Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.
Day Two Hundred Eleven
We follow the dancer’s steps as the music plays. Step by weary step, on we go.
A ghost of a smile lingers on her lips while she looks away. Her eyes are faded, unfocused, but her movements are precise, untiring. Step after step, on through the night.
Light upon his feet, he moves sinuously across the room with a cold fury. His eyes burn with hate and anger for the dancer, his back unbowed and his fists clenched. Still, step by step he goes, following the cues.
The musicians have no eyes. They stand stiffly and play, on and on, no expression crossing their faces. When one song ceases they begin with the next without pause, fingers moving nimbly across their instruments. They can hear the footsteps upon the floor and they can hear the dancer calling out the steps and the songs.
On and on he goes and we all follow, step by step. On his face is a white mask with a painted, vicious smile. His laughter cuts through the music, a false and terrible note. He never ceases, clapping his hands, announcing the next song and calling the steps. There is no need, for we will follow.
He moves among us, watching our steps, and nodding approval. Exhausted though we are, we summon the strength to go on. Step by step, just another and then another. Will it never end? He pauses before us, one by one, staring at us from behind his mask. His eyes are empty. There is nothing there but fire and blood. And so, step by weary step, on we go.