The McDonald’s

My mom pulled into the empty parking lot of the unfamiliar McDonald’s at midnight. The artificial gleam from McDonald’s was the only light for miles. The sun was gone. The stars covered by clouds. The clouds draped in black. The black even blacker than the concrete of the parking lot.

The McDonald’s was still open.

Mom told me to get her a coffee. Said I could get a burger. Handed me a 10.

The McDonald’s was unfamiliar. The glaring light was too bright. The cashier’s glowing yellow shirt had an unsettling deep red stain under her illegible name tag. Her smile dragged like an enormous slit across her white skin as I walked in. “Howdy! What can I get y’all?” My mom was still at the car. I was alone.

My order took longer than it would have at the McDonald’s by my house. I waited in a dark booth, in a corner, away from the cashier. The harsh light still glared, but unable to reach me, leaving me sitting in darkness. I tried to make out the words of the man’s voice coming from the radio. It sounded like another language. It sounded like a warning.

I left the McDonald’s with food and coffee. My mom was still at the car. Had it gotten darker? Where are the clouds? Where are the stars? Where are we? I did not ask as I climbed back into the car with the woman who claimed to be my mother. I did not ask why we kept driving. I did not ask where we were going. The McDonald’s glaring light followed us as we drove on.


The Dragon Prince

Hello father,

It is Alexander. It’s been a week since the evil witch cursed me to become a dragon and several days since you started your journey to find a cure but it turns out that the royal physicians have had a solution. Apparently it’s pretty simple so I guess you can come back to the castle now. I’m warning you though, I am not going to let them turn me back into a human just yet – it’s not often you can spit fire from your mouth. I just learned how to fly and my wing strength is greatly improving as well. I’m trying to teach myself how to do tricks now.

I’m also in the process of convincing Sophia to pretend to be my captured princess in the top of one of our towers (she’s already a princess so she’s got half of it covered already). She’s not taking to the idea but I think with enough convincing she might agree.

While I seem to be the only one, right now, excited by this fantastic development, I’m sure you’ll learn to love it as well. Mother isn’t too happy and I think she’s yelling at me to change back but it’s hard to hear her when I’m so much larger than her.

Travel safe,

Prince Alexander the Dragon (I’ve added “the Dragon” to the end of my name, cool, right?)

P.S. I accidentally burnt Baron Seymour’s eyebrows off when I sneezed yesterday. He’s quite angry so you may have to have a talk with him later.

P.P.S. Do you think I can lay eggs?

The Captured Princess 2

Previous Chapter

After much convincing, Beth finally had the prince in her house. She had forced him to climb up the rope she had made by stringing a few bed sheets together, though he had to leave the pizza on the ground in order to climb it. Now he was standing in her home and she could get a better look at him.

Beth had much to expect due to her books and he was exactly what she wanted: dark hair, dark eyes, tall, and well built. His splay of freckles differed from the picture she had in mind, so did his tanned skin, but she could manage. He also looked more timid than expected but this was something she could also deal with. Her books never mentioned anything about their personalities so Beth assumed any type was good. Besides, if he had looks, who cared about his character?


Princess Beth

“So… money?” He looked a little impatient; maybe he was in a hurry to marry her? The thought suddenly struck her and she gave a little gasp.

She commanded the prince to wait exactly where he was before rushing to the library down the hall. All her reference books for this situation were hidden behind the books on flowers. She furiously flipped through pages to find her favorite story of the trapped princess in the tower.

The prince was starting to get worried. Entering the house of a customer was strictly against the Pixie Pizza Code of Conduct yet so was leaving money behind, so technically he was following the rules. The more pressing matter was the fact that this ditzy girl seemed to have no idea what money is. He rechecked the paper in his hand, 2400 Bellflower Street…

Princess Beth reentered the room. She had redone her hair and even changed the sash around her dress. In a silvery voice she gave her proclamation, “Young Prince, I will willingly go away with you-”

“Hold on. What is the address of this place?”

