He awoke as if from a dream. He pirouetted before he slid across the floor to his next partner. Her mask was a creature of nightmare and it startled him.
“How long have I been here?” he wondered. “How long have I been dancing?”
But he continued to glide his way along the dance floor from one freakishly masked partner to the next. Confusion took him and his movements began to slow. His steps began to falter as he realized, “Why can’t I stop?”
His vision swam and distorted laughter rang in his ears but still he continued to move. His last dance partner threw him into a dip before spinning him like a top. Around and around he went as he careened along the dance floor until he slipped and fell onto the tiles and found himself resting against the fireplace.
It felt like he was laying on a bed of moss and the ballroom smelled of the forest. He giggled haphazardly as he tried to stand but he tripped on a pile of long hair. His bushy brows obscured his sight but he realized that he had slipped on his snowy white beard.
But he could only remember being clean shaven and it had been black as the darkest of nights. “My hair? It is so pale! Why is it so long?” He wondered as the ballroom faded away. He found himself with his back against the trunk of a tree in a vast forest. A lonely ring of mushrooms encircled him.
“Why do I feel so old? Am I so tired from dancing?”
A voice whispered in his ear, “Good night sweet prince.”
The lids of his eyes closed of their own volition as snow began to fall upon his body from the branches above.
He didn’t wake that night or ever again. His bones still grace that fairy circle and they do not rest alone.