“Who are you?” She sounded angry, as if it was somehow his fault she was interested in his person.
Rafi-Morris let his feet dangle from the stage, his hands curling around the border. As always, he took a moment before he answered.
“Not telling,” he finally said.
“This freak show you're with, who are they?”
“Did you follow me around today?”
“Do I look like I'm even the slightest bit interested in that? Do I really look like I have nothing better to do with my life?”
She didn't react to his rhetoric questions and went on with her own list of questions.
Clearly, she hadn't expected any serious answer; she fired questions at him at a pace that barely left him time to think about a response.
“How did you know about my cat?”
He shifted his gaze from his feet to the girl in front of him, for the first time since she had sneaked back into the room after everyone else had left.
Her eyes twinkled in a way that demanded answers. But Rafi wasn’t someone who could be bossed around with simply an angry stare.
“I can read your mind,” he simply answered. He tried a smile, but was suddenly too tired. He knew she wouldn’t like that answer – no one ever did.
She shot him a look that indicated she would have liked to set his hair on fire.
“Can you – can you see her?” she asked, sounding more vulnerable than she probably intended.
“Only in your mind, and only when I take the time to look there. Which I’m not interested in.”
He had instantly known the purpose of her visit when the door had opened and her slim figure had come down.
She was not the first to come to him with all sorts of questions, and he never cared to answer any of them.
“So you can’t –” she started.
He didn’t even let her finish before he cut in: “No, I cannot. No one can. Speaking to the dead is impossible and everyone who claims otherwise is a fraud and a waste of your time.
Plus, what would a cat have to say?”
“You obviously never owned a cat,” Evelyn sneered.
She turned on her heels and started to walk out of the auditorium. It was clear she was angry with him, even though he had done nothing wrong.
There was only so much magic had solutions for, and death simply wasn’t one of them.
But before she had climbed back up the stairs that led her to the entrance hall, she turned around again.
This had never happened to him before, and his curiosity was instantly awoken when it turned out she wasn’t just going to sneer one last time at him.
He considered breaking into her thoughts again, but it wasn’t exactly healthy to be sharing your mind all the time; once an evening was enough for her.
He would just have to make do with her words.
“How do you join this show?” she asked, her voice slightly raised to bridge the distance between them.
He didn’t respond immediately, because he wasn’t sure of the answer. No one had asked him before and besides, that was just not how the Cirque worked.
Evelyn took his silence as another refusal to help her and came down the stairs for the third time of the evening.
Rafi-Morris chewed on the inside of his cheek as he wondered what he would say to her – if he should say anything at all. Probably not.
The Cirque wasn’t looking for new cast or crew and the girl was as plain as a pigeon anyway.
When she stood in front of him, she asked him again. Even if she was a pigeon, she was a persistent one, he had to give her that much.
“That’s not how it works,” he answered as he got up from his sitting position. He towered over her.
“Mr. Galloway decides who gets to join – there are no vacancies, no forms to fill out. If he wants you, you’ll know.”
“What did she want from you?” Mr. Galloway asked as Rafi-Morris finally left the stage for good for the night.
He had the odd habit of showing up out of nowhere, knowing everything that had been going on.
The questions were only out of politeness, a chance to let the other explain what had happened in their own words.
Galloway read minds in a very different, less magical and yet ever-so effective way. Every time he showed up like that, the boy made a mental note to himself to learn the man's ways.
For now, the young mind reader merely shrugged.
“Nothing interesting, much. She wanted her dead cat. And to join us, oddly enough. I said you were the one to decide who should and shouldn't join, not her.”
Mr. Galloway nodded. “What did you think of her?”
The boy looked up at the circus master, but he couldn't figure out the purpose of this strange question. He didn't know what to say – he hadn't really thought anything in particular of the girl.
So he lastly said: “I don't know what you are hinting at, sir. She was just a spectator, that's all.”