Posted by Amy SIsson on Dec 25, 2013 in Apex Publications Blog: Matters of SF, Fantasy, and Horror | 1 comment
One theory is that The Nutcracker was simply performed one too many times, not that anyone had been counting. Every year, it was staged so many times in so many towns that the professional dancers despised it, even while their bosses blessed it. It was those every-day-and-twice-on-Sunday shows from Thanksgiving to New Year’s that kept their companies going all year.
But was it too many performances, or something else? All we know is that it began on December 14th at 7:37 p.m. EST, shortly after most east coast curtain times. Some brave audience members rushed to pull the dancers away, but now they’re stuck too. The Central time zone was especially tragic, because they might have been spared if they’d gotten the warnings in time. But it’s not as though dancers watch the news right before going onstage.
Weeks later, reporters are still talking about our lack of progress in freeing the dancers, often showing the grotesque footage from the Houston Ballet. Nobody’s sure if the dancers portraying the rats are even human anymore, only that they’re still slavering and nipping at the soldiers’ heels in the now-endless battle scene. And poor Clara, backstage practicing pirouettes. Round and round she goes, eyes and mouth wide open in a silent, agonized scream.
No dance company has performed since, naturally, and most plays have gone dark too. But even if theater ever is resurrected, there’s a permanent ban on A Christmas Carol, just in case.
This is the 2nd runner up story of the 2013 Apex Christmas Flash Fiction contest
Amy Sisson is a writer, book reviewer, crazy cat lady, and academic librarian. Her fiction ranges from Star Trek work for Pocket Books to the short stories in her Unlikely Patron Saints series which have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lady Churchillʼs Rosebud Wristlet, and Irregular Quarterly. Most recently, her story “Patriot Girls” appeared in End of an Aeon. She enjoys making artist trading cards, studying German and Japanese, attending Houston Ballet performances, and traveling with her husband, Paul Abell. Her website can be found at http://www.amysisson.com.