No one went to bed that night. No one could believe what had happened. And everyone was torn by this one simple event. But no one felt the pain Kurt felt tear his heart to shreds.
After the people had left the tent and the circus members started to go back to their trailers, Kurt pulled himself away from Margali and Amanda to find his own space. Kurt teleported as quickly as he could, his head spinning from the emotions and dimensional pass through mixing.
The nearest tree became the spot; Kurt’s legs didn’t hold him to stand another moment, therefore causing him to collapse to the ground, his head sliding down the tree trunk. Hands on the ground at his sides and his head back against the tree, Kurt breathed heavily while tears still escaped his closed eyes.
“Why, Father?” he said after a while. “Why not take me…”
It took several long moments, but Kurt was able to calm himself down enough to focus on a dandy lion growing a few feet in front of him. So many thoughts ran through his mind he couldn’t keep track of them.
“Trent…I’m so very sorry,” he said to no one. He never would have thought such a thing would happen like this. He had been so rude and unforgiving towards Trent that day and now he’d never have the chance to make things right.
Perhaps this is God’s punishment for me, he thought. I’ve been terrible…I’ve committed so many sins in these past few days…I don’t deserve to continue life and Trent lose his. What purpose does the Lord have for me if he kept me alive?
Through the sounds of chirping crickets and cars in the background, Kurt heard feet rustling over the grass nearby. He looked up with a guilty expression, meeting Amanda’s green eyes.
“Hey there,” she said as she sat down next to him. Kurt turned his head to look at the dandy lion once again. He could tell Amanda was looking at him. And although he adored Amanda in more ways than one, her hand coming to rest on his arm didn’t faze him in the slightest.
“I’m sorry, Kurt. I know you’re hurting a lot from this,” she said softly. “Trent taught you so much. I can’t imagine losing a mentor like that.”
Kurt couldn’t bring himself to answer her back. He couldn’t bring himself to do anything. Trent was the first person that didn’t give him a terrible reaction when they first met. Trent was one of the few who understood him because his sister was a mutant also. Trent was the person who taught Kurt everything he knew about acrobatics and fencing. Without Trent, Kurt would be nothing.
“Look,” Amanda said after noticing Kurt’s silence would linger. “If you need someone to talk to, I’ll be in my trailer.” Kurt wished he could have felt her lean over and kiss his forehead before she left. He wished he could have paid enough attention to realize that the girl he loved kissed him, although it was just a friendship kiss.
But Kurt’s thoughts were gone. His spirit felt like it died with Trent and he didn’t know how to go on. The fact that he had been so insensitive before that night’s show ate at him; and remembering that he was mad enough at Trent to wish he’d mess up tore him to nothing.
* * *
The normal excitement of the pack-up wasn’t present the next day. The circus crew could care less that they were off to Ireland for the next set of shows. Amanda could care less that she’d finally get to see a new country. Margali wasn’t in the mood to go on for at least another week, and Kurt had fallen into a state of depression.
“Kurt,” Amanda knocked on the door. “Kurt, c’mon. You can’t stay locked up in there all day. You haven’t eaten anything.”
Kurt didn’t answer her. He lay on his cot in his trailer, tail hanging over the edge, and eyes staring at the poster Margali had made for their Sweden appearance. “Trent Brown, the spectacular aerialist,” it read. Kurt’s eyes held onto those words for what seemed like hours like his hands held the rosary beads and cross tightly. On the stool next to him sat the Holy Bible, but Kurt didn’t have the ambition to read any of it.
Although the golden letters on the black cover of the book caught his eye. His mind started running through the scriptures he remembered. After a while thoughts were carried further away until he reached a conclusion. It would be the only way to show how much he was sorry for his sins; he’d have to do it.
Getting up and dropping to his knees, Kurt pulled out his storage box he kept under the cot. Inside it were his personal belongings he brought most everywhere he and the circus went in the world. Pulling off the lid and digging through objects, the young mutant found what he was looking for.
Months ago Kurt came across a magazine Margali had received in the mail. Uninterested, she had thrown it out, but being curious about the picture on the front page, Kurt retrieved it. The magazine was called “Künstler Mania” and the issue’s front cover gave a view of a man that created symbols for his tattoo parlor.
It took a while to find exactly what he was looking for, but towards the end of the magazine Kurt found the article he remembered reading about and wondering what would make a person do such a thing. His eyes skimmed down the page until he caught the words he recalled reading before:
“ ‘Miguel came to my parlor asking me to inscribe the Enochian alphabet onto his back,’ Grotue recalls. ‘I had never heard or ever saw these symbols, but their history fascinated me. Apparently it’s some sort of Angelology language that conjures up angels. Each one represents a different angel. Not being much of a religious man myself, I had no idea what this was about, but Miguel mentioned these symbols were laid down by the Archangel Gabriel.’”
Kurt’s eyes shifted to the pictures of the symbols. His hands shook with the idea he had in his head, but he was determined to right himself of his sins. He had to. “Like our Lord Christ sacrificed himself, I shall do the same….”
Shoving the open storage box back under his bed, not putting away any of the items that were removed, Kurt got up and rummaged through a drawer by Alexi’s cot. He knew Alexi kept a Swiss Army Knife in there…it was just a matter of finding it.
