by Amara Linio
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Death · #1067003
It's very sad and about death; two swear words.
| Cold avenues under the smoggy sky led on. The child is cold, but the metal barrels that she and three other strangers share, flame fueled by garbage, sustains her body. She is fifteen but her eyes speak one hundred. She is thin; the thin cotton dress and wollen blanket around her shoulders hardly give her warmth as her teeth begin to chatter. |
"The coldest year on record," one of the men says to the other homeless vagabonds, and perhaps to her. He is slowly fading; old men like these do not last long in the shadow of death and cold. The girl, called Kalla, rubs her gloved hands together, trying to rid off the inevitable frostbite.
Once, her family had been wealthy. They had lived on Grand Avenue and cooked sweet almond bread and roast duck for Christmas.
Then came the damned robbers, the theives. Disguised in business suits, they wore badges of soft silver that declared harsh sentances. For suspected robbery, her father had been sent to prison, only to die later from typhus.
One by one, she watched her family dissappear; her mother faltered and gave into the bitter winter, surrendering to a fever and passing her love to her three children. Kalla watched as her sister Amy, three years old, fell prey to the criminals and rapists, the bitches of the street. Her brother Martin was found with poison in his water and blood on his face.
With each heartless day, her tears became more and more dry, and soon she could cry no longer. Her only focus was to live now, survive on the streets of hate and corruptions, streets that offended her soul.
One of the men glanced at her. "You're a pretty thing to be running around here. Like a young ballerina, you are."
She looked away, a bitter smile plastered to her lips. "I did take ballet, long ago. I danced for almost six years. But I don't dance anymore."
"There's nothing to dance for. My mother and father died, my sister and brother were murdered, and I ... I'm going to die."
It was the first time she had admitted what she now knew was immenent. A lone tear slipped from her eye and tiptoed down her cheek, into the fire. It hissed softly. Kalla closed her eyes tightly.
He looked at her steadily . "Then dance. The arts are for when there is nothing left, when all dreams fall from the sky, crashing into a hundred tiny peices and fade from us. Dance, child."
"But what for?" she whispered. "There must be a reason, an inspiration behind the movements. What do I have?"
"Memories," he said softly, so softly she could have sworn it was the fire. It crackled and licked the edges of the bin with a dry tongue, searching for fuel. "Memories are the only thing that can never be stolen or killed, because they are a part of you." Slowly, she walked away from the bin.
At first she danced with the blanket. Her feet moved slowly, coldly in the snowy street. In her mind, she imagined that she wore rose-petal pink toe shoes. In the snow, her nearly-bare toes lift a bloody trail. Her dance was a slow mournful one, like the dance of fall before winter. She moved in graceful steps, painting the picture of sorrow with her skinny body. The hobos from the fire started to dance around her, feeling her pain and her happiness that memories awaken. It was a wild and forbidden dance of souls kindred in sadness, shame, and hopelessness. Her eyes had become a fountain and sweet tears spilled from her sight and the lights of the city blurred together. Arabasque and plie grande worked together and formed a section of a dance. Revile and fifth postion decorated the street.
With her dance, she showcased her memories, creating a temporary memoir of yesteryear and joy that didn't exsist. Her family was illustrated before the fire pit and happier times shared with those surrounding her. The blanket flew off and she didn't feel the frostbite or the fever that had slyly taken her body.
In seconds, the world came to rest. Her eyes fell to the ground and saw her body lying folded into a limp shadow of the girl she had once been. Her face was radiant and her memories were finally reflected in death. Surrounding her was a small ring of three crumpled old men. Ghosts of their souls hung about in the air for a moment and then faded like steam.
She looked in front of her. A curtain of purple twilight reached from the ground to the blessed heavens; an unearthly breeze pulled at its corner and she glimpsed her family inside, along with so many of her dear friends and loved ones.
Kalla stepped into the sun beyond the world, into the solice beyond.