Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 10 –

– 10 –

Emily slips into the Konami Thunder Dance club. She takes off and stows her shoes. She leans against the bar on the mirrored wall.

She watches Meredith dance.

It’s slowing down even as she watches. She can see it. Meredith is becoming confused; the certainty in her is dissipating; she is tangling herself up until halfway through Daikenkai she loses the train entirely, falls over, and lets the song play out.

Meredith just laughs it off.

She wanders over. She towels off her sweat. She looks at Emily.

“Nice eyes,” she says.

Emily gestures expressively.

I can talk to Fred and Morgan in my head now, she tells Meredith.

I don’t think she can hear you, Fred points out.

Yeah, well, your face is ugly, Emily informs him. She can hear Fred giggling somewhere on the other side of the School.

“You’re not going to like eat me or anything, right?” Meredith asks. “’Cause I’m totally writing a letter to your Mom if you eat anyone. Even me!”

What, from my stomach?

She can’t hear you, Fred emphasizes. He squints. He tries to peer out of her eyes. Oh, hey, she’s cute.

Emily glares in his vague direction: Fred!!

Meredith snaps her fingers. “You’re one of those stand-in-creepy-circle people! Tom was ranting about you.”

Emily sighs.

She turns to go. Meredith has her hand on Emily’s arm.

Emily looks back. Meredith?

“You’re still allowed to dance,” says Meredith.

Emily considers this. Then she beckons Meredith.

“What? No. No way. I’m not dueling you.”

Emily makes a face.

This is really inconvenient, she says.

You can still use your outside voice, reminds Lirabelle. If you really try.

It’s too hard! Emily protests.

“This is funny to watch,” says Meredith. She sits down on the shoe cubbies. “You OK?”

Emily makes a neutral gesture.

Then, finally, she forces out a soft clear whisper. “I want to dance.”

But she can’t.

She tries but — she’s crippled.

When she looks at the falling Symbols they are just shapes on a digital screen. When she hears the music it is nothing more than sounds that are set to time.

She cannot lose herself in it.

She tries to throw Dynamite. She humiliates herself by falling.

She stares at her hands.

I guess this is not the one thing that I am, she says.



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