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Susanna's Dance

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She leaps.

It isn’t magic that propels her upwards, but it’s defiance of the rules all the same. She feels the pull of gravity in every inch, and past words and beliefs weigh her down like chains. It’s impossible to yield when she never has yet, but more impossible still to keep her thoughts her own. She hasn’t arrived, and she feels a monster clamoring at her walls, trying to take her freedom and her place at the head of the table. But she is lightning striking upwards; no one can catch her, no matter their power. She is power.

 

She lives.

The life of a girl, in a heartbeat or two. She holds time endless in the air, and she feels the sacrifices around her. People have died for this dance in the years that she lay sleeping, and it’s beautiful in the way that only violence can be. Balance is struck with blood and love, and she feels both in her daughters as she moves from child to mother; it is a rebirth without pain as she soars, feeling the will of her body and the instinct of the tempo. The protagonist thrives; an animal, but with wings.

 

She lands.

There’s no such thing as an easy landing now, and impact hurts her soles and her soul, deep within the shell of a girl holding something as great as herself. The beautiful comes without warning, mercy or end, and though her body holds determined shape, she can feel the future cracks in her bones, the pressure in the pads of her feet. It’s mortality, what some would see as a prison; she doesn’t. She sees only beauty and cheer, guilt and shame, and balance as sure as she can manage. She stands tall, straight, and magnificent.

She leads.