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Rated: E · Fiction · Sci-fi · #1553636
A man discovers those with which he can waltz.
“There it goes again.” A blue streak of light flashed across the door and out into the warm night. We watched as it danced far out in the valley, with beautiful arcs and curves, making wondrous and indistinguishable pictures, until finally dying off, exploding with a loud crack into a dazzling shower of blue and green sparks. All of the inhabitants of the bio complex stood by in awe.

I hated the thing. It was loud and bright and I could never get to sleep whenever it started to “waltz.” That’s what all of the others started calling it. Waltz. I called it “pest.”

The pest started to appear about a month ago without any sort of warning or reason. It was late one night when someone, I’m not sure who, happened to look out his or her window at night and see this beautiful orb floating around in the valley. The entire complex was alerted quickly and evacuated to a safe room while this new anomaly was investigated. I was one of the three people in the lab who, from a large LED computer monitor connected to a camera outside, watched for six hours as these orbs materialized, floated around, did its loop de loops, and then exploded. This continued for a few days until people started getting tired of being stuffed into the safe room.

Another one of those things materialized right above where the other had died and continued the “dance.” Everyone gasped and sighed with each dip and turn, almost floating along with it. I sighed and started walking back to my room. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I would be able to do anything about it in there.

As I walked back, I felt a tug on my arm. It was Theresa’s little girl, Bella. She was always following around, calling me by my first name, nosing around my business. I usually have to work around her or stop my work entirely at times; I just kept her entertained until her mother came looking for her. She’s a cute kid and all, but she’s pretty annoying. “Where ya goin’, John?”

“I’m going back to bed now.”

“Why? Don’cha wanna see the waltz?”

“I have a lot of important things to do tomorrow, so I need my sleep. Good night now, Bella.”

“But—“ Bella started in protest.

“Bella, dear,” Theresa said, placing a hand on her daughter’s shoulder, “Mr. McAllister needs his rest.”

Bella pouted a bit, but quickly recovered and ran back to the door. Theresa smiled and winked at me. I returned the smile and waved back at her. Then I continued on my way to my room for a night of futility.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


I stared in the general direction of the computer screen, trying to look like I knew what I was doing. I had gotten about as much sleep as I thought I was going to get, and now I was just trying to stay awake. It’s not like any of the data on the screen made any sense anyway. As far as I could tell, it was just random numbers.

I jumped as I felt a hand rest on my shoulder. I had nodded off.

It was Theresa. She looked like she had gotten a full nights rest. Then again, she probably had access to make up, not that she needed it. The woman is a knock out. Her light blue eyes seem so innocent, and yet so sage. Her skin is pale but radiant. Her smile… Her smile could start a war.

She held a mug of coffee out to me and said, “You need a break.”

“I need a vacation.” Theresa sat down next to me and took a sip of her own coffee. “So where’s the kid?”

“Hmm? Oh, she’s still asleep. She didn’t get to bed until sometime this morning.” She smiled. “I think she has a bit of a crush on you.”

“Well, tell her that I appreciate the thought, but six-year-olds aren’t really my type.”

She giggled and took another sip of coffee. Then, there was silence. Her eyes started to wander around the lab, looking for something to talk about. I wish I could have been a bit more accommodating, but I could barely think, and, truthfully, I didn’t really feel like talking. Her eyes eventually found the computer screen and all of the seemingly random numbers on it. “What are you looking at?”

I looked back at the screen. What was I looking at? It took a few seconds for the gears in my head to start turning, and when they did, they were extremely slow. “Oh, it’s the data on the orbs.”
“Pardon? What orbs?”

“I put some sensors out the other night, all kinds of sensors, to see if I could pick up anything from the orbs.”

“I’m still not sure what these orbs are. Do you mean the waltz?”

“Uhhh, yeah.” I didn’t feel like arguing.

“Okay, what’s it telling you?”

