What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.
The spinning blade whirled through the air with a hum of efficiency and precision that belied the storm swirling within the man that had loosed the blade.
The next was chosen at random though the target remained the same...ever the same. Scrupulous attention was paid to the finest detail of the grip, the angle of release, the throw itself. End over end it tumbled, tightly flung chaos spinning with potentially deadly outcome...yet Isaac knew the outcome before the knife ever left his fingers. Knew it so well, the results replicated with such accuracy, that it was more science than chance.
The board was filling up with blades. Each one having dug deeply into the red painted bullseye of the target some twenty feet away. There was a calming sensation to throwing the knives, claiming them from the board and then repeating again and again. It was something he craved in the moment, that mindless repetition and mental focus leaving no room for other thoughts which might distract. Thoughts which might sour his aim or retard the necessary rhythm.
He'd been at it for so long that the record playing now spun with only a crackle of intermittent static, the needle having lost its circular path once the disc played itself out. A mason jar of sweet tea slowly perspired as it sat untouched on a stack of old newspapers, the moist ring at the bottom slowly growing larger as the drops ran down the glass to soak into a story about an increase in crime from years ago. Even Boomer lay stretched out in his bed, eyes closed and no doubt dreaming of something more interesting than Isaac throwing and throwing and throwing.
The last knife was drawn and held, the silvery blade laid flat across a weathered palm as the thunderstorm gray of eyes inspected its point and edges. Pulled away from the blade as he drew it back, his eyes went not to the bullseye but the stack of mail on the table alongside the target. Pulled there as if drawn by some magnetic force he could not resist.
The knife was loosed and clanged against the others as that single word intruded upon his thoughts and skittered to the floor the tent, the sharp singular note of metal on metal enough to cause Boomer to pop his head up with a start and look first towards the source of the intrusive, alien noise and then to Isaac before he lowered his head back down upon the dogwood drawled invective.
Isaac hesitated for a moment and simply stared. Not at the target or the knife but at the stack of mail, specifically the letter sitting atop the rubber banded stack. Mail was always a precarious thing for the carnival. Making so many jumps, one town to the next, it was hard for the postman to keep up. Course some of the carnys preferred it that way...can't pay a bill if you don't get it, can't get served with a warrant if the lawman's always a day and a city behind. But like most things, delivery was inevitable and Isaac's stack had been dropped off earlier that morning while he was overseeing the stage assembly.
He finally moved, slower than a month of Sundays, to the board and began to work the blades free though he eyed the stack of mail with a wary glance. The top letter hadn't been addressed or mailed...instead it had his name written on the envelope in the neatly scrawled print of a dead man: his father. It'd been given to him at the will reading when his father had passed away...and then been given to Fia to torch not too long after that without ever being opened. Truth was Isaac hadn't cared what his father had written...what the man had to say when he didn't have to answer for any of it. There just weren't any words which could be written that could replace the gulf of silence which had existed when both father and son had walked the earth.
Yet there it sat. Same envelope. Same handwriting. It even bore a few singe marks and smears of soot across the otherwise pristine paper. He'd have thought Fia or someone else was trying to get one over on him if he hadn't seen the Firestarter do her thing. He'd tried himself but his lighter wouldn't take...Fia didn't seem to have such a problem...and up it went before his very eyes.
Eyes saw a lot of strange things when working for a carnival...things which went beyond explanation or understanding. He'd seen it himself with Fia...had experienced it with his sister and their connection which defied time and space. And yet he still eyed the letter with a degree of antithetic trepidation which ran contrary to his typical, even-keeled disposition.
The word sounding in his head again as if put there by another voice. He reached for the envelope as if by compulsion and held it, turned it and inspected the back to find it still sealed. The slate gray of eyes fell upon Boomer as if in silent question, a tinge of unease as he tapped the tip of the knife blade against the envelope. Isaac gave a shrug, at a loss to explain the letter's reappearance but couldn't dispute its presence in the moment...rational mind attempting to wrest control of an unknowable scenario. A flick of the wrist brought the knife through the envelope to open it and spill its contents onto the table.