Fantasy, Home

Dance Along the Edge

The air is silent except for the heavy rapid exhales of two individuals. Locked within a large dark space, two young souls stand, set in familiar positions; hands on shoulders and hips, fingers laced with their partners.

“Hello, hello, dearies! Would you like to play a game with us?” Echoes a sickeningly sweet female voice. Static bursting between her words. “The rules are very simple; dance around our wonderful ballroom floor without casting yourselves over the edges!” Cheers the voice. “Oh, and don’t take off your blindfolds or stop dancing till the music stops! Or else you lose.” The voice hisses.

And as the opening cords of a violin and organ burst into being , suddenly their positions make sense. With stuttering breaths, the two began to waltz.

“Ryo?” Asks the girl, her voice calm despite the trembling in her fingers. She holds tight to her partner as they spin sightless, frantic and without known direction across the floor. Her heels click against the marble, skirt swishing softly around, felt more than heard over the music’s volume.

“Y-Yes?” Answers the boy, shaking and nearly missing steps as they step and twirl, holding just as tight as his partner. Chest made tighter by the constricting formal wear. His own shoes sliding easily across the smooth stone, despite the uncertainty of his steps.

“How did we get here?” She asks, frantic and breathless, head bowed as if attempting to see her own feet through the silk cloth covering her eyes. “What were we doing before? I — I can’t remember? W-weren’t we with out friends?” Her chest tightens, head spinning without the sight of a fixed point to ground her.

“I don’t — I don’t know.” Ryo breathes, strained vocals barely heard over the thundering music. “I don’t — Abigail –” He chokes, stumbling feet nearly sending them tumbling.

“Careful, dearies!” Chimes the voice. The edge in its tone sending shivers down the two teens spines. “Watch your feet, you wouldn’t want to loose them!” Ryo whimpers, the sound echoing unnaturally in the space.

Anger stirs in Abigail’s belly at the sound. She swallows her fear and straightens, pushing them into a better form and pace. Ryo seems to set himself right eventually, though she can strangely still hear bumbling steps?

Brows furrowing as she adjusts to her sightlessness, noticing things she hadn’t before in her growing calm. Like the other sets of shoes and heels clicking against the floor. Abigail frowns, tilting her head back as she’s spun away. As her partner spins her back with far more confidence than she knew Ryo had right now, she brushes her hand across her partner’s face. Dizzily she returns to her former position, brows furrowing against the cloth of her blindfold.

Where was that soft face she knew that should be wet with tears? When did his skin get so cold?

“We’re not dancing with each other.” Abigail says, awe coloring her voice as she curls her nails into her partner’s hand and shoulder, realisation settling in when the other doesn’t even flinch. “You can’t feel that, can you?” Abigail asks. The music begins to slow, a dip in the middle before the song swell again.

“Feel what?” Ryo breathes, voice echoing across the floor behind her, not in front where he should be.

(Onlookers of course will have known this since the beginning. That the two teens partners were actually shadow illusions made by their captor. Perfect physical copies of the two, except for the fact that they are colored almost completely in pure darkness, from skin to clothes. The only other color, the bright yellow shinning from where their eyes should be.)

“Spin me to him.” She hisses at her fake partner, loosening her grip, preparing to switch. Unseen, her dance partner grins, golden light spilling from sharp teeth. The shadow looks over Abigail’s head, and nods in tandem with the grinning shadow girl.

“Hey, hey now!” Comes the sweet voice of their captor, hidden away behind a secret mirror. The unseen woman rises to her feet, grin wide and somehow angry. “You can’t just–“

But before she can get another word, the music stops, if only for a moment. Yet that is enough time for the two teens to actually take each other’s hands, the shadows dropping away and stepping to the side, grinning softly before disappearing in swirling smoke as Ryo and Abigail resume waltzing.

Abigail can’t help the grin that pulls at her lips as their captor hisses and growls, in a way that suggests the sickeningly sweet-voiced woman can’t do anything about what just happened.

