The Dance

The Writer stands. The firelight flickers around her, making her seem like she is less solid than she really is. Her eyes are pools of darkness, her white hands streaks of foam. Her hair blows when there is no wind. “Let me tell you a story. The story of the Dance.” Her listeners lean forward, trying to catch every half-spoken word, snatched away by a wind there is not.

A maiden there was, once. A girl as lovely as the dawn; and her name was indeed Dawn. Her hair was long and a light golden. The sun would catch it every day and refuse to let go. In her eyes there was only light.

And yet no man had ever noticed her.

No tear dropped from Dawn’s eyes. She had never known unhappiness. Her life was almost a dream with joy.

And then came the day that the Dance was scheduled.

Dawn was a lovely figure that night. The clothing she wore was past description, and she rode on a unicorn. Trumpets cried aloud as she came, with no man’s impetus, but of their own volition.

They stared at her. Men stared at her as if they had forgotten all else. She was so beautiful they could not believe her to be real. And all tried to claim her for the Dance.

But Dawn hated it. And she turned and fled.

After her ran Benjamin, a man who was tall and bold.

“Dawn! Wait…”

She did not wait. She fled into the dark heart of the forest.

“Dawn…” He continued to pursue her. “Dawn, please!”

She did not turn. Then she cried back, “No! I shall not wait!” Now she did turn, staring at him and breathing quickly. “They… they all stared at me so,” and for the first time a tear came from her eyes. And Benjamin sprang forward and took her in his arms. She did not resist.

“Dawn, my dear, I love you. And the Dance told me so. Shall we dance alone?”

She smiled at him, and nodded. And, silent, far away from the festivites, Dawn and her chosen mate danced until the dawn.

The Writer finishes. She pauses. Then she smiles and looks suddenly at the others. One ventures a question as they see the resemblance. “Are you – are you Dawn? Is this your story?” Once more the Writer smiles and shrugs. They can see her as she might have been. “Who can tell? Nay, I am not Dawn. Dawn is but a dream…” Her words fade on the wind, but the listeners catch, or think they catch, the whisper. “It is my wish…”

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