Spoilers: for 1.01, 2.08 and 2.05.
Rating: Blue Cortina for language and.....
Summary: Sam spends a day at the circus like no other.
A/N: Inspired by a dream I had the other night, which goes to show how truly disturbed I am. Also by the great story The Last Temptation by Neil Gaiman and Alice Cooper. If you are a fan of either, run, don't walk, to your nearest store. Dedicated to the lovely and talented fiandyfic, who writes such great scares :)
Warning: Enter, if you dare.
'Right son, you're nicked!' Gene pushed the suspect into the Cortina as Sam stood by, shaking his head.
Guv, you can't just push suspects around like they were checkers on a board.'
'Why not?' he said with raised eyebrow, daring Sam to argue. Sighing, he turned around, buttoning up his jacket. If Gene wanted to get sued, then he was definitely going about it the right way.
Sam paused as he noticed a large black circus tent, looming over what was usually the football pitch. There was a sign suspended on wires above it which read:
This way to the marvelous MUSEUM OF MIRACLES! Come with caution to uncover the CLOWN OF TOMORROW! Gaze at the grandeur of our GALLERY OF WONDERS!
'What's this then?' said Gene as he walked up behind him.
'Dunno Guv.' he said shrugging. 'Looks like a traveling, er, freak show?'
'Well whoever these gyps are, they need a bloody permit to operate in my town! Go give 'em an earful, yeah?'
Sam looked at him with annoyance as Gene lit a cigarette.
'It wouldn't kill you to ask politely. Didn't anyone tell you you can catch more flies with honey?'
The DCI looked up, clenching the cigarette between his bared teeth.
'Do I look like I want any flies kiddo? Don't stand around fussing like Missus Tiddywinkle, just go!'
'Tiggywinkle.' Sam muttered as he turned to go. He walked down the alley towards the Museum. Below the large sign that shouted about it's attractions, there was a slightly smaller sign.
Enter now if you can bear, the strong meat of simple truth.
He looked at the tent, feeling slightly uncomfortable. He should go back. Or at least call for one of the others...
The entrance to the tent loomed large and inviting. Almost obscene.
He took a step forward, drawn to it like a boy on a dare. Come on Sammy, you're not afraid of the dark are you?
The tent was the whole of his vision, swallowing up the sky and the sun and the sounds of the others behind him.
Skin clammy and his mouth dry, he walked into the void.
It took him a second for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. Blinking, he scanned the inside of the tent.
'Hello? Is there anyone there?' he shouted. But the thick canvas swallowed up his words. He was not truly surprised, though his heartbeat quickened. It felt a bit fun, like when you snuck downstairs on Christmas Eve. You knew that you weren't supposed to be there, but you went ahead and did it anyway. A smile quirked the corner of his mouth as he ventured deeper inside the soothing blankness.
There was a little light coming in from somewhere, and he could see a ticket booth appear as he walked deeper into the tent. There was a mannequin inside it, dressed as a clown in scarlet, with white diamonds slashing vertically across it's arms and legs. It's face was hidden by a black mask with blue sequined eyes which seemed to glow in the dimness.
A penny for your fortune! The Hellequin tells your future
Not taking his eyes away from the strange sight, he pushed his hand into his pocket, taking out a coin and pushing it into a slot. The clown figure slowly came to life, its eyes catching the light as it moved, making it seem as if it were actually looking at Sam. Jerkily, it pulled a small slip of paper from its sleeve, shook its head from side to side, jerk stop jerk stop, and dropped it into the slot. Sam palmed the paper and squinted at it in the poor light, reading aloud.
'He who learns must suffer. Be prudent, be cautious, and be brave. An unexpected call leads to understanding?' His eyebrows furrowed as he tried to make sense of it.
As did so, he had the distinct feeling that someone was watching him. He spun around, but he still seemed to be the only one here. Except.....he slowly turned to the ticket booth.
Except for the Hellequin. Whose sparkling eyes seemed to follow him around the room.
Come on Sam, get a grip now. It isn't going to come to life now is it?
He turned to walk deeper into the tent, careful not to look back.
There was a sign ahead. The Museum of Miracles! Enter to gaze upon it's uncanny wonders! As he walked inside he saw various bits of junk inside glass cases around the room. The first one was gun, looking a bit like the one his Dad..that Victor had escaped with. The label read: The sword that cuts both ways. Well that was rather mysterious. He looked closer. Was it the same gun?
No, no way. Couldn't be.
Walking to the next case, he saw a lump of twisted metal. The label for this one: The chariot destroyed.
Looking closer, he thought that it was perhaps from a car, or maybe a bus? His arm ached suddenly and he rubbed at it as he walked to the next exhibit, a pale blue dress shirt. It was neatly folded so that the front chest was prominently displayed. There were dark brown stains on it.