“Excuse me?”

“The address? What’s your address?”

Beth had never felt so insulted. First this prince doesn’t immediately climb into her home, and then he just expects her to marry him without even asking, and then interrupts her while she accepts the unspoken proposal, what was the princess of the world to do? Well she knew he was going to be a tough one, though her storybooks never had difficult princes.


Princess Beth’s castle

He probably was asking so he knew where to send the invitation for their wedding. All her irritation evaporated and she cheerfully relayed the address that Joy had imbedded into her mind, “2400 Bellflower Lane. Now if you’ll let me continue, I do believe I was in the middle of accepting your-”

The prince shook his head, “No need, it looks like I messed up. Good bye!” And started for the window.

Poor Princess Beth almost burst into tears. All her hard work just for her prince to be chasing a different princess!

The prince looked into her watery eyes and knew he had to escape now or he’d never get to leave. What he didn’t know was that eighteen years of reading princess stories had taught something to Beth. She pressed a pale hand to her heart and sank to her knees. With a loud moan followed by a sob, she curled over. She called this ‘Damsel in Distress’, a genius ploy to gain pity.

Peaking up at him, Beth noticed he had hesitated. “At least… tell me your name.”

“I think what’s more important is that we call for help.”

She had preformed the trick too well – he thought she was really ill! His concern did make her blush and she almost allowed him to get help, but Joy had warned of the dangers of too many people seeing Beth. Then again, Joy also warned her of inviting random people into the mansion.

“I’ll be fine,” she said quickly. “It happens from time to time. I just want to know your name. For future reference.”

He moved closer to the window, “Since you’re fine, I’m going to go. I still have to deliver the…” He looked down and froze. The pizza box he’d left on the ground had disappeared. A wandering forest nymph must’ve stolen the delicious goods. His heart sank as he calculated how much this loss would take out his pay.

His dismay did not keep him still for long. Before the princess could react, he was starting down the rope.

She ran over and set her hands on the rope, determined to pull him back up. He glanced up and their eyes connected. Beth knew he didn’t want to stay. Slowly she released the rope and watched him reach the ground. The boy made a half-hearted attempt to find the pizza before dejectedly walking away.

Beth still waited by the window; not knowing what she was expecting but unwilling to look away. Perhaps it was because he felt sorry for her or perhaps it was because he felt her stare burning holes into his back, no matter the reason, the prince turned around. “I’m Eric Benson, by the way. Also, I’m not a prince.”

Of course, Princess Beth didn’t hear the last line.


Chapter Twenty Eight

Wow, this is the last chapter to The Ringmaster story! I can’t really believe it, I never expected this story to end, much less the way I ended it… It kind of wrote itself but I  like the way it turned out, and I hope you all like it too!

And there will be an epilogue after this, to clear up some loose ends and whatnot.

Well, on to the story! 

“I don’t know what to believe…” I muttered.

“Don’t believe anything then.” Came the simple reply, one that I wasn’t expecting.

I looked up at my brother, “What?”

Cameron took a step closer to me, “Being a Ringmaster was your choice wasn’t it? They didn’t force you to become a Ringmaster and they can’t force you to stay one. Just leave it all behind. You can do that.”

I stared at him, searching for any deceit, but I found none, “What would I do if I left?”

“You could come with me. Together, we could take down the Ringmasters!” Excitement leaped into his eyes, “We’ll burn them to the ground, you and me. Think about it!” And just as the excitement came, it left, replaced with a frightening expression, one that craved destruction and pain.

It hit me suddenly and I knew what to do, “No.” I said.

There was a pause, “Why not?” Cameron whispered, “Do you not believe me? I’m not lying! The Ringmasters are horrible people!”

“Not all of them, there are so many good people in that camp, you want to kill everyone!” I cried, “I believe you because, so far, you’re the only person who’s been straightforward with me. But I don’t want you to kill everyone- at least, the ones who don’t deserve to die!”

