Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.
*This is the sequel to my story “Percy’s Plight”, which you can find under my folder “More origin stories!” You can also read my story “The clown with the artificial doll eyes” under my folder “Scary-ish stories”, as it connects to this story. This story itself will be under my folder “Scary-ish stories”. I plan on making origin stories for the other characters in the future. Gacha Club character designs are on my wall. Enjoy!*
For as long as Percy could remember, it was just him in the abandoned Elsdale circus. His ghost lingered to and fro, going without a purpose.
That was, until Matilda came. Something about her was familiar, but he couldn’t figure out what.
Maybe she just had that face everyone knew. Maybe it didn’t mean anything.
But Percy felt like it did mean something.
6:30 P.M.-ELSDALE CIRCUS
Percy watched from behind the gates as Matilda made her way to the circus, her feet crunching on autumn leaves. She had come to visit yet again.
Percy jumped up and down in joy when the gate doors opened, unable to contain his excitement.
Then, he skipped towards her, eager for another evening of conversation with someone.
“Where would you like to go first? The cotton candy stand? The carousel? The ferris wheel? My circus tent? Where, Matilda? Where?” Percy asked. Matilda had made it into the circus. They were walking side by side, the two of them.
“Let’s go to the ferris wheel.” Matilda said with a soft smile.
She never yelled at him, she never seemed angry. She was always patient, always smiling softly.
Percy loved her for that.
AT THE FERRIS WHEEL
The ferris wheel didn’t move, but it was fine. It was swinging gently in the wind, softly in the wind.
It was there when Percy first went to the circus, when Leopold…no…Mr. Shapcott…showed him around.
Mr. Shapcott! That was the name of the ringmaster!
“Matilda, guess what? I remember something!” Percy said.
She knew that he was trying to piece back his memory. She waited for him to get parts back, to remember bits of his life.
To hear those words gave Matilda a smile.
“That’s wonderful! What do you remember?” Matilda asked.
“The ringmaster’s name was Mr.Shapcott. He was showing me around. I...I...I was kicked out of my house.”
“For what? Do you remember that?”
He did. He remembered why he was kicked out.
“I had this power when I was alive. The power to die instantly if I thought about death. I would come back if someone said my name, but anyone around me would die.”
Just like Wyatt did.
“My friend Wyatt died because of me. It was when we were thirteen. When I was sixteen my Mom kicked me out because I was doing the trick in front of my little sister, Lillie. Lillie wanted me to do it.”
“So you did?” Matilda asked, raising an eyebrow.
“I didn’t want to. She…she brought up Wyatt. It wasn’t her fault, though. She just wanted to see my trick.”
“It is her fault if she wouldn’t stop bothering you!”
“Lillie was little. She didn’t know.”
“She did know if she knew how much Wyatt meant to you. Why else would she mention him?”
Percy went quiet. Matilda was right, Lillie did know how much Wyatt meant to him, but she was his little sister. She loved him. She just wanted to see his trick.
He shouldn’t blame her for something he had.
The sun was beginning to lick the sky, signaling the time for Matilda to leave.
She opened the ferris wheel door. Percy dreaded the moment, when he was all alone with his thoughts in the creaky, old circus.
But it was bound to happen.
“It was nice talking to you, Percy. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Matilda said.
Before his very eyes, she disappeared into sparkling blue mist.
Percy was going to get up from the ferris wheel, but then memories flashed at him, like a slideshow presentation that couldn’t wait to get its point across.
There were others at the circus. Prudence the ballerina, Celia and Delia, the singing twins, and Caspian, the magician.
Mr. Shapcott put sharks in Caspian’s tank in his “escape from the water tank” act. He killed Caspian!
Mr. Shapcott stabbed Prudence. She died in my arms.
Mr. Shapcott fed me Celia and Delia. I didn’t know it was them. He told me it was just meat.
The crowd was happy about it. They didn’t even boo me off the stage after Mr.Shapcott told them what I did. They were thrilled.
I was followed by girls that wanted to be with me, girls that were fascinated by what they saw.
Mr. Shapcott got rid of them. He told me that he…he…he was like me! He has my powers too! He killed everyone because…because…he was sad that everyone was dying around him…he…he gave up on trying to save everyone…
He killed me because I refused to die. He made lions eat me because I said no.
