The Dance

We were created for this. Each hour we Dance out on the platform as another toll is added. You eventually lose track of which hour it is, or else you just stop caring. You realize it’s a new day when you hear only one toll. We sleep in between Dances, sometimes eating or bathing.

One may call it training, but we know it only as life. We never had parents like those of the children we see running and playing far below. We sleep, eat, and breathe the Dance. It is part of us and all of us at the same time. We are never alone in this place; that thought never crosses our minds. A troupe, they call us, but we have heard the word “family” drift up from the throng below. We secretly call ourselves this, but the elders don’t appreciate this.

They are the faces we first remember, teaching us everything that now fills our brains. Which isn’t much, really. We function, and we Dance. We don’t cobble shoes, grow vegetables, or carve wooden toys like the market vendors who fill the square. The Dance is all we know. It took only a few years of practice for us to be ready. Our training stage was built high up among the pulleys, levers, gears, and pendulums. To teach us to not fear the height, they said. Being cleared to perform was the only milestone we would ever achieve. Failure wasn’t an option; those who failed were never seen again. We didn’t dare ask where they went.

It was demanded of us that we appeared flawless, seamless, graceful. We must Dance to the point where the crowds forget we are just like them, yet living entirely different lives. Robotic better describes it, but I would never dare say this out loud. I feel programmed: destined and doomed at the same time. I couldn’t leave even if I wanted to. The only doors I see are those which lead to the platform. Where would I go? I have no mother or father waiting with open arms to embrace me. My only skills are those of the Dance. Leaving would mean certain death.

The troupe has grown over the years. We have become more focused and more healthy. We now can Dance with doubled lines, although I’m not sure if there’s a point to having Dancers behind other Dancers. I doubt the crowds can see the second line. That is what the elders want, so that is what we do. We must always be ready to Dance out the golden doors when they swing open. There is no clock inside, only out. We look out for each other, making sure we are all in line and accounted for.

The first toll sounds, then another, and another. I hear nothing after this. If there were more tolls, I am not aware of them. If the crowd cheers or claps below, I hear nothing. My only thoughts are on the Dance. The fresh air and sunlight streams in as the crack between the doors widens. The two lines enter through doors on either side of the clock face. Smiles are put on our faces, whether we feel like smiling or not. It pleases the crowd, they say. My thoughts begin to drift away as the magical, peaceful feeling of the Dance overcomes me. We become the Dance, breathing life into it’s ancient movements.

And then it begins.

Rayna Anderson
2014

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Wonder

I wrote this short story a while ago over the course of a few months, but never did anything with it. This topic means a lot to my family, as it does to thousands of families around the world. I hope you enjoy it. 

Wonder

I first met her on my swing set on the third day of summer vacation. She was just sitting there looking at her bare toes as they circled in the dirt that was collecting in the worn-out path in the grass, not swinging at all. I went and sat down on the seat beside her, wondering what she was thinking about while sitting on my swing set. Her toes stopped circling and she looked up at me with her lily pad green eyes, but still didn’t say anything. I stuck out my hand, but quickly remembered that you are supposed to do this after you have introduced yourself, so I pulled it back a little, causing a little smile at the corner of her mouth.

“Hi,” I said uncertainly. “I’m Charlie.”

She placed her hand in mine and shook it a few times, smiling for real now. “Cadence. But please call me Cady. I know it’s what they would have called me.”

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For You, My Darling

In Grade 12 English, we were assigned to find a postcard online and write a short story based on what we thought the postcard depicted. This is what I came up with…

Rayna Anderson
February 18, 2014

It was a blustery March day when I first wrote back home to him. I knew he was expecting me to write a lot sooner, and I really should have, but I was much too busy. We were sweethearts, and just that. I really wanted us to go somewhere, but he simply wasn’t a family man.

The school had just opened at the beginning of the month, and 1909 promised to be a big year. There were eight of us in the nursing program and we all relied heavily on each other. Between studying and working, there wasn’t much time for boys or anyone outside our small group. Continue reading

Right Now Is Everything

He found her wrapped up in her gramma’s old patchwork quilt on her porch roof, a forgotten book to her left and a mug of lukewarm hot chocolate to her right. Her eyes seemed to shine brighter than the stars she was marvelling at.

“Contemplating the deeper meaning of life or watching for UFOs?”

A half smile wrinkled her previously smooth complexion, but her eyes remained fixed on the celestial bodies above her.

“Neither. I was thinking about how science has proven that most stars are dead by the time their light finally reaches us, but they still look pretty alive to me.”

The beauty of this thought caused a heavy silence to fall between them. He inclined his head and wondered what else consumed her daily thoughts. He dropped his gaze back to her tranquil face.

“So are you going to invite me in, or should I sit over here and stare at you all night?”

Her chilled cheeks darkened and she opened one side of the quilt as she sat up, finally fixing her eyes upon his face.

“You always know exactly what to say, did you know that?”

“I say a lot of things, yes, but maybe they seem like the right thing just to you,” he answered.

Another smile flitted across her face as he nestled into the quilt.

“Maybe so.”

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