Night Dancer

The sound of anklets wakes him.

For a moment, he’s bewildered, before he throws off his blankets and pulls on a dhoti. His sword is in his hand purely as a reflex; he doesn’t really think anyone would dare sneak into his own kingdom – into his own palace, no less – and kill him.

He follows the sound to its source, and finds his latest acquisition, dancing in the room she had been given, head thrown back, arms raised.

It had only been a few weeks since his chamberlain has brought this dancer into his court – Mohini, he thinks her name is. He has only seen her the first time she had danced, which had been technically perfect and certainly beautiful – but nothing like this. She looks half wild now, her feet moving faster than his eyes can follow the steps.

He must have made a sound, because she stops abruptly, turning to face him, eyes wide in a startled face.

‘I’m sorry I frightened you,’ he says, and it is the first time he’d ever apologised. But he finds he is sorry, especially because his presence made her stop dancing. It had been beautiful.

‘I’m sorry I disturbed you,’ she says softly, lowering her gaze. ‘I didn’t realise I was so loud.’

He waves his disturbed sleep aside as a matter of no consequence. ‘Will you dance for the court tomorrow?’

She nods with a smile, and he returns it as he leaves.

His mind is still alight with the memory of her form, so he doesn’t think to wonder why she had been wearing anklets if she had not wanted to disturb anyone.

~

The king was exactly as they had said he would be.

The dancer waited until the king’s footsteps had faded away before moving to shut the door. They’d all doubted her, but in the end, she’d had the last laugh. Everyone who’d ever seen her dance had laughed, had said it was grotesque and horrifying, but here was this king, held in thrall by her.

If this kept up, she wouldn’t even have to work very hard, he’d already all but fallen into her lap all by himself.

All she had to do was keep up the innocent damsel act and flutter her eyelashes at him, and get him to lower his guard.

Just as she’d promised, in a month, the king would be dead by her hand.

Want to read more?
Order the Dark Things anthology and read the full story!

Featuring cross-dressing assassins, were-snakes, gods and goddesses, demonesses and asura kings, Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul retells age-old tales from Indian mythology—with a twist. Rearranging myth and legend to create new plots, these short stories will delight lovers of the unusual.

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Image from here, with thanks.[mood|indian mythology sleepy]
[music| Stop, Stop, Stop: Nu Virgos]

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5 Comment

  1. This is your best story yet… u really built up the suspense and the ending lived up to the rest of story. Plus, the romance was awesome and the irony.. There is a neat reason for all things and everything is tied up with no loose ends. A masterpiece, no less..

    1. SSK says: Reply

      Wow, the best yet! High praise, indeed. *glees* Thank you so much! =)

      I’m glad the ending lived up to the story, as you say, especially since I felt this was a little bit of a weird one, myself. This was originally supposed to have a cross-dressing (by choice) Vishnu falling in love with Bhasmasur but killing him when the latter finds out the truth – but somehow, Mohini hijacked the story and decided that wasn’t the way this was going to go. :P

      I do see Vishnu continuing his cross dressing dancing thing, though.

      1. “Vishnu falling in love with Bhasmasur but killing him when the latter finds out the truth” – this would have been weird… :P And, we already heard this rap. In “In the Forest of the Night”, except, they were both females and here both males. It seems I have more insight into your stories than you do :P

        And yea, this story might have been weird if there were no compelling and undeniable reasons for all the weirdness… you got lucky…. :P

        1. SSK says: Reply

          Vishnu falling in love with Bhasmasur but killing him when the latter finds out the truth – this would have been weird… :P And, we already heard this rap. In “In the Forest of the Night”, except, they were both females and here both males.

          Actually, if I had written it that way, it was supposed to have a cross dressing Vishnu who is ashamed of the cross dressing and very disturbed – and kills Bhasmasura because the latter find out he is a male. Though he loves B. As you said, this was the weirder version.

          And yea, this story might have been weird if there were no compelling and undeniable reasons for all the weirdness… you got lucky…. :P

          Haha, that’s good, then! =)

  2. url says: Reply

    A round of applause for your blog post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

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