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Al Howe

"Journey Part 05 - The Ball" by Al Howe

SciFi/Fantasy text 5 out of 10 by Al Howe.      ←Previous - Next→
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Of course not so surreal can be strange too, especially as power grows.
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←- Journey Part 04 - Music | Journey Part 06 - The Valley -→

Startled, you shake into consciousness. There is soft music playing and the sounds of a light rain around you. You carefully open your eyes to find that you are still in the gazebo, glowing orange under a dark overcast sky. Droplets of water are blown in making dark spots on your robe and cloak where they land. A small wooden box sits in the center of the gazebo, and the music is coming for it. Pushing yourself up on tired arms you see someone leaning against the edge of the doorway. He appears to be using a small dagger to clean under his fingernails.

"So you are finally awake?" He appears to be regal, but has the mannerisms of a rogue. His white shirt is hung loosely, buttoned up only halfway. Loose sleeves end in tight cuffs. A golden hued belt holds up black pants tucked into knee high boots - the kind a pirate would wear, with buckles and the top folded over. His face is quite angular and clean shaven, topped off with brown hair, brushed back. His smile is wide, filled with white teeth and his eyes are pools of liquid silver.

"Uhhh... who are you?"

He starts towards you, pocketing the knife. "Do you like the music box? I brought it here for you. I like this gazebo, come here often. Wasn't expecting rain. What brings you here?"

"I walked through a doorway and appeared here..." He stops about 2 feet from you. "Oh really, nice. I walked here myself, long journey. Needed to rest." Standing with his feet crossed, he reaches out his hand, "m'lady?"

Almost out of curiosity, you reach out your hand to hold his, and he helps you up on your feet. Without letting go, he starts to turn to the left and continues talking, "I love your outfit," you blush red remembering how sheer it is, afraid to look down, "but that's not the sort of dress to wear to a ball."

You shake your head and realize you are surrounded by people... talking, laughing, dancing... The music stops for a moment, and a new song begins. He lifts his hand, and pulls you in close. His other hand is in a fist at his waist. He begins to dance around, his steps are complex. He accomplishes them easily.

"But I can't dance..." you whisper.

"Just follow my lead," he says, silver eyes twinkling.

You are in a vaulted hall. Warm orange wood lines the walls and the vaults along the ceiling. A giant chandelier, at least 20 feet across hangs above you, far out of reach. Below the vaults, wooden beams reach from wall to wall and hold up large tapestries of intricate design - interwoven with all sorts of fantasy creatures in brilliant color and definition. Your gaze darts from tapestry to tapestry, who could be the architect of such imagination? Periodically, along the wall, are stained glass windows, easily twice your height. Inlayed with more scenes of fantasy, their color even outshines the tapestries. And you come to a realization... the closest window is 'Strength' followed by the 'Wheel of Fortune,' 'Death,' the 'Lovers...' It appears that there is a window for each card.

You are surrounded by people of all types... tall, short; large, small; fat, skinny. They all move in a rhythmic fashion like a field of flowers in the wind. Most are dressed in fine outfits, reminiscent of noble outfits from the middle ages, and everyone is wearing a mask of some sort... all except you and your host, but no one seems to notice. You are wishing you could wear more, as your eyes come back to your host, his silvery eyes having never left you.

You have been dancing for a while, maybe not the best, but you can't remember, your feet seem to be moving on their own. You aren't even sure how many songs it has been. Your host is still showing off his limber prowess, when you think you see a spot of darkness across the hall. His arm grabs around your waist, spinning, losing your bearings, and when you stop, you can't remember where to look. But wait, there it is again, something dark against the wall. His body passes in front of you, and when he moves out of the way, it is gone. Keeping in step with the beat, you turn and scan the entire room... Over there, amongst the swaying grass of colorfully clothed people, a dark spot - not dancing, closer than before. Could it be? You are feeling a bit flushed, as if beginning to sweat... Something grabs your arm, pulling you back to face those silver eyes, to tip you back and look at the ceiling. Back to standing again, and you turn to rescan the hall. This time you see nothing as you turn completely around and come back to your host. The music quiets down and stops again... and a new song starts up. The beat is familiar, but you can't remember the name. It doesn't sound like something mideval noblemen and women would dance to.

Your host begins to dance again, and your feet join in. "You dance wonderfully," he says, his voice ending in a hiss.

Half appearing, the Shadow steps out from behind your host. He touches the host's arm, his spectral voice reverberating in the wide hall, "may I have this dance." The host, looking reluctant, backs away. The Shadow steps in close. He takes your left hand with his right, places your right hand around his body and then his left hand around yours, pulling you close. He begins to move in a dance-like fashion, your feet moving also, effortlessly, no pressure from the floor. Moving slowly, you and the Shadow contrast sharply with the rest of the room.

You press against him, leaning your head against his shoulder. "I was wondering if you would be here..."

He looks down to your face, his face still invisible in his hood. "I have always been here."

"You said the same thing to me in my dream, the same way..."

"Yes I did..."

"But... how...?"

"I was there." He is smiling.

You're not sure how long you have been dancing without music, but music is not playing. You look up, the hall is empty. "Where did everyone go?"

"There is no one here."

"But all the people? There were a lot of people here..."

"That is a part of you and me, but there is no one here."

"And what about the music?"

"The music is inside."

You realize you are still dancing, and come to a stop. "What's it like outside?"

"There is no outside, just a stairs at that end over there..." he gestures to the right.

"But what's on the other side of those windows?"


"What would happen if I broke one of them?"


"Then to the stairs it is!" And you turn towards the stairs, practically dragging the Shadow with you.

←- Journey Part 04 - Music | Journey Part 06 - The Valley -→

17 Jun 200445 Skytzo
First again hahahaha! Okay this one was a bit more difficult to understand, and i got really confused when the'pirate' came in and im like hello what happened to the shadow, ya know? Cause i love that guy cause hes so cool and im so jealous that you can write like that and yes im a girl just so you dont start thinking im a gay fag who thinks shadows are cool and talks too much. Off to the stairs!
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'Journey Part 05 - The Ball':
 • Created by: :-) Al Howe
 • Copyright: ©Al Howe. All rights reserved!

 • Keywords: Art, Ball, Box, Dance, Death, Escape, Love, Lovers, Music, Pirate, Strength, Surreal, Surrealism, Tarot, Vampire, Wood
 • Categories: Magic and Sorcery, Spells, etc.
 • Views: 271

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More by 'Al Howe':
Journey Part 08 - The Arena
Journey Part 02 - The Doorway
Journey Part 10 - The Castle
Journey Part 06 - The Valley
Journey Part 03 - Gazebo

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