Dancing with the storm - Chapter 4

Dancing With The Storm

After Rose had disappeared, business carried on as usual. The workers left at half past four through the back door and the shop fell silent. As Brian the head baker went upstairs to manage some paper work, he told them that the fires were out and that the back door was locked. It was a boring day as everyone was getting ready for the choir concert. The sky outside darkened and the street fell silent as the snow coated the cobbles.

“I dare you to go outside,” said Lilly with a wild smile on her face.

“Definitely not,” said Evelyn, looking out at the snow.

“Alright, I will,” said Lilly as she took off her apron. Evelyn advised against it but Lilly gave her the apron and went anyway. It was 5 o'clock and dusk had fallen. The streets were dark but the lamps were glowing with a warm haze while the black clouds rumbled and the wind played with the helpless snow flakes.

As Lilly strode further out into the street a thick blizzard engulfed her. The lights glowed vainly in the smothering white flakes but Lilly spun with happiness as it surrounded her and the wind felt like it was trying to lift her up to drift with the snow. Evelyn watched from the safety of the shop where she had been laughing at the start but something had changed. The street blurred with darkness and thick white snow and Lilly had blended into it. She spun round and danced in the cold storm. Her hair flew as she twirled and her eyes caught the darkness and glowed. It was like she was dancing with the storm. Evelyn watched in wonderment. Her friend looked dangerous and mystifying as though she had almost become part of the storm.

Lilly hummed to herself and gazed up into the sky. The icy flakes cleansed her anger of her sister and let it all melt away. All her troubles disappeared and she felt light and joyful.

The wind whipped the snow as it spiralled out of control down towards Lilly. It melted onto her to begin with but then froze again to stiffen her long hair. The flakes on her arms did not melt but just rested on her bare skin. She stopped and looked around her. She had danced far away from the shop and was alone. Ice crystals began to form on her dress that made it stiff and crack in showers of ice, which drifted to the ground. Frost was actually forming on her skin and spreading over her body. She held herself to keep warm but was not shivering despite the low temperature. Her dress was frozen rigid and her skin gently shimmered with frost.

A sound caught her ear as she listened to the low whistle of the wind and the gentle rustle of the snow flakes hitting the cobbles. She could hear the rushing water of the river and something else. The street was empty but somewhere there was breathing or beating of some sort that echoed in the night. Lilly looked about her. Everything was shut except for the bakery. The storm weakened and died down but was still icy cold. The beat got louder and deeper under the cover of the falling snow. Lilly spun about to try to see who or what lurked in the dark streets but she was completely alone. The breaths fell in time with the snow and drifted in the wind. Lilly covered her ears and looked back at the bakery. Evelyn was standing at the door way shouting to her but all other sounds were muted and Lilly couldn’t hear. The gentle breaths grew into gasps of air, pumping as if something was running round her or chasing her but Lilly was too scared to run. Her eyes welled up with tears and she clenched them shut and fell to her knees. The crisp white dress shattered sending ice cascading off her. The breathing came closer and as it did the lights dimmed out.

When Lilly opened her eyes the bakery was gone and the street lights were no more. A sudden stabbing pain shot through her heart. She keeled over and lay on the floor clutching her chest: It ached with every beat and the spasms wrenched at her tender body. The breathing became louder and footsteps accompanied it to Lilly’s side. She was unable to move in the dark street but managed to tilt her head to view a man that stood beside her.

He crouched down to her ear and whispered something incoherent then grinned. It was not a normal grin as all of his teeth were exposed. The skin was stretched too far so it was just a face of teeth. Lilly could see his eyes vaguely with her heavy lids drooping. They were mahogany, stained crystals that reflected Lilly’s face.

Lilly tried to move but she felt weak and exhausted and unable to scream. The man reached out a hand and held her jaw open but was suddenly wrenched away by a void of darkness. Lilly could move again and struggled to her feet. It was still pitch black with falling snow but the breaths had ceased. All she could hear was the sugary sound of the cold flakes landing on the ground. Lights began to come back into focus until she could see the bakery.

