(There are two types of people.)
A woman dressed in a white flowing dress and fine jewelry stepped into the ballroom. The large golden doors shut behind her almost silently in the otherwise noisy room. Her icy blue eyes swept across, taking in every detail; the ornate golden room polished to a shine, the dining table filled to the brink with the finest and most delectable food, and the chandelier shinning like a sun at the ceilings center.
But the pièce-de-résistance were the people. Tall, every imperfection tucked and covered, moving stiffly about in their beautiful but suffocating clothes, painfully polite as they spoke amongst themselves
(They are the stupid and the proud.)
Her crimson lips pulled back in a frightening smile as one handsome young noble approached her. He offered her his own blinding smile, his dark eyes drinking her in; slight figure, porcelain skin, her raven hair flowing down like water across her shoulders and back, such darkness a sharp contrast to her snow-white gown. Her lidded gaze caught his momentary pause at her generous breast before rising back to her own eye and kindly asking her to dance.
(Most have difficulty in seeing the difference, no matter how obvious.)
With an equally perfectly fake smile she accepts his offered hand, and let’s herself be led to the dance floor below.
(I pride myself on being able to tell the difference.)
As they begin the young man is immediately impressed with her dancing skills. Her feet glide across the polished floor, soundless, her body moving as if it were made of water, ebbing and flowing. Unrestricted. All the while, her smile grows into a smirk, something humorous and unspoken shinning in her icy eyes.
“Do you know?” The woman asks suddenly, voice soft and calm, yet somehow seeming loud without having to raise her volume. Her dark hair swirls around her high cheekbones as they spin. And something flashes in her eyes, something dark and dangerous.
“Do I know what, my Lady?” He asks, a shiver running down his spine. He doesn’t like the look in her eyes.
(Sometimes, I take it upon myself to attempt to teach those who don’t know the difference.)
Again, her mouth shifts, back into her former smile, her perfect pearly teeth flashing through her crimson lips. The man shivers again, tremors echoing through his limbs, stuttering his steps as sweat begins to gather on his brow.
“Do you know the difference?” She asks again as they continue to glide across the floor, moving closer and closer to the food table.
“Do I know the difference between what?” He asks again, his nerves seeping into his clipped tone as he licks his lips, swallowing dryly. The woman smiles softly, leaning close to the man and whispering in his ear;
“Do you know the difference between the stupid and the proud?” As she leans back, her smile turns sad and her eyes gleam with pity as she takes in his blank expression.
(But I’ve gotten tired of ‘attempts’, of my teachings failing. Drastic measures must be taken.)
She sighs, a frown pulling at her lips as she steps away from him, towards the table. He reaches for her but she shakes her head, turning and grabbing something from the table.
(I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but it seems they’ve given me no choice. If they won’t listen, perhaps need to change my teaching style.)
“The stupid and the proud. They rush, only to fall.” She sings softly as she turns back around, taking the sharpened knife and placing it at her throat. Her dance partner immediately pales, hands trembling, mouth gaping like a fish. Then, several other attendants take notice, then more, and it’s not long until the entire ballroom is silent, watching her with wide eyes.
“The stupid and the proud,” She sings, voice echoing in the suffocating silence, her eyes drinking in their fear. “Can you tell the difference?!” She cries. Silence is her answer. Sadly, she continues. “Win or loose, they come out broken at the end of it all.” She looks, her eyes meeting sharply with every person she can, and finds not what she seeks.
“Perfection and beauty mean nothing when the Reaper comes collecting.” She sways, silver still pressed to her own pale throat. The song, her warning, echoing in their ears.
“The stupid and the proud.” She finds her dance partners gaze again, and sees something flicker in his eyes; shock and fear, and then finally the understanding she wished so badly to see. She smiles, eyes burning and wet with relief.
“They rush, only to fall.”
Finally, she moves the blade from her throat, swinging it in the air as she locks eyes with the young man. She turns the point to her exposed flesh, gasps ring through the crowd, nearly smothering the noise echoing from the shadows. She stops, she gaze swinging to the servants gathering around the pillars.
“The stupid and the proud. They rush, only to fall.” They whisper, loud in the silence. Icy eyes dart around the room, finding more and more repeating her song. She smiles, and rejoins the song.
“Win or loose, they come out broken at the end of it all. Perfection and beauty mean nothing when the Reaper comes collecting.” With a gesture from her other hand, she beckons the servants, swaying side to side with the rise and fall of their voices. The multitude flock to her side, weaving past the stunned nobles shaking and flinching away from those faces they forgot without a second thought. All the while they continued to echo her words, singing loud and proud with the lady in white.
“The stupid and the proud!” Tears ran down the woman’s pale cheeks, the servants huddling close, singing and swaying in time.
(They understood! Finally someone understood! Her lessons were not wrong, not a waste, they’d just been directed at the wrong people!)
Lowering her knife, the woman smiled, flashing teeth, eyes glittering darkly as she stared down the crowd of nobles. Around her the singing grew louder and louder still, the servants faces turning red and beaming, and she turned her icy gaze back to her dance partner. She had her faithful students, but the young man was new, had potential– she saw it in his dark eyes. Perhaps she could teach him as well.
“The stupid,” She cried, gesturing to the servants at her sides as she locked gazes with the young man. “And the proud.” She screamed, throwing her hands to the assembled nobles. “They rush, only to fall. Win or loose, they come out broken at the end of it all.” The young mans eyes sparked, and she smiled. Still swaying, she tossed her knife to one servant and skipped forward, twirling once, twice before pausing and extending her hand.
Again, his eyes sparked, a glimmer of her students passion, but a sign nonetheless. Slowly, fingers trembling, he reached out and grasped her hand. The woman grinned, pulling him with her as she returned to her faithful crowd. They spun and the man grinned, her words pouring from his lips.
“Perfection and beauty mean nothing when the Reaper comes collecting.” She released one hand, keeping the other tight against his, and turned once more to the nobles, the singing towering over the cowering nobles. Her grin widened, and she and her new partner sung, watching the nobles stumble out the doors, fabric ripping and jewelry dropping and shattering against the floor.
(One day the world would see what she saw. One day they would all understand, and her beloved students and partner would help her.)