The Dead Don't Dance

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“Oh, Spot.”  The Siamese kitten turns with a smug defiance.  “No more fingers in the house, Spot.”  

Rose goes back to sweeping the porch after shooing the cat with her broom.  “You’d think that he’d eventually run out of pieces to drag home,” talking to no one in particular.

There are about thirteen children running around in the yard playing tag.  A small girl laughs as she’s tagged after being trapped at the corner of the fencing.  “Amelia!  Please try not to get so close to the fence!” Rose yells in her direction.  It’s been rare that one of them gets inside the compound over the last few years, but it’s hard not to worry after seeing some of the sights that she’s seen in her life.  Amelia replies with a quick, “Sorry Miss Rose,” and goes back on her merry way.

Rose leans the broom against the door frame and pulls a rocking chair up toward the front of the large porch.  She sits down and giggles as a bump on her large belly moves from one spot to another.  “Oh little James, not much time left in there.”  She places her thin fingers crisscross on her belly and rocks as she watches the children run around enjoying their play time.  Her cheeks glow pink after finishing her chores, and her bright green eyes shine.  She loves  all of her children, but cannot wait to see this little one who she helped to create.

“This little light of mine,” she sings quietly, now mending small socks and pants, “I’m gonna let it shine.  This little light of…”

“Miss Rose?”  Amelia now stands before her with a toothless grin upon her dirty face, “I got this for you.  It’s not a rose, but it’s still purty, like you!”  Amelia hands over a Dandelion weed and turns to run back to the other children.  Rose, still grinning, takes the small yellow flower and tucks it into her loosely braided auburn hair.  These days, even a dandelion is hard to come by.  A rose would be quite rare, making her one of a kind.

“I’m gonna let it shine.  Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.”  

A handsome young man slides up behind her and caresses her exposed shoulder, “I don’t think anyone could make a weed look as lovely as you can.”

“John Robins!  Don’t dare sneak up on me like that,” Rose’s cheeks turn red and she slowly stands up to offer a hug.  “How’d it go today?”

“Well, we’re finding more good than bad this week.  Only three live ones.  One pharmacy that was well-stocked.  That was one thing we really needed.  It was east of here, Heflin.  Just before you get to the Georgia line.  They don’t have much there, but we found a few canned goods in a small convenience store, and a goldmine of medicine.  The school’s library still had books, Rose.  Books!”

“Oh, John.  That’s such good news.  Did you get me some vitamins?  I ran out three weeks ago, and it’s still a good month before he arrives.  This baby is going to be a healthy baby if I can help it,” she takes John’s hand and places it high on her belly so he can feel the unborn child turn flips.  He smiles and turns her around to face him.

“I still have a lot of unloading to do, but I believe there are some vitamins just for you.  We took two Jeeps out today.  Meet me here after the kids are in bed?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world.”  Rose lowers her eye lashes as he kisses her softly on the cheek.

From across the yard, a group of preteen girls giggle as a young boy sings, “K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

“Robert Jennings, watch your mouth,” John tries not to laugh as he waves goodbye to Rose.

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John and Rose are a handsome couple, standing on the porch as they have on so many nights before.  The clouds break apart to show a full moon up in the sky.  Rose jumps a bit as they hear a shot go off in the distance, “It never gets easier does it?”

“No, ma’am.  It doesn’t.  But, we do what we can, right?”

“Will you dance with me, John?  Out here in the moonlight?  I’ll try to remember the words of that song you love so much.”

John helps her down the steps and out into the soft grass.  It feels nice under her bare toes, relieving her pregnant feet momentarily.  “Do you think all of those people out there, I mean, those who were people, do you think they remember the days of dancing?  Do you think they remember anything at all?”

“John, darling, all I can tell you is this- The dead don’t dance.  They shuffle their feet a lot, but they don’t dance.  It’s hard to guess whether or not they remember anything from life before.”

“Well, sing me a song, my lovely Rose.  Sing me a song.”

“Okay, let’s see.  Well, it’s a beautiful night for a moon dance….”  

They twirled around, bare feet on the grass, singing and laughing for a couple of hours.   Rose fell asleep with the feel of cool air on her skin and her beau running his fingers through her hair.  

That night, Rose didn’t have nightmares of undead armies or of shotgun blasts.  That night, she dreamed of a young man with green eyes singing her a new song.

Created: Mar 16, 2011

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