Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Monster Tarantella

Marigold was substantial, overly jovial, large, lanky, all awkward angles.

Ballet was attempted. Young men with wispy hair and pained expressions lifted her in teams. At some point all agreed it should stop.

Marigold danced alone across lands of ice and fire, rock and mire. She galumphed by cover of night, listening between each thudding figure for the silvery giggles of the lithe.

One night there followed two clumsy children with blotchy faces. The next, a man who muttered to himself and could meet no-one's eyes. Then, a woman brittle with age and apprehension. Each night more, a hundred, a thousand, dancing in their own flawed, fantastical ways.

On the day the Great Sea Monster rose, slime-covered, bored, and irritable, the people screamed and hid. The monster travelled across ice and fire, rock and mire, and at last found Marigold. She came forth to meet it, her dancers following, and occasionally stepping on one another's toes.

Marigold looked the monster up and down and laughed her braying laugh. The monster recoiled, and Marigold and her dancers surged to close the distance.

A long moment passed, in which they could all hear each other breathing.

Experimentally, the monster moved forward again, and the dancers skipped backward, waving their arms to keep their uncertain balance. The monster stared at the patterns they made, like seaweed, like the tops of waves, like the northern lights. A strange joy swelled within its heart.

The monster flung its own arms up and twirled on its clawed and scaly feet. Marigold, seeing at last a dance that befitted her, joined in.

One by one, the others took up the wild and unmeasured steps, each in their own, irregular way. The moon rose, and thousands danced the Monster Tarantella.