“Oh well! You’re too late to stop me!” His sudden shout startled me, from his pocket, Cameron pulled a small cell phone out, “Look at this, do you know how much damage I could cause with just one call? There’s a bomb down there, I just need to send a call to the detonator, and everyone downstairs dies! What can you do about that?” He screamed, waving the cell phone around wildly.

But before he could do anything, a loud bang cut him off. Both our heads swung in the direction of the noise, and to the door lying on the ground. A figure stood in the doorway and stepping into the room, “General.” A soothing voice floated from the person.

They walked into the glow of the dim lamp, “Mason!” I cried, recognizing the handsome boy, “You woke up!”

“Yes, and let me tell you, it was not easy getting here. I had a lot to take care of,” he gestured past the fallen door and to the hallway behind it; scattered all over the ground were piles of bodies, “They got in my way.” He explained simply.

“Are- are they dead?” I whispered.

“No, I just knocked them out. I’m not a killer.”

Our conversation was cut off by my brother’s crazed shout, “Shut up! I can kill all of your friends down there! Do you want that to happen?”

Mason turned a calm gaze to Cameron, “Fine, do it.”

Without thinking, I grabbed his arm, “What the hell are you doing?” I demanded, “Do you want everyone to die?” I dug my nails into his skin, what am I doing? Getting so angry, it’s not like me…

A cool hand touched my cheek, snapping me out of my thoughts, “Alison, you haven’t been with these Ringmasters for as long as I have, you don’t understand. The General- Cameron- he’s right. The Ringmasters have been around for too long, they need to go.” Mason said, tilting my head up to look at him, “Just believe me.”

“Everyone’s going to die. Mr. Clark, Derrick, Emily- everyone. My parents” I said slowly, unable to process what was being told to me.

Cameron interrupted, “They don’t have the right to be called your parents! They kicked their first child out onto the street and lied to you for fifteen years! They deserve to die!” The more he was kept waiting, the crazier he seemed to get, and Mason knew it too.

“He’s right, Allie. You didn’t even know them, the real them. How can you defend them to easily? Let them die.

“Erica wasn’t your real friend, it was another mission, you were just a mission to her.” Mason’s harsh words stabbed my heart, but I felt the truth behind them.

“Alright,” I said, breaking away from Mason’s grasp and releasing his arm, “But wait,” I closed the gap between me and Cameron and gripped his hand that held the phone, “I’ll do it.”

His pale lips tightened into a twisted smirk as he handed the cell to me. It was a simple phone that flipped up, the number was already entered and all I had to do was press the dial button- I didn’t hesitate. Jamming the button with my finger, a loud ring rang out from the phone before cutting off abruptly.

“Let’s go.” Cameron said, grabbing my arm and pulling me to the far corner of the room, “When that bomb goes off, in about ten minutes, everything will collapse. If we don’t get out of here, then we’ll go down with the building.

“But I have a helicopter. It’s waiting for us up those stairs,” He gestured to a staircase, that I hadn’t noticed before, covered by the shadows.

A strong arm wrapped around my waist and I saw Mason standing above me, he didn’t say anything just pull me towards the stairs. The three of us walked up in silence, the curving stairs only ended at an unlocked door.

My brother hadn’t lied, outside, there was a helicopter, its blades already spinning and a loud droning from the engine.

Mason released me at the door of the helicopter, “Alison, get in, I need to do something.” He said.

“What is it? The building’s going to blow up in a few minutes. Can’t it wait until after we get out of here?” I asked, worried about his request.

“No, I need to take care of it here. It’ll be fine.” He flashed me a comforting smile before turning around to my brother, who’d just emerged from the door.

It happened so quickly; Mason summoned his gun, and with a quick bang, a bullet buried itself into my brother’s chest. And, as he fell, Mason was there, crouching to catch his body. Bright red blood quickly spread, covering Cameron’s shirt and Mason’s arms.

My ears rung as I sat, paralyzed in my seat. I couldn’t move no matter how much I silently screamed at myself. I could just watch the scene play out.

