Arthur Franklin’s first memory is that of goosebumps running down the length of his arms. He shivers, opens his eyes, then immediately squeezes them shut as light burns into the back of his head. He turns his face, raising a hand to cover his eyes. He shivers, and realizes he’s only wearing a medical gown.
The movement draws at him, the music calls to him, and the light shows the way.
Dancers in the gazebo weave and spin and glide across the floor. Music pours forth, filling the world around him. Starlight reflects off the pond’s surface; lanterns shine, hanging from the bridges connecting the gazebo to the rest of the grounds. And the gazebo blazes like a beacon, light pouring out behind the dancers, turning them into half-shadows framed behind white latticework and columns.
Even at a distance, he feels a current leading to the gazebo’s center. The dance is a whirlpool, and he is caught in it.
Matthew Alexander Garrett leans against his car, one foot on the road, one resting on the door frame. He’s trying to decide what to do. More accurately, he’s already decided what to do, and he’s waiting for the rational part of his mind to give in to the idea.
August nights are hot and wet, and what little light spills out from the car interior shines off the fine layer of sweat covering Matthew’s face and neck. Dark eyes gaze out at the trees along the shoulder of the road; lean hands brush absently at damp, dark hair. The air is heavy with honeysuckle, humidity, and dew; the scent is rich if you like honeysuckle, cloying if you don’t. Matthew does.
It’s late, he’s tired, he wants to be home. The moon is hidden, the night is heavy and thick, the only light he sees comes from his headlights. The road stretches on, invisible, coming into view only at the edge of his high beams with a startling suddenness that makes him feel like he’s driving too fast, which is true.