A sharp prick on his finger told Kurt that the knife hadn’t been folded up to hide the blade when it was returned to the drawer. Pushing away a few papers, he found the metallic handled switchblade and removed it from its resting spot.
Kurt knew he couldn’t do this task here. If someone saw him they’d probably pass out. Taking a mirror, the knife, the Bible, and the magazine, Kurt teleported himself to a desolate spot about half a mile from the tent.
“Mein Gott…” he said as he held up the knife. He knew this wasn’t going to be pleasant. He knew Margali would have his head for doing it. But he was going to go through with it anyway.
Flipping through the pages again for the article and the pictures of the symbols, Kurt held the mirror up with the use of his tail. He had never experienced extreme pain before—he hadn’t even broken a bone in his life. But now he was about to learn what Jesus Christ suffered on the cross.
Kurt figured the best place to start was his arms. He pulled off his jacket and shirt and twisted his body so his right hand could easily reach his left bicep. Taking a deep breath, Kurt picked up the knife and held the blade to his velvety blue skin. He glanced back at the picture and memorized the lines of the first symbol he was going to carve into his flesh.
The blood poured out instantly the minute the first line was made. Kurt let out a sharp cry, feeling his arm being cut for the first time. Taking the mirror into his left hand, his tail picked up the shirt and wiped away the blood that continued to leak through, although it shook uncontrollably.
After a moment, Kurt continued to create the pride symbol into his shoulder, although his arm singed with pain with every stroke of the blade and every wipe of his now bloodstained shirt. In half an hour Kurt had finished after a long, hard and very torturous experience. But pride wasn’t the only sin he had committed in the past week. However, he knew he couldn’t go on like this—letting blood drip down his body.
Abandoning his things for only a few minutes, Kurt teleported unnoticed to the supplies trailer, gathering bandages, gauze, rubbing alcohol, and medical tape. Upon returning to his isolated spot, Kurt rubbed his arm with the alcohol using the gauze, making him yell out into the open air. The stinging pain was too much.
After wrapping his self-wounded arm in the bandages, he held up the mirror once again and took hold of the knife to continue his work. His right arm now would bear a symbol for envy, his shoulder gluttony. After both arms were cut, bleeding, and stinging, Kurt couldn’t go on anymore. The last thing he wanted to do was bleed to death.
Returning to his trailer, Kurt hid his supplies under his bed along with everything else. His arms ached, but he had to clean himself up and change his clothes before someone noticed. His self-made tattoos would have to wait for another time.
“Glad you finally decided to show yourself,” Chester said. “We can use your help, Kurt.”
Kurt nodded and started to follow Chester’s lead of hauling boxes to the trucks. The young mutant didn’t realize so much time had gone by that day; the tent had been taken down and only the poles were left scattered on the ground.
“Here, give me this and you get that one over there,” Chester said motioning towards a smaller box near one of the poles. Kurt picked it up and carried it to the truck. The strain on his wounded muscles hurt like nothing he had ever felt.
“You alright? Besides mourning over Trent, that is,” Chester asked, taking note of Kurt’s unusual silence and difficulty holding onto the box. “Did you even sleep last night.”
Kurt merely shook his head and pushed the box onto the covered bed of the vehicle. He watched Chester lift another box, but was taken by a surprising pain when the man backed up and brushed against his shoulder.
“What was that about?” The old man asked. He knew he hadn’t stepped on the boy’s foot or anything other than backing into him. Such a simple act shouldn’t have put on a pain-stricken face on someone. “You’re hiding something, Wagner. Its written all over your face.”
“I’m not hiding anything,” Kurt quickly spat out, knowing quite well that guilt could be traced through every word he spoke. “Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. If you don’t need me anymore than I’ll go.”
Chester let out a frustrated sigh. “Yeah, get outta here. The help is needed, but I don’t need an attitude from a stubborn teenager.” Without looking back, Chester continued his packing the truck up.
Kurt let out a soft snort and walked away. He was sick of being treated like a little child. He couldn’t do anything…. Then he realized the symbols he had carved into his flesh. If he continued to act this way, he’d have to add another mark to the long list of symbols he had in his mind.
Soon it was time to leave and make the journey to the next country on the tour list. Young Wagner had never been to Ireland before and remembered looking forward to seeing it when he discovered it would be one of their summer destinations. However, the only thing he could think of now was how long the trip was going to take, and how much he wanted to go home to Germany.
Once they arrived a few days later, Kurt discovered Ireland wasn’t as exciting as he had hoped it would be. Then again, Kurt hadn’t felt a singe of cheerfulness since he started performing a week ago. By the time the travel was over, the tent was finally up, and the rain started to pour hard, Kurt had given up on the wait for his wounds to heal. He felt that the rest of his sins had to be looked upon.
Without warning, Kurt left the camp to find a spot in a forest on a rotting log. Unwrapping the shirt of his tattooing-tools, he looked over his body and the pictures to find the best spot for every sin. He knew the pain would only increase for every mark he made, but he knew he deserved it. He had wronged so many people—including Chester before they left Sweden. He had to pay for it somehow.
He didn’t want God to take away another precious soul from his life…
German Translations: Künstler Mania-Artist Mania
Mein Gott-My God
Scheisse-Shit (who said Kurt can’t swear?)
AN: To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if this is the real way Kurt would have made those symbols on his skin…. I’m assuming so. They are scars, so cutting is probably the way he did it.