Mason’s head was bent over Cameron and it seemed like he was speaking to Cameron. Slowly, I saw Mason’s hand, the one that held the gun, point itself again at the other’s chest, my brother watching his every move with dying eyes. With a slight nod of his head, Cameron seemed to tell him something.

Another shot rang out from the gun

Everything around me was muffled, but two screams managed to pierce through the fog in my brain. One from my mouth and one from my brother’s. The cries snapped me out of my daze and I gasped loudly, scrambling out of my seat on the helicopter and running to the two.

Cameron’s legs kicked out just as I neared him. And when I crouched down next to his body, the life left his eyes, leaving them dull, but at the same time, at peace.

“Allie…” Mason started, but I cut him off with a sharp look. Working as quickly as I could, I rearranged my, now dead, brother’s body- crossing his arms over his bloody chest, and straightening his cold body. I gently closed his eyes and, content with my work, I stood up and wiped my blood-covered hands on my jeans. I looked at my brother’s body for the last time before turning around to the helicopter without a word.

I slid to the other side of the helicopter and Mason took the seat next to me, we buckled out seatbelts and put our helmets on without speaking. I nodded to the pilot to take off, who lifted us into the air to take us to a random place.

We were in the air for a minute before I heard a loud explosion behind us, I craned my head to look out the window behind us and gasped. The entire building was crumbling to pieces, while fire licked at the falling rubble. The roof we were just on was falling apart, while fire raged everywhere. I looked for my brother’s body, scanning the collapsing roof for any sign of my brother’s body, but blurriness in my eyes stopped me.

When I lifted a hand to rub away the haze, I felt tears run down my face, “What…” I muttered, breaking the silence.

Mason had been watching me and he finally tugged at my helmet to turn my face away from the window to look at him, “It’s okay.” He whispered softly, pulling me into a hug, “You’ll be okay…” He kept repeating those words until the helicopter landed onto firm ground.

What happened after that, I don’t remember, Mason told me later that I fainted from exhaustion and lack of sleep so he took me to a park bench, and that’s where I woke up, a few hours later. He even managed to shoplift some food, while I slept, which I wolfed down in a matter of seconds, eager to fill my empty stomach.

“So, what now?” I asked, leaning into his shoulder while we watched the sunset.

Mason looked down at me with a carefree smile, “Who knows?” He shrugged, sliding an arm around my shoulders and pulled me even closer, “Let’s just go with it…” at that, he leaned towards me, so close our lips almost touched, “We can do whatever we want, you know,” he muttered, his lips barely moving, but still nearing mine, “We could start a new life.”

A small smile made it’s way across my mouth, “That sound perfect.” I said, falling forward, quickly closing the distance between our mouths.

My lips found his soft ones and fireworks exploded in the pit of my stomach. After what felt like forever, Mason pulled back, “Absolutely perfect.” He whispered into my ear, sending shivers down my spine as he pulled me into a hug.

There is it folks, the last chapter to The Ringmaster! I’m probably going to publish this story, but it definitely needs to be revised and edited first. But I do hope you all enjoyed it and thanks so much for reading!

Read on: Epilogue

Chapter Twenty Seven

As I came back to reality, back from the General’s- my brother’s- memory, I saw his face loom into my realm of vision. I made a choked noise and scrambled out of his grasp, “You!” I cried, pointing at him with a shaking finger, “No, no, you can’t be…” I had thrown myself into the corner of the soft wall and was huddled with my legs pressed firmly into my heaving chest.

Mild surprise crossed his face and he tried to take a step closer to me, to which I screamed, “Don’t come any closer, you- you monster!”

Full on shock rushed across his features, “I’m not a monster!” He exclaimed, but he remained rooted in place and didn’t come any closer, “Alison, don’t you see? I’ve done this all for you! I attacked the Ringmaster camp because you weren’t safe in there! I was trying to find you to save you from the Ringmasters! They’re evil, they’ll use your powers for their own benefit without any consideration to you! They were going to kick me out, our parents were going to kick their son out because they said that I was ‘preaching’ the wrong ideas!

