By James Wadman
The whisper of my footsteps echoed throughout the ballroom. The hour was late, and the golden floor shimmered only faintly in the darkness. I looked to the ceiling where a beautiful opening to the night sky wooed the light from the full moon. Slowly my eyes followed the beam of white light towards the center of the golden floor to see a piano and its servant. A woman who sold her soul to be possessed by the grand black and white keys was in the center of the room. She was seated before the piano in a black stare, with a subtle countdown in her head.
At the perfect moment, the moon reached the pinnacle of the sky as the bells tolled for the darkest hour of the night. It was only then that I could see, and it was only then that I saw the shadows of others among the placid moonlight.
The piano started viciously as the dim light revealed the figures of hundred gentlemen and their invisible companions. To a man’s eyes it would seem these strangers were foolishly dancing with no one, but their perfection of passion exhausted the essence of completion. Their steps were specific as if the music were internal. Their touch was tender as the love they suffered for their transparent mistresses. The pianists stone fingers danced among only minor keys, and the steps those who danced followed. Their Aeolian movements captured my soul for I was already on the dance floor and the invisible walls of fire of my own will would not permit me to escape. So in line I danced with my unseen love following my lead. I did not question the steps because I was one of them. I, too, was a masked stranger following the skips of the melody. We were all victims in uniform. But even in the concurrence of steps, the eyes of each masked stranger told a different story of flames, of frost, of heartbreak.
The night seemed eternal, but the music was written only until dawn. In the masterful piece’s conclusion, the pianist ended on a single major chord that lasted the night’s remainder. As day’s light crept into the ballroom, the transparencies of the masked strangers faded. Our counterparts were not of evanescence, rather in our arms and among our steps were golden angels, glittered by dawn’s awakening. But as their true form took hold, heaven’s claims restored the hearts of its angels. In a miraculous ascension, our angels were returned in a gentle flurry of luminescent gold.