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  • Jack Morsch

My Night Dancers

In this bedroom… I spend nights looking out my muddy glass window. Outside is a single dead oak tree whose branches sprawl across the glass frame like many hairline fractures. Next to me and my bed rest still silhouettes: my winter jacket on a frail wooden chair, shelves with porcelain figures line the walls, and pictures of people dancing lie all around. In between me and them is what feels like an infinite amount of space, their silhouettes obscured by static.

Since the rest fail to interest me, the tree outside my window became my favorite silhouette. Its spindly, barren branches become dark and hollow cracks that spread across the glass, and when the branches sway, they snap and twist into jagged shapes.

The longer I stare, more static fills the room, and it feels as if I can see every blood vessel in my eyes. As the air begins to feel more dense, the shapes in the tree branches start to tell me a story… I see vague outlines of a face, one whose mouth moves, but no words break through. The face is featureless, and glows a subtle white. When these moments occur, I force my eyes to swallow themselves, and keep them swallowed until morning.

This evening, my oak tree seems particularly dead… His lines won’t move, and he says nothing to me. Strangely, I see my ceiling slowly crawling away from me, the space between us multiplying. Around me I can hardly see my silhouettes; my jacket has disappeared, the porcelain figures may have shattered, and my pictures of night dancers left long ago. I throw my hands into the air to touch the ceiling, but I cannot see them… My eyes are enveloped in neverending static, like I am staring at a bare wall in a pitch black room.

I sit staring for what could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours, when a pale glow begins to shine through the wall. The rough silhouette of a face appears, the same from my oak tree. The face's mouth moves, but still their words won’t reach me… I move my mouth to try and make any sound, but I cannot hear. When I attempt to speak, however, his mouth no longer moves… We silently converse for an indeterminate amount of time, what we say to one another, I am not sure of. After a moment without interaction, the mouth of the face closes and their brow becomes furrowed, as if exerting physical force.

Lower in the frame, the white silhouette of a hand pushes through the static, reaching out for me. Instinctually I reach out, realizing that my skin too has become pitch black… The moment our hands touch, their mouth falls wide open, their jaw extending infinitely downwards. Frightened, I release the hand, and immediately, as if I were flashbanged, everything becomes white…. I am in a different position in my room, looking out into it, as if from a picture frame. Everything, all my silhouettes, are perfectly still, the dust won’t even pass through the air. I find myself stuck in the wall, I look down to see my body has become all white paint.


Art by Michelle Cao


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