“Mr. Shapcott wasn’t jealous…he was…he was insane!” Percy cried out.
Finally, he remembered the bitter details, the blood, gore, and injustice of his death.
He was free…but where were the others? Why did Matilda look so familiar?
Percy was running in the circus, remembering their faces, their smiles.
Prudence…Prudence had dark blue eyes, like the ocean…long, black hair tied up in a bun…
I saw her ghost change…form into…into….
Into Matilda. Matilda had brown eyes, but sometimes, he saw a hint of the blue that was once there.
But it would be so long until she came. He couldn’t wait another moment.
Would it work? Percy wasn’t certain, but it was worth a try.
“Matilda!” He called out, voice hoarse with dried blood.
Percy would find all of them and make Mr. Shapcott pay for everything that he did.
Matilda appeared right before him, eyes full of kindness and concern.
“Do you remember Mr. Shapcott? The ringmaster? You warned me about him!” Percy said. She had to remember, she had to. Percy couldn’t face the truth alone…
“No, I didn’t. I…I never met him…”
“You did! You’re Prudence, you’ve got to be!”
“That’s not my name.”
“When you go home, what is it like? Where do you go?”
Matilda’s eyes faded into dark blue, a flash of clarity came upon her face.
“I don’t go home. My family is dead. I go to this…this very strange void. Gee, I never thought about it until now.”
Prudence looked at Percy with recognition.
“I’m so glad that I’m here again, Percy!” She said happily.
The two hugged, happy that they were finally, finally, together.
But all was not yet done.
“Come with me, to Celia and Delia’s trailer! I think I know where they are!” Percy said, taking Prudence’s wrist.
He had seen flashes of them in the trailer window from time to time. Sometimes, he thought that he heard them screaming, but dismissed it as imagination.
Percy knew then that for certain, they were trapped in there.
TO THE TRAILER
Percy let go of Prudence and ran up to the trailer, slamming the doors open.
Inside was miscellaneous girl things, like makeup and dolls, but…there were two glowing blue orbs…
They disappeared before Percy could get close to them.
“Over here!” Prudence called out.
Percy ran out of the trailer as if the devil were after him. He didn’t want to spend another second alone.
“Take my hand!” Prudence yelled when he reached her.
He did as she asked.
The next thing Percy knew, they fell into a void, the way out closing like a camera flash.
There was darkness. Just pure darkness. It felt as if Percy’s heart was beating rapidly within his chest, but that wasn’t possible, was it? It stopped beating decades ago.
Something crept into Percy’s mind, a memory of what happened to the others years ago:
“I can’t keep them with you, Percy. I can’t stay with you either. It’s better if we all just disappeared into the void of death. I made it myself, to keep us safe. You are free to roam all you like in the circus. You may call yourself whatever you want. Just don’t come looking for us. They are human, they don’t understand you. Though we may share powers, you have proved to me that we are different. Therefore I cannot be with you, as you do not see as I do.
But Prudence can stay with you. Prudence cares for you. She will only exist as Matilda. Like you, she will not remember.
This is my goodbye. I hope you can understand.”
Those were the last words Mr. Shapcott said to him before everything went black. Before Percy was all alone…wait…where was Prudence?
Prudence’s hand slipped into Percy’s.
He wasn’t alone. They were going to fix it all.
He had to remember that he wasn’t alone.
Percy and Prudence ran into the darkness, searching for the others. They didn’t know where they were going, they only knew what they wanted.
“Over here!” Delia called out.
They both stopped.
Right in front of them were the twins.
The girls ran up to them with tear-stained eyes, Celia to Percy, Delia to Prudence. One girl hugged a clown, the other hugged a ballerina.
All were together, except for…except for Caspian.
I wonder if Wyatt is here too. Percy thought.
But of course he wasn’t. Only the circus troupe was in the void, no one else.
Celia moved both of his arms, which were hanging awkwardly on his sides, to hug her. Percy wasn’t certain if she wanted a hug, but it appeared that she did.
As long as it made her happy. That was what mattered.
In the middle of the void there sat a water tank, with Caspian floating in it, wearing a straitjacket. His blue eyes were wide open, his blond hair floated ghostlike in the water.
“Girls, look.” Percy said.
Prudence looked up. The twins turned their heads.