“What kind of parents would kick their own son out of their organization because he believed in something else? They’ll use your power and when you can’t possibly work any longer, they’ll throw you out. That’s what they were doing to me, I was slowly losing my powers and I knew they were going to throw me out, so I did the only thing to save myself; I faked my own death then became known as the General, keeping my real name a secret. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was the kid who died in the fire.” The General- or should I call him Cameron- explained in a rush.

I was still glaring at him from the corner but I felt compelled to believe him, “I saw your memory, Cameron. I saw you talk to the Reaper, before killing it. You were already its master before you faked your death.”

He nodded, “Yes, it was through the Reapers that I found out that my parents were planning to throw me out. At the time, the Reapers were peaceful creatures- well, kind of peaceful, they lived alongside the Ringmasters and planned with them. My- our parents decided that my way of thinking wasn’t to be allowed and I was poisoning the others with it, so, they were going to punish me for it. But I had managed to change the Reapers’ way of thinking, they were now on my side.

“They told me what our parents were going to do, so I had to make my move. You see, Alison, this hideout is actually inside the Ringmaster camp, if I were to be kicked out, I would be banned from entering and I didn’t want to go through the hassle of finding a new hideout. Now, if I were dead to the Ringmasters, they wouldn’t ban me, I mean, what’s the point of banning a so-called dead person? It worked perfectly and everyone fell for it! Tada!” He threw his arms out to emphasize his point.

“What about Jessica?” I asked, and his smile curled downwards.

“I couldn’t bring her along, no matter how much I wanted to, she wouldn’t have been able to handle it and there was always the possibility that she could run back to her Ringmaster friends and spill everything. No, I couldn’t have that happen, so I left her. Some things just aren’t meant to be.” Cameron sighed heavily.

“Then why are you telling me this?” I asked slowly, “I have Ringmaster friends too, I can always run back and tell them exactly what you just told me. And I can tell them that you’re really alive too!”

At that, Cameron just smirked, “But are they really your friends?”

I hesitated, not really sure how to answer, so he went on, “They forged your memories of Erica and Mason, you don’t really know who they are. They were sent to protect you and almost failed, did you see that rush to get you out of there? Insane! But no, they aren’t your friends, the memories you have going to the amusement parks, carnivals, even just hanging out, those are all fake! Fake, fake, fake! So, again, I’ll ask you, are they really your friends?”

My breath caught in my throat and I couldn’t speak, “Alison, do you know the other reason why I attacked the Ringmaster camp? Oh, I’ll tell you! It was to find you. Our parents had recently given birth to you, you were so cute! With your big eyes and chubby hands, I could’ve played with you all day! But never mind that, I knew what your fate was, just like every Ringmaster in that hellhold, you were to use your powers to the maximum extent and when you were completely drained, they were going to throw you out.

“So, just like any protective older brother, I set to work, planning my way to save you, I had the Reapers build those giant robots, and soon there was enough to form an army. And that’s what we called them, the Army, and I was the General.

“When we attacked, it was supposed to be quick, burn the forest to create a distraction and then snatch you. It’ll look like an attack against the Ringmaster government, considering the fact our parents were apart of the Ringmaster Official group-”

Quickly, I cut him off, “Wait. Our parents are Officials?”

He nodded, “Yeah, I think you did see mom when you woke up downstairs? She was wearing that dull white sweatshirt. And you thought she was just a regular person, nope. Mom is an Official and guess who dad is! He’s the lead Ringmaster! The head honcho, the master, the top, number one! Whatever you want to call him.

“Now, you’re probably wondering, ‘if mommy and daddy are so powerful, why didn’t I just stay here in the Ringmaster camp? Why did I get sent away?’ Well, I’ll tell you why; even though we didn’t get you during our attack, we did scare our parents, enough to be worried about your safety, so they sent you away, somewhere I couldn’t find you. But I did, I found out where they kept you.

