And the Wind Passes Dancing

A Fantasy Short Story by Massimo Soumaré

And The Wind Passes Dancing

by Massimo Soumaré

Translated by Toshiya Kamei

 

The sun sinking behind the high mountains surrounding the city painted the clouds blood red. The deserted baroque-style palaces with pastel colors, amaranth-colored roofs, and complex floral decorations reflected the light, creating an unreal and grotesque illusion similar to the one given by the refractions of a kaleidoscope. Although the buildings were partially crumbled and moss-covered, there still remained a trace of their past beauty.

The ruined monastery on the hill to the east stood imperiously surrounded by a cluster of pines. The trees stood tall along one of the three rivers flowing through the town. In ancient times, there existed an order of monks who had busied themselves with alleviating the sufferings of the townspeople during times of epidemics. But it had been a long time ago—no one remembered anymore.

It wasn’t easy to enter the town.

Mic’alha had struggled mightily to get there. She trudged, wandering through a maze of houses bigger than any she’d ever seen before. Her people, of whom but few now remained, didn’t like that place. The ruins reminded her of a past greatness, a lost opportunity that perhaps never would arise again. The town had once housed the happy moments of the human race, moments wasted in vain. And now there remained only a small number of surviving villagers, but they were destined to become extinct shortly, pale imitations of what they had been . . . Mic’alha struggled, her arms and short legs streaked with cuts from the thorny bushes growing wildly around her. She was driven by a desire, a longing even she herself couldn’t understand. She only knew she had to be there.

It wasn’t easy to enter the town.

It wasn’t a problem for the young, nameless wind. He could move swiftly under the arcades along the long avenue leading from the Royal Palace to the bridge over one of the three rivers. He played, amused by wrapping himself around the columns, danced in the little squares where the shabby chairs and tables in the bars were wobbling as he passed. He toyed with the old creased curtains thrown out of the windows. And there he went! He dashed for hundreds of meters close to the paved streets where tufts of fresh grass sprouted here and there. He rose to the roofs of the highest buildings—no barrier could stop him. Every so often he met some of his friends, and they started a ballet of mellow embraces and endless whirls. Some winds came from far away, from the sea, and brought with them a tantalizing flavor of salt. Others came from the snow-capped mountains and contained tiny snow crystals. Still some came from faraway continents and carried fine grains of gold-colored sand.

It wasn’t easy to enter the town.

Mic’alha had hoped. Unlike her companions, she still held out a glimmer of hope in her heart. And it was that hope that made her overcome the many adversities necessary to come to the town. Yet she was looking for something she didn’t fully understand, which escaped from her like creek water slipping through her fingers.

She’d come to a large square with an imposing, ancient statue of a proud-looking man on horseback in the middle. At one end of the square stood two large twin churches.

A rustling sound caught her attention. A light breeze grazed her sunburned cheeks. A young, innocent voice seeped into her ears. He confided in her an old secret, a secret long ago lost by men, before their ruinous downfall. Then the breeze turned into an impetuous wind that moved away from her at great speed.

Mic’alha smiled. Now she knew. Now she understood. Perhaps the human race wouldn’t die out. If only, back among her people, someone had listened to her, they could start again from the beginning. But this time they wouldn’t forget the secret. She would make sure that none of her children forget!

It wasn’t easy to enter the town.

The young wind saw her. No, she didn’t belong to his race, but he knew her. For a long time, their ancestors had been friends in the lonely steppes, in the deserts, in the forest trees, before the men were estranged from the spirits of the world.

A faint breeze approached her cautiously. Oh, how different she was from the giants of knowledge and science he’d heard about! From those who had tried to dominate the mighty sun, the graceful clouds, and the free winds. She was small in height. The merciless rays of the sun had darkened her skin to a mahogany hue. Her hands and feet looked shriveled. Her skin was covered with thin strips from which dripped reddish drops. Only the depth of her eyes held something as precious as a ruby.

The wind couldn’t help but feel a deep sadness inside, a melancholy that erased even the joy he experienced while playing with his friends. He spoke to her on impulse. After tens of hundreds of years, a wind spoke to humans again, and in those words the most precious secret was enclosed, the secret mankind had lost.

Then the wind flew off quickly somewhere else, to new adventures . . .

 

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