He walked out on the small deck and saw movement in a dense thicket of trees. He crept down the steps, staying in the shadows until he got to a tree, peered around it, and saw what looked like—something—he couldn’t quite tell what, that was chained to a block of concrete. He was being whipped by a stunted, little man in circus garb with knee-high boots and a bright-red costume. The thing he was whipping looked like a circus wild man. He stood on his knees, making ungodly sounds of torment while struggling against the length of chain and iron cuffs around his wrists. His struggles and his tormented cries reminded him of the famous hunchback in the Victor Hugo book, only this monster didn’t have a hump, merely a hairy back that was bleeding from the razor-sharp whip that came down on his bloody back again and again.
Suddenly the little man threw the whip down, tugged at his trousers, and pulled out the dirtiest, ugliest, and most vulgar cock Jack had ever seen. He held his breath while he listened to the exchange between the little man and the wild man.
“Take it, you demon from hell, and suck it!”
The man shook his head vehemently.
“Do I have to get that whip after you again? I said take it and eat it!”
The wild man tried to back away, but his chains didn’t reach far enough.
The little man reached out and grabbed his head, pulling his hair as he forced the wild man’s head between his legs.
“Unnnghh!” the wild man cried out, resisting.
“You’ll eat it or suffer another beating. Now do it, or die!”
Having watched as long as he could, Jack suddenly burst from out of the trees, and yelled out, “Stop!”
The man whirled around to where the voice came from, his face grimacing in hate and splattered with the blood of the wild man he had bound to the block of stone.
“Who goes there?”
“You insufferable beast!” Jack said. “Did it ever occur to you that if you make him mad enough, he might just bite your cock off? Aside from that, you’re killing him!”
“What’s it to you?”
All at once Jack became dizzy and fell.
Jack laid there, more dead than alive, drifting in and out of consciousness while hands fluttered around him. A distinctive smell of cigars, some kind of strong drink, and the musky smell of age made him wonder where he was. When he finally opened his eyes, he saw the red, ugly face of the stunted, little man floating above him, making a faint wheeze as he breathed. He didn’t doubt that he was in hell, and this ugly, red-faced devil must be Satan.
“Who are you?” Jack mumbled.
“My name is Argo,” the little man said as he looked down at Jack while taking a puff of his cigar. “I live here in this run-down shell of a circus.”
“You…you’re the one who was beating that poor—”
“Don’t waste your sympathy on him. He’s a rebellious, unmanageable freak.”
I think I’m talking to the freak.
“Besides,” Argo continued. “I’m not going to kill him. He’s the moneymaker around here.”
“The moneymaker?” Jack asked as he looked around at the decaying, torn-down remnants of the circus caravan. “You mean you put on shows in this poor man’s circus?”
Argo shrugged. “I know it’s not much, but you do what you have to do to get along. I have several animals and give shows everyday to the tourists that come through here. The ugly freak you saw earlier is mine as well.”
“What happened to the circus that was here?”
“It went bankrupt. As you can probably tell, it moved on in a hurry, trying to escape its debtors. One night they came looking for anything they could turn into money and confiscated almost all my animals for payment. All I have left are in the animal cages in back. The show I put on isn’t much, and the crowd is rather sparse, but it keeps us going.”
“That…that thing I saw you whipping…He looks…What is he?”
“It’s none of your business,” Argo said, plainly irritated by the question. “My advice is to not go near him. He’s wild and will kill you as soon as look at you.”
“Really?” Jack said, doubting what Argo was saying. “If that’s true, then why aren’t you afraid of having your bloody cock bitten off one day?”
“What I do with my property is my business!” Argo said. “I’m a man with needs. Where the hell am I going to go for a fuck around here? Like I said, you do what you have to do. It don’t take anything away from him. Hell, he don’t even know what he’s doin’.”
“Then why does he refuse to do it?”
While taking another draw of his cigar, he looked at Jack closely. “You just make sure he don’t bite yours off one day.”
Jack gave him a hard look. “I don’t fuck wild men, animals, or children.”
“Fine. But you just keep in mind if you touch a hair on his head you’re dead.” He hesitated a moment as he slid his gaze down to the lit end of his cigar and flicked the ashes. “On the other hand I could look the other way for say…a hundred dollars.”
“That…that…thing? My God, if you’re afraid…” Jack couldn’t even finish what he was going to say because of the ridiculous things he knew the man was thinking. “I wouldn’t dream of touching your wild man,” he finally spat out. “For any amount of money.”
“We’ll see. A man can get awful lonely out here in the sticks. By the way, you haven’t told me who the hell you are and how you got way out here. You can imagine how surprised I was when I came into the tent the other day and there you were, all bloody, and half alive.”
“My memory is still a little foggy, so I’m not sure just how I got here. All I know is, the plane I was on went down, and it started raining. I was trying to get out of the rain and started crawling through the wreckage, and the first thing I know I’m looking at a run-down circus that looks just about the way I feel. My name is Jack Blood.”