The Ending Dance

PIVO by Gabriela Jolowicz

Recently, SNAP gallery had this great flash fiction contest–writers were meant to create a 750 word story based on Gabriela Jolowicz‘s incredible work, PIVO (pictured)! Though I didn’t win, I am proud of the story I submitted, and have included it for your perusal below. (My humble thanks to the artist for the inspiration).

PIVO by Gabriela Jolowicz
PIVO by Gabriela Jolowicz

Pi revolves slowly on her glass table-top, preserving what’s left of her precious energy. She’s been dancing a long time. Many have sat and watched and learned and passed as they should. But these. These three had remained unmoving, their eyes barely on her. It was each other they had come for. It was for each other that they stayed.

Clap, clap, hail the hands of mercy, raised to the sky in despair.

Below her, what’s left of SOAD lies distorted by the darkened plane between them, tension still burning deeply within the strings of the forgotten instrument. If Pi listens carefully, she can imagine his song again playing, drawing her dance forward, keeping the bulbous poisons at bay.

“Bet I can tell what’s on your mind!” Mask taunts the others, her, the newest at the table and wearing jester’s pajamas. Pi knows the woman hides her true meaning beneath a false message looking to be found.

“It is you who has kept secrets,” says the old one with no name, mercenary on his mind. Pi sometimes thinks she catches him looking, he who never shows his hands, who always hides in plain sight. Will his compass one day stop turning, and lead them all away?

“We’ve got a war on our hands!” The table shakes as More slams his fist, the smoke from his cigarette mirroring the splaying cracks each hand has made in the glass. Regaining her balance, Pi closes her eyes at the sight of him, so ugly and mal-formed, branded by the deep cuts of the others, permanently etched onto his shell.

“So, shower it with affection!” Mask raises her undoing to the ceiling, calling it quenching, calling it thirst. “If you ask for arms, get the feet while you’re at it!”

Around and around they’d gone, time irrelevant, the poison moving ever closer. Everything else had been destroyed, ultimately consumed, stoppered by their inaction, their non-motion, their ooze.

Clap, clap, protest the palms of patience, offering more than their share.

Only then had Pi begun to think it—of leaving her dance behind. No one living knows she chooses to abate chaos; to spend her life for all others, her dance for their peace. But these had edged ever closer, had split the very table on which she stands. Can she stay and let them defile her? Or will she step down into the fire lightly, relinquishing the spell holding them blind?

Around them the bulbous forms pulse, ready to pop and bleed. Pi acts slowly, drawing her turns out by mere fractions to avoid a sudden look, a crippled gaze. If only she can get to the edge—if only she can remain unseen in front of their noses.

She bends, grasping the sharp lines of the outer glass with her fingers, and pulls herself down slowly, so slowly, so she hangs only by her elbows. It will be painful, she knows, to open her mouth and speak the curse. Even more so to fall and pass amid the weeds. But it will catch them across the face, they, who are not fast enough to stop her. Head still above the table, Pi takes a last look at SOAD’s guitar, already twisting in the turmoil below, and shouts:

“Mahîhkan!” Wolf! Wolves! Eat your own flesh for once and dissolve at your own doing.

To this, only one answers—the nameless one turning slightly as he alone watches her fall. Not a sound more seeps from her burning mouth, her eyes open until the rest has been scorched away, searching, looking, still. In their last reflection lies the torment of their waking, those three, the ones who chose to stay and consume the rest.

Clap, clap, pound the fists of forgetting, erased as if never there.


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