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The dance of the shadows

The dance of the shadows

A Story by Mannat Singhi
"

“Its exciting when you find parts of yourself in someone else” – Annaka Silvia

"

THE DANCE OF THE SHADOWS

 

“Its exciting when you find parts of yourself in someone else” " Annaka Silvia.

 

“Dre told me Mrs. Fritz is looking for a new tenant. Why don’t you go see her apartment?” Max asked Ben.

 

“Wasn’t that already occupied?”

 

“Was. The girl left. Something about wanting to start afresh.”

 

Ben did not answer.

 

“What are you so lost in Ben? Sympathising with her?” Max joked.

 

Ben shot Max a look of disbelief.

 

Sympathy? He hated sympathy. The problem with sympathy was that it was mostly fake. Very few of the people who had come to offer their condolences at his parents’ funeral really meant what they said.

 

Empathy, on the other hand, was a whole new story.

 

It did seem ironic though. He was going into that apartment in search of a new life and she was leaving it for precisely that reason.

 

“I’ll go see it,” he told Max.

 

………………….

 

“The room is well furnished. It just needs to be cleaned. The last occupant just left two days back. Lovely girl, slightly deranged though, if you ask me,” Mrs. Fritz sighed as she opened the door for the tenth time that day.

 

The first thing he saw on entering the room was a big poster of Wuthering Heights. A glaring Heathcliff holding a large bosomed Catherine in a tight embrace. Was that how she had been described in the book? He couldn’t recall.

 

He looked around. The wall behind the bed was painted a deep red. Right above her bed she had hung a dream catcher with silver stars painted around it. He suppressed a smile. He had thought he was one of the few who still believed in the magic of dream catchers, fairy lights and unicorns.

 

The other walls were off white perfectly offsetting the deep red.

 

There on the windowsill lay a small flowerpot with a tiny plant in it. A single withered flower with a few leaves on its stem.

 

He went into the bathroom. Solidified wax from burnt out coloured candles still lined the edges of the bathtub. He ran his fingers over them. He could almost imagine the girl in the bathtub covered in bubbles and foam with the candles burning around her.

 

Back in the room he took a deep breath. He could smell multiple fragrances. Lemon grass? Probably from some aroma jar lying somewhere. A Perfume?

 

“I’ll take it. I will be moving in probably sometime in the evening. Please let the room remain as it is. I would like to clear it up on my own,” he said without a second thought.

 

Mrs. Fritz nodded and handed the keys over to him mumbling something about ‘the same look’.

 

With that, he walked out of the house, still wondering which perfume it was.

......................

 

He was exhausted by the time he came back to the apartment. It was raining heavily and the howling wind kept rattling the windows.

 

He came in, kept his luggage in a corner and tried to latch the windows. But the windows wouldn’t shut. As if someone was pulling them from outside. He left them. All he took out was his lamp, set it on the bed table, turned off the rest of the lights, lay down on his bed and turned the lamp on.

 

The objects in the room cast their shadows which seemed to be dancing around.

 

That was when he saw her. Really saw her.

 

She sneaked in through the window wearing heels and a sequined dress, looking around warily. She struggled to pull her hair back. The wind had messed them up. She was not the prettiest woman, but she was beautiful.

 

She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him.

 

Fro the longest time, she just looked at him. As he kept looking at her.

 

After sometime, she began walking towards the bathroom, leaving a trail of sequins and glitter on the floor that shone in the light of the lamp. He got up and followed her like a man enchanted by a spell. She already had the candles burning by the time he reached her. He couldn’t figure out from where she had got the new candles. She turned on the tap. But the water refused to flow. For some reason, the taps had run dry. She muttered a few soft curses and stormed out of the bathroom.

 

His eyes had so many questions in them. Why was she here? What had happened? What was she trying to leave behind?

He saw some scars on her body. Self inflicted? Or had someone hit her? A guy? Was that why she had left?

 

He saw her see all those questions and he knew she had heard him. He saw her walk upto the cupboard and take out a typewriter, probably to type out out all the answers. Mid way, her rage started taking control. She was literally banging the keys on the typewriter, finally throwing it away. A key broke off.

 

In his mind, he saw all of his half broken things at his old apartment.

 

He wanted to get up and comfort her. He wanted to touch her, hold her close and kiss her. He wanted to dance the night away and be consumed in their fire.

 

Wait. Had he just said these things out loud?

