Hello and welcome to Part 2 of A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance. Be sure to read Part 1 if you haven’t already done so. Enjoy!
A Time to Mourn and a Time To Dance
by Vashti Quiroz-Vega
The next day I visited the small forest outside Abigail’s home again. The forest was alive with her presence. She moved rhythmically to the sounds of the birds chirping, ducks quacking, water flowing, frogs croaking, and the whistling of leaves caressed by the wind. I hid behind a large tree and watched her sway, twirl and pirouette. She moved gracefully–until she stumbled, plopped to the ground in a seated position, and then began to laugh wholeheartedly.
“Are you alright?” I asked.
She whisked her head toward me and grinned. She jumped to her feet and pranced to me. “I knew you would come!” she gushed.
Her enthusiasm filled me with joy. “I couldn’t stay away.”
She giggled at my words. “Come, I want to show you something,” she said, grabbing my hand. She pulled me along a different path from the one we had walked the day before.
“Where are you taking me?”
We arrived at an open area. “All right, stop right here,” she said. I gathered my brow. She paced forward and stopped in front of something, then waved me over. “Come, but be careful,” she warned. I took apprehensive steps toward her and after a few steps, I saw it. The hole.
“What is this?” I asked.
“This is a natural sinkhole,” she said in a matter-of-fact voice. “Isn’t it magnificent? It’s almost perfectly round. It’s beautiful, surrounded by vegetation and–”
“Enough!” I yelled. She jumped and recoiled. I didn’t see beauty in this hole, hidden away in the middle of the forest. I only saw peril and fatality. “Many have lost their lives here in the depths of despair,” I told her, pointing at the hole. She stared at me, her heavy-lidded green eyes wide and questioning. “Who do you think I am?” I asked in a thunderous voice. She trembled. Her mouth hung open. “You don’t even know me, but yet you venture to bring me here? To this evil place?”
“Evil?” she asked.
“Yes, evil!” She gasped and flinched. She shook her head and covered her opened mouth with both hands. “I didn’t know,” she whispered through her fingers.
I sensed the pain and horror of the victims whose bones lay broken, discarded and forgotten at the bottom of the hole. A veil of blackness enshrouded me. I couldn’t see past her death. I stomped toward her. I grabbed her by the throat and lifted her off the ground. The thick odor of corpses long dead exposed my psyche to influences that led me to do what I was created to do–kill.
I released her neck. She coughed and wheezed. She collapsed to one knee. I picked her up by the shoulders and dangled her over the hole. Her eyes opened wide. She glanced down into the pit and screamed!
“Please don’t hurt me!” she shrieked. “I don’t want to die!” She gazed at me with imploring eyes.
Her words touched my heart once more. She wanted to live. I swung her over my shoulder and hurried from that awful place. I placed her down gently on lush green grass near the edge of the forest. I looked at her. Her hair was a sunburst on a blooming honey locust; her skin, opal cream; her verdant eyes, glistening jewels. I wiped the moisture from them, and her luscious cherry wine lips quivered. Had my vision been so impaired that I had thought this creature less than perfect?
“You are a good man,” she said hoarsely, no doubt from damage inflicted by my tight grip. She tried to smile, but couldn’t quite make the expression.
“Go home now. Do not return to that hole. It is an evil place,” I said and helped her to her feet.
She stepped away, then hesitated and turned toward me. The look of gratitude on her face surprised me. She skipped to me and kissed me on the cheek. “Thank you,” she said and walked away. Abigail’s kiss on my cheek lingered and set me ablaze. I stood there like a statue, fearful that any sudden movement would end the moment too soon.
We continued to meet every day at the small forest near her house. We took long walks. Abigail danced, talked, sang and was excited by every small creature she ran across–from a butterfly to a snake. I enjoyed our walks. I relished her company. No creature has ever been so exquisite. I never wanted to leave her side. I had forgotten, if only for a brief moment, who–or what–I was. I was the opposite of her.
One day I returned to our usual meeting place and found her sitting still on a rock. It was not like her to be so subdued.
“Hello,” I said.
She lifted her eyes and looked at me inquisitively. “I thought I would not see you today.”
“Really? Why?”I asked. She shrugged. Her body was slumped and her face slackened. She seemed strange, unfamiliar.
Copyright © 2014 by Vashti Quiroz-Vega. All rights reserved.