Fiction, poetry, writing
The Dance – An extract of a short story published in Migration Stories (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Migration-Stories/dp/0946745234)
Issy stood with her head bowed and waited. She could sense the shift in the audience as the tension stretched its way across the seats. There was a rustling at the side of the stage. The last drummer took his place. But she could only think about one thing as she stood in the thick stage air.
The first beat of the drum vibrated through the floor and up her slim legs to fill her chest, she turned her head to the left and the right and saw the pity in the other dancer’s eyes. They were all thinking the same thing. She knew it. She knew that even as they pitied her, they were relieved it wasn’t happening to them. They belonged.
Each time she lifted her head she had to close her eyes as the lights glared deep into them. She wasn’t standing in a good place. She wondered if this is how the sun would be when she got off the plane. Would she stand there blinded before hands pulled her away and maybe even handcuffed her? Thumping the rhythm on the boards, she circled with the others. Today she was free. But tomorrow.
They’d been practicing this dance for nearly a year. An international dance-off that was being done by some uplink video thing, Issy couldn’t remember the technical stuff. If they won, it would mean that they could turn professional. She could turn professional. They wouldn’t be able to send her back then. She was dancing in a British dance group, British. Issy would have preferred to do street dance, but someone had come up with the idea that the different countries should swap dances with each other. It was dumb. They’d been emailing each other to create a sense of cohesion. Whatever.
As she shimmied around the stage with the others, Issy thought about the story behind their dance. It was to do with poor villagers and no food or something like that. And how they’d sent their virgins out to plead with the gods. Like there’d be many of them hanging around waiting to do a dance. Issy’s heart beat faster as she thought about the two solos she had to do. What if she messed up? What if the gods weren’t pleased? She had to do it right. They all had to do it right, they had to win. Issy had to win.