The elephant pen was a scabby affair. There were four elephants in all, two sows and two bulls. They mostly kept to themselves in dreary, masticating silence but occasionally they would fight one another, spearing each others’ flanks with their tusks, twisting their long noses in skin-husking, death grips. The instigator was usually Augromme, the undead and partially zombified male.
Ernt Rauchebaum was, ostensibly, the Elephant Keeper at Drutherstone’s circus but he had spent the past 90 years cultivating his opium habit and had recently taken several villainous sabbaticals leaving more than several circus chores unattended. Ungulen, the groundskeeper, usually wound up cleaning and feeding the elephants.
Augromme, the undead elephant, was brainsick. He rarely knew where he was or what he wanted to eat. He stomped with frustration around his small enclosure, unsure of what to do next in any situation. His addled mind — for indeed his brains had begun to deteriorate into something green and gelatinous– fired off indiscriminate orders and ideas that he was never able to bring to forbearance despite his beastly size and determined attitude of elephantdom.
Augromme recalled recently having chased a little girl in circles. It felt good to do that. He wanted to do it again. His tusks hadn’t tasted blood in a few years and he was eager to exact murderous pleasures from somewhere, anywhere. But as his small eyes darted around, all he saw were his three other elephantpanions. He liked them. Sometimes. They were hairy and warm and occasionally he felt like they were a family. Then some bolt of searing mania would strike and he would attack them viciously until Ungulen or another carnie roped him down and poured lavender wax in his ears — never a good feeling and yet, something about it made his nerves relax.
Augromme paced energetically several times and then rolled back down on his haunches, amazed at something in the sky.