This label was: The blood of the innocent.
Frowning, he put his hands against the glass, peering at it.
It seemed...like he'd seen it before.
In a park, outside. On a swing.
Sam's hands ripped the glass cover from it's moorings, letting it smash to the ground.
He grabbed the shirt, but it was clean, not a stain anywhere.
'That is enough! Enough now, I'm leaving!' he shouted into the darkness, shaking all over. Dropping the shirt, he stared to walk back the way he'd come, and then run. The black canvas spun around and around as he ran towards the exit. He saw a sign and ran towards it, sure that it was the exit.
Enter the Gallery of Wonders if you Dare! Only by passing through the Shade of Death can you emerge to the Light of Life beyond.
That was the way out? No, no there had to be another way because he wasn't going to spend another blessed moment in this eerie place. But as he turned back, he was confronted with a thick layer of canvas. Hadn't he come this way?
This bloody thing was alive, it was never going to let him go. Paranoid.
It's not paranoia if they are out to get you.
Stop it! Come on Sam, where's your bottle? It's just some special effects, that's all.
Taking a deep breath, he walked forward into the gallery.
The air seemed unbearably close and musty. He could feel the sweat popping out all over his skin and thought about taking off his jacket. He almost did, but decided not to at the last minute, not wanting to get it dusty.
Or leave himself more vulnerable.
The first painting was called 'Temperance and the Fool.' A young man, about ten years younger then Sam, lying in the arms of a man around Ray's age. Sam blinked. Hang on...it was Ray. And the young man was Chris, pale as death. Ray was bent over him, crying tears of anger over his fallen friend. They were in a dark place, although he could make out a figure behind them. As Sam continued to stare, he could see they had a gun.
'Behind you!' he shouted, and then got ahold of himself. It wasn't real, it was just a trick. None of this was real, remember that Sam.
He shivered and moved on. This was just too spooky. What was next, Phyllis bursting out of the curtains shouting 'Sam Tyler, this is your life?'
Almost wish she would.
The second painting was of the inside of a pub. The title was 'The Emperor without Strength'. It was a large blond man, Gene, there was no deceiving himself this time. He was sitting at the bar, his eyes welling up with tears, cradling a glass of whisky as he looked at creased and battered warrant card. When Sam squinted, he could see the name on it....Shock ran through him, and he stepped back from the painting.
Annie Cartwright. Gene looked out at him, his emerald eyes staring out at him with silent accusation.
'I didn't do this, I didn't!' he shouted.
It's not real it's not real, it's not real. He put his hands over his face as he walked to the next painting. Then stopped. He didn't have to look, did he? He could just keep going until he was out the exit.
He took two steps and the lights went out.
His hands flew away from his face as he spread them out in a silent plea and the lights went back on. He cautiously moved them back to cover his eyes and they flickered and grew dim.
'Well it doesn't take a genius, does it?' he muttered as he turned to face the next and last painting.
'The Hanged Man.'
It was him, in the hospital. As thin as a corpse, with pale, bloodless skin. His bed was vertical, so Sam had the dizzying feeling of looking down at his comatose body, which seemed to be suspended by IV lines and life support wires, tangled in a sickly parody of life. Reaching out a hand to touch the paint, he encountered cool glass and reeled back in shock.
As he did so, his body opened it's eyes, no his eyes, and looked at him. The pupils were huge, taking over the whole of the iris, making them look black. And then he pushed off the bed, leaping at him, the glass shattering. Sam was on the floor, his double sitting on his chest, holding him down as he struggled, cutting himself on the shattered glass that surrounded them. Insanity sparked from his eyes as he put a thin stick hand over his mouth and nose, with the other one around his throat. The boney fingers were digging into the vulnerable flesh, squeezing.
'You're a lie, you're a lie! If I kill you, I'll wake up! Just a lie.' The grin, as manic as killers, and Sam couldn't breathe. He clawed desperately at his doppleganger, who merely grinned, not seeming to feel pain.
He pushed harder with one hand and the other flailed out desperately for a shard of the glass. Finding it, a feeling of bright exultation went through him and he stabbed the man on top of him, stabbed himself. The body's grip on him went slack and he got to his feet gasping and coughing as he lurched into a run. There was a light ahead of him, and he thought he heard voices calling his name, Annie, Ray, Gene.
And then he was out in the light. Back where he started.
Gene turned to him, scowling.
'Well? You give 'em the boot or what?' Sam rubbed his throat, gasping, trying to catch his breath as the blood roared in his ears.
'..No, no Guv. They're..moving on...soon.' Gene grabbed him by his jacket.
'They'd better, or I'll go in and toss them out meself!' He pushed him away and strode off, not seeing the look of dread on Sam's face.