A Thin Man wanders into a world of trouble after the Carnival that was his home goes bust. Adrift and alone, missing his sideshow friends, things get pretty freaky when he accepts a job for a doctor who isn’t as nice as he seems. The oddities out in the barn may bite!
Losing his job in a Sideshow, Darius Exavier feels even thinner than usual. How long before he disappears? He thinks he has found a solution to his woes when a kind rural physician hires him as an assistant. But the doctor turns out to be more of the mad scientist variety, and his barn hosts some pretty strange experiments. Darius finds himself drawn into a crazy situation that he cannot resist. It’s almost like falling in love . . .
This strange tale is also available in The Macabre Mind Of Lori R. Lopez collection.
E-Book: 5,926 Words
Age Range: 12 and up.
IS IT ANIMAL OR VEGETABLE?
YOU WON’T BELIEVE YOUR EYES!
~ from Unnatural
I had to feed her the Postman thanks to you. Then I had to deliver the rest of the mail and dispose of the truck.
~ from Unnatural
A GUY SO GAUNT he scarce cast a shadow in the sun hiked the roadside, jacket folded over the crook of his arm, a white buttoned shirt damp with perspiration. Air outside the city was refreshing and clean after the stale oily fumes of congestion and machines. He preferred the simpler existence he had known in the Carnival, where a child fleeing abuse found a home; where he’d been employed a dozen years. The enterprise had failed due to a harsh economic climate, the troupe of unconventional misfits disbanded. And there he was — out of work, homeless, back to being on his own — once again the victim of manmade circumstance.
His first family had been as dysfunctional as the second, but with the “Carnies” (a term they didn’t appreciate) Darius Exavier blended in. He belonged. Exavier was a stage name. Originally his surname, the brand administered at birth, had been something else. That was a long time ago, an abstract surrealist point in his life that had blurred in the distance. The city behind him was now such a blur. A vast relief to walk away from. Crowds of people in cramped spaces. Human wolves and sharks circling. Clamor and paranoia, combined with the stench of misery and lost hope.
He would rather be alone, isolated, than to suffer that torment.
Darius had arrived in its concrete and metal midst with several friends: a Fortuneteller, a Knife-Thrower and his girlfriend, and a Contortionist. The psychic (a pretty redhead who masqueraded as a Gypsy in an ebon wig, with a crystal ball and Tarot deck for props) cautioned him that his life was in peril, that he should trust only himself. He liked her but had been too shy, too awkward and unconfident to admit it. Then Alfonso the blade-tosser tried to slit his throat, accusing Darius of flirting with his assistant. He had merely caught her when she stumbled. He had even wondered if she did it on purpose, to make her lethal Latin-tempered boyfriend jealous.
The Thin Man dourly exited the city with just the clothes he wore. Eventually, tired of lugging his jacket, he fancied letting it fall. He wasn’t the type to think in advance. He lived purely in the moment. Thinking ahead led to ideas, then to goals. Dreaming was for children. The notions he had in his brain as a boy were thrashed out by his parents and older siblings. Reality was a brutal teacher.
“Really Fun Carnival Tale!
It’s a great story and so much fun to read. The thin man is down on his luck, the carnival folded, and he’s just walking somewhere, anywhere. Then he’s offered a job and oh boy, the creatures he meets! They are freakier than any of the people he ever met in the sideshow. This is a fun read, well-written, and a joy of an entertainment. I liked it very much.”
“Is Ms Lopez trying to teach us something here? [A]re we all freaks trying to fit in? Are the best intentions of science in its GM interference, however well intended, actually horror? or is it just the brilliant brain of Ms Lopez pointing out the obvious with a fabulous tale to boot! It really left me thinking about the state of humanity and the destruction of the world. A bit too deep for a fictional novella? [W]ell, shouldn’t all literature leave you thinking?”
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS; Goodreads Review
“This is an amazing and fast pace short story written in true Lori R. Lopez style that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat until the last word. What happens when the one and only place where you feel like you belong has to disband and the only friends you have in the great wide world are lost to you forever? . . . The path this young man takes and the things that he has the will to defeat will blow your mind.”
“Lori Lopez has created a unique personality with Darius Exavier, an outcast who really wants to fit in, but doesn’t expect much from life. So it’s not greed that gets this young man in trouble, it’s not lust and it’s not foolishness. It’s something . . . unnatural.
Darius Exavier, a Thin Man, found the carnival lifestyle much to his liking, surrounded by other misfits. And he was happy, right up until the carnival closed down. Then, with his friends spread far and wide, Darius has to strike out on his own to try to fit into a world that rejects the different.
He’s used to being hungry, he is a Thin Man, after all . . . But life’s not always fair, as Darius is well aware, and pretty soon he discovers just how far he will go to survive.
This story left me wanting more. I think Lopez should write more about these characters, especially Darius. She has created a very real world here, and I highly recommend a visit. Unnatural is a winner!”
About The Author & Artist
Being a bit of an oddity herself, Lori R. Lopez has been drawn to the Circus and Carnival atmosphere most of her life. Each Summer, the Carnival would come to town and she would thrill to the sights and sounds of the Midway like any kid from a small American community. At least way back when, a long long time ago. In an age of Modernization, as such attractions become even rarer and uncommon, there are fewer places in the world for the unusual to fit in or make a living by standing out from the crowd. And they aren’t alone; many jobs are being replaced. Everyone is encouraged to be alike . . . to act and think the same, with little room for individuality as they stand in the Unemployment Line, because everyone can’t be special can they?
Through much of Lori’s work, the Square Pegs and Loners roam while she attempts to record their stories. It isn’t easy. They tend to ignore her as if she’s weird or something and just keep going. So she is forced to make up stories about them. Which could be misconstrued as rumors and gossip. Lori will assure you this isn’t the case. It is pure fabrication and fiction. There’s a difference.
Often sporting a Tophat, Lori could be considered a Ringmaster presenting fables of the absurd, the bizarre, the contrary. Shining a lamp at a parade of nonsense and frivolity — not to mention high-wired flights of whimsy and subliminal depths of darkness: the arcane, occult, unnatural, abnormal, curious and peculiar. Step forward into the spotlight. Prance and dance along to the warped Calliope theme music that only she can hear! This is the world in Lori’s head, the whirlwind of her mind’s spinning Carousel Creatures, the frolicsome capers of the wild and untamed beasts who inhabit the space between her ears. Listen, you may detect a faint roar, a gnarly growl, a low rumble of amusement as they cavort. You could almost hear the slight scratch of her pen, scribble-scrawling day and night to keep up with the wonders and mayhem. If you do, heed well the signs not to disturb this sacrosanct reverie . . . this inspired trance-state of erratic, artistic, frantic, hyperbolic frenzy. Otherwise, her noggin will probably crack open from the tremendous pressure like a split coconut. She would have to tape it back together the way you patch a jigsaw puzzle, or mend a broken heart. It wouldn’t be very pretty, but it would be practical.