Final Waltz

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Imagination Station
You can't run from the shadow, but you can invite it to dance.

Submitted: January 27, 2016

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Submitted: January 27, 2016

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When I step onto the marble floor of the ballroom, my heart nearly forces me to stop walking.

Her eyes glitter with hope and wonder and make me all the more awestruck while in her presence; they beckon me to explore. Her hair is held up in a neat little bun, and her dress is glistening under the chandelier at the top of the prodigious confines of the room settled above the rest of the guests at the ball: all, I assume, want to be dancing with her. All are also probably jealous that I’m the one who will be.

She begins her stride towards me.

Now, I would do the same, but I am far too nervous to move and my legs might as well be microwaved piles of succulent, strawberry flavored gelatin.

Her heels clack against the stone cold tiles, and her dress moves in an unprecedented way; it intimidates me and causes my heart to jog at an even faster pace, and my hands to sweat even more. I try to move, but my shoes are glued to the ground by the high level of my anxiety. I do manage to wipe my forehead through the complex sea of emotion flowing throughout my brain, but that’s the only gesture I can provide.

I realize how stupid I must look, simply staring at a woman amongst a group of other people, but then I realize how stupid I must be for thinking such an idiotic thing. A woman as beautiful as her deserves to hold the gazes of everyone in the world for as long as the Earth keeps spinning.

My mouth curves into a smile and my eyes lock with hers. I notice a slight smirk, but one not too devilish or conniving. It’s a grin that’s comforting in some unnerving, inhuman way like I’m being possessed by an outside force to believe in her perfection.

When the clacking stops, she’s standing directly in front of me.

Neither of us says anything, and I become incredibly confused.

She nudges down towards my right hand. I look at it, thinking something’s wrong with it, but then notice the thousands of lines embrued into my skin and the thousands of pathways they create. The lines hypnotize me, probably even more than her complexion did. My pathway, the line I decided to follow, has led me to this moment.

Again, I realize how stupid I look, and the fact that she’s now giggling to herself.

“Oh,” I say, laughing with her at myself. “Sorry.”

She ceases her laughing to speak. “It’s fine. Just ask me.” Her words are blessed and crafted from the silk touched by Midas, and they soothe my muscles and stop the sweating. I almost forget to listen to her words, and don’t understand them at first, but then it comes to me.

“May I have this dance?” I ask, holding out my hand.

“It’d be my pleasure,” she says.

I take her left hand while she takes my right, and we begin our waltz.

The music creeps up at a snail's pace, causing small bumps to form across my skin. Are they from her touch? Is she infecting me?

“They’re just goosebumps, you’re fine,” she says.

“Oh, okay.”

I try to shrug off the fact that she just read my thoughts, and put full focus towards keeping my feet in check. We glide across the dance floor like gazelles skipping through a field that they call their own, confident and without fear. I note that every person in the room is looking at us, and I feel proud that I’ve captured their attention. Then I realize who the star is: she’s the one they’re looking at, she’s the one who’s grasped their attention, and she’s the one who’s holding it and won’t let go. She’s got an iron grip, stronger than the mightiest of swordsman during the dark ages. 

The music continues, with our steps matching up. I’m god-awful. I've never had any type of lessons, yet I surprise myself. I’m keeping up with her, and I’m doing it well.

“You’re quite good at this, you know. Most aren’t,” she tells me.

“So you’ve had many partners?”

“You don’t even know, my friend,” she says, “you don’t even know.”

I just nod. It probably looked stupid, but I always look stupid.

“No, you don’t,” she says.

I think before speaking. “I don’t want to believe that.”

“Why?” she asks.

“Because I never believe anything.”

The music reaches it’s climax when I look out the windows of the ballroom and see the shadow creeping up on the room we’re located in. It grazes the grass and covers the shimmer of the sun, but I don’t feel any sorrow. It’s a feeling I’m okay with, actually.

“You know, you should believe at least a little bit more. Not only in yourself but in others.”

“You’re probably right, but-“

She puts her finger up to my mouth. “No buts.”

I giggle a little.

She does too.

Soon, we’re both showering in a fountain of immaturity, complete with a full-on cackle as the icing on the cake. Neither of us feel bad about it, and we really shouldn't. I can tell that the happiness in her laugh is genuine.

The shadow outside creeps through the windows and begins to swallow some of the other guests whole, but I pay no mind. I just keep dancing.

I notice someone’s drink, and see that it’s fallen and leaked onto the floor. I lurch towards it to pick it up. She holds me back and brings my gaze back onto her.

“No reason for fuss, okay? No worries, no problems. Someone will get that later,” she says, holding my chin and positioning my head so that her eyes meet mine.

“Okay,” I say. I trust her more than I trust myself.

I think my footwork is slightly messed up, but she’s changing her own to fit my mistakes. The shadow has engulfed the entire audience, leaving our dancing space to ourselves. When I look, all I see is darkness.

“Don’t mind that,” she says. “You won’t be going there, anyway.”

“Going where?”

“Down.”

“Oh.”

I look back to her, and she’s smiling at me.

“What?” I say, with a little chuckle.

“Just proud, is all.”

“Of who?”

“You,” she says. “You did pretty well, I must say.”

“You’re kidding.”

“You’d be surprised with the quality of some of my dancers. Most can’t even hold themselves together without making a fuss.”

“Your other dancers sound awful,” I say.

“Compared to you, they are,” she smiles.

I smile, too, just as the music ends. The final note echoes throughout the void around us.

We stop dancing.

We’re both completely silent as the shadows inch closer.

“Do me one favor, though.”

“Yeah?” I say.

“Don’t forget this, or yourself, or me.” Her eyes look happy yet sad at the same time, and a transparent shiny sheen covers them. “Don’t forget me, got it?”

“Wouldn’t for the world,” I say.

She sighs a sigh of relief, as to say that she’s ready to let go. Then we laugh.

She hugs me. I feel a small wetness emerging on the shoulder she’s resting on.

She keeps hugging and crying until the shadow consumes her, leaving me alone, by myself, left to fall.

I close my eyes, and images of my life rise: being born, screaming, my parents, school, work, fighting, alcohol, and then a car. She’s the last thing I hear, the last thing I feel, and the last thing I’ve ever wanted to see.

I spread my arms and smile, catching myself before I start making airplane noises. I nearly laugh at my immaturity, but I’ve got a young soul. I can’t change that. I don’t want to change that. I think she would’ve for me if it had to be changed. She didn’t. She never had to.

This doesn’t feel like falling, though. Like an airplane, I feel like I’m moving upwards, towards the clouds, through the air, and towards the highest point I can see, where the ocean meets the sky.

Opening my eyes, I see a hole of light slowly breaking through the darkness. As it gets bigger, I feel peaceful, and warm, and happy, and…

I believe.

I believe in my last dance with death as I pass through the light.


© Copyright 2017 Hanorbi. All rights reserved.

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