There is something special about me when I dance. The princess of this beautiful kingdom saw it in me. So I dance… I dance for her.
No, I don’t dance when there’s a festival or a cheerful kingdom carnival. I don’t even dance for the royal ball or when the princess needs to be entertained. I only dance when darkness falls.
Every once in a while, the kingdom will be cloaked with a dark presence. And when that dark presence swallows the kingdom whole, life ceases to exist. Every soul would shut their doors and lock their windows, every flower eager to bloom would wither away, and the warm sun and fluffy white clouds would be absent from sight. What was once a lively gathering of laughter and cheers now becomes a grim manifestation of death.
Before my arrival, the kingdom fallen into this dark hole would suffer for weeks before light would reappear. It is said that the princess had tried many ways to rid her kingdom of the darkness, but all her efforts had failed. She was very ready to give up, but when she saw me, a spark of hope twinkled in her eyes. “You’re special,” she said, so certain and so happy to have me by her side.
The princess was convinced that I would be able to chase the darkness away, and despite my own lack of confidence, I decided to try and help her. So, on one dark and scary evening, I danced my first dance.
I was never taught on how to dance, I just know. It is something my body does so naturally and effortlessly, I don’t even need to think about my next move. But when I was sent to the dark streets for the first time, I was too terrified to make a move.
The buildings around me towered above my head, seemingly leaning in as though about to collapse on my fragile state. The vines that wrapped around the mouldy brick walls twisted to form hideous faces that looked down on me menacingly. The air was cold and heavy, clutching onto my bones like a skin to my body. And the dead silence… the dead silence gave room for strange and terrifying thoughts to fill up my mind.
I stood on that street for a very long time, not daring to move a muscle. The little light that came from the candles behind the closed windows was not enough to guide my path. I was scared and I found the task too daunting. I was tempted to run away and hide, but the princess stopped me with her pleas.
“Help me, Ballerina. Help me chase the darkness away,” the princess said. Her voice was so sad and desperate; a voice that should not be heard from an innocent child.
Knowing how much it would mean to her, I gathered the little courage I had and took my first step. One step forward, a shallow bow, another step forward with a gentle hop. It did not get any easier, so I shut my eyes and listened to the melody inside my head. The soft melody that was drowning in the sea of horrifying words was hard to focus on, but as I kept on moving, the soothing sound that drifted in my head swept everything away.
I found it easier to dance as my imagination guided my every move. I imagined the prickling vines to shrivel up, the brick buildings to be coated in red again, the flowers to breathe in new life and bloom with bright colours, the butterflies to flutter along my side, the dark sky to flee at the sight of the sun, and the warmth of day to melt the coldness away. I imagined the doors and windows to swing open as people entered the streets with smiles on their faces, the children to run with their friends and their yappy dogs, and the marble fountain in the courtyard to burst with fresh and clear water.
Everything I imagined I saw so clearly in my head, it felt so real but I dared not stop. I kept moving until I heard the princess’ voice again.
“Thank you, Ballerina,” the princess said. Her voice was no longer coated with fear and she sounded happy; a voice every child should have.
You’re welcome, I said silently, as the melody and my feet stopped moving.
When I opened my eyes, I saw the princess staring at me with a big smile on her face. She held the music box I called home in her hands, and hesitated to close me in. I knew she was tempted to wind me up again and watch me dance, but the princess wanted to save my magic. So after what seemed like a very long time, she whispered another thank you and gently shut my box.
I danced, and I’ll dance for her again.
Chasing the big things in life is what all of us have our hearts set on. We want to reach for the stars, climb the mountains, and sail mighty ships. Our focus is always on the ‘big’ that we tend to overlook or push aside the ‘small’. But small does not mean less significant, in fact, some small actions go a long way. As we strive to achieve greatness, let’s not forget to do the small things too; lend an ear to a friend, give a child a hug, or feed a stray dog. Our small actions can make a difference, just like the small ballerina in her music box.
Most of my stories are up for interpretation, so I hope this one speaks a special message to you too. And as always, let me know what you think of it in the comments below!
© 2014 Jeyna Grace
(For more short stories, click HERE)