“It’s Caspian!” Celia said happily, running towards the tank. The others followed after.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so horrible after all. Maybe they would all be able to escape without fighting evil.
But deep down, Percy knew better.
They ran towards the tank. Prudence took out a hairpin and fumbled with the lock.
“Not so fast.” An all-too familiar voice hissed.
An invisible force, the same one that kept Percy from running out of his trailer the day everyone died, forced the hands of Prudence and the girls behind their backs.
Percy turned around, but he didn’t need to.
Mr. Shapcott was back.
“You thought that I was going to let this all go to waste? That I would let you destroy this paradise?”
Mr. Shapcott tsked and shook his head, as if he were disappointed.
“You don’t understand. You never will.”
Mr. Shapcott raised both hands in front of Percy. He was decaying, dying, disappearing. Just like so many countless times in his life. Just like the time he really died.
“I understand perfectly. You’re blinded by your own pain.”
Percy wouldn’t let it happen again.
Percy raised both of his hands up and thought of only decaying away Mr. Shapcott. Skin by skin, bone by bone, withered into nothingness.
The force was pushing back at him, but Percy wouldn’t give up.
“What…what are you doing?!” Mr. Shapcott howled. He was holding his stomach, crackling and breaking off.
“I’m doing what’s right.” Percy said with a smile.
Right before his very eyes, Mr. Shapcott became a husk, a skeleton, and then…
Was Mr. Shapcott really, truly gone? Percy deeply hoped so, but he just couldn’t believe it. He, a mere child, killed the very man who ended Percy’s life? It seemed too good to be true.
Yet, Mr. Shapcott decayed into dust right in front of him.
Prudence hugged him close, a hug full of such love that he hadn’t felt in…in forever, really.
“You did it.” She whispered.
“Huh. I guess I did.” Percy said, the thought feeling strange to him. How…how did he kill Mr. Shapcott? The odds were against him and there were overwhelming odds.
“Oh, don’t be modest. He’s gone! Dead! Reduced to atoms, thanks to you.” Prudence said.
Then, Prudence did something Percy would not have expected her to do.
She kissed his cheek.
It was a fleeting butterfly kiss, it came and went as fast as a ghost, but it was such a weird, wonderful feeling for the both of them.
“Pardon me. I don’t know what that was.” Prudence said, voice hushed into embarrassment, letting go of him.
“It’s alright.” Percy said.
“Come on, guys! We found Caspian!” Celia yelled out.
“We better go catch up to them.” Prudence said.
“Agreed.” Percy said.
They ran in the darkness, which was beginning to disappear, change into light.
“What’s going on?!” Percy asked.
“I don’t know!” Prudence cried out.
The void around them began to fade, disappear. The circus was coming back into fruition, decrepit and withered.
Finally, when the last of the darkness disappeared, there was just the circus.
They were back home.
But where was Caspian? Where were the girls? Where-
Percy sighed in relief when he saw the girls with Caspian, running towards them.
They were alright. They were altogether.
“There’s really nothing else to worry about? We’re okay?” Percy asked.
“Yes. There’s nothing else to worry about. I wasn’t actually dying in the tank. I’m already dead, I can’t die again. However, I was trapped. But I wasn’t trapped the way you think I was. I was reliving my death. Mr. Shapcott was the reason for it, just as Mr. Shapcott was the reason for the void.”
“Now that he’s gone, we’re safe.”
Caspian gave a soft smile to Percy, who still wasn’t feeling quite alright.
“I promise.” He said.
With that, he and the twins walked away, leaving only Percy and Prudence.
“Why did you kiss me?” Percy asked. It was so sudden, so sweet, that he wondered if it really happened.
“Did you not like it?”
“No, no. It…it was nice. But why?”
He liked the kiss, it made him feel warm all over. But he had to know, why did she do it?
Prudence looked down, fidgeting with the fabric of her tutu. For the first time, she seemed nervous.
“You have been very caring of me and the others. I watched you after I died. I saw you stand up to Mr. Shapcott before your death. I saw how determined you were to live and how you still kept going, even after all that happened. When I was Matilda, I knew you from somewhere. I knew your spark and light, hidden within. But I didn’t know you until you remembered it all and then, I recognized that brightness in your eyes.”
She looked up, eyes misty with tears.
“You’re strong, Percy. You don’t break under the pressure. You kept on when you could have run. You made Mr. Shapcott go away for good. That’s why I love you.”
