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Maquaraid of Ballads By: Stephen Hymer In a city that seemed to have an energetic need for flamboyance there was hardly a night where something extravagant dwelled in someone’s front yard. Some people created trees whose flower fell and turned into snow. One woman, Ms. Westerlen, made a small paper mache birds for each day of winter that passed until a whole flock circled the perimeter of her petite tw
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  Maquaraid of Ballads By: Stephen Hymer  In a city that seemed to have an energetic need for flamboyance there was hardly a night where something extravagant dwelled in someone’s front yard. Some people created trees whose flower fell and turned into snow. One woman, Ms. Westerlen, made a small paper mache birds for each day of winter that passed until a whole floc circled the perimeter of her petite two story house. !s he waled passed Ms. Westerlen’s house neo recalled the time when he’d accidentally crashed his bie into her small white picet fence. #e had then been immediately swarmed by a small floc of the paper birds and had promptly scurried down the street with his mangled bie. $ut neo was not upon a bie as he ventured passed the house, a thic swarm of flexing and  bending in the shadows, not tonight. %onight he sauntered down the middle of the street, his blac high top shoes echoed againsts the silent houses. &lusive, and he had to admit his heart hurried a little in anticipation as a light wave of crisp morning air collided with the blood red scarf, maing it dance upon the air in his wae. #is simple blac long sleeve shirt sat underneath a thic trench coat who’s blac color contrasted that of the grey pants, but match the blac high top sneaers which contacted the slightly dampground with an ever feverish lust. 'or tonight neo had absolutely no idea where he was going, but his excitement left temporary imprints of his footsteps in the thin layer of water in the street. %onight he was looing not to remember, but rather to live. (ust as he rounded a corner, there was a whisper in his ear.)!re you alive, or do you survive*+ neo stopped abruptly and looed around and could to no avail, locate the source of high pitched glee.)o you see, or do you wish, do you want, or do you tae*+ neo looed straight down, but nothing was there. )o you see or do you learn*+ neo spun around again and saw a man in a bright suit made of  peacoc feathers glance at him before continuing down the sidewal.)!re you mad or are you bright*+ %he voice said in an increasingly gleeful manner.)-m who are you*+ neo ased)ou see all bad  . #ave a swell afternoon/+ )0ould you not shout*+)#ey handsome+ neo found himself face to face with a thin girl whose blue eyes shone in the moonlight. #e was taen abac at hey beauty and noted her slender figure and at the way that midnight  blue shimmered in the moonlight as it clung to her slightly tan sin. -nlie her blac hair which flowed mythically in the air.s #e opened his mouth to respond, before a light voice materiali1ed.)!re you oay*+ neo turned around once again to find a woman staring at him from next to a willow tree on the sidewal. #er presence more that of a shadow than of a being as she wore a barely visible slee blac single strap gown and a blac eye mas embedded with what looed lie blac diamonds. #er dar brown hair fell only to 2ust past her ear and her eyes seemed to be piercing through neo who was suddenly aware of his now underdressed figure. Struggling to congeal words into a sustabstantal sentence, neo whipped his head around to find the other woman had vanished into thin air.  Suspiciously, he turned his head bac and stared bac at the woman in blac with e3ual contest and interest.)I’m...fine.+ #e managed to stutter. %he woman’s head tilted to the side.)!re you sure about that*+ neo nodded. 4ooing unconvinced, or what neo too as that since most of the woman was concealed by darness, the woman cliced her tongue which ran another chill down neo’s spine. )What did the voice say to you*+ She ased in the light tone in which she had spoen to him  before. neo told her what the giddy voice had said and she visibly stiffened.)!lright,+ #er voice so light it was barely audible, )%ap your heels three times and all your dreams will come too, but be careful what you wish for.+ $efore, neo could as what she was taling about or who she was or how she new what the voice had said she whispered. )I won’t tell. ou’ll see me later neo.