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by lillylittle

Chapter 1

I wake up every morning greeted by the sunshine through the bars, it feels like a sweet caress as I haven't had some time ago. Exactly how much time? Well, I'd say that's impossible to tell. I do know it was some time ago but cannot give you the exact numbers. I always stretch my body the first thing in the morning -  a habit I didn't have as a human. I didn't tell you, but I am not human. As matters of a fact nowadays I don't know what I am. I've run away from mirrors and shiny polished surfaces to keep my thoughts out of my head. It's easier to live when you don't think things through. Acceptance and complacency is the key to a worry-free life! The other side of the coin lays over the lack of depth in your character and loss of the human experience, but at this point, I believe that suits me.

    I was once fully human...again, how much time ago? I am not sure. But I was fully human, a boy, in fact, I considered my self to be a man, At seventeen there's so much you can do already. My grandfather - with whom I lived -  always reminded me that he had a job and a wife at my age already. 

    I lived with him and my grandmother. My parents had both died in the word -  my father as a soldier in the Pacific and my mother as a nurse in a ship stricken by the Japanese. They were never mentioned very often in the house, and I got used to it. Never made questions and never thought about digging up things. I was soon out of high school and my grandfather had found me a job in a carpenter shop where I was tutored by a friend of his. Honestly I wasn't thrilled at the beginning, however, the experience and practice made me respect and love that craftsmanship. You may say I was a proud carpentry apprentice. So, when did things got a turn for the worse? When the circus arrived.

    My pals and I went there for the first night. It was not a normal Circus – the main attraction wasn’t a bold trapezist nor was it the Lions’ tamer but a rather great magic show performed by the Great Pirelli and his, beautiful daughter Oriana. My pals – with their stupid teen male debonair were visibly amused for the fact that my jaw dropped when I saw her. She was magnificent in that show. Oriana had silky raven hair, fair skin and rose lips. Throughout the show, she revealed she was as witty as beautiful, and that only made me dream of her more.

    Embued by love ---or what I ignorantly deemed to be love, after another show where I was sure Orianna had noticed me, I sneaked to the back of the Circus, holding a bouquet of roses. A decision I regret every day. There I saw her, still in her assistant uniform next to her father. The great Pirelli was not happy at all, he spoke a language I couldn't understand: maybe Italian or Romanian. It sounded like a roman language but with a touch of severity. Curiosity got the best of me and I leaned over to see who were they talking to. Next to Pirelli was the midget man, dressed very fancy, who presented himself as the owner of the Circus at the beginning of the show, and in front of them a young lad like me, with a brown old suit who seemed annoyed and answered him in the same language. I didn't understand the theme of the conversation, only that Pirelli and the Owner were intimidating him, much like a mafia interrogation. Finally, the guy drew his hands to his pockets and thorn his pockets inside out. I deduced it was something about money. My big mistake was that: deducing! Instead of turning around and not minding my own business. Pirelli stepped back, his stern look was brewing a rage from the inside. He spoke something to the Owner that drew a smile on the little man's face and an expression of terror in the young man's face. Pirelli waved his hands like an adder and the young man whimpered. His body contorted like a rag doll, his awful brown suit was torn into pieces and fury dark skin emerged under the clothing. his ears extended and a short fluffy tail appeared in his rear end. What was once a man was now a small donkey.

    I was shocked. I couldn't believe my eyes. The two men burst into laughs, while the terrified mammal was circling around. I could see that his human mind was still there, scared with everything that had happened to him. My mouth didn't make a sound, my limbs went numb and...the flowers' bouquet fell on the ground. It was Orianna who looked in my direction -  she had seemed as terrified and appalled with all that went before her -as she looked at me, she took her hands to her mouth, before letting to escape a cry.

    Pirelli and the Little Man looked in my direction right away. The magician rolled his eyes and looked annoyed. I immediately turned around and started to walk as fast as I could.

    "Hey, you" his voice called for me. My only instinct was to run; I felt them running behind me and didn't dare to look back. The strong man of the show suddenly came from a tent and placed himself between me and the way. I didn't know what to do and didn't need to. Before I reached him I felt to the ground when my two feet were caught up in a magical lasso. I was dragged throughout the dirt and the hay that clumped the earth until I stopped at Pirelli's feet.

    "It seems like we have a curious monkey, over here!"

    "We already have too many monkeys" the Owner added.

    The strong man picked me up and I was forced inside the tent. They all entered it behind; Pirelli waved his hand and a chair flew across the floor, hit me behind my knees and made me sit. He continued to wave his fingers and a rope materialized, circling me like a snake until I was well tied.

    "Please, I saw nothing" I poorly said.

    "Are you sure you didn't see someone being turned into a donkey?"

    "No...I didn't. What donkey?"

    Pirelli rolled his eyes. 

