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Dancing Under The Ashes

Escaping the gilded cage

By BlankmarksPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Dancing Under The Ashes
Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

The young girl once again enters the stage bathed by orange starlight. No one is there to wipe her tears or hold her tight. Her song is not for the living or the dead but for those that belong to neither. She looks to the endless void as it lights up with explosions from the battle. Her white dress and hair flow in the artificial wind, signaling the start of her desperate battle against herself. She sings beautifully out to the dying manikins, both warning them and supporting their struggle.

The explosions ring out throughout space in accordance with her dance. They fight for the music that soothes the soul, they brave the fire, they smile, and they die for her.




Until nothing remains of you or the enemy, fight for her, and her song shall lead you to Valhalla.

Tears stream down her eyes as the battle draws to a close, her dance and song are over. All that’s left of those that fought are their ashes floating down from the heavens like snow. The snow-white daughter of ashes bows her head to the void as the only action she is allowed. A small ash flake descends down and kisses her cheek. Whether a mockery of her bow or a gentle comfort from those passed, she can do nothing but shed one last tear as she exits the stage.

Her young butler awaits as always to wipe her of sweat and tears.

“Mistress, beautiful performance as always.”

She says nothing, just stares back waiting for what comes next.

“I’m sorry I have to do this to do every time, excuse me.”

The boy places a jagged black device around her mouth.

“Let’s go Mistress, the commander won’t wait long.”

The two travel through the sterile orange-lit hallway to the commander’s room.

They find him smoking a cigar in his chair while watching the falling ashes from his window. He notices the pair and turns his chair around.

“Well down Princess, your music always makes the soldiers fight ten times better. We may have lost a good amount of men but we won this battle. I hope you will continue to bless the men with your voice, we have more battles to win. That will be all, you may take her to her room Kido.”

The old bearded commander turns back towards the window and the boy returns the girl to her gilded cage. The girl goes straight to her bed, gray in color contrasting her mostly blue room.

“Mistress, don’t go to bed just yet, I have something for you.”

The girl gets up and stares at Kido messing with something in the wall. She, realizing what’s about to happen, shoots up and tries to stop him but it’s too late.

“Please don’t worry, I want to do this.”

The girl stops and for the first time since the stage, she shows emotion.

“You don’t deserve this, to be a puppet in this war. I want you to be free.”

The girl shakes her head desperately.

“I know you think I’m being reckless but seeing you suffer out there every time, I can’t bear it any longer.”

“This war is not your responsibility, it will continue with or without you. Even if you keep singing, both sides will continue to fight.”

The girl looks down conflicted, the endless sorrow has made her numb. But deep down, she wants to remember what freedom feels like.

“Harmony, please trust me. I will free you from here.”

The girl thinks it over and remembers her brother. The freedom and peace she had before. She nods with some small flicker of life returning to her eyes.

“Okay, I promise to show a sky that’s not filled with death.”

Kido, now even more determined, grabs her hand and guides her out of the room.

“Since that mouth place has a silent alarm if taken off outside the stage, we’ll keep that on for now. After some months of working, I made it so that the cameras and trackers will show that we’were still in our room. We have 15 minutes to get to the nearest stealth shuttle and go to a neutral planet.”

The two ran at a brisk pace through the futuristic hallways on a direct course toward a new life.

With only 4 minutes left, they finally arrived at the shuttle.

“Let’s go.”

The two rush to the ship, however before they could board the commander surprises them.

Kido looks at the commander with a dumbstruck expression while the girl hides behind him.

“I expected as much, I knew it was a bad idea to let a young boy be her handler. Don’t you know what happened to her brother?”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, she didn’t tell you? Her brother fought really hard to keep her sister from playing this part, so we had to kill him.”

The girl looked to the ground. She feared this outcome but ignored the danger. Her desire for freedom was too strong.

“Well now I have to kill you Kido, sorry it came to this.”

Kido smiled, “No, I’m sorry. I didn’t expect you but I expected this situation.”

Kido looks at the girl and says “I have been with you ever since you started to sing, I wanted to stay with you when you sang with your own free will.”

The girl looked at him startled, she knows that he will make the same sacrifice.

She tries to stop him but he pushes her away and rushes the commander. The commander was caught off guard and failed to notice what was in Kido’s hand, a knife. The commander couldn’t pull the trigger in time so he had to grapple Kido to the ground for the knife.

Kido yelled, “GO!”

The girl hesitated, she could leave and find freedom on her own but she remembers her brother.

She remembers how he fought and died for her freedom.

She remembers the soldiers that died in vain for her.

At that moment, she decided to not let anyone else die for her.

She tackled the commander in an effort to get him off of Kido but the commander pushed her and Kido away.

The commander got his gun back and aimed for the girl on instinct. The girl braced for death and wondered.

Maybe she deserved this, her existence only brought death. However, death never claimed her. The commander stood bewildered with a knife in the back. The commander slowly crumbled to the ground, dead.

Kido appeared behind him and said, “I won’t let your flame go out, you don’t have to carry that burden anymore.”

Kido holds out his hand and she quickly takes it.

With only 3 minutes left before the whole fleet knows what happened, Kido put in coordinates to a neutral planet that both sides wouldn’t dare attack.

With warp speed, it did not take long to get there. The ship touched down and the two exited the ship to breathe in the warm air and stare at the blue sky.

Kido looks to Harmony with tears of joy now in her eye. He gently wipes her tears and says, “You can take off the mouth device now.”

Her long white hair flows through the real air. Her mouth morphed into a smile long forgotten.

She opens her mouth to say the words held in her heart for so long.

“Thank You.”

Short StorySci FiLove

About the Creator


I’m Blankmarks and I love magic and fiction. I’ll write about various magic types and concepts not only for fun but to help writers create new magical worlds. I'll also post short stories, writing tips, and more.

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