+ (ust then a clip clop sounds began to echo up and down the street and neo turned to the source and stared in bewilderment at a unicorn which was hanging upside down in the hair and waling down, or rather above the street as if nothing was amiss. )I see it too, but there’s no horn.+ Whipping his head around once more to find the woman gone neo down right was about to say he was insane when he reali1ed the unicorn had now disappeared as well. )Well, might as well try this.+ #e muttered to himself, )5ot lie things can get any more insane.+ !nd with that he absentmindedly clipped his heels together three times. 5othing.  I know! #e thought to himself.  Maybe I should just wish for a glance into my future so I can see this sort of shit coming. Now where the hell am I supposed to being going now? (ust then, he felt a drop of water fall on his nose. )6reat.+ #e mutter to no one in particular. (ust then, the unicorn appeared in front of him. Still waling upside down in the air. Stopping 2ust in front of him, neo found that he was now sharing the unicorn’s breath which smelt of beets. )5aaaaay/ 0lose your eyes young padawan+ $ewildered by the sudden, and very human nehy he was not ready when he suddenly change in location. Where he was in the middle of a street face to face with an upside down unicorn, he no found that he was standing in front of a open set of large french doors. ! large banner Step inside!nd you shall findourself !s the idea of several!nd the mind of oneo you enter or do you flee!re you you or are you meWhat am I* neo pu11led over the poem for a few moments before looing around to see if anyone was watching before stepping through the banner and into the light of a large ballroom. %he floor was a simplewhite stone with specles of grey which gave it a non reflective sheen. %he walls bore nothing but a dar grey tile and on one side a classical band, which currently displayed their talents by playing the walt1. neo noted the bass player was a giraffe before looing above him and si1ing up the dar wood balcony  high above the dance floor. !s he made his way further into the room, he too stoc of his fellow guests. ! man in a navy dress uniform taling to a woman dressed from head to toe in blue satin patches, two women dancing together to the sway of the music worse matching peacoc feather dresses. !nother man and what neo too to be his girlfriend were arguing in the far corner, a man and his partner nu11led noses while they gently roced on the outside of the crowd, and a young girl dances by herself with her eyes closed. #er grey dress throwing out periodic bursts of flame. %he air tasted surprisingly clean matching the state of the walls. &xcept when they flashed colorful advertisements for brands such as 7iller80ola, McSteamy $urgers, and 0ity in an unnecessarily aggressive manner. More and more people seemed to have gotten to wherever neo was now before him, and still more tricled in. 0uriously, while some of the people coming in without a scene, others seemed to be changing outfits as soon as they stepped passed the banner. neo watched as a woman in 2eans and a polo shirt become donned with a dress that was certcom 9:;<’s. $eing all by his lonesome, neo listened to the various conversations around him as he aimlessly wandered amongst the crowd)Why reminisce when you can taste today*+)See her there* %hat’s #ollen Maxwell/+)id you read the maga1ine* She had an affair/ She seems lie the type.+)I can’t find =enelope anywhere.+)! bloe told me that...+)5o %immy, we don’t call girls that.+)id you see the carousel on >:th street* %he animals were actually alive/+ )=lease I want to go/ I don’t lie it here...)%ae this, you loo lie you need a drin.+)&xcuse me sir, but I was wondering if I could have the next dance with you*+)I’m getting worried 7ip.+)id you see those two men issing* #ow disgusting...+)&xcuse me, I must say that I love your...+)I wonder when they’ll play something other than the Walt1.+)o see that*+ neo 2umped and turned around to the source of the 3uestion. ! broad shouldered young man appeared. Seeming to not to want to hide his masculinity, he wore a form fitting military lie uniform with blac dress shirt, and trousers. ! dull silver clasp fastened a large blac belt was around his waist which matched the boots which stood out not because of the man?s outfit, but rather the occasion. %he young man, continued to point at something down and behind neo.)o you see that.+ #e said flatly. neo turned and followed his pointed finger and saw nothing  but the anles and feet of the many dancers. %hen he noticed some of their footsteps stamped an angry redimprint into the otherwise spotless white floor. 