A short story of carnivals set in a future where technology has exploded and humans have finally woken up and realized that they need to take better care of their natural resources. Ansley is part of a traveling carnival that does it's best to give people a taste of what the carnivals once were while still living within the new rules of society. Her primary job within the Family is caring for Billie, an experiment of genetic engineering Indricothere, and she is content with that and her place for the most part. The big problem is Davo who took over the family a few years prior and has never been happy with her since her refusal of his marriage proposal. Now he is just turning mean and doing things to hurt her even at the expense of the Family. Ansley must decide whether to continue to put up with things as they are or follow her heart and find her place out in the world.
This was not set in any of Ms. McGuire's current universes although it could be the prelude to something new. As a result the setting and characters are only given the barest descriptions and fleshing out so it's hard to be very invested in any of them. Davo is a simple villain with simple motivations and Ansley is much more wishy-washy and willing to put up with abuse which is unusual for Ms. McGuire as well. On the whole, not a bad story but does not quite live up to her usual standards in my opinion.
Page Count: 32p/18,704p ytd/233,638p lifetime