Eugene and Lena McMillan’s story was nothing more than an unnecessary tragedy.
First, their parents Sara and Dennis and their older brother Carter were killed by Sheila Baines to get back at a girl named Josie Salamati because Josie ignored her bullying tactics and refused to make friends with the cruel girl. (Plus, the fact that Josie chose to befriend Seth Burke, Moira Downing, and Trixie Kalbrunner angered Sheila more than when Josie ignored her.)
Second, Eugene and Lena were eventually sold to the Wonder Circus instead of being returned home, something that made them sad. They missed their parents and older brother and they were sure that the city of Montagne Beach hadn’t forgotten about the McMillan family, despite what their new guardian, Silas Rodriguez, had told them.
But the third part was what really got them, as they learned that Josie and her friends Seth, Moira, Trixie, and Jacey Mayford were kidnapped from Trixie’s home during a sleepover.
This is where this story begins.
At this point, Eugene and Lena had been in the circus for almost seven months. They were homesick and depressed, especially after Josie and Jacey told them what had happened to their family. It was time for them to go home.
“I don’t think Silas is going to let us go so easily,” said Eugene, “especially since Lena and I have been here longer than you guys have. Even then, I don’t know if the city is willing to welcome us back…”
“They will, when I tell everyone what Sheila has done to you,” said Josie.
“But what about us getting out of here?” said Lena. “How will we leave?”
“I have a plan,” said Josie.
The first time they tried to escape, Josie decided to call her parents and let them know where she was, but a power outage shut down the phone call before she could tell them where she was and what happened to her. (She didn’t know that a riot in Montagne Beach was the cause of the power being cut off.)
“I can’t believe that plan almost worked,” said Eugene. “But that stupid Sheila had to ruin it for us, didn’t she?”
“Not to worry,” said Josie. “I have another plan.”
Yet, the second plan took a while to come to fruition, as Silas found out about the unauthorized phone call and punished the kids by giving them extra chores. But Josie wouldn’t give up, not when the prospect of going home was within reach.
But Eugene and Lena weren’t going to sit around and wait for Josie to rescue them; they had an idea on how to escape from the circus. When the circus workers were distracted, the kids hid in a van leaving the circus. But the inside of the van was hot and smelly and traffic was especially bad. The driver caught the kids, and he drove them back to the circus. (Needless to say, Silas punished them with more chores, along with their extra chores from the first escape attempt.)
“Well, that was a very good plan, but you didn’t think it through,” said Josie as she helped Eugene and Lena with their chores. Eugene stared at her. “I think the only way we’re going to escape from this place is if we work together,’ she said.
“And how are we going to do that?” said Eugene. “Every time we try to escape, we keep getting caught. What are we doing wrong?”
“Everything,” said Josie. “We need to work together so that when the chance to escape comes, we don’t miss it.”
It wasn’t for a few weeks that the escape happened. During that time, Josie and the others had won an alliance with a circus worker named Burris, who agreed to help the Teen Rebels and their friends escape from the circus. The escape was in the form of the kids performing the song I Want You Back by the Jackson 5 at the Wonder Circus fall premiere.
Of course, that escape went off without a hitch, as the kids were able to sneak away from the circus while the audience enjoyed the music. How that happened is for a different story.
“I can’t believe we did it!” Lena cheered as the kids watched the city of Salinas shrink into the horizon.
“I know,” said Eugene. “All we needed to do was wait for the chance to escape, especially when no one could see us or stop us. Now we can go home.”
Josie sighed, knowing that even though they had escaped from the circus, Eugene and Lena weren’t ready to face the reality of what happened to their family during the months they were trapped at the circus…
- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train on Washington Hill – May 16, 2016. (briansolomon.com)
- Exotic animals no longer with Saskatchewan Shrine Circus (cbc.ca)
- Kelly Miller Circus: Berlin – Wednesday (kelly-miller-circus.ticketleap.com)
- UniverSoul Circus Review: The 1 Exception to Our “Best Time” (mominthecity.com)
- The Big Apple Circus Takes Over Queens! (3citygirlsnyc.wordpress.com)
- UniverSoul Circus brings show to Queens and New Jersey (pix11.com)
- Photo Image: Piccadilly Curcus 1968 (personanondata.blogspot.com)