“That I might be wasting my time. I can’t see any sort of pattern in this data. It’s filled with random jumps and dips that I just can’t follow.” I rubbed my eye. “Then again, I’m about to pass out from delirium, so…”

Theresa smiled again. She started to stare off into space and as she did, her smile started to fade. “What do you think they are, John? They just appeared out of nowhere… They don’t really seem natural, but… Are they here for a reason? What if they’re from out of this world? What does that entail for us?”

“I have no idea. They could be from another planet; they could be some sort of natural phenomenon. Hell, they might be ghosts.” I paused for a second, and then looked at Theresa. “I don’t think they mean us any harm, though. So don’t worry.”

Theresa gave a short little laugh. “If I thought they were dangerous I would have left a long time ago.”

“Ha! Bella would never allow that!”

“Yeah, you’re probably right… She’d have to know everything about them before she would even consider leaving.”

“Well, that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. Wanting to know everything, I mean. Your kid, she’s gonna be something great one day. I know it.”

Theresa gave me another smile and said thank you. Then she got up and said that she was going back to her desk to work on her… something. I stopped listening at that point, finding that I didn’t actually have the ability to anymore. I turned back to my desk and took a long sip from my coffee. There had to be some kind of pattern that I wasn’t noticing. These kinds of things don’t just happen. I must have overlooked something….

I awoke to the sound of “sticky keys” on my computer. I had fallen asleep again. I got up from my chair and stumbled out of the lab. Science could simply not happen without sleep.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


This place that we work and live in, this “bio complex” as most people liked to refer to it, was a revolutionary idea, albeit a rather simple one. Simply put, they took the most technologically advanced equipment and some of the brightest minds from all fields of science and threw them all into this gigantic structure (designed by the world’s top architects so that the place would not only be able to stand but look nice while doing it) to work on whatever he or she felt like.

Although the entire place is considered to be one structure (most of it is underground), it looked more like a small town. All of the scientists who work here live here with their families. Most of these families consist of a scientist mom, a scientist dad, and a bright and eager to learn child. While mother and father were off discovering the cure for something or figuring out how to turn something into something else, the child was learning from a cyber tutor designed and programmed especially for this place. After their lessons, they were basically given free rein to do whatever they wanted, with only a few rules that were enforced by supervisors.

I was one of the few people who had come here alone. I hadn’t realized just how lonely it would be. Of course, I was used to the loneliness at that point in my life. I had quite a knack for killing relationships. I had started to just forget about others. I was ready to find a nice little space between two little data points and make my home there. It’s at about this time that I met Theresa and Bella Smith. They were part of a group that was brought in later when the people who were funding this realized that there was space in the complex that wasn’t being filled. The two of them became my family. The two of them saved me.

Bella’s father was dead. He was one of those kids who went to the best college because his father has money. But he had a way with words it would seem, so he managed to sound smart to most people. Theresa was one of these people. Before she realized just how dumb of a person this man was, they were already married and she was already pregnant. Still, she loved the damned fool. She managed to raise Bella on her own, which was made a little easier by the large paycheck the idiot brought home every now and then. For the most part, they were happy.

Then the numb skull did something really stupid. He started getting into drugs and, soon after, managed to get himself killed. Theresa was devastated, but also scared. The idiot had died, not the debt he had racked up. Someone was bound to come for her, or worse, for Bella. This is when she learned about the bio complex and how scientists of all realms were being asked to participate. The part that caught her eye was the “live in the complex” section. She applied to be part of this program and was quickly approved. She left her life and her love for the hopes of peace.

That man was a bastard. To have ever done such a thing to that woman and that girl is unforgivable. He had no idea how lucky he was to have such a beautiful wife and such a wonderful little girl. The girl… I may complain a lot about her, but Bella is a really great kid. She takes almost completely after her mother, thank God. The only thing that might have come from her father is her hair, which is brown. In everything else, she is almost exactly like Theresa; she is clever, curious, energetic, friendly. She has her mother’s smile. Whenever she was in my lab with me, she would ask so many questions, and she would be completely quiet while I explained things. She’s such a bright little girl. I know she’s not my kid or anything, but I’m just so damn proud of her.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


I watched the monitor as another orb materialized and started to wave about. I can’t get to sleep because of these things and now I’m watching them while I’m awake? I must be some sort of masochist.

