My Shadowy Lullaby

It was a never-ending ball; one tune, one night, and one dancer, all repeating itself over and over again, a night that would have no end! I was the dancer, swaying to the tune; one somewhat foreign to me, nearly making it too complicated to dance. This music came from an old darkened music box said to be made by a magical folk, a magical race too ancient to be living today. Although living geniuses in their day, deceiving humans with their magic, now these legends of old were giving new life hope.

This tune mingled with my weak emotions, bringing pain, or comfort, as well as changing tears into laughter in seconds. In a strange mysterious way this tune appeared cursed with a spell so strong that it affected anyone just listening to it, having a sluggish, gloomy melody, a beautiful lively chorus. Repeating again and then moving on to the mysterious second verse was thrilling, followed by charming and always captivating pre-chorus. Sounding so unusual, the music lingered in my emotions, taking me in; a blur around me, with the exception of my movements. It began to dig deeper into my skin, testing my heart, fortitude and strength. Would I prevail over the dark tune that kept captivating me, or would I give in and dance for eternity?

I could feel other people dancing around me, but they all appeared too ghostly to resemble humans. Not feeling as tired as I would normally, I had no perspiring or faint feelings; not even breathlessness. I sensed that I was one of those ghostly humans. Commencing to believe I was one of the rushing phantoms of dance, my skin felt as though it was not my own. I heard thoughts that were not my own. Feeling controlled, yet as though I should be thinking those thoughts of beauty and life, I flew over the dance floor. Whirling around blissfully my heart sang: I am free. Fully captivated by the music, it took me in, and I willingly let it, becoming a slave to the music, dancing as it wanted. I became part of the music, a part of the dance, portraying my special part of the tapestry.

The tune's solitary sound could make even the strongest knights wither into the temptation, and I, much lesser than a knight. The thought made shivers dance on my back. The tune's sweet melody brought back all my sad and happy memories of years passed. My life, both memories and the future flew across the ballroom. Closing my eyes, imprisoned by the dance, or the tune, it all apparently melded together now.

I was in a dream where I only existed, destined to dance forever in this life. It was a lovely dream, but I wished I could go home to see my beloved. I opened my eyes to see the music box, and to destroy the dark lullaby it was portraying to me. I failed, for with dread I realized my feet were no longer on the ballroom floor; I was floating upward. Thrilling as it was, it also was terrifying.

I was no longer dancing a single, but I found myself looking into the eyes of a phantom, his eyes burning with a green fire of agony. His shady hood fell down to his shoulders to reveal more of his face. The two sharp edges of his ears longingly peeked out of his extended raven hair. He looked at me painfully, as though he desired to speak, yet was not allowed. It was plain that the music box's tune had affected him as well. Our eyes locked as though it was dramatically the music's fault. He gripped my hand with a strong, gentle hold, and I held his with a fragile hand.

The music began to slow. I had a filling the music box was going to stop its enchanting tune and die like a midnight's flame. To my surprise, it kept going at that slow speed. Its sound echoed through the skies and the halls of the snow white clouds. I became lost in my partner's eyes; I could start vividly seeing a different world in them. I felt myself drawn to their beauty and mystery; drawn into a world of love, life, mist and magic. His world was alive, healthy, nurtured by Mother Earth, and it was elegant. His world was altogether contrary to the moaning sick world I had longed to leave.

"Who are you?" was his question. His words were fleeting and hushed. He appeared offended when I did not answer.

"I-" I began to say, but my tongue got in the way. I was still lost in his fantasy. He was revealing too much of his own world to me; already I was I was speechless. Starting to float upwards, leaving my spirit-partner to dance all alone. He looked up at me mournfully. My heart began to crush down after that. Had I only held on to the phantom, perhaps he would have allowed me to go back with him to that wonderful world of mystic beauty. I knew I would always wonder: if only I had, what would have happened?

I felt alone, isolated from everything and everyone except that music box that embraced my soul. I longed to return to the phantom. A sudden comatose feeling overcame me, the music's speed slowing even more. I was in slow motion, like a dying plant waiting for its last days to arrive. I could still hear the tune of the music box, and see inside the phantom's eyes. I could close my eyes and still grasp the world around me. It was my shadowy lullaby, just waiting for me to fall asleep. Only with the power of a small comatose experience could it destroy me, and my hopes. I cried out for my partner, a tear rolling down my check as I felt myself being pushed. I knew then that I had given in, falling.

That had been forty years ago.
I never danced passionately again. Every time I remembered my shadowy lullaby, I was transported back to the dream's illusions. I had decided decades ago that I had to move on, and I did. I got married, played a part as mother and lived my life. However, my dream and that tune lived me with forever. The haunting tune of the music box still hides in the back of my wondering mind. I had collected many music boxes, in desperate need to hear the tune again. I had been so desperate. Now and again, I hear myself humming it. Occasionally, I would imagine hearing it from another music box, only to find that I had been deceived, closely edging into reality. Nothing could ever compare to that menacing lullaby.

Now a dying frame of what I used to be lies on a sickbed. I hear a small knock on the door; I hear a short creak as it opens. My eyes blur with liquid. I see my granddaughter walk to my bed. I can barely see her doll-like face, but I know if I could I would see carved tears on her face. She is beautiful, with life to live and a talent of singing. Her hand reaches to mine, and she holds onto my fragile hand, knowing this is the last time she will ever see me. Her hand is cool, and strong. I blink as she lets go to retrieve something in her bag. She offers a box to me. I take it, trembling, and try to study it with my weak eyes. She mutters something, and then kisses me and leaves.

The box I held was dark and mysterious. I could see someone coming into the room, starting to roam around with a dark appearance. No matter, I thought to myself, most likely it is a nurse. I grasp my box, which is a music box of beauty, and I twist the winder. Abruptly the old, familiar dark tune from the music box from my illusion came to life from that music box. The nurse notices the tone, and he hums to it. Smiling, I can remember it all, memories collapsing with hope. Perhaps now, I thought, my phantom will take me to his world…His beautiful world. The nurse goes to my side, he touches the music box, and the music dies. I look up and see those fiery emerald eyes… my phantom is here!

"Let the waltz start." I heard his hushed voice say. An outstretched hand lay before me, as I grasp the pale hand. I sit up, amazed that I feel better, and younger. I could feel my skin beginning to become healthier and light, sensing my soul was being healed by the touch of his hand. Stepping into his world, my eyes were opened, and the tune lively beats in my heart. I was to dance to that tune in heaven, the world I saw before me, the world I had seen in his suffering eyes; the world of peace… the world of harmony. I regain my figure, as he spins me around. There are smiles everywhere, hope is reality; and the tune, once so haunting and terrifying, lives inside all hearts.

My shadowy lullaby was the gateway to ceaseless dreams.