 

She put one of his hands on her waist and the other on her shoulder.  And they swayed, swirled and twirled. There was no music but they were completely in rhythm.  It was so comforting. He felt safe. She seemed to understand everything that was going on in his head. She did not have to tell him that. He just knew.

 

She ran one hand through his hair. The perfume hit him again, stronger this time.

 

He froze and took a step back. She looked at him questioningly. But he couldn’t tell her. He couldn’t tell her he was scared. What if she ran away? What if he couldn’t keep her happy? What if he ended up destroying her in the worst possible way? Wasn’t that the worst kind of love- the one where you have everything and yet it is ruined?

There was something there. An untouchable connection. Like the world had bricked them alive. Like they were meant to be trapped together with their demons that had already made peace with each other. Trapped by union. Trapped by choice.

 

Wasn’t that what love was? Accepting each other’s demons? Wasn’t that why love never worked out for most people? Because everyone only saw the other’s demons, completely blind to their own.

 

But they weren’t like that. They were damaged. Seeking each other out. Despite all the damage.

 

They were fireworks.

 

They were meant to crackle, sparkle, explode and die out together.

 

He took a step towards her. But she was beginning to fade at the edges by now.

 

He turned the lights on.

 

“It was Chanel,” she whispered.

 

The shadows slunk away and hid behind the objects that had cast them.

 

And just like that, she was gone.

 

He ran to the bathroom to see the burning candles, but she had taken their flame away with her, reducing them to their original melted state.

 

He looked at the withered flower wistfully, wanting to restore it to its glory. But maybe that’s how she had wanted it to be. Maybe it was left to die for a reason.

 

For the second time that day, he looked around the apartment.

 

All he was left with was the broken key, the sequins on the floor and the feeling that she had once existed.

 

 

 


© 2015 Mannat Singhi



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Featured Review

an excellent story Mannat, professionally written, with just the right amount of fantasy to offset the more mundane lifestyle of the beginning, Ben stepped into her world for just a moment and she took him to another plane of existence, the ghost of another relationship, before she disappeared back into the night leaving just tokens of ever having been, very good story my friend, makes what i believe they call an excellent piece of flash fiction, a form i admire since i cannot write books or stories the short work is my type of story, maybe i don't review stories to well as i'm just a poet by nature, well done Mannat, i like it a lot ^_^

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much! Im glad you enjoyed the 'tokens'. I'm sure you reviewed it well.



Reviews

simply beautiful, something about it caught my attention,
wonderful work!!!
keep it up!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank You Amy. Good to know "something about it" caught your attention.
Amy R

2 Years Ago

ur welcome!
an excellent story Mannat, professionally written, with just the right amount of fantasy to offset the more mundane lifestyle of the beginning, Ben stepped into her world for just a moment and she took him to another plane of existence, the ghost of another relationship, before she disappeared back into the night leaving just tokens of ever having been, very good story my friend, makes what i believe they call an excellent piece of flash fiction, a form i admire since i cannot write books or stories the short work is my type of story, maybe i don't review stories to well as i'm just a poet by nature, well done Mannat, i like it a lot ^_^

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much! Im glad you enjoyed the 'tokens'. I'm sure you reviewed it well.
An intriguing write that holds your attention. A good story!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much!
This is really good, you kept my attention from the beginning till the end. Mysterious... I like it. :) Rudi

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much for reading. I realise its slightly long.
Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

2 Years Ago

Not at all, I thought it was rather just long enough. :)
Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank You.
V nicely written Mannat.. Amazing !! 😊👍 Keep it up!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you Jaskunwar
Nyc1Mannat
The way you write is wonderful

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thanks pawan :)
Your vocabulary usage is wonderful. The story holds the readers interest. Nice write. Valentine

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Im happy you found it interesting. Thanks for reviewing.
Hi Mannat, I really like this story, without really getting to know the characters you know they are alike, and you had me wondering if he was dreaming or if the girl really crawled through the window! I love the part about the candles flames being taken away and back to the melted state, you worded that beautifully! Very nice work!

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Mannat Singhi

2 Years Ago

Thank you so much. Making the readers wonder was the intention.

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Added on June 15, 2015
Last Updated on June 15, 2015

Author

Mannat Singhi
Mannat Singhi

Chandigarh, India



About
I love to write because it's the most beautiful way to get what's inside me out. more..

Writing