Disclaimer: I own none of the characters or products named in this
story and make no profit from it.
Summary: A mysterious carnival appears on the outskirts of Sunnydale.
Despite the sudden disappearance of townspeople and pets, Xander is
intrigued and wants a closer look. What he gets is more than he could
This story is based on a suggested story idea from the lovely Mystic Oblivion.
As always, thanks to the wonderful Petxnd for the banners that put the perfect
visual to my words.
Xander eased past the first game booth. It was a set up with a row of hose
guns ready to be aimed at a clown's face topped with a balloon. Squirt the
water, fill the balloon and win a prize, or at least that's what the old man
shouted at him.
Xander glanced at it. There was no one else playing so logic would dictated
that his clown would burst and win. Xander knew better. Somehow, he
would lose. Anyway, this wasn't what he was looking for and he moved on.
"HEY! BOY! Come 'ere."
Xander paused at the next one. The fat man standing in front with a handful
of darts was leering at him with what Xander assumed was supposed to be
a friendly grin. It came out as anything but. The carny's nose was huge and
pock covered. He had less than a dozen teeth in his mouth and most of
them were black. Xander was not rattled. He had years of Harris family
reunions under his belt and he had seen worse.
He lifted a hand in a gesture that said 'no thanks' and he kept walking.
The fat carny was not surprised. He seemed to know, even before Xander
did, that he didn't have what the boy needed.
The next four stands were similarly uncreative. Toss a basketball, win a
wall poster of a naked woman or a flashy sports car.
Guess the number of marbles in a jar, collect a stale fruit cake.
Shoot a BB gun at a squirrel's tail and pick a stuffed banana.
And of course, the ever present, toss a hoop over a goldfish bowl and win
it as a life long pet. Xander knew in his house, if it wasn't something that
could feed itself or run for freedom, it would be belly up and flushed in days.
Nothing caught his eye and with only one booth left, he was considering
turning back around and searching for his wayward friends, but he stepped on.
It was the last one and the darkest. Like all the others, it had a row of small
round light bulbs strung across the length of the striped, red and orange awning.
Still, it was dim.
As though the light given off from the filaments of the bulbs was absorbed
into the night and couldn't reach any further than their glass encasements.
Xander stepped closer, needing a better look. When he was only a few feet
away, his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he froze.
The carnival game was common. A pyramid of bowling pins was stacked up
on a table and all one needed to do to win a stuffed black bat was knock
"See something you want, boy? Ready to try?"
Xander's attention snapped to the right to locate the source of the soft, silky,
accented voice that tempted him. What he saw made him gasp. The game
may have been ordinary, but the carny was not.
Unable to answer, Xander stared. The man sat casually on the counter that
ran the length of the booth. One leg was bent, the foot propped up in
front of him and the other foot swinging just inches off the ground.
Xander was stunned at the beauty of the man. The white blond hair that
was slicked back on his scalp, the sharp cheekbones, and the deep, clear
blue eyes. Little Xander stirred restlessly in big Xan's pants.
The carny grinned as though he knew every deep secret Xander had ever
hidden. Slowly tossing the battered baseball up in the air and catching it in
his hand, over and over again, the carny's eyes never left his mark.
It was hypnotic. Xander could neither answer nor turn away.
Then, unexpectedly, the carny stopped. He caught the ball with a loud
'slap' in the palm of his hand before lying it down on the ledge. He then
slithered, snakelike down and landed silently on his feet, his eyes still locked
with Xander's. Xander could feel his heart begin to pound as his brain
tried desperately to pull the puppet strings that would move his legs.
Two steps, and before he knew it, the carny was just inches away.
"No answer? Cat got your tongue, boy?"
Xander forced a puff of air past his vocal cords that resulted in a questioning
The carny chuckled, a sound that seemed to come from the depths of his
chest and landed in Xander's bowels like a rock. Slowly, the carny moved
around, behind the frightened boy, assessing and ' Oh God!' sniffing him.
Xander's brain screamed, "Run you stupid fuck!!" but his cock had a
"Name's Spike, Boy, and this is my game. You want to play my game with me?
Is that why you are here? You searching for something new? You want Spike
to show you a new game?"
By now, the carny's unnaturally cool, firm body was bumping and pressing itself
against Xander's as he continued to move and circle the stunned teen. His breath
was blowing puffs of cold air wherever they landed each time he spoke.
The hairs on the back of Xander's neck sprang up and bristled.
Xander blinked. A million sarcastic witty lines scrambled to assemble themselves
but his mind could come up with none. It took all his cognitive abilities not
to pass out. He continued to stand, stock still and wait.
'For what?' he wondered.
Finally, when he opened his mouth to speak, he felt a sharp tug on the
sleeve of his jacket.
"XANDER! Hey, there you are. We've been looking all over for you."
Xander's face snapped to the side and he looked into Willow's concerned
green eyes. When his head jerked back, he was shocked to see the carny
sitting in the exact spot he had been when Xander first saw him. Still tossing
up and catching the ball. Still grinning that same, damn smug smile.
Xander wondered if he had imagined the whole thing.
Willow continued to pull on his arm, her voice barely above a whisper.
"Xander, come on. You don't want to play this, do you? Let's go. It's
dark back here. I don't like it here."
Xander shook his head in an attempt to clear it.
"Yeah, sure, I guess I just wandered too far. Come on, let's go eat."
Xander grabbed Willow's hand painfully and turned to hurry her back to the
safety of the rides and the crowds.
"Come back again, Xander. I'll be here when you're ready to play."
Xander heard as though the voice was spoken directly into his ear but
he refused to look back. Instinct told him it would be the biggest mistake
of his young life. Pulling Willow close, he took off at a dead run and she
did her best to keep up.