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The Writers Page: Dance of the Rose Petals

Dance of the Rose Petals
By Elise VanCise

It was dark in the chapel, a new moon shed no light in the old abandoned building. He sat on a pew moved under a window watching, waiting. Tonight he was prepared with camera, recorder, extra batteries, and a thermos of hot coffee to combat the chill of the night.

His hands wrapped around the tin cup absorbing the heat he took a long sip. It was almost time, almost. He was afraid they wouldn’t come, he wouldn’t see her again. That it was all a figment of his drunken mind.

Every night since that first one he had waited to see her again. Glancing back out the window he saw a glow fill the ancient graveyard.

The glow was a soft bluish green like the ocean. The air felt damp heavy as he tossed aside the half full cup getting up on his knees for a better view out the broken window. His camera was in hand as he searched the worn headstones.

The earth below a few of the stones shifted as a mist formed above them, taking shape. Arms stretched toward the sky as feet touched the ground. The figures yawned and moved as if waking from slumber.

He watched from his perch in the window holding up his camera to get the proof he wasn’t mad. They were real. The women there were like wisps of wind, ethereal. He could see them clearly in their ivory burial gowns, their skin fair as fine porcelain. But there was a touch of dream about them as they moved. Shifts in the misty glow would show them transparent.

His interest focused on one as she turned her skirt swirling the brittle leaves over her grave. She seemed to dance to some silent tune, perhaps only her kind could hear. Suddenly she stopped and walked back to her tombstone.

A cream colored rose lay on the aged marble. A soft smile of wonder touched pinked lips. She touched the petals gently as if it would fade away. When it didn’t she picked it up brushing her cheek against the silken petals before inhaling the sweet scent.

A few of the other spirits began to gather to see the flower. Some searching their own stones. She smiled and held it out for them to sniff and touch lightly it had been so very long since anything but decay grew here.

The wind blew leaves around them, though their delicate forms. One jealous spiteful spirit marched over. Around her the mist seemed darker, and aura of her cruel days in flesh?

Her hand closed over the petals and crushed the flower, leaving only the stem in the sweet spirits hands.

The others began to walk away to play on their night of freedom. The dark soul raised her chin and moved as far from them as her existence would allow.

He watched wanting in that moment to run out and tell her not to be sad. The expression of loss on her sweet face was almost too much for his own heart to bear. How was he to know something as simple as a rose would cause so much.

Looking out the window he saw her chest rise and fall in a ghostly sigh. Kneeling on the dead grass she picked up every petal, caressing each lightly in her hand. When they were all gathered she sat on a cracked marble bench and marveled.

She could still smell the sweet fragrance; the petals were still soft like her favorite velvet gown. She held them to her face and smiled. A petal escaped slipping though her fingers floating to her lap.

Standing she watched it float gently to the worn earth. Suddenly she raised her hands and spun around tossing the petals in the air. As they fell around her catching on her hair and dress she danced in them.

When they had all fallen she gathered them to dance again in the glow of the mist. Her gown flowing around her, arms gracefully moving though the air, her dark hair flowing free around her shoulders lifting as she turns.

There was no sound but a soft rustle of leaves but he could imagine her joyous laughter. Something made her pause and look up. She brushed a strand of hair from her face and sighed. She gathered up her petals and carried them lovingly back to her grave.

Holding her hands over it she slowly turned her palms letting them fall like soft rain over her stone. With a gentle smile she yawned and stretched as the mist appeared to grow thicker. Soon the others were in their places as well the mist starting to fade until a glimpse of the sun could be spotted over the trees.

There was no more dancing the only evidence of the night being the cream colored rose petals strewn over the darkened marble stone.