Story Number One… And I’ll Leave You In Suspense For A Minute Longer…. =)

I’m very pleased to announce the first contestant out of the three that I’ve choosen for y’all to vote on! Make sure you come back here tomorrow and the next day to see the other two stories and then vote. We’ve only got five more days until the winner is announced, so check back often so you don’t miss anything!
 
By the way, a little note about this story: I choose it because I thought the mood was great. I could totally imagine it as I was reading. The noise and the crowd… And then a quietness in the middle of all that.
 
I’m pretty sure that Kyliegh (click here for her blog) would greatly enjoy having you leave her a comment, letting her know what you think of her story.
 
 
“Do You Dance?” – Kyleigh
        Reticent.
        Somber.
        His dark eyes glanced around the room, all his thoughts hidden behind the mask of silence that covered his face.
        A young girl near fifteen appeared at his side, her light eyes and hair contrasting with his darker complexion.
        “Do you dance?” She whispered, sensing the deep quiet and thoughtfulness inside of him.
        “No.”
        Her left eyebrow raised, her blue eyes seemed as if they were about to laugh. “Why not?”
       “More suited to swords and music,” he replied, still looking forward.
        She laughed. “So is my brother.” She pointed to a young man with curly brown hair dancing among the guests at the party. “So I don’t take that as an excuse.”
        “I would frighten you if I tried to dance,” he said.
        “I’ve seen worse,” she said, unsure of whether or not he was serious.
        “So you think.”
        “Maybe if you showed me I’d change my mind.”
        He smiled, but it was half-hearted. “Or maybe I’d haunt your nightmares forever.”
        She wrinkled her nose and shook her head, then stuck her hand out for him to shake. “Lizzie.”
        He took her hand loosely but firmly, shook it, then put his hand behind his back. “Jacob.”
        There was silence again, as Jacob watched the dancers with a grave look on his face and Lizzie fidgeted in the stillness.
        “Why do you hide like this?” She asked at last.
        “Hide? I’m in entryway of the ballroom, am I not?” A hint of fear passed through his eyes.
        She shook her head. “I don’t mean that sort of hiding, and you know that.”
        “Maybe there’s nothing to hide.”
        “Or maybe it’s hidden behind the mask you wear,” Lizzie added.
        “Perhaps.”
        “You can’t be much older than my brother. Eighteen at the oldest. What reason do you have to wear a mask?”
        “Yes, I am eighteen. As for the mask, that is a long story.”
        “You know the way these balls are – guests sometimes don’t leave until early morning,” said Lizzie.
        For a moment, the stern gaze melted, but then it returned. Jacob nodded stiffly. “Aye.”
      “Will you tell me?”
      “Why do you wish to know?”
      “Because burdens are not meant to be carried alone,” Lizzie said.
        Jacob motioned to two chairs near where they stood, and both he and Lizzie sat. He stared at the dancers for a minute, then turned to Lizzie.
       “My father was a sailor,” Jacob began. “He was the captain of an East India trading vessel. We were rich until the storms came.” He paused. “One day we got word that he had stayed behind on the sinking ship to give others a chance to live. His death hurt me more than anything, driving deep pain into my six-year old heart. I began to shut myself out from the world, encased in my thoughts, locked in my own world where no one could touch me. I was beginning to feel safe again when the next tragedy struck. The fever came, and it took my mother and sisters with it. Only I and my younger brothers remained, and it fell to me to care for them. Our neighbors rushed us to my uncle’s house, and my uncle became our legal guardian. The months passed, and I grew, learning sword fighting, music, critical thinking, arithmetic. It kept my mind off of the sorrow in my heart. One of my brothers ran away, and we never found him. I personally took the blame for this, and it led me to hide from the world and be consumed with my studies. I ignored my brothers. And little Jonathan took that as hatred.” He stopped talking, fiddling with his necktie. “There was such pain in my heart, and the only way of escape I found was to throw myself into my studies all the more, going at sword fighting and music all the more vigorously. But it didn’t work. The pain was still there, encased in a mask, encased in silence. It hurt more than ever.”
        Jacob brushed a hand over his eyes, closing them before trying to go on.
       “You do a good job of hiding your pain,” Lizzie commented in the moment of silence.
        He seemed broken when he spoke again. “Lizzie, if you learn anything from me, learn this – a shell against the world will get you nowhere. If my uncle had not been as wise and discerning as he was, I would still be like I was then. Yet by the grace of God, he took me aside one day, and it all came tumbling out. It was humbling, I, a fifteen year old boy, sobbing in my uncle’s arms. After that, the pain was less, but the shell stayed. I found it hard to love, hard to smile, hard to take pleasure in anything. I stopped dancing, and the music I played remained dark and somber. Habits of many years are hard to break. Some have taken these three years and I still must fight them.”
        Both were silent.
        Lizzie trembled. “I am sorry I pressed you so about the mask.”
       “Don’t be. Sometimes the only way to get rid of pain is to release it and share it with another. Thank you for listening, Lizzie.”
         “Your story wasn’t so long,” she said. “There’s still music here. Still dancing. A chance for healing.”
        Jacob stood. “It will be the first time in many years, Lizzie.” He bowed. “May I have this dance?”
        Smiling, Lizzie stood and curtsied, then took Jacob’s outstretched hand. “Of course.”
           
       A month later, Jacob again stood in the doorway of Lizzie’s house, watching the dancing from a distance. He was smiling. A young girl, blue eyes and golden hair shining, approached him, and her arm brushed his.
       “Do you dance?” she asked.
       “Aye,” he whispered, and both smiled.

7 thoughts on “Story Number One… And I’ll Leave You In Suspense For A Minute Longer…. =)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful story! And what a beautiful last line and story title! Excited for Kyleigh – I am sure she will get far in the writing world. 🙂

    Rebecca
    Writeinthelight17

    Like

  2. Sierra says:

    That was a really good story 🙂 Nice setting, ending and dialogue. Excuse me for being critical but I thought that some of the emotion might have been over done just a little. Please don't take offense. And I have a problem with short stories…everything has to come out at once *pouts* So it's just me there. I really did like this story! Very elegant and flowing 😀 Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    I thought the same about the emotion, and wasn't sure if these characters were strangers or acquaintances. (I don't think strangers would talk about such deep issues…:) But Kyleigh's writing style is very smooth and pretty, and her dialogue and character development was wonderful for such a short story! It is difficult after all. She did a great job!

    Hannah – a fellow writer.

    Like

  4. Megan says:

    This is a really beautiful story! The dialogue is really elegant. Only thing is, I'm not so sure Jacob would have shared so much at once. But again, maybe he would. But I don't think that that distracts my love for this story because you did put in this – “Sometimes the only way to get rid of pain is to release it and share it with another.” So I guess that gives the reader a good reason of why he shared.

    Good job. God bless you, Kyleigh! – Megan

    Like

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