“With the help of my Reaper, that your annoying friend Mason killed, we flushed you out of your hiding place and back here. All according to plan.” He smirked at me.

I felt my blood chill, “Ok, well now you have me. What do you want?”

“Only you.”

I stared at him, “What the heck is that supposed to mean?” I demanded from my brother.

“You have an incredible power, Alison, and the Ringmasters will use it for their own uses, something I do not want. Please, they made the General seem like a bad guy right? Don’t believe them! I’m fighting to stop their madness, please Alison.” He begged me, and I saw, in his eyes that mirrored mine, a passion. He was fighting for what he truly believed was right, something I didn’t even know.

So, do you believe him, or not? The question lingered in my mind, making me doubt every single thing that I had ever believed in.

Read on: Chapter Twenty Eight

Chapter Twenty Six

I was floating in darkness until I was thrust into a blinding bright light, where am I?! I just wanted to read his mind! I shouted at myself. Loud noises startled me out of my self-pity and I looked up, towering above me was a large building and behind me, fire was roaring up from the trees. My feet rooted to place, this place- this place is the same as in my dream. Why does the General have the same memory as me? What’s going on?

Behind me, I heard loud footsteps, running for dear life, I saw Jessica burst out of a forest, and just like in my dream before, I saw her scramble and slam the door shut. I watched as the robot emerged from the same place she had run out of and follow her up to the door, but instead of knocking the door down and going inside, the robot stopped and seemed to be waiting. Maybe for Cameron, my brother, to show up, but why would it be waiting? As realization crept in, a horrible feeling made its way through my body.

That’s when I saw him, Cameron Walker, my brother, but he wasn’t running in like a hero, he was simply strolling to the building, with a familiar smirk on his face, the kind of smirk that made me wish I could hit something, “I guess I should go in there and make my dramatic entrance.” He said, glancing first at the robot then backwards.

I looked at who he was talking to and gasped out loud, a giant Reaper was standing right next to me, and even though I knew it couldn’t see me, I still backed a few steps away from it, fear coursing through my body. The Reaper hissed and I realized it was laughing, “Master, you just need to fake your death. Nothing too big.” It said. Fake his death? Cameron- my brother- isn’t dead? And he’s working with the Reapers? My mind could barely process this newfound information- So, I have a brother who apparently died, but he’s not actually dead. Then, who is he?

Cameron smirked, “Ok, send in the robot, scare her a little bit and then I’ll go in.” He waved a hand at the door Jessica had slammed shut. The Reaper cackled wildly as it watched the robot kick the front door down with a loud bang, I didn’t follow the robot in- I already knew what was going to happen- I watched Cameron and the Reaper with a careful eye, feeling strange that even though I was there, they couldn’t see me.

“So, have you found her yet?” Cameron asked suddenly.

With a wide eyed look, the Reaper hissed in a low tone, “N-no, master. We’re still looking for her. But I promise, we will find her.”

Cameron didn’t say anything, his back was towards me and the Reaper, and we watched it rise up and down, everything quieted, waiting for him to respond. Suddenly, with a loud shocking roar, he spun around and I saw a blinding flash come from his jacket before the Reaper fell down, a large slash cutting down from its right shoulder down to its left side, disintegrating, the Reaper screeched with obvious pain before it vanished completely.

I watched Cameron in speechless horror, he shook his hand slightly and I saw dust fall from the sleeve. He sighed heavily and looked up at the hazy sky, gray from the smoke piling up from the burning trees, and over the loud roars of the raging fire, I heard his thoughts as if he had spoken out loud, and what I heard shocked me; Alison, where are you, my dear sister?

Abruptly, I was jerked out of the memory, but I had my own thought before I was whisked away- sister?

By the way, I’d like to say thank you to all of my followers! I now have 124 followers! This is amazing and when I found out, I said to myself, people actually like what I have to say?! But, I would love to thank each and every one of you. 🙂 Thank you!

Read on: Chapter Twenty Seven