THE DANCE, by Shennandoah Diaz:

He danced the dance a million times before.
Slide right, twist, lunge, pull up.
Each movement graceful —
Each blow destructive.
He lived for the dance.
The exchange of steel,
The giving of flesh and blood,
Each sacrifice made in honor replenishing the soil
And feeding the legends that sustained him.

He plowed through their ranks.
The clank of metal and the soft, visceral whoosh when flesh gave into steel
Fueled his hard pumping blood.
The sounds of war aroused the beast within —
It longed to be satisfied.

He rushed again, ready to strike.
His blade raised high.
A sharp pain, deep and sudden, stopped his dance.
He saw the hand pull back,
Taking with it a six inch blade dripping with his blood.
The wound blazed with an intense heat on impact,
But as the life force drained from him, so did the warmth.
Cool liquid swirled around the damaged fibers,
Dripping down into the emerald grass.

His legs gave in, and he dropped to his knees.
His hands clutched cool earth and lush sod.
A wall of sound,
The deep guttural emissions of men,
Speaking without words,
Only the primal grunts and groans that best communicate the emotions of battle,
Surrounded him with comfort.
A pleased smile graced his lips.
He rubbed the soil over his wound,
Mixing blood and earth.
He fell on his stomach,
A willing sacrifice,
Replenishing this land
With a life fought for
And freely given.


Shennandoah Diaz is a freelance writer and fitness buff exploring what it means to be a hero at She currently works for an independent publisher and contributes to many publishing and writing related webzines. Her fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Innsmouth Free Press, the Flesh & Bone anthology, and the Elemental Horror Anthology.

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