Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Travelers

The sun was sinking slowly beneath the horizon, less than half of the giant golden orb was visible above the trees to the west. It bathed the scene in an eerie orange light. The young man looked around at the spectacle in front of him.

He was standing on the edge of the field to the south, underneath a massive pine tree that would drop needles when the wind blew. His fingers toyed unconsciously with a stop watch at his side. Like his father before him, he had developed a habit of checking the time every ten minutes. His mind was like clockwork and he really had no need to check, but he did anyway.

He stared at the watch briefly until the second hand ticked once more to the 12, then stepped forward. Making his way up the stairs behind the curtain, he placed a hand on a young girl's shoulder. The girl was small, no more than thirteen. She was dressed in a tight pink leotard and a ballet skirt. She had the ballet shoes to top off the ensemble, but she wasn't a ballerina. Her face was painted white with big black triangles around her eyes and a bright red outline around her small lips.

At his nod, she slipped between the curtain, much to the applause of the crowd beyond. He made his way back down the stairs and stood to the side of the stage. The girl's parents had already been performing for ten minutes before she made her way out. They were a trio of clowns who put a special spin on their work. They incorporated forms of dance and awed the crowd as much as they made them laugh.

The young man watched, impressed, as the girl stepped lightly to the edge of the stage. Her father stood on the other side, effecting a statue pose, arms and one leg raised. The girl turned to the audience and gave them her signature smile and a bow. They cheered and she took off running, balancing lightly on her toes like a deer running through the woods. She did a twirl partway across the stage, then, as she came close to her father, she leapt through the air like a dolphin leaps from the water. She twisted in mid-air, performing a perfect spiral that brought gasps from the onlookers.

She landed on her father's hands on her side, facing the crowd. He spun her around, raising her high above his head and low to the ground. The girl's mother joined in the dance and together they created a complicated and dangerous sculpture. When their movement finally ceased, the father stood in a bridge, hands and feet on the ground while his torso pushed into the air. The mother's stomach pressed to his, her hands and feet clasped behind her head. Her body formed a nearly perfect circle. The young girl, balanced on the toes of one foot, spun lightly on the top of her mother's shins.

The crowd watched for many moments in awed silence until the girl grinned and dipped her head. Pausing for a moment to balance herself, she then leapt from her mother's form and, affecting a perfect loop in the middle or the air, landed like a cat on her feet and one hand. Her parents both dismounted and the crowd exploded in cheers.

The young man smiled in approval and went backstage to send on the next act before making his way back to the edge of the field.

**Origin of the story: There are 15-minute writing dashes at Milk Wood in Second Life every day at 5amSLT and 6:30pmSLT. This story is from the 2-21-11 morning dash, using the prompt "Field."**

Bonus points for anyone who knows what movie "the golden orb" is from!

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