I had just gotten back from taking a nap, which had the positive affect of helping me see straight. After my nap, I had gotten a bite to eat, had a chat with another scientist about the weather, reorganized my desk, just about everything I could think of to keep me away from actually doing the work I had set out to do. I was absolutely sure that it was completely impossible for me to figure out what the data meant, that science had simply not advanced enough to completely comprehend what these things were.

Nonetheless, I stared at the video of the orb alongside a graph showing the data being collected while the video was being recorded. As I had thought, there was no real pattern. The orbs were obviously too advanced for anyone to figure out in my lifetime.

Then I started to notice something. It wasn’t a pattern, really. It was something strange. Each change in the graph seemed to happen as a result of the orb’s actions. None of the resulting data was consistent, and yet it all seemed to be connected. I also started to notice that there was something of a beat to the way the orb was moving. Pretty soon, each flip, turn, loop, and spin started to make sense in a way. I imagined the orb to be the tip of a conductor’s wand, guiding his orchestra in a symphony of majesty and wonder. I started to hear the song in my head. I closed my eyes and the song continued. I rode every crescendo to its peak and slowed with each ritardo. I flew through several octaves, held the longest note as if for dear life. I felt the rests as intensely as the notes. I could see nothing and at the same time, everything. In my mind, I was in the middle of a waltz which the whole world danced.

“John?” I jumped. How long had I been lost? I looked around for the source of the voice. Down by my side, I saw a familiar curious face.

“Hello, Bella. Finally awake, are you?”

The girl nodded. “What song was that?”

I stared at her for a second. How did she know about the song? I assumed that I must have been humming it as I was gone. “Oh, nothing,” I said, “just a tune that popped into my head.”

Bella seemed to buy it and started looking at the computer monitor. “What’cha lookin’ at?”

“This? This is data I’ve been collecting on the orb—on the waltz. I’m trying to figure out what it is.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m curious. Aren’t you curious?”

She shrugged. “Not really.”

“What? You don’t want to figure out what it is, how it forms, why it dances?”

She shrugged again. “I just like it.”

I nodded, but I didn’t understand. Of course she isn’t a scientist. She doesn’t fervently search for knowledge as we do. But she usually shows some sort of interest in whatever I’m doing. Why was she so dispassionate about the orbs? She should especially want to learn about them seeing as she loves watching them so much.

Bella started tugging on my arm, which broke my train of thought. “Can I see the plankton again?” I nodded absently and brought over a microscope with a few slides I had borrowed from somebody who didn’t need them anymore in it. As she looked my mind was spinning. Why did her apathy disturb me so? She’s been uninterested in many of my experiments and those times I found it a relief. Somehow, however, this time was different. She was supposed to be interested in this. She was supposed to want to find out what the orbs were. She should be watching the video with me instead of looking at those slides she’s seen a hundred times.

I watched her, as she stood tip toe on a chair, just barely able to look into the lens. Her eyes were filled with wonder and excitement.

I’m going to find out what those orbs are. For the sake of science and for the sake of Bella, I will unlock their mystery.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


The reason I gravitated toward Theresa and Bella was that they were just like me; they were completely alone in this world, were only using this place as an excuse to escape. Theresa, after the death of her love, just wanted a place where she could raise her daughter and then live out the rest of her life in peace. Like me, she just stopped caring about others.

We had known that a new bunch of people was coming for months. Some people whined. Others were excited. I couldn’t care less. I had perfected the art of being alone in a crowd long before; what were a few more people?

