The old writer descends from his tower and walks past the little art gallery and moves silently through several different passageways to the room on the far wing, the room with all the windows that face the sunrise. In that room there are rails and the walls are all mirrored. The biggest attribute of the room is space. It is a studio waiting to be filled.
Its current occupants are huddled against one side, stretching. They take the form of young girls, tiny bodies with taut muscles. They’re dressed identically, and the older writer can’t tell them apart. They all have their hair pulled back tightly, in a way that looks painful, into little buns on the back of their heads. None of them have faces.
Instead of identities, they have attributes. Where their features should be are words: Sensuality. And, Horror. And, Hope. One little girl, off to the side of the others just a little, is spinning and spinning around, like a top. Where her face would be is the word, Secrets. The old writer is certain that he’ll be paying extra attention to her during this process…
The girls stiffen up as he enters. His cane taps on the hardwood floor as he makes each labored step. These girls will perform for him, audition, all of them knowing that he’ll only pick a few of them. The rest will be discarded. The old writer only keeps what is necessary. A great performance is coming, and he’s lived long enough to know that what looks like magic, what looks easiest is still work. What some call conjuring, he calls choreography.
He can sense their fear, their apprehension, their nervousness. Youthful anxiety is a treat to him, as sweet as candied wine. He has no qualms about how aroused he is right now. “Dance, my sweet beauties,” he informs them. “Dance as if your life depended upon it…”