in a different little dynamic of a person made evil by their own past and skills rather some sort of forceful transformation. Looking forward to seeing more of these!

As always remember to take what you think was helpful and forget the rest.

Stay Safe
Kate

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Wed Jun 05, 2024 4:02 pm
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RavenAkuma wrote a review...



Hello Again, My Friend!

It's me, Raven, and I'd like to review your new short story using my Familiar method today! Let's dive in, shall we? Heh heh heh…

What The Black Eyes See...

What a great conclusion to the Elsdale Circus collection!! The origins of Shapcott seem so corrupt, convoluted, and all-around twisted, explaining so many of his behaviors throughout both the main stories and other origin stories, but with so many outside forces working to twist his confused and troubled mind, they also left room for a surprising amount of empathy. Let's get into the details though.

Where The Dagger Points...

I didn't really have any complaints to give this time! Good writing job ~

Why The Grin Widened...

So first of all, that entire opening sequence was such a shock and tragedy! Leopold losing his little brother to what seemed like a genuine accident was probably enough trauma, but for this terrible reaction to ensue...

“It’s not that bad. It was only an accident!” Mom said, clapping a hand on Leopold’s shoulder.


You immediately get the sense that something is very not right with the parents, shrugging off death as if it was just a spill at the dinner table, and it immediately reminds me of Shapcott's pure callousness and unresponsiveness to death throughout the prior stories. But, right alongside that eerie reminder, we're given a dose of empathy with this moment:

He could leave, but then, where would he go? How could he survive out there? He was so small and the world was so big.


Indeed, where else would he go? It seems like the other characters were able to go to the circus before this dark world corrupted them, but Shapcott doesn't have that luxury...

Shapcott's gift being exposed at the funeral was staged very well, and further exposed both his parents' twisted nature and his own confusion and fear of this deadly ability. Then, leading into the dream, I was very excited to glean more hints about the nature of this curse:

“Only those like us can kill us.” He said.


That explains why Percy was able to stop him, and it could also explain why the circus members like Prudence felt so powerless against him! Likewise, I feel like learning this would come back later to add to the power trip Shapcott was on, knowing he couldn't be stopped by just anybody.

Even though we've seen it before, it was still a shockingly morbid moment to see Shapcott kill something before a crowd, and for even children to react with applause and laughter. But meeting Circe and Eris was a sweet, more lighthearted moment in the story, same for Aarin and Ascelin. It's no wonder Shapcott was so willing to start his circus life with them, when they were so understanding of his ability:

“Then I’m not mad at you. We can help you stop doing it. All of us.” Ascelin said.


And remembering what became of them, this makes sense; Aarin and the others realizing that there are no more accidents and Shapcott is abusing his powers, and Shapcott feeling so betrayed when they try to leave him after being the only ones to ever understand him. By extension, it explains why Shapcott would decide to end them. as cold as that decision was.

Ooou, I was wondering what would be in the box so much, especially when seeing all those awesome clues in the dreams. It was quite literally a Pandora's box to seal Shapcott's fate! Combining Sebastian's evil with a terrible curse, and the failure of his parents to guide him, it seemed like it was inevitable. And you captured that very well with that incredibly eerie closing line:

Sometimes, people are destined to be bad, no matter how hard they try to be kind.


Technically, in many ways, Shapcott did try to be kind many times. Taking in those rejected by society, threatened by the same corruption he faced, but ultimately making things even worse for them and leading them to face a terrible demise.

Our Mad Thoughts...

Overall, that was awesome! Nicely done! :D

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That awkward moment when you jump out a window because your friend jumped out a window, then you remember that your other friend can fly.
— Rick Riordan, The Ship of the Dead