The juggler tossed fiery balls into the air. They flared all the colors of the rainbow and, with a flourish and a snap of the juggler's fingers, winked out. The gathered children did not applaud.
"Where'd the fire go?" asked a small boy.
"It disappeared," said the juggler, forcing a smile. "Magic, you know."
"But energy is conserved," a little girl put in.
"So's matter," said another.
"You better fess up," said the boy. "Don't lie."
"What are you talking about?" the juggler snapped. His stomach lurched, suddenly burning.
"It had to go somewhere..."
The juggler hiccuped. He smelled smoke.
The Best of Clarkesworld 2013
1 day ago