Midnight Dance

In the warm glow of the lighthouse on the sound, the rosebush wiggled. Just one little shake, and a pause, and then another. The roses had gone to bed and did not wake. Perhaps, in their dreams, they imagined a boat rocking in the surf, or a ride in a basket. The stars shone, and the lighthouse beamed, and the roses slept on, while the rosebush wiggled.

From beneath the bush, a little nose poked out into the cold night air. A little wiggling nose, and twitching whiskers following it.

Soon, another nose poked out, and more little twitching whiskers, and then, two pair of bright, shining eyes, and then—hop hop—the rabbits ventured forth from the shadows. From each rabbit’s tiny paws hung a pair of ice skates, dangling from their laces.

Hop, hop, the rabbits made their way from the rosebush at the base of the lighthouse to the rocky shore. The beam from the candles lit the dark night in rotating swaths, and the rabbits moved with the light. When the light shone on them, they stood so still that they blended in with the rocks, and when the light swept away, they moved again, clambering down to the water.

Down at the water’s edge, one place was frozen over. The ice was thin, but not too thin for rabbits, and this place was protected from the wind. The crust of ice hid shallow water in a little inlet, and this water had frozen when the wide open sea had not.

The rabbits picked their way carefully over the rocks, carrying their little skates, eyes wide with wonder and anticipation. They snuffled little thoughts to one another about the starry night, the silent night, the cold air, the joy of dancing over the ice.

At the edge of the frozen inlet, the two rabbits sat on their haunches and untied their laces with their clever little paws. They made quick work of the knots, and helped each other to slip on the boots. They laced their skates tightly, and then, together, they stood up on their back paws. Holding hands, they scooted carefully out onto the ice.

The oscillation of the lighthouse did not quite reach this inlet. The moon shone down, and the stars twinkled, and the rabbits danced under the glow of the heavenly bodies. The lighthouse beam’s flashes echoed over their heads, glinting on the rocks above, keeping time as the rabbits glided and twirled and leapt. Their little skate blades slipped easily over the ice. Their hopping movements gave way to graceful sailing across the cold dance floor.

In the morning, all that was left of their dance was delicate, intricate designs—swirls, circles within circles, long lines broken by brave gaps and dashes. The inlet was transformed into a huge, glistening snowflake in all its glory, carved by better craftsmen than Jack Frost.

The sun shone through the day, a cold, bright sun, and smoothed the ice with its rays. And that night, in the warm glow of the lighthouse on the sound, the roses dreamt again of rocking boats and basket-rides.

This was written as a writing challenge exercise to combine four incongruous items into a single piece, in this case, lighthouse, rabbits, rosebush, and ice skates. The original challenge, and others, can be found here.

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