Have a scary story ~
A dance with tight corsets, boned collars, tall hats, extravagant headpieces, feathers, and lots and lots of masks. All sorts of colors twirled counterclockwise along the dance floor. Some were grim—rusts and reds and browns and golds—and others were more vibrant greens and blues and pinks and silvers. It was hard to tell where bodies ended and dresses began, if masks were really faces, and if anyone could keep still for more than five seconds.
It is a marvelous ballroom. Wide and high-ceilinged with a crystal chandelier that stretches almost across the entire floor. Candles and torches lit the room, and their light both illuminated the dancers and hid them in shadow at the same time. Candlelight reflected off buttons and mirrors and polished silver and jewelry. In some faces, the light reflected diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and sometimes plain pieces of polished metal.
Intricate. Everything was intricate. Fine details were painted on every fingernail, every earring a mimicry of the chandelier above. You could see every feather bend to the breeze, every rustle of a skirt, every wrinkle in a sport coat. The dancers moved without stopping. It is a Waltz, and people whooped in time to the music and extended their arms without knocking anyone. People bow and exchange partners, but they are always dancing.
Never stopping. Always dancing.
The ladies’ feet must think it tiresome to dance so extravagantly for such a long time. But the ladies do not mind their feet, for they are caught in the dance. Gentlemen must think their legs tired for moving in time to the ladies. But they too are caught in the dance, and are not permitted to stop.
No one fears stopping–it simply does not cross anyone’s mind. Why not dance when you can dance? they must think. There is nothing but the dance. Not the punch table, which sits empty of wallflowers, nor servants with trays of champagne and hor d’oeuvres. Even the servants twirl in the Waltz as they move across the dance floor, refreshing a lady’s champagne and allowing gentlemen to nibble at the treats.
There is even a woman towards the back of the ballroom, who dances alone; a glass of champagne in one hand, the other plucking away finger food. She smiles as she eats, caught up in dance and food–two wonderful pastimes. Why should this evening come to an end when it is so delightful? she thinks. She could stand there at the edge of the dance floor, caught in the wake of the twirl of the Waltz like a branch of the Milky Way.
The orchestra never stops. No one remembers it beginning. No one remembers the famous composer who has come to conduct just for this night. He keeps waving his arms, the cellos and bass keep time, and xylophones and strings play their parts. They are the only ones not dancing, for they are the only ones not permitted to dance. If they dance, there would be no music, and there would be no point to this ball.
The dancers must always dance.
Never stopping. No breaks.