Percy wanted to talk to her while he was at the circus, but he never had the time to. When he first met her, he sensed a sadness deep within her soul that broke his heart. There was so much more to her than what she said in his trailer that night, so much darkness in her life. He was absolutely certain of it.
They both gave each other only a summary of their pitiful, horrible lives. What she saw was a mask, a front he put up to protect them all.
Maybe she was wearing a mask too. Maybe deep down, she was crying as much as him.
But that didn’t mean that they couldn’t love. That didn’t mean that they couldn’t move past the damage and shine like they were meant to.
Percy walked up to Prudence. He caressed her cheek. In that moment, he wished that he had lips, so that he would kiss her. His teeth would only hurt her. Sure, she wasn’t alive, but what if it gave her a phantom pain?
Prudence kissed him, right on his bloody, rotten teeth.
At that moment, the rest of the world faded away like the rain.
There was only them, embracing each other, becoming one powerful, unstoppable force.
They didn’t want to let go. They knew that they had to at one point, but they wanted it to last as long as they make it.
The circus gates creaked open. That didn’t stop them.
“Matilda?! Matilda?! Where are you?!” A voice called out.
That was enough to break them apart. Prudence’s human friend, Beatrice, was calling out her fake name.
“I have to tell her the truth. You wait right here.” Prudence said in a low voice. Percy could see it in her eyes that how much she hated to break it to Beatrice.
Prudence left before Percy could offer any words of comfort.
Percy knew that he was supposed to stay put, but he couldn’t just leave Prudence behind.
He walked through the carnival until he saw the front entrance, where Prudence and Beatrice were. They didn’t see him, for he hid behind the photo booth.
“Where is Matilda?! You’re not Matilda!” Beatrice said, a note of panic in her voice.
“Yes, I am.” Prudence said gently.
“What do you mean?! You’re not Matilda!”
“What do you remember about the time you spent with Matilda?” Prudence asked.
Beatrice squinted her eyes, searching through her memories.
“I only remember the time we spent now. I don’t remember you as a little girl and I’ve never seen your house. That’s…weird.”
“That’s because Matilda never was. My name is Prudence. I died here a long time ago in this circus and the ringmaster, Mr. Shapcott, brought me to Earth as Matilda. He made me look different, he wiped me clean of my memory, but I’m still a ghost. When the day was over, I’d disappear. I’d wake up with no memory of disappearing and would come to school, over and over again, until school ended, then I would disappear again.“
“I was living a Hell and I didn’t even know it. That is, until you brought me here.”
“Your lust for adventure led me to Percy the clown, who helped me figure out who I really was. I became my true self. Now I’m free!”
“Don’t miss me too much. You still have a life to live, things to do.” Prudence said.
Beatrice looked like she was on the verge of tears, on the edge of asking questions. Percy felt that way once too. He knew the pain of a whole world being turned upside down.
“Goodbye, friend. I’ll see you on the other side.” Prudence said.
Percy ran back to where he was, so that Prudence may not catch him eavesdropping on them.
Prudence joined Percy back where he was, a tint of sadness in her eyes.
“I’m sorry for keeping you waiting.” Prudence said.
“It’s alright.” Percy said, holding her close.
She had every reason to be upset. She had to leave a close friend, go to another plane of existence.
The only difference between him and her was that she got the chance to say goodbye.
Above them was a glowing circle, which revealed an infinite blue sky and unbelievably puffy white clouds.
Percy and Prudence began floating up to the circle. Neither knew how it was happening or where it came from, both hoped deep down, that it was Heaven.
That they would finally rest.
They were in a field of wildflowers, the scent of roses and innocence in the air.
In the distance, Percy heard the girls playing with Caspian. Prudence smiled. She heard them too.
They embraced each other. They would join the others soon, they just wanted a moment longer to themselves.
There was peace at last.
Waiting on the other side for Percy was his loved ones, whom he missed dearly.
Lillie, though a grown woman, held the same innocent love for Percy throughout time. While Sadie didn’t get to know him personally, Lillie made sure to tell stories of him to her.
Percy’s parents never wanted to say goodbye to him and were filled with an everlasting guilt that didn’t quite go away when he returned.
As for Wyatt?
Percy and Wyatt made sure to catch up on lost boyhood, lost time.