Original Works

Ballerina

ballerina

I dance.

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)

Fan Fiction (Shorts)

The Unperformed Dance

“One, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight. Again!”

On the count of her dance teacher, she twirled, jumped, landed and pose gracefully, over and over again.

“Very good Joules!” her teacher exclaimed as she clapped her hands. “One more time and we’re done for today.”

Joules did the sequence once more and as she posed she smiled widely, before breaking into a squel.

“I can’t believe I’ve gotten it! Do you think I have a chance at winning?” Joules asked her dance teacher excitedly.

“I don’t see why not.”

“Mother would be so proud,” Joules said to herself.

“Yes, your mother would have been so proud,” her dance teacher replied before pointing to the door, where her father stood.

“Thank you Ms. Carly. I’ll see you on Saturday!” Joules said as she jogged towards her father.

“Come prepared. And good luck with the reaping! You better not be chosen now,” Ms. Carly said jokingly as she waved goodbye.

As Joules followed her father to the car, she expressed her day’s accomplishments excitedly. While her father merely smiled and patted her on her should.

“Mother would be proud, so very proud, don’t you think?” Joules asked as they entered the car and made their way home.

“Yes, she would be.”

“Did you take the weekend off for my performance?”

“Of course I did,” her father said as he kept his eyes on the road.

“Great! I can’t believe I have finally mastered mother’s routine. Now I can show it to the world!” Joules was still pumping with excitement, that she did not even worry about the reaping that would take place the next day.

Being that Joules grew up in a wealthy home, where her father co-owned the biggest electric company in the district, she never had to put in her name in for tessarae, and every year, during the reaping, she never once thought she would be chosen.

This year was no different. To her, the reaping was just another boring day where she had to assemble in front of the justice building while they chose the poorer children who never really had a life to begin with. You could say she was a pretty spoiled brat, especially after the death of her mother, as her father began showering gifts just to please her.

But it was strange that this year, her father had been acting rather uptight and jumpy when the reaping came up in discussion. Joules had the urge to ask, but she decided not to upset her father any further, until she heard him over the phone that very same night.

“I’ll have the money, just leave her out of it!” her father whispered harshly over the phone.

Leaning closer to the gap in the office door, Joules strained her ears, hoping she could catch what the person on the other line was saying.

“I SAID I would have the money by tomorrow! I’ll give it to you after the reaping!” her father continued.

Peeking through the gap, Joules watched as her father started pacing up and down the mahogany themed office.

“Don’t threaten me. You know I only have one daughter, she’s all I have left.”

At the sound of her involvement, Joules immediately burst into the office, staring at her father who looked shock at her presence.

“What is going on father?” Joules quickly asked.

“I’ll call you back,” her father said on the phone before hanging up.

“Who was that?” Joules continued.

“That was,” he hesitated.

“Is everything alright?”

“Joules, we are in trouble,” her father simply replied.

“What kind of trouble?”

“Money troubles with the capitol.” Her father looked away in embarrassment, trying to keep his composure as he continued in a whisper, “I have failed you Joules. I have failed your mother. Now they’re going to take everything from us, they even threatened to take you!”

Her father was shaking and Joules quickly helped him onto the velvet sofa before he collapsed.

“They can’t take me from you,” Joules said, hoping it would comfort him.

“They can. They say if I don’t give them their money, they are going to put you into this year’s hunger games.”

“What? They can’t do that? How much do you owe them?” Joules tried to hide the panic in her voice. She had never trained for the hunger games her entire life, and she knew she wouldn’t survive one day in the games.

“A lot of money,” her father replied as he buried his face in his hands.

“But you told them you have the money right? Father, I can’t go into the hunger games, I won’t survive! All I know how to do is dance. Father, you…” her voice trailed off when she saw the look on her father’s face as he looked up at her.

He was at a dead end. There was no more hope in his eyes. They were finished.

“We can run away,” her father suddenly spoke urgently, as he stood up and grabbed her by the wrist. “We can leave and they won’t find us!”

“What? No! They will kill us both if they find us! There’s no way we can outrun them,” Joules said as she tugged her father back into reality.

As he finally turned to face her, he fell on his knees and wept. Embracing him in a hug, Joules didn’t know what to do. Through his desperate cry, her father apologized, “I’m so sorry Foxie, I’m so sorry.”

It looks like she wouldn’t be performing on Saturday after all, nor would she ever dance her mother’s unperformed routine. She was going to have to take this one for her father. And maybe, just maybe, they might not read her name tomorrow, during the reaping.

But if they did, she knew she was a smart one, after all, she always thought herself to be as sly as her father and as sneaky as her mother. They did not nickname her Foxie for no reason.