Monday, January 23, 2012

The Dance [flash fiction]

Chuck Wendig posted a flash fiction challenge on his blog. We were to use the Flickr random photo display and choose three of the photos on the page as inspiration for our story. My choices are at the end of this blog. Hope you enjoy it.

The music was her muse, captivating her imagination, orchestrating her every move. Slowly she contorted her body into ever increasingly difficult positions, striving for that perfection that never arrived.

She'd been dancing since she was 3, a little girl with ringlets showing off for her parents and friends. They had doted on her, sending for training at all the right dance academies. She had talent, everyone told her so.

She concentrated on how the music made her feel and tried to translate those feelings into movement. She hurt inside, why couldn't she get those feelings out? She wanted to share her pain with everyone, then maybe it would go away.

Suddenly the music stopped. She turned and saw Jacob standing there, a dark look on his face. "Don't frown at me," she said turning back to the mirror. "Please turn the music back on."

"You shouldn't be here, Sophie" Jacob crossed to the window. "It's such a pretty day outside. Let's go for a picnic."

A smile crossed her face, she knew he was worried about her. "Maybe later. I need to get this one movement down. It's frustrating me. Now please turn the music back on."

Sighing, Jacob did as she asked. "I don't know why you do this to yourself," he mumbled as he sat in the chair next to the door. She was so beautiful. He fell in love with her the first time he saw her dance. They were both sixteen and going to the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in San Francisco.

Tall and slender, her long hair swept up into a pony tail, she danced like no one he had ever seen before. Her body moved in synch with the music, then would suddenly seem to have a mind of its own, telling a story that spoke to everyone watching.

They became good friends, studied together and critiqued their performances. They enjoyed the antics of a few close friends, also dancers and actors.  They met again three years later at an off-Broadway try-out in New York City, got married and eventually moved back to San Francisco where he had opened an acting school and she had joined a local contemporary dance troupe. Jacob sighed, "Our life was  so good...before-"

"Jacob, what do you think? Is this working? Can you feel it?" Sophie twisted and turned, bending her body into positions he knew were hurting her.

"Sophie, you've been in here practicing for hours. You've gone way over your endurance level. Please don't exhaust yourself. C'mon, let's go for a ride."

She was tired and discouraged but didn't want to admit it. Jacob wasn't helping her mood. "Just leave, Jacob. Please."

Watching as Sophie struggled to get into a comfortable position, Jacob opened the door. "I'll be back in 30 minutes. I'm packing us a picnic lunch and we're going for a ride. Be ready."

Knowing that no one could see her, Sophie crumpled, laying her head in her lap. Life wasn't fair, she knew that better than anyone. Her parents had died young, leaving her in the custody of a guardian when she was only fifteen. Now this. How much could one person bear?

She crossed to the window enjoying the view of the valley below here. Jacob had brought her here to heal but she wasn't sure it was working. He was too good to her and she rewarded his love and affection with anger.

That was it! She needed to dance out her anger, then she would feel better and wouldn't take out everything on Jason. She turned towards the mirror once again. Gathering in all her anger, she started again.

This was HER dance, the dance of her life. She waited for the music to flow through her. Slowly she started moving, swaying, feeling...dancing. She let the anger fuel her and she felt better than she had in months. Yes, this was the answer. She laughed, knowing she'd found the secret.

Jacob opened the door and stopped and watched Sophie dance. She was so beautiful in so many ways. A tear slid down his cheek as he felt her pain and knew it was leaving her body through the dance.

The song ended and once again Sophie slumped with fatigue. Breathless she looked up at Jacob. "Did you see me? Could you feel it? It was wonderful...I danced!"

Jacob headed to her, "Yes, I did see you and I did feel it. You are wonderful." Standing beside her he took her hand and kissed it. "So, are you ready for the picnic?"

"Definitely. Let's go."

Jacob steered her wheelchair out of the room.



  1. Interesting exercise! I like your interpretation of the photos. The links to the photos did not work but I did a copy/paste to view them.

  2. That was a really beautiful story.

    Well done!

  3. This photo challenge is producing some really raw, poignant stories. I love it!

  4. Wow, I loved this. Especially the ending - so unexpected!

  5. Oh, just wow. Wonderful flashback!


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