During the week following the strange encounter at the circus, I had been debating whether or not to call Nathaniel (we had exchanged phone numbers) and explain my erratic behavior behind the tent. I had probably freaked him out. I mean, running so quickly away from a little girl had to have put some strange questions in his mind. It wouldn't be out of the way to meet him at the bar for a little while. Besides, that environmental forum was today. It seemed interesting enough, and I could hang around for it after I talked to Nathaniel. I decided to call him.
"Hi, Nathaniel. It's me. Beck."
"Oh, hi Beck, what's up?"
"I wanted to talk to you about what happened at the tent the other night. Meet me at the bar in an hour?"
I was nervous on the walk to meet Nathaniel. I had never talked to anyone about my father before. It had never come up in conversation, and why would it. Such a unique topic was rarely at the forefront of anyone's mind these days. When I entered the bar from the cold outside, I spotted Nathaniel immediately, slumping in a back corner booth. It looked like he had just tried to clean himself up, but he hadn't done a good job. His eyes were bloodshot and his hair was messily combed over.
"Good lord, what happened to you?"
Nathaniel shook his head, gesturing for me to sit down.
"Don't worry about it. What did you come to tell me about?"
Nathaniel seemed easier to talk to than I had imagined. I felt some odd connection with him, like I'd known him before. As I spoke, his facial expressions and way of speaking seemed familiar, too. Almost eerily so. After giving some background, like what year I had moved to Winthrop, I let my shoulders drop.
"My father was a pirate."
"A pirate?!" Nathaniel sounded shocked.
"A pirate. His name was Greyson Wingarsheek. He was the Captain of his own crew, world famous for his cleverness. I was born on board. My mother was a captive, a princess of some island up north. Grey used to tell me it was made of ice. Anyway, so after I was born, she died, but my father claims to have loved her. So he decided to raise me as his son. All this means is that I was treated better than the crew. I grew up learning how to steal, how to kidnap, and how to trick people. My father liked to think he'd passed his 'cleverness' down to me.
A couple times when we were docked in a city called Damas, I would meet this girl. Her name was Annie, she was a friend of mine, and my father didn't know about her, but she was the one who taught me that everything my dad taught me had been wrong. Morally, at least. At first, I got mad at her about it, and cut all communication with her. But then I slowly began to realize that she was right. I decided that as soon as we hit land in a civilized town, I would tell him I was leaving him. I was about fifteen at the time, and my father and I were on a voyage to discover a new island. There had been this running myth about an island of fire and ice. We found it. That girl we saw at the circus... my father took her captive. She lived there with her brother. But now she lives at the circus thanks to my father. I remember her so clearly. Her name is Logi. Her brother is Kafaldi. And yes, they actually are magic."
Nathaniel stared at me. His head hung, eyes angled up to meet my face. He didn't seem all that surprised at my past; maybe he was too distracted by whatever had caused his disheveled look. Or maybe he thought I was full of it.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Shit happened today," he slurred. "I feel like I know you from somewhere, and based on that story you just told... and what happened to me today... I don't think it's a good memory."