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Glass rained down from above as she smashed her fist against the side of the globe once more. Falling backwards, she folded her arms above her head and huddled on the snowy ground, fervently hoping the glass would not cut her severely.
How did I allow such an idea into my head?!
* * *
She opened her eyes for the first time.
They flickered open and the graceful girl began to wonder. Why had she opened her eyes? Where was she? Who was she?
Looking around, she observed her surroundings. A glass dome arched over her head, and a few miniature pine trees stood around here and there. Glittering white snowflakes drifted around her like feathers floating in the wind, settling in her hair, falling on her faded pink-gold dress. It was a beautiful thing, with frills and layers. Even her hair was tied up with the same type of ribbon, long and white, pushing the brown mass into a messy but somehow pretty bun that in turn complemented and brought out her dull brown eyes. Long, lacy white gloves covered her forearms up to her elbows; she looked like a ballerina.
For in fact she was one, a graceful ballerina with the elegance and beauty of a