Rachel Canwell

Send in the Clowns

The secrets of the circus were in danger of exposure.

The smell of sawdust and elephant dung barely concealed the things that rotted slowly and not so discretely beneath. 

The hastily strung lights, twinkly high against the canvas, stubbornly threw the wrong kind of shadows on the fading feathers and sequins, cavorting nightly in the ring beneath. 

Most patrons caught the mood and asked no more.

Simply took what they paid for. 

A taste of wonder. One night of illusion; tarnished and second hand.

And those that lingered; asking questions and wanting more?

They were directed, silently, to the clowns.


This story was shortlisted in the February 2022 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: Rachel Canwell is a writer and teacher living in Cumbria. She is currently working on a flash collection and her first novel which was shortlisted for the Retreat West Pitch to Win 2021. Her short fiction has been published in Sledgehammer Lit, Pigeon Review and The Birdseed amongst others.