A mother tied her infant son to a cluster of balloons. “There there, sweetiekins,” she says, “now mama is going to bake a nice cake!” The boy cooed and drifted upwards. Before the cake was done, however, he and the balloons were nowhere to be found. The woman was frantic. She opened the window and saw the balloons floating off in the distance towards the horizon.
The woman, though shaking, took time to put on her running outfit and shoes. She burst out of the door like a shot, her lithe figure making a tiny humming sound like a little train passing. She ran through the city. Soon she was in the mountains, slowed by fallen trees and underbrush. Her outfit was ruined. Panting, she slowed a bit and looked up – she saw the bright colors of the balloons slowly bobbing upwards.
She came to a clearing and there were many people there. Some were wearing masks. It appeared to be a ball. Above, in the twilight, there were hundreds of clusters of balloons that formed a vaulted canopy over the event. Amongst the voices, she could hear the distant crying of babies. A chamber ensemble with a clavichord provided music. A servant appeared and offered her a drink.
She mingled in the crowd, hoping to meet someone who could explain. She felt less awkward when she saw many people were in costume. She was invited to dance by a charming gentleman wearing a wig. He was attentive and jovial and introduced her to others. A country man with a fiddle stood up and overpowered the pleasant but slow music with a quick tune. The guests rallied and began a quadrille and the woman joined in, laughing now, arm in arm again with the charming gentleman who kept winking at her. Older, portly gentlemen in stockings and knee pants clapped in time, enjoying the show from the sides. The fiddler kept the crowd going for several rounds.
Above in the rocks in the moonlight, a sinister figure loaded a breach rifle and took aim at the balloons.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007