Dance of the Blessed Spirits
By Veronica Randolph Batterson
The man took the path. He had three from which to choose and selected the one closest to him. The rays from the sun slanted through the tree branches and made natural spotlights, lighting his way in the beginning. Birds chirped and leaves rustled. The breeze touched his skin. Glancing at his bare arms, he noticed the gooseflesh appearing but didn’t feel cold.
He began to walk. His natural gait was off and he felt his body gliding along the footpath. He saw his legs take steps, but couldn’t feel the ground under his feet. Images started moving before his eyes, as if being controlled by a slide projector. Image. Click. Image. Click. He could even hear it. There he was as a child, with his first pony. Then a sour-faced teenaged him replaced it. A still of his wedding appeared. He was happy, but she was there in the background, smiling at him with his new bride. The sight of her made him catch his breath. His heart ached.
The photos ended and he found himself in a forest. It had grown darker and quieter. A stained glass window suddenly appeared, blocking his path, but he couldn’t stop himself from moving toward it. Rays of light broke through the trees and played upon the panes of red, yellow and green. The shafts of colored light danced across his face, making it difficult to see, but he knew he was heading right for the glass. He braced himself for the impact, but felt nothing. The glass shattered all around him, never cutting his skin but shards covered his body.
Suddenly the forest parted before him and the path opened to a meadow. The shards of colored glass rose from his skin and flickered in the sky, painting the arch of a rainbow over the blue. Flowers appeared, dotting the green landscape as if being applied by an artist on canvas. He watched the scenery come to life then he heard a breath being given to what he saw. The rush of a brook as the water skimmed the rocks, the screech of a hawk spotting its prey and the doleful howls of a pack of wolves.
Movement near a copse of trees made him jump. She was pale, her body translucent as she stepped forward. A crown of flowers rested on her head; the gold of her hair played down her back and over her shoulders, covering the white dress she wore. She stared for a moment as if he looked familiar to her and then turned away. He cried out but made no sound. Oh, how he remembered her.
The woman then turned and walked toward him. She was close and he could remember the attraction and love. Her blue eyes were inviting as he leaned close to kiss the spirit, to recall what he missed. But the trusting eyes saddened as she stepped away. Her form became smaller but other spirits appeared in his vision. People he knew. Some he’d forgotten.
The sight of them caused a conflict of emotions. Sadness, remorse, shame, yearning, happiness. These souls had been part of his life. Some he’d treated well, others he hadn’t. Why were they here now?
The woman looked over her shoulder at him. He wanted her to come closer again, but she raised her arms toward the sky, swaying to music only she could hear. The others followed her and slowly they disappeared from sight. He tried calling out again, but his voice failed. The blessed spirits of his life were gone.
Darkness replaced the bright colors. He couldn’t see anything but felt his body moving, then dropping suddenly as if in a freefall. He became dizzy and closed his eyes, fearing what might appear before them. Abruptly, he stopped and the only sound he heard was his own breathing. Steady and calm. Over and over. Then he slept.
©Veronica Randolph Batterson