The carnival rolled into the fields at dusk, its spirited music carried into town by the wind. Every window had been open, desperate for the night chill and we listened to the swell of the whistle and drums as they arrived, far from sleep. There had been no wind before it came.
In the morning, the field was crowded with show tents. It was a tangle of brilliant stripes and pennants, painted wagons, clapping flags, a wild thing that had crept up out of the woods while we slept. I watched it out of the corner of my eye while I wandered through my morning chores.
Terea ran up the hill to meet it just as soon as she could. Ardin and Sida and Kol and Demi paraded in a tight knot, straight to the center. Rhinda and Nolke swung by my house and I waved them on ahead. I dragged my feet up the hill an hour later.
“You look tired,” a clown said, painted from head to waist in blue paint. His face was drawn in an absurd white smile. The glittering chain in his hands rattled as the lion he held turned its head.