The Dark Yard Entry

image: Thomas Marlow

 She didn’t bother looking furtively over her shoulder or pretending that she didn’t belong. People tended to notice you if you were trying to be unnoticed in a very noticeable way.

(She tried not to think about that one sequence during “The Emperor’s New Groove” that Disney had released several years ago.)

She simply walked down the street and turned the corner and entered the Yard as if she belonged there.

Because that was the thing.

She did belong there.

She more than belonged there.

Places like this were created because of people like her. People that needed something done and done right the first time instead of the umpteenth time. She didn’t want to wait for them to mess it up or for the item to be broken even once.

She wanted it done all the way the first time.

Lizzy didn’t shake her head to clear her circling thoughts. There was no need. She simply turned them towards something else.

Like what she was going to do after this little…problem…was taken care of.

Maybe she’d go out and treat herself to a night on the town.

Lilly closed her eyes and pictured herself after all of this was over…

She’d get her hair styled, pick out a beautiful new dress, the kind that swirled just right when you went dancing. Maybe some new shoes, also the kind that treated your feet and back well when you only go home long after dark. Maybe she’d grab a bite to eat now and then in between sets on the dance floor.

Lilly loved dancing. She hadn’t been able to really let herself go since this whole things started. She missed dancing with a fire and a passion, because that’s what it had been to her. Her passion.

She had been nothing before her dancing and she had been nothing after.

This step she was taking, walking down this street and into The Dark Yard wasn’t something that she was doing lightly and not just because she missed wearing brightly colored clothing and meeting beautiful people. It was because without her dancing, without that magical beat right where her heart was, that’s all she was.

Nothing more than another random girl in another random place that no one cared about.

Lilly held her head up high and turned off the street and into The Dark Yard.

(Poor silly Lilly,
The little children cried,
How far will you ride?
When all is gone
And you’re alone,
What will you hide?)

It had started simply. She had been dancing, like she always was, but this time it wasn’t just for practice or some silly two-bit show. No, this time she had been going to come out in the top of her tournament. She was going to win and win big enough to be noticed (finally!) by either one of the judges who ran a professional team or be recognized by one of the scouts for another.

Lilly had put on her prettiest dress and her best dancing shoes, shined to within an inch of their lives (if inanimate objects could be said to have lives) and she took the hand of her partner and stepped out into the bright lights.

She danced as she’d never danced before.

And she won.

Lilly had accepted the award, the prize money and the bouquet of beautifully arranged flowers with a gorgeous smile and a graceful bow to the others who placed, lower than her.

One of the scouts for a prominent troupe had approached her and asked to meet with her, and her partner if he was interested as well, over dinner as soon as the event was over.

Her partner had declined. Allen had only wanted to dance partially as a way to return a favor to her from something long passed. He wasn’t interested in letting his talent take him anywhere farther than it already had.

Lilly had eagerly joined the scout for dinner, wine and even a little dancing that night.

Maybe they had, had a little too much wine.

Two months into her new contract, she’d noticed that she’d missed another cycle. It hadn’t worried her the first time, dancers had a finicky system and missed things like regular cycles all the time. Except that Lilly had never missed two in a row.

She hadn’t mentioned it to anyone-

(She wasn’t going to risk anyone benching her on hearsay!)

-but she’d made sure to go see a doctor on her own, making sure he was a discreet soul before ever stepping a foot through his door.

Lilly hadn’t liked the news that he’d given her, but she’d acted as graceful within the confines of the white office just as she did everywhere.

But she didn’t want to risk something like a little bundle of cells destroying her career before it ever really got started.

(Silly Lilly, the children laugh,
Why do you get in the bath?
What can you possibly find
With so little time?
Put your ear to the ground
And listen for the right sound.)

She’d heard things about The Dark Yard and how they took care of different problems for the right price. Some problems were like hers and they were incredibly discreet. No one would ever know you’d been there.

So she waited for her next day off, let everyone know that she was going to take a day out just to wander and get lost in the city. It was the new ‘in’ thing amongst the young and talented. If you were lucky enough, you’d find a wonderful little hole-in-the-wall cafe and meet the love of your life in a cup of coffee prepared to perfection.

No one would question her coming in a little late from a strange direction.

No one you think it strange that she would moved slightly differently the next morning.

It was a pity that the price for her problem was higher than she knew.

No one would ever know.

(Poor silly Lilly,
The children would say,
Life is not so easily thrown away.)

This little story was inspired by this week’s special Light and Shade Challenge in honor of it still going after six months. Took me a few days to get this all out.


Prima Dona

Out of everything that she did, she loved the dancing most of all.

Whenever there was a chance she would flit about the room she was in as if she were on stage in a beautiful dress, the appropriate shoes adorning her feet and a lovely tiara on her brow. The music would change, different instruments and beats filling the air around her as she would move this way and that.

One foot did not bend the correct way and her knees would often give out at the most awkward moment, sending her sprawling across the floor. Her imaginary dress dissolved into nothing more than a sheet or a blanket or nothing but the magic dust of her mind. Her tiara would clang on the ground and roll away while one sock hung off a foot and the other turned under.

With a wince, she’d pull herself to her knees and then to her feet, limping away as the music played on.

Secretly, despite the pain, a smile would curl up her lips.

image found:

Written for this week’s Dungeon Prompts ( and because this would happen a lot to me as a child. I was a clumsy thing full of too much energy and not enough grace, but I loved to dance no matter how badly I did so.