    "Maybe he's an associate with that guy," the Owner said. 

    "I don't think so..." Orianna finally interrupted as she showed them the flowers. "He left this on the ground!"

    "Those were for you, you are so pretty I wanted to give them to you" I blurted out. Innocently thinking that Pirelli would even be flattered by the fact his beautiful daughter was acknowledged. Well, he wasn't. In a matter of fact, he seemed rather disgusted. He threateningly leaned over me and looked me piercingly in the eyes.

    "Please...please, I don't want to be a donkey!" I whimpered. he leaned back and kept looking, no one in the tent dared to say a word.

    "Why don't you erase my memory" I stuttered finally. They were quiet for a couple of seconds more. Orianna had a faint smile of thankfulness for the flowers she held and pity for me.

    "It won't be necessary," he said and with a simple wave, I felt a small breeze which made the rope around me disappear. "You're free to go. Who would believe a nobody like you, go and go back to grandpa!"

    I immediately looked at him. How did he know that? Had he read it in my eyes? I wasn't going to stay there to find out. I got up and ran out of the tent. And I kept running through the fields until...something hot hit me in my lower back andI fell on the ground, my members twisted violently and I landed in a squatting position like a was the prelude of the rest of my life. I looked over my shoulder -  Pirelli was proudly standing outside of the tent, with the Strong Man and the Owner by his side. I had to get out of there...I stood up to run away but instead, I leaped like a frog. I landed with a thump, not able to believe what I had just done. I couldn't get up, I simply couldn't! My spine cracked and I felt it undergoing more pressure than it was supposed. I leaped again and again, and I was almost near the entrance. When I saw people passing by and exiting the Circus exterior space I withheld myself. What would they think when they saw me jumping like a toad, they'd think I was crazy. My throat then expanded like a balloon...the top buttons of my shirt burst out shredding the clothes. I could only croak now...I heard the footsteps near me and soon Pirelli and the Owner were by my side, laughing at my predicament.

    "Flowers to bloody swamp toad!" Pirelli said. "You'll do a good attraction, anyways!"

    "The Exotic Frog Man of Borneo" the Owner exclaimed gesticulating a poster with his hands, and with that my shoes burst out and a pair of big green frog feet appeared. When I felt the hay and the dirt I knew they were mine! The green slimy skin crawled up through my whole body. A sudden pressure afflicted my skull and, although I didn't know at the time, my eyes bugged out and acquired a black background to a shiny golden iris.

    "Ribbit" I simply croaked.

    I didn't remember what else happened. I know I woke up naked, in a polished mobile cage the next morning. The first day I spent ashamed of myself. I felt like a little puppy being passed around everyone's hand, although I was locked in a cage. Everyone came to see me. I recall the laughing clowns and the trapezist looking like she had seen some Eldritch horror. My heart sank even lower at that very moment. It was by night, scared and hungry that Pirelli and the Circus Owner came by my cage. The grinned and slowed down their pace. 

    "We found out you lived with your granny and grandpa" he smiled at me, blowing the smoke of his cigar in my direction. "I don't think they'll miss you that much, anyways we are leaving town and I think it was established that cops won't be an obstacle for me."

    I simply gave an agreeing croak, that was born out of pure sadness my body couldn't express.

    "The good news is...You're part of the attraction now! The Exotic Frog Man of Borneo -  the last of the amphibian species that dwelled on the thick, luxurious forests of the island. Ahaha!You better start to be more jolly, 'caus I bet the kids will love you! Start getting used to eating some flies I've thought about selling cricket bags to the kids. I bet it was going to be a charm!" he said, ending up scrubbing his hands. He was right already. Boys are mostly my main public, they come out after the main show to see me. The owner sells bags with crickets and roaches for one dollar, and they throw them at me or stretch their hand so my tongue snaps them from theirs. The first days I refuse to sell my last humanity. I didn't eat nor did I croak. However, a beating from the Owner's command made me change my ideas. Orianna was the only one that came to my rescue that night... Nowadays, whenever we have a show I starve myself during the day so I can munch all the bugs I'm offered at night. 

    "I didn't have to this, you know?" Pirelli said that afternoon before leaving. I think he actually felt it.
    Days have passed and I've come to terms with what I've become. I have even made friends around the troupe, not everyone is an evil bastard like the Owner o Pirelli, and some have as tragic stories as mine. The good part is Orianna greets me every day, she always convinces them to open my cage and let me roam around. Once we stopped in a small town with a flooded quarry and I accompanied her and two more circus members for an afternoon swimming dive. I never had news from my family, friends, nor did I ever heard that cops investigated the Circus. I remember that puzzled me for a while...but nowadays, I woke up every day, I am greeted by the sun and I remember who I am, I am the Exotic Frog Man of Born


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