The Dark Carnival is a mysterious and wondrous place, where dreams come true, and the magic is real.
But if their magic is a blessing, then curse magic is the opposite, a magic made up of pain and agony and anguish.
And the biggest purveyor of curses?
He wows his audiences with his feats of magic… but it comes from a dark and terrible place.
Here’s an excerpt from The Gift, the second book in the Dark Carnival series:
“The son you mutilated?” said Rilla. Jack moved again to shield her.
Hugo’s red-hot rage battled for supremacy, and it took a huge effort to push it back. He wouldn’t let the rage take over. He was stronger than that. He took a breath and then another.
Then he smiled. It didn’t mean he couldn’t play with his new toys. “No, don’t shut her up, Jack. She’s entitled to her opinion. Please, Rilla, do speak up.” The anger still bubbled near the surface, but Hugo had enough experience at hiding his emotions to save himself that he was able to keep his voice calm.
“You don’t deserve your son. He’s a good boy, a talented boy, and for whatever reason, the Carnival has accepted him back into the fold. You mutilated him, hurt him so badly that even now he’s still recovering. If you really loved him, you’d stay away.”
Hugo felt his left eye twitch, but his smile remained in place. He could deal with the red haze around the edges of his vision. He was strong. His father had made him strong. “You don’t know anything about Simon. If he’s a good boy, it’s because I’ve made him into a good boy.”
“So what will you make him now that you’ve taken to hurting him? More like you? Are you trying to twist him up, turn him into a monster?” Rilla’s face held the same scorn that filled her voice.
Hugo lifted his hand as if he could bat away the ghosts of emotion surrounding him. Simon knew he would never do anything to hurt him, not really. “Simon understands,” he whispered. “He knows I love him.”
“Simon is lying in a bed at the Carnival, still unable to move after the multiple broken bones you inflicted on him,” said Rilla, her voice low and angry. “He’s trying to recover from the hundreds of knife wounds his own father gave him. He’s been so traumatized by it all that he’d rather forget than think of his father in a bad way. But once he remembers, you’re not going to get him back. He’s going to know what kind of a monster he has for a father, and he’s going to run from you.”
Something burst in Hugo’s head. It shattered into a million pieces, tiny shards stabbing straight into his brain, causing pinpricks of pain and humiliation.
And it was her fault. She did this. He lifted his gun, took aim, and pulled the trigger.