A little something that won me a small award; see what you think of it

The strings were off in a corner, lethargically humming some tale of past grandeur, keeping time for the stately choreography of the dance. Like the last shivering handful of bees in a dying hive, the assembly wove ‘round each other, holding up tradition with careful pleasantries and dead eyes. The walls bled an earthy orange, which flickered across the porcelain masks with every gust of the cooling summer air. Blue- grey smoke twisted out from under the ceiling, escaping the gold- leaf prison in waves, washing over an indistinct form at the railing of the veranda. He coughed, and turned back in, careful not to let hungry tongues leaping from the woodwork ruin the rich fabric of his attire. Beside him emerged- for it was now very dark inside- another, who conversed in gestures with her partner. One more dance?No answer. He had his eyes closed, and was grasping for the wall in broad, smooth arcs. A tap-This way.Now fumbling up the back stairs, now stepping down the hallway, now turning the scalding doorknob. The light shone brightly in this room. It trimmed the cradle so nicely, and made the dolls look happier, didn’t she agree?Oh yes. Perfect. I feel so warm.Forever below, the orchestra played in its corner, smoothing the troublesome folds of the night, keeping time.One last dance?Yes, I think I hear the strings. And, to the beat, they danced. One… and two… in the distance, three

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