I hadn’t noticed the door before, but it stood ajar, bright light beckoning, unobserved by the other dancers; so without looking back I stepped through. My red stilettos went from dusty wooden dance floor and on to white marble streaked with green. I stopped and stared at a never ending room filled with black marble columns veined with blue. The contrasting colors made my eyes water. As I stood staring I heard the door click shut behind me. When I turned to look at it, the door had disappeared and the columns continued in that direction as well.
I gasped and felt panic rise in my throat. “Why did I do that?” I asked the silent columns. “What possessed me?”
“Need,” said a light male voice behind me.
I spun around and came face to face with a tall, slender man dressed in an old fashioned tuxedo with a navy blue vest and bow tie. His dark hair was slicked back from his pale, angular face and the palest blue eyes I had ever seen.
“What?” I asked.
“Need. That is what brought you here.”
“How can need take me anywhere? Need is just an emotion.”
“Oh, not so,” the man said as he took a step closer. “Need is not just an emotion. Need is the emotion that propels everything. Need is very powerful.”
“Okay,” I said, folding my arms across my stomach. I glanced around, looking for some kind of exit, but all I saw where those blue veined black columns.
“You cannot leave yet,” the man said.
“But I need to leave.”
“Your Need is not strong enough. Once your Need is strong enough a way will become available for you to return to your world.”
“What?” my mind raced, trying to figure out what this place was. I glanced at the man, he was staring at me with such a bemused smile that I wondered if he could read my mind. “Where am I?” I finally demanded.
“A place neither here nor there. A place in between.”
“Here and there.”
I glared at him, but he continued to smile.
He extended a hand to me, “Care to dance?”
“No,” I said, taking a step back.
“But you are dressed for dancing,” he said, waving his hand up and down to indicate my short white and navy blue homecoming dress.
I looked down at my strapless dress and my eyes fell on the bright red shoes. Mom had thought it would be tacky to where red shoes with a white and blue dress. But I had insisted that it was the latest fashion.
“They’re just so red,” Mom had complained. “Put a little sequence on them and they’d look like Dorothy’s ruby slippers.”
I laughed as I pranced out the door.
“I love the shoes,” the man said.
When I looked up, his smile was so warm; I found my hand in his. He pulled me towards him and placed a firm hand on my waist.
He swung me around and we glided between the columns. At first the only sounds was the clicking of my heels. Then music began to play, sounding as if it was coming from a great distance. As we danced the music would slide away and then boom in close to our ears.
I closed my eyes and imagined that the music was another pair of dancers that would come close to us and then swing away.
The man chuckled and my eyes snapped open, “What are you laughing at?”
“What where you day dreaming about just now?”
“The music,” I said, “and the way it dances around us.”
The man threw his head back and laughed, I could feel my face heat. He looked down at me, “Don’t be embarrassed. You are right, the music is dancing around us, you just can’t see it. Music doesn’t like to be seen, she is a shy lady.”
I smiled and nodded, letting him lead me around the columns. I felt my mind drifting, spinning around with our movements. My eyes settled on one of the many columns and blinked. The blue veins seemed to make a picture. As I stared the picture shifted into a small image of me and the man dancing. It shifted again, still showing me dancing, but with a different man, shorter and with lighter hair. A part of my mind knew who that light haired man was, but the thought floated away with the music.
The man and I spun around again and I was looking at another column, showing a different picture. It was me alone, in a dark place; a large figure looms behind me, grabs me and pushes me to the ground.
I gasp as the tall man and I spin again. The next column picture shows the large figure beating me on the ground. I cry out with the remembered pain and crumple to the floor. The tall man leans over me and places a hand on my cheek, the hand is cold, colder than the marble beneath me. Why had I ever thought it was warm?
“What do you Need?” he asks.
Tears are streaming down my cheeks, “I need to get out of here.”
The man shakes his head, “What do you Need?”
“I Need to leave,” I cry.
“Where do you Need to go?”
“I need to go back.”
“Where do you Need to go?”
“I Need to go back to life,” I’m sobbing, the pain is so intense. My whole body aches, every bone and muscle screams in pain.
“Yes,” the man nods, a sad smile on his face now. “What do you Need?”
“I Need to LIVE!” I scream.
My eyes pop open and all I see is darkness and blurry faces. There are voices too, but they’re even burrier than the faces. Everything seems so far away. The music is drifting away, coming close and then drifting again. Is someone calling my name? I close my eyes and darkness overwhelms me.
A couple days later I wake up in a hospital bed, my face swollen and bruised, bruises all over my upper body and two cracked ribs. When I ask what happened, my parents tell me that Tom, my ex-boyfriend came to homecoming, saw me with my current boyfriend, Mark, and beat me up. The doctor informs me that for a moment they thought they had lost me. I took several blows to the side of the head, and they were going to do some test to make sure I didn’t have any brain damage.
As I lay in the huge MRI machine I thought about the tall man amongst the columns. I closed my eyes and I could see him as if he was standing there in front of me again, dark hair slicked back, pale blue eyes glowing. I smiled at him and he smiled back.
“We will dance again, Michelle. But not for a long time I fear. Promise to remember me and our dance among the columns.”
“I’ll remember,” I whispered, “I promise.”