Their waltz is slower, more stumbling and trembling, more her leading than Ryo. Who’s way more terrified than Abigail, and whose misstep may cost them their lives.

“Ryo, Ryo it’s okay.” Abigail soothes, squeezing his hand, her other rubbing gentle circles in Ryo’s shoulder, and without realising it, Ryo settles into a more assured pace. “Deep breaths,” Abigail continues. “That’s it. We can do this Ryo.” She smiles, listening as Ryo matches her own deep, measured breaths. “Just like when you help me with my dance practices.”

“Okay.” Ryo breathes, squeezing her hand back as he takes the lead back. “Okay.” He repeats, speeding up their steps as the music comes on in faster waves. Abigail hums, before reaching back on a slow part, and slowly begins removing her blindfold.

“What do you think you’re doing, little miss?” Calls the voice, a new edge to her voice. There’s a burst of static as she hisses again. “Looking will cost you.” She sings. Ryo tenses, but Abigail simply smiles, removes the fabric and throws it away as she resumes their steady pace.

“I’m not looking,” Says Abigail smugly, chest swelling with the small freedom. “You never said we couldn’t remove our blindfolds, only that we couldn’t open our eyes.” More static bursts above them, followed by incomprehensible noises. Ryo shudders.

“It’s my choice now.” She tells Ryo, ignoring their captors tantrum, her previous fear evaporating with the loss of the bind. “Do you want your blindfold off too?” She asks, smiling softly, even though she knows Ryo can’t see it. “Like I said, pretend it’s like one of my dances, we dance without looking all the time don’t we?”

“Yes.” He answers with barely a second of hesitation, bending his head forward on another slow wave as Abigail reaches out with on hand, untangling and tearing off the fabric as they continue to move.

It’s easier after. Ryo takes on Abigail’s sudden courage. The two dance match the pace of the music perfectly, smiling brightly as the twirl across the floor, pushing and pulling as they laugh. Lost in the illusion that this was just another dance rehearsal at Abigail’s house, another time when they match each other perfectly. The blindness is just another challenge to add to the fun.

They dance and dance as the music swells again, and then Ryo’s foot catches the edge of something, and their captor’s voice returns.

“Oh, do be careful with the edge, darlings.” The woman cheers. “We wouldn’t want your leap of faith to be your last!” She laughs, sickeningly sweet and shrill. The duo wince, and Ryo pulls them back, but Abigail falters.

Abigail always made a point to understand people, learning to read between the lines, learned how hard she could press before someone erupted, and how to bring out a laugh or a real smile. She knew people, and with all this elaborateness their captor portrayed, she can’t believe the woman gave up the answer so easily.

“What are you doing?” Ryo cries, holding fast even as he leans back.

“Taking a leap of faith.” Abigail grins, pressing close, following even as she prepares to pull them back towards the edge. “Take it with me?” She asks, breathless as the music begins to quiet, the end in sight.

There’s a beat of silence, but she’s spent so much time with Ryo that she doesn’t even need to see his face to know what he’s thinking.

“Okay.” He breathes, spinning them back towards the edge. Ryo curls his arms around her waist, and raise her for a split second before dipping her. The song swells one last time as they step out into oblivion.

Then, there’s silence, their only company the sound of their own panting as they cling to each other. Nothing happens, and then, there’s clapping.

“Well done my darlings.” Cheers the voice. “Enjoy the rest of your life!” There’s a beat of static, and then, silence rings.

A chilly breeze brushes across her cheeks and Abigail opens her eyes, meeting Ryo’s own watery blue. They blink and look at their surroundings; the creaking porch of the old decrepit house their friends had dared them to enter apparently, according to Ryo’s watch, hours ago. Dawn is approaching, and the streets are empty.

Ryo stands Abigail back up, and the two clutch at each other for the rest of the night, shaking, hysterical laughter bubbling from their lips as tears pour down their cheeks. They swear off haunted house dares.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s