Photo copyright – Roger Bultot

Julian saw his father plummet to a silent death metres below. He only saw this on his worst days. Most days he coped, maintained the charade.

He would be rich and famous because of his father’s efforts. This circus was his life, and Julian would be the best high-wire artist in the world, after him. But every performance reminded him how he loathed it.

He heard his cue, the signal to step out and join his father in their intricately timed double act. Poised, balanced on the wire, he checked the net below, and for the briefest moment Julian hesitated.


This is for Friday Fictioneers, hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This is the second photo in just a few weeks that has sent my imagination wandering around the notion of disgruntled circus performers. I’m not even all that interested in circuses, I might add. 

Click here to read all the other 100 word stories prompted by this week’s picture.

22 thoughts on “Poised

  1. This is a great take, Margaret. I can’t imagine having to continue this charade after watching your father fall to his death. I hope he can fully recover. One misstep is all it takes on the high wire. Well done.


    • Yes, he’s imagining it all, again and again. I wanted to make his feelings towards his father ambiguous, and his loathing of his profession rather more complex than just fear, but I’m realising from the responses to the story that I haven’t managed to portray this. (It’s been lost in the final cut – alas.)


    • He’s managed to hide his true feelings for his father’s sake. I think perhaps his father could have been a little more sensitive to Julian’s state of mind, but the circus is his life. Glad you liked it subroto. Thanks for responding.


    • I’m glad it worked, Rochelle. I was trying to make Julian’s feelings towards his father somewhat ambiguous, but I’m figuring from the comments that I must have cut out all the complexity and just left him feeling afraid up there on the wire. I’m glad you were delighted – thank you once again.


    • Thank you, Bjorn. I don’t know how a high-wire performer would feel, but I do know that I feel very uncomfortable if I’m even just a little way above the ground.


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