5ot understanding what this was what the young man wanted him to see, he dismissed the detail as fallacy. )o you see that.+ %he man repeated from behind neo, who shoo his head and received a clearly audible sigh of frustration. )o you see that.+ %his time the voice behind neo was light. #e noted the change but did not  bother to loo behind him as he shoo his head again. %his time he received a smac to the side of the head. ! very hard smac of the head which caught him off balance and he fell to the floor. )0omforting lies won’t save you boy.+ %he light voice said in more flustered tone 2ust as what neo presumed to be a boot noced the wind out his stomach and s3uee1ed his eyes shut as he exhaled a pained sigh. When he opened his eyes, his head was pulsing with the beat of his racing heart and his   bones rattled with that of the feet moving all around him. #is mouth tasted of copper. @eaching up with his right hand to feel his lips neo became aware of a sticy sensation on the side of his face. Still lying on the floor his eyes rotated so that he now saw part of his was indeed resting in a pool of blood. -nable to mae himself move, his ga1e la1ily followed the red trail, now marred with shoe prints, through the forest of legs to a figure who was lying on the floor. #e recogni1ed her as the woman under the willow tree by her short dar brown hair and blac mas. ! large dagger was buried hilt deep in her chest, where her heart was. #owever, she did not loo as she had. It was hard to tell, but neo could’ve sworn she almost loo a little larger. ! few people who noticed her glanced down, and many offered shoc, some even producing pens and paper and leaving little notes on her body, but eventually everyone went bac to dancing. Some of the notes slid off the woman’s figure and drowned in the pool of crimson which sat nextto her. )!re you oay*+ %his time he recogni1ed the voice and looed up to find someone her didn’t now. %he woman standing above him had on a blac wide brimmed hat, a blac slim fitting suit, and  blac pants that seemed to change into a purple tint depending on how the light reflected on it. $lac neehigh boots finished her loo into something that hinted at functionality over style, but somehow managed not to sacrifice either. She wore no mas so neo could see the full brunt of her contorted, but concerned expression, and her dar blue eyes which shone even though no light directly touched them. !n expression which resembled an uncanny amount of control. )ou loo lie you’ve been having a rough night.+ %he woman said with an outstretched hand which neo graciously too. )#ere put your arm around me.+ #e hesitated for a moment and the woman smiled,)I don’t bite. $esides, all the blood’s gone.+ =ausing to feel the side of his face, we found no  blood came off with his touch, and looed at the floor the blood trail had vanished. !long with the body. %he only significant noise was that of the band which continued to play as if nothing had ever happened. )Weird huh*+ %he woman said in dulled fascination, )0ome on, you need fresh air.+ 'inally snapping bac, neo wrapped his arm around the woman’s shoulders and she wrapped her arm around hiswaist as if to steady him. #e found the gesture, uncomfortable yet calming as the woman led them both tothe edge of the dance floor. Snapping her fingers, the woman said, )Watch your step.+ 2ust before the $alcony above them began to crumble and fall apart. neo was 2ust about to shout a warning to the woman when all the pieces started to connect together and create a small staircase which the woman  promptly guided him up. %he creaing, clicing and banging noises coming from behind neo gave him grave concern, but there was no where else to go but up. !s they reached the top of the staircase, it began to reconfigure itself into its srcinal form until neo and the woman we standing in the middle of the  balcony, the noise of the dance still occurring below them. )#ow can they still 2ust dance*+ #e ased breathlessly.)oes it matter*+ %he woman countered as she slid his arm off her shoulders and then loos at him deviously.)5ow where were we.+ neo suddenly became conscious that her hands were now at his hips andhe stood there fro1en as on of her hands snuc it’s way under the border of his shirt and slowly ventured up his stomach to his chest.)ou can breath you nown.+ %he woman said in an almost flirtatious voice. neo hadn’t reali1ed that he had been holding his breath until she’d pointed it out and let out a sigh of relief which seemed to mae the woman smile.
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