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The Dancer, the Door, and the Ordinary Stain

by Daniel Braum

The door strains to open with a groan worse than the metal fatigue of countless fathoms pressing on the hull of a submarine down too far, its man-made shell barely restraining the force of the deep.

A silver, ethereal tang mingles with perfumed soap from the bathroom and crisp clean linens. Mara sits on the huge bed, the room service next to her untouched.

She thinks of Christoph from Prague who stayed only as long as the money flowed. His touch, everything about him- his chiseled form, gentlemanly demeanor and beautiful boyish face- was titillating. But the thrill faded minutes after he departed, as she knew it would, leaving her unsatisfied and hollow as ever.

She considers calling another young plaything. Maybe the rock and rollers in Bonn. Or the captian of industry in London. She knows they desire her not just for her physical presence and charm, but for her razor mind that answers thier questions and unties the complex knots of thier lives, like no other.

She considers returning to her family and to her many friends. She hears her sister telling her the life she despises and berates as a life so oridinary is really a life fit for a Queen; and that the love she has is a rare thing to be cherished and nourished. And she knows her sister is right.

Mara wonders why she yearns for this chaos. But she has no answer, only the knowing, the gnawing in that hollow that wants to two-step into oblivion, and rub her ordinary life out like a stain.

Beyond the etchings on the floor, past the blood and ritual items of summoning, water slowly drips into the tub. Something about the sound, and the smell of clean reminds her of home and how the embrace of luxary feels. She thinks she will pick up the telephone to call her sister.

Yet she wants the deep water. She wants to feel the pressure on her hull as she is crushed.

The air rumbles and fills with that awful groan. Mara knows when the door opens fully and the thing on the other side says, “shall we dance?”, she will say yes and take his hand as he steps through.

- END-

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