“Lilly!” Evelyn shouted as she ran towards her stricken friend. “Oh, my Lill, are you all right?” she said grabbing her hand. “Ah, you’re frozen!” She awkwardly helped Lilly up and walked her back to the shop. Once inside she sat her down and blew on her hands to warm them up. Lilly just starred at her and breathed slowly and deeply. Her face was pale and her body was so cold it burnt.

“Are you alright, Lill?” Evelyn asked putting a blanket round them to keep her warm.

“Something was out there, Evie. Something was breathing, then everything went dark and this man with a face of teeth tried to touch my face but then everything went back to normal.”

“You fainted, my Lill. It was just a dream.”

“No I heard it before everything went dark. I heard it panting in the night like it was chasing me,” Lilly spoke quickly in fear. Evelyn looked outside and saw nothing.

“Lill, it’s just your imagination. It could have been the river, or a symptom of fainting.” Lilly shook her head.

“It wasn’t that. I didn’t feel strange until everything faded away and my heart started to hurt. There’s something out there!” insisted Lilly.

“Stop it Lill, you’re scaring me now,” Evelyn pulled Lilly close and rocked her like a baby. She didn’t know why, she just did. “Do you want to go home?” Lilly shook her head.

“Am I insane?” she asked. Evelyn smiled.

“No. You’re just frightened. Maybe you had a heart attack.” Lilly laughed but stopped abruptly when the bell rang sharply indicating that the door had opened. A tall gentleman entered: Everything he wore was black and a top hat shadowed his eyes but Lilly looked up into them - they were darker than night.

Evelyn stood up and put her gloves on. The man looked at Lilly then took his hat off and watched her with concern.

“She’s not feeling well,” explained Evelyn, “May I help you, Sir?”

“Do you have any bread left?” he asked looking at the back shelves. Evelyn turned round to see.

“There’s some more in the back.” She walked towards the kitchens but stopped by Lilly. “Are you all right?” she asked again softly. Lilly nodded. When Evelyn went to find the bread the man turned to Lilly who was quietly staring at the floor.

“What manner of girl goes out dancing in a storm?” Lilly looked up into his eyes. They were dark: Endless and empty. He was a young man and had short dark hair that stood crisp on his head. He was handsome but his eyes looked aged beyond his body. They looked exhausted with travel and struggled to cope with life: Full of stress or pain. Lilly gazed up into the strange eyes wondering what could bring him such sorrow that it was drowned deep within his secret eyes. The man broke the gaze by looking towards the kitchens. Lilly regained her senses.

“I … I don’t know.” Lilly felt like an idiot. The man stared deep into her grey eyes. They also showed the anger and pain of her life. It burned brightly from within. Lilly hung her head again and stared at the floor.

The man took a bun from the cabinet and left a note on the counter. He took a big bite of the bun and left. Lilly was dazed but the shop bell brought her back to reality. Evelyn came back with a loaf and set it down on the shelf.

“What happened to him?” she asked sitting down.

“He left this and took a bun,” said Lilly transfixed on the doorway. Evelyn picked up the note.

“Five pounds! Did he ask for change?”

“He didn’t say anything,” Lilly sighed as she stared at the snow whipping the pain of glass. She stared out into the streets with fear of what lurked in the shadows.

Trenchtownrock   Trenchtownrock wrote
on 7/7/2009 8:24:42 AM
You will have to give me lessons on how to write stories like the ones you have written...they are fantastic writing because the characters are well painted and they had such life to your canvas..another good piece of writing my friend..wishing you nothing but the absolute best with your work and publishing goals.

MW   MW wrote
on 6/30/2009 11:33:05 AM
Cool, had to read all the story first before leaving my comments on these writings. :)OMG this is great!

WAN   WAN wrote
on 6/16/2009 9:44:58 AM
Oh im so inlove with your this story. Can i have some more?please? I am really excited to know what will happen to lilly and tha handsome guy.

Novel / Novella
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Lilly starts to realise that something is going on. So does Evelyn. Enter cooler than cool Simon ;)
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