A Dark Dance

Francina wants to be a ballerina. Her dream comes true when she is accepted into New York Ballet Academy.

But what will happen when Francina meets strange and mysterious Ty, who is 19? Will her dreams turn to nightmares?


Based on/Inspired by 'Dance of Shadows' by Yelena Black

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2. When I Got THE LETTER

Jigging Oliver up and down on my hip, I bent down to pick up the post. Oliver, obviously, screamed in childish fright as his world tipped slightly sideways and grabbed my hair.

"Ow, ow, ow, ow, owwwwww! Ollie! Get off my hair!" I stood up and tried to prise his fingers off my hair whilst not dropping him or the post. Eventually, I carried him through to the kitchen and dumped the post on the side. Then I sat him next to it and started the job of getting him off my hair. Next, Madeline came into the room and decided she wanted me to pick her up. She tugged on my t-shirt - with a ballet shoes motif on, obvs - until I turned round and yelled, "WHAT?!" at her. Her eyes then teared up and I tried to say, "Maddy, oh, Maddy, I'm sorry, come here. Please?" This was very hard considering Oliver still had hold of my hair. Madeline then ran off, but I don't think she was crying. ARGH! Why is my life so hard? Then I smelled Ollie's nappy. With a groan of dismay, I dragged him off the work top and hurried up the stairs, going to change him, yet again. Why do babies poo and wee so much?

 

Later, I placed Ollie in his baby pen - which isn't his favourite place to be, but still - with a few toys, and went off in search off Maddy. She was in her room, playing with her Barbies. When I came in, she deliberately turned away from me (this is Maddy we're talking about, the 7-ish year old child who cannot stay mad at someone for more than 5 minutes), and carried on playing. I think one, bigger doll was shouting at the other, littler one. Immediately, I rushed to her side, and hugged her, saying,

"Sorry, I'm sorry, Madeline. I didn't mean to shout at you." she stiffened slightly.

"So why did you then? You are meant to be older, and I don't like it when you shout at me."

"I know, I know, and I'm sorry, but sometimes, even older people get it wrong. I honestly didn't mean to shout at you, but I was annoyed at Oliver because he wouldn't get off my hair, and I was scared I'd drop him or fall over something." I hoped she had understood me.

"Bad Ollie. Bad, bad Ollie!" I smiled against her head and replied,

"Yes, bad Ollie. Are we friends again?" She didn't answer but snuggled closer to me so I took that as a yes.

 

And all this happened before 8:30am in the morning. Finally, my mother woke up at 9am (it was Saturday), and I had managed to tidy up the house a bit. Luckily, there had been no more accidents with either Madeline or Oliver, and the half hour had passed peacefully. This was quite an achievement for my household. By this time I had still not got round to looking at the post, though, so was just going to do this, but my mum beat me to it. When she saw me coming into the room, she immediately swapped a few letters around, putting the top one in the middle. I wondered what she was doing.

"Anything for me?" I asked, fully expecting the answer to be no.

"No, no, nothing. Nothing at all really, just bills and stuff. We never really get exciting post, do we?" She sounded far too laid back, and laughed nervously at the end. This was her 'untruthful voice'.

"Mum, is everything alright?" I asked her. She was ignoring me. "Mum. Mum!" I snatched the post out of her hands, too quickly for her to stop me. She made a feeble grab for the folded pieces of paper, but then just looked down, looking like a kid being told off. The post felt thicker than usual; I hadn't noticed that with Oliver grabbing my hair. I leafed through the envelopes until I came to a stop at the thick letter, cream coloured with a hand-written address on the front. A hand-written address with my name at the top. Could it be...? No. I hadn't even entered yet, I was too young. "Hey, Mum, this one's for me!"

"Ha, um, I guess I hadn't got to that one." She looked nervous and seemed to be sweating slightly.

"So why did you tell me that there were no letters for me if you hadn't checked them all?" She looked even more unfomfortable. I was now almost certain this was the letter she'd stuffed behind the others. I looked at her strangely before tearing into the rich paper.

 

I stared at the thick, folded paper. Almost card, it was so thick. Elegant text had been inscribed on it. Hand-written.

Dear Miss Francina Ranfold,

We are writing to you in answer to a letter we recieved from your ballet teacher. She said that your dancing was outstanding, and you are achieving much higher than your peers. She gave me many reasons, so therefore we are offering you a chance to prove yourself to us. On Thursday 9th October, 2016, you shall dance for one of our own examiners to determine whether you are worthy of attending our school. If you pass the test, you shall...

I was right to hope. It was a letter from New York Ballet Academy. The school I always wanted to go to. I could have just jumped up and down with excitement. And I would have done, except... Except my mother had nearly kept this from me.

"Why." Was the only word I spoke. Not even a question really. "What were you going to do with it?"

"Oh, umm." She hesitated for a long time. "I guess I just didn't want you to go, and I guessed what it was because your ballet teacher told me that she'd sent the letter about a month and a half ago. She didn't want me to tell you in case it came to nothing, and she though it would be nicer as a surprise-"

"But you were going to hide it from me. You practically did! Did you just do it for your own selfish reasons? Did you not think about me at all?" I was incredulous. "You were going to hide it from me! Did you not think for one second that it was selfish, and that if I ever found out I would be so mad? Why were you going to hide it? Just give me one reason!"

"Well, I guess I just didn't want you to go, and I thought you seemed happy enough here-"

"You know what, save it. Save it for someone who cares!" My voice was rising, quickly now, "You never thought about me, because you are too wrapped up in your own silly little life! You know this is my dream, yet you were going to take it away from me?"

"But you are happy! Aren't you?"

"Just because I look happy on the outside, doesn't mean I've given up on the dream. I'm happy here, yes, but if I found out that you had hidden this from me, and missed my one and only chance at getting into NYBA then I would NOT be happy. I would be so angry at you. I AM angry. You nearly made me lose my dream." I was crying. Tears slipped into my mouth as my voice quietened, saying, "How can I ever forgive you?"

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