(WP) Death’s Last Dance

               One minute, the room is full of laughing, talking people, and my partner and I are dancing through the crowd, parting the huge ocean of people. It’s almost overwhelming, all of my senses firing. I can smell his cologne, and he smiles down at me.

               “You look lovely tonight, Lyra,” He purrs into my ear, and I shiver, holding onto him tighter as we float through the crowd. “I cannot wait to make our announcement. Everyone will be so excited!”

               Then, within the next moment, everything is gone. The music cuts off abruptly, and the room is empty. The floor is pure, white marble, and my dress, a confection of blue silk, is suddenly red, as wine or as blood.

               The darkness is so complete I can see almost nothing, but from above, two spotlights appear. The white light shines down on me, blinding me after the darkness.

               On the other side of the room, a shrouded figure stands under the other spotlight, silent, watching me. And when its glowing eyes find mine, I know what’s happening.

               “It’s my time, isn’t it?”

               “Yes, it is.” The voice is impossible to identify, heavy and full of so many timbres that I can’t figure out whether it’s male or female, young or old.

               “May I finish my dance? Please? If this is the last time that I am to have on Earth, I just… I want to say goodbye. Please.”

               Perhaps it is selfish, asking Death for one last dance, but I can’t help it.

               For once in my life, everything was starting to go right. But I’ve known this was coming, I knew it wasn’t last.

               Why, then, does it hurt so terribly?

               I guess even for the most prepared soul, no one is ever really ready to die.

               My new companion watches me, hands folded across the handle of a long, wicked scythe. The blade gleams brightly under the spotlight, a purple so dark it looks almost black. There is a pregnant pause, and for a moment, I fear that my request will be denied.

               “Know that I don’t grant requests like this often,” It says, so quiet I have to strain my ears to hear it, “but as you have done so well in preparing for my arrival, you may.”


               Just as suddenly as everything stopped, it all starts again. I’m still in Patrick’s arms, held tightly against his body as we waltz.

               All the noise filters back in, and I wince, resisting the urge to cover my ears.

               Patrick’s lips are moving, but everything else is so loud I can’t hear him.

               “I need to tell you something!” I say in his ear, and he pulls back, staring at me, eyebrows knitted in concern.

               “What is it, darling? You look so frightened.”

               “I have to go, Patrick. I have to leave. I’m sorry. Goodbye.”

               I lean forward and kiss his lips, briefly, trying to memorize the taste of him: wine and salt and something uniquely his.

               When I pull away, it all disappears again, and the figure appears in front of me, holding out a hand to guide me home.

               And I take it.