by Alice Pow

The ghost waltzed through the table, body passing through wood, leading a missing partner.

“I’ve tried speaking to her, but she only dances,” the elderly woman said, staring at the ghost. “Isn’t she beautiful?”

“Is it always the waltz?” Ellen held a digital camera, chrome red with yellow highlighting. The camera’s display showed the dining room: the table, bare; photographs, framed against the wall’s white paint; but no phantom.

music box

Lindley Ashline via Creative Commons

Overlooking the camera, Ellen watched the dancing woman step in time without music.

“Just the same at eight each morning for the past month,” Ellen’s client said. Eyeglasses hung round her neck by a thin chain. “Oh, but only on weekdays.”

Ellen arranged her camera on the dresser behind her. She pointed it towards the dancer and stepped away. The camera sat alongside an ornate box on the otherwise vacant surface. She opened the box and a melody drizzled out like soft rain. A waltz.

The dancer moved in time with the romantic tune.

“Mrs. Doe,” Ellen said, “where did you get this music box?”

Mrs. Doe did not answer immediately. Dancer and music had captivated her.

Eyes transfixed, she said, “I found that box with some of my wife’s things. It’s been so long. I didn’t realize. She was so much older when we met.”


Alice Pow

A creative writing major with a journalism minor at Bradley University, Alice loves linguistics, ukuleles, and long talks about humanity’s place in existence with relation to God, the universe, and the greater cosmos as a whole. More of her work can be found in Bradley University’s Broadside Magazine and on her blog: 50wordsaday.tumblr.com.