The day that the new people arrived, one of the more eccentric physicists threw a party welcoming Ms. Theresa Smith and her daughter Bella. I went for the sole purpose of food. I stood by the table, eating my weight in shrimp, trying to be friendly to anyone who felt sorry for me and came up to talk to me. Once I finished my share of the shrimp I locked my eyes on the cake, which had just been cut. I made my way to the other side of the room, avoiding as many people as possible. Finally, I had a plate in my hand and was about to take a bite when I heard from behind me, “Ah! Someone we haven’t met yet!” I knew right away who it was and who they were talking about. I sighed, put the plate back down on the table and turned to meet them.

It was her smile that caught me off guard. It was soft, and yet devastating at the same time. I almost felt overwhelmed just standing there. I couldn’t help but stare at her. The first thing I could think was and here I am, eating like a pig.

“Hello, my name is Theresa Smith. This,” motioning to a little girl standing behind her, holding on to her mother, “is my daughter, Bella. We’re, uhhh, new here, obviously. I’d like to thank you for coming to welcome me, and…” she hesitated, then sighed. “I’m sorry. I’ve been acting formally all night. I don’t even know why. I’m going to be working with you people from now on, right? Well, at least around you all. I don’t know, I guess I just feel a little under pressure with this whole party and all. Who planned this? Isn’t this a bit much for just welcoming one person? I mean, it’s not like I’m all that big of a deal or anything. But….” She trailed off and stared at the ground for a second. She then looked back at me and laughed. “I’m sorry; I just started rambling at you when you were just trying to get some cake. I, uhhh…. I really need some air. Come on, Bella.” She started to walk off, but then looked back at the table. “But how about some cake first?” I stared at her as she and her daughter shared a piece of cake. I couldn’t quite understand what had just happened. It felt like I had just survived a hurricane. I actually felt exhausted.

Theresa noticed me staring at her and stared back for a second, confused. Then her eyes grew wide and she put her plate down. “I’m sorry! I haven’t asked you your name yet, have I?”
I managed to find my voice in time. “It’s John,” I said, “John McAllister.” My hand extended itself before I could think about it.

“Nice to meet you, John!” She took my hand and gave me in return a smile.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


It wasn’t long until I realized that Theresa was to be working in a lab not too far from my own. It also didn’t take long for that girl to attach herself to me. I had never really liked kids before, and Bella wasn’t exactly helping their cause. First of all, I like to work alone. I always have and probably always will. I usually send my assistants away whenever possible, only calling them back when I have absolutely no other choice. However, this has nothing to do with my anti-social tendencies, I think. It’s just easier for me to concentrate without the presence of others.

Bella did not understand this. Once she realized that I was close by, she spent almost all of her free time pestering me, questioning me, watching me. I would tell her to leave and she would ignore me and ask more questions. I would take her back to her room and she would come back a few minutes later as if nothing had happened. I’m not even sure why she latched on to me. Had I left some sort of impression on her, shoving my face full of food at the party? It got to the point where I was trying to complete as much work as I could before she was done with her school work. I would have simply locked the door, but I perform relatively safe experiments, and closing the door on an eager mind is frowned upon here. So I answered all of her questions and suffered through the lack of necessary work getting done.

On one of these days, I was sitting at my desk, my thumb and index finger massaging the bridge of my nose as Bella interrogated me about what a photon was, what it did, and why exactly it was so important. I answered as calmly and as pleasantly as I could, but there was only so much I could do. Just as I was about to hit my limit, I heard a knock at my door. I spun around to meet this second intruder to find Theresa looking back at me.

“Hi, John,” she said with a friendly wave, “I was wondering if you had seen—Ah! There you are!” Bella looked up from the computer screen (I had loaded up a walkthrough of atoms, an advanced lesson from the tutor program for older children) and stared blankly at her mother. “What are you watching?”

“It’s about atoms,” Bella stated matter-of-factly. “I like the electrons spinnin’ around the nucleus.” I was always amazed by how she was able to follow these kinds of things. I would have been bored out of my mind watching that when I was twice her age.

