Pale faced couples dance the pavane.
Effete Victorians yearning for Elizabethan simplicity.

Standing, unwanted in shadows, she waits.
For what, she knows not.
Irritating chirrups of conversation intrude upon her reverie.

Three baby hogs turn on a spit, skin bubbling and peeling.
Grease stained revellers snort as they plunder the laden board.

Sights, sounds, smells; all mean nothing.
All life transient, all love ephemeral, all hope vain.
Glancing at the brass timepiece she sighs,
One more hour before duty done.

A bewigged servant approaches, tray offered,
Dismissed with a frown.
Pavane ends, Galliard begins, and she sighs once more.
When did originality die?

Time slows as darkness flickers.
She turns and observes as a dusky form flits between revellers.
The shadow pauses and takes form corporeal.
Tall, impossibly thin, leather raiment of black and charcoal.
Gliding, he approaches.
Gracefully, he bows.
Insolent eyes glint as he inspects her.
His hand is offered.

She accepts.

Guided onto the floor, his hands lead.
Between statuesque dancers they whirl.
Ever faster they spin,
As all around turns to mist.
Ballroom dissolving.
Celebrants becoming smoke.

All that remains is the gilded doorway.
Holding her hand he looks into her eyes.
Grey pools draw her forth.
Nothing more remains.
“Come” he whispers.

She follows.


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