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The lights flicker and dance, crossing the walls like fireflies, but in the corners it stays dark, and that’s where she stays.

Every so often, one of her friends leaves the crowd to lean in to her darkness and ask if she’s okay.

“I’m fine,” she tells them, and they believe her, and dance away while the devil claws deeper into her back. She stays in the dark, and she watches the lights.

Another drink, and another, and still the weight of her past pushes her down.

The devil whispers sorrow and regret in her ear, and asks her what was she thinking? Why is she even here? Why would anyone care if she went away?

She takes a deep breath, slams back another drink and steps into the lights. They shine into her eyes, and she’s dazzled for a moment. The beat is familiar, but she falters. Her feet feel heavy, her body seems to rebel against movements that were once second nature.

Then her friends beckon her towards them, take her hands and spin her into their embraces.

It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, but her friends help her shake it off and it scurries away into the darkness, seeking another sorrow to feed on.

© Kari Fay