“Well, you can watch that later,” Theresa said as she walked over and closed out of the program. “I want you to go outside and play with some of the other kids.”

“But, Moooom!”

“Bella, I love that you want to learn so much, I really do, but it’s unhealthy for you to spend every waking hour staying inside and not making friends. Trust me; you’ll thank me in a few years.”

Bella groaned, but got up and sulked out of the room. I blinked. Had I known Theresa had such control over the girl, I would’ve used her to get rid of the girl sooner. Though, I suppose she is the girl’s mother.

Theresa smiled as she watched her daughter start to run out the door. She looked at me and said, “I’m beginning to think that she might be worth the investment.” As she finished saying that, hers eyes widened and she added quickly, “not that I would ever think that! I mean, of course she’s worth the investment.” She sighed. “God, now I sound like a horrible mother. I need to work on what I say around people. It could start getting me into trouble.” She continued to ramble on for a few minutes as I just stared at her. She always seemed like she was talking to herself whenever we were talking. I usually didn’t have to say anything and she would just let everything out. It was perfect for me, actually. If there were more people like her in the world, I might’ve had more friends. Less chance for me to open my mouth and screw things up.

Suddenly, she sat in the seat that her daughter was just sitting in, which meant that she was probably going to be staying for a while. I tried not to grimace. I enjoyed her company and all, but, damn it, I was trying to work. I turned back to my own computer and continued my work. She didn’t notice. She just kept talking and I kept listening, if only to make polite “I’m paying attention to you” sounds. A few more minutes later, and she was back on the subject of Bella. She started talking about what a bright, young girl she was and how she just loved to learn new things and that she was very clever and fun girl but never had any fun with other kids because she liked to learn new things more and that she was worried about the girl’s social life when she grew up and how a father figure would definitely help in the girl’s upbringing, at which point Theresa suddenly stopped talking. A-ha.

“So where is Bella’s father?” I asked without thinking, without even looking away from my work. Oh crap, I thought. Damn it, I have to stop that. It’s okay; it’s a harmless enough question. I’ll just apologize after she answers and it’ll be fine.

“I, uhh, I-I don’t really…”

“It can’t be that bad.” Wait, what happened to saying sorry?! Stop this now! Don’t let her say anything else! We’ll both end up regretting it! Apologize! Right now!

“…He’s dead.” I could hear the tears in her voice, forming there before in her eyes.

“How did he die?” I asked without missing a beat, stilling staring at my computer. Oh God. Please, don’t do this. Not another person who hates me. Just stop… Just stop…

There was silence for a few minutes. I could feel her eyes boring into the back of my head and I just kept typing. I could hear her sniffling as the tears flowed down her cheek, and I just kept typing. I just kept typing and I just kept screaming.

“Fine,” She said, and she proceeded to tell me all about the father; about how they met, about how they got married, about how he messed up, about how he died. All the while, I continued doing my work as pleaded with her in my mind to stop, as I pleaded with myself to make her stop. When she finished, I could hear her gasps of breath and her sobs and I just kept typing. She covered her face with her hands and I just stared at my computer screen, at the emotionless numbers.

A few centuries past in the next moment. Without looking up, I said, as if coming to a conclusion, “He was a bastard.”

“Excuse me?!” Her voice was filled with such anger. I couldn’t breathe and yet I continued to talk.

“He obviously didn’t deserve you.” What the hell am I doing?! “He was just some dumbass rich kid who knew how to act smart in front of others.” No…No…No…No! “He thought he would be cool getting involved with all of that crap and it got him killed.” Disgusting… I’m disgusting… “And I can tell you didn’t really love him. You’re not the kind of person who would fall for someone like that.” Oh god… I feel sick… Why do I always do this…? “You fell in love with what he presented himself as and when you learned about the real him, you just decided to deal with it, to act like this is what you wanted, just to make sure your daughter was happy.” Just shut up… Let her leave like all of the rest… “You’re unconsciously happy that he’s dead, but don’t want to admit it to yourself, so you try to avoid talking about him.” SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP! “That’s the real reason why you’re crying. You’re being forced to face it.”

The silence hurt my ears. I stared at the computer monitor as if it meant something to me. I could feel her trembling with anger right behind me. I waited for my punishment.

“You…” I was scared, and yet I couldn’t show it. My hands were steady, my eyes dry, my heart still. “You’re….You’re…” A monster? A freak? The real bastard? Come on, tell me. Don’t leave me in suspense. “You… You’re right… You’re absolutely right.”

For the first time, I moved. I spun around and looked at Theresa. As soon as I did, I felt the full force of her hand come across my face. Though I expected a response like this, I was nonetheless surprised. My glasses fell to the floor and I almost fell out of my chair. I looked back up at her. Her eyes burned holes of hatred into my own. “But!” She screamed. “But that gives you no right…!” She glared at me for a few centuries longer and then stormed out of the room.

I blinked at the door and stared at it for a little while until I realized my vision was a little blurry. I reached down, picked up my glasses, replace them on my face, turned to my computer, saved all of my work, closed out of all of the programs I was using, shutdown my computer, cleaned up all of the equipment I had been using, sat down, took my glasses back off, and proceeded to cry into my arms for the next hour.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


A few weeks later, I was sitting in one of the public rooms, watching the news on the television up in the corner of the room, since I didn’t have one in my room (I was usually on the computer and never really watched TV anyway). Almost didn’t notice when someone sat next to me, placing a mug of coffee on the table in front of me. I looked over and saw Theresa. She was looking away from me, at the TV. I stared for a second, then smiled. I picked up the coffee and continued to watch the news.


o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o~o.o


It was warm outside. And dark. Very dark. I hadn’t really noticed just how dark it got around here. I guess that the orbs were so entrancing that one just doesn’t notice the darkness surrounding them.

I had decided to take my studies into the field so that I could experience these orbs first hand. Those graphs and charts weren’t going to tell me anything. Anything I was going to learn about them was going to be right here.

I glanced around. It was eerily quiet. No owls, no nocturnal rodents scurrying about. Not even the crickets were singing. I shivered despite the warmth. Where the hell was that orb?

Suddenly, blue. It flowed around me, slowly, every few seconds doing a random loop. It did not go anywhere else. It stayed near me. Strangely, it didn’t actually produce any light, despite being candescent. I stared in wonder as it flowed around me, swayed, spun. Peaks. Valleys. The song started to play in my head again and for a moment I was lost. I shook my head vigorously and forced my eyes to stay open. I had to start humming The Who songs to keep that ensnaring symphony out of my mind.

The thought suddenly occurred to me that this thing might be dangerous. I jumped away from the thing quickly, keeping my eyes on it. It seemed to not notice and simply drifted away from the point that I was at. I searched the ground and found a nearby stick. With it, I slowly approached the orb. I tapped it. Nothing. The stick didn’t disintegrate and the orb didn’t seem to notice. I checked the stick closely just to be sure. No burn marks, no ooze, no nothing.

I put the stick down and decided to try it out myself. Slowly I reached out, bracing myself for whatever this thing might do to me. Almost as if it knew what I was trying to do, the thing jumped to my hand. I cringed. I was going to regret this.

It was the strangest thing I had ever felt. It felt like nothing was there at all, but that I was still… feeling it. Like it was both there and not there at the same time. As I moved my hand down its tail, it felt like I was simply moving my hand through the air, but also as if something were guiding it.

Another thing I noticed was that, upon touching it, the entire thing turned red, starting from the place where my hand was touching it. I stared at it in awe and, as I stared, it turned yellow. I started to wonder why it kept changing colors, which is when it changed purple. I stared for a second more, my hand being lead on by something that was and wasn’t there. My eyes grew wide and the orb turned a bright, almost blinding yellow as I realized: it was responding to my emotions.

This was astounding. Somehow this could tell what I was feeling just by my touch. The orb turned into a mixture of yellow and green and started to flow around me at a faster pace. It was hard to keep up with it and pretty soon it had me running. It never went faster than me, though. It always managed to go just slow enough to stay beside me.

It started to turn purple at some point and slowed down. I realized that I had started wondering about something. What did blue represent? It struck me that finding that out would be the key to understanding why the orbs were here, perhaps even where they came from, or, better yet, what they were. I started trying to feel as many emotions as I could, though it wasn’t very easy. I watched as the waltz changed into so many different colors, trying not to be awestruck by just how beautiful it was. Finally, I came across blue: sadness.

Why was such a beautiful thing sad? Did something happen to it? Did it lose something? Someone? I completely forgot about what it was and where it came from. I forgot about all of the burning questions I had thought I cared about. All I could think about was finding out what had wounded this orb. I wanted to try and help in any way I could. A thought occurred to me: if it could read my feelings, could it also read my thoughts? I closed my eyes and placed my hands on the orb. I took a deep breath and said in my mind:

It’s okay. You don’t have to be sad anymore. We’re here for you, everyone here at the bio complex. We’ll take care of you, make sure you aren’t alone. You won’t be alone anymore. There’s this great kid here, Bella. I know she’ll love playing with you and keeping you company. So stop being sad. You don’t have to worry about a thing.

As soon as I finished “speaking” to it, the orb turned into a bright green and spun off into the night making arcs and loops, until finely disappearing. No bang, no sparks. It simply vanished. I stared into the black abyss. Did it just run away? What had I done? Should I have not tried to reach out? Was I mistaken about the colors? Just like everything else in my life, was this relationship so easily shattered? I felt a dull pain form in my stomach. I felt like I was going to be sick. What had I done?!

I felt a tug on my arm. “What didja do to it, John?” Bella stood next to me. She had such a hurt look on her face.

“Bella, what are you doing out here?”

“Mommy said it was okay as long as I was with you.” I looked back at the structure. Theresa was standing in the doorway, staring at us, along with all of the others. They had all seen it. They saw me scare away the orb. Theresa. Yes, Theresa too. “What didja do to the waltz, John?” A knot formed in my throat. A familiar knot. A knot I thought I had grown used to.

I swallowed hard. “I-I don’t know. I was just trying to talk to it, but it just—“

Green. Everywhere. Large loops and lines of the orbs spun through the air, turning into and out of each other’s circles, making a majestic and stunning picture. I couldn’t breathe. It had not left. It was getting others. It was spreading my message to the others and bringing them all here so that none of them had to be alone. So that I didn’t have to be alone.

I heard Bella gasp. “Look at all of the waltzes!!!!”

I thought about it and laughed “No, It’s still only one waltz,” I said, “They’re just not dancing it alone anymore.” I looked down at Bella. She had such a happy look on her face. That smile she inherited from her mother.

I put my hand on her head. “Come on,” I said. “Want to dance with them?”

She looked up at me with the widest grin I had ever seen and ran out into the field of green. I watched her, run, jump, flip, turn. I laughed.

I looked back at the crowd only to find that it was already down to my level. They all stared up at the waltz, silenced by awe. Soon, though, a couple of the kids broke the peace and ran out to where Bella was playing. Even some of the adults had run out and started dancing and playing like the kids, just for the chance to do so.

And I still didn’t know what the orbs were, and knew that I never would. I didn’t care. In fact, I never cared. The orbs are there and that is all I need to know. Just like Theresa, Bella, myself. The only thing I could do, I wanted to do, was enjoy them while they were still here. Why would you chase after something that’s been with you the entire time?

All of the orbs continued to waltz, none exploding, none leaving. I sat down in the grass near the edge of where everyone was. Theresa sat next to me. We watched as the waltz continued, as it would for as long as we were willing to watch.
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