Saturday, September 12, 2015

Flash! Friday: The Dance

by Michael Seese

Yesterday was Flash! Friday, so here we are on...  Scribe Saturday, I guess. I've come to realize that the new format -- using a novel as a prompt -- is challenging because there are so many options. Witness this week's contest.

Our novel inspiration was especially broad: Grimms’ Fairy Tales, brothers Jacob and Willhelm’s collection of German folktales. The story elements we had at our disposal:

* Conflict: open
* Character (choose at least one): specify any character(s) from Grimms’ Fairy Tales (listed here; examples Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin)
* Theme (choose one): cunning, loyalty, transformation, justice, morality
* Setting (choose one): enchanted forest, humble village, castle, isolated cottage

I immediately settled on the Cinderella story and wrote "The Dance."

A symphony of starlight reflected from her eyes and danced across the polished floor in perfect step with their terpsichorean splendor. Swept up in his charms, she dared to dream that, maybe, this night would last forever. It would, she vowed, if she could just hold onto it.

This is how it should be, she thought, her eyes locked on his, her cloudless mind trying to will into his psyche the words, Please, let it be me.

One smile, and all the sadistic drudgery of her "real" life seemed as far away as the envious moon. She clung desperately with world-weary and calloused hands to this feeling, to this belief, that wishes could come true.

The other ballgoers were mere shadows. She and the Prince alone occupied this space, this moment in time. Their world extended no farther than the bubble encompassing them and their divine choreography.

Even when the music had died down, the serenade streaming through her reawakened soul played on. He heard it, too. He must have.

All breath left her as the Prince backed away to arms' length, gazed upon her face, and uttered the prized words.

"It's you. You are the one I've been waiting for."

She closed her eyes as his lips drew near.

Then the clock struck midnight.

And the Prince turned back into a soiled, smelly mop.

And the castle, the office she had spent the past eight hours cleaning.

And her waiting carriage, the #47 bus heading uptown.

Her dingy efficiency would be unchanged.

As she trudged along the rain-dampened street toward the bus stop, she heard the sound of glass shattering behind her.

Let someone else clean it up. I'm too tired, she thought.

Let's see if I can't get back into the winner's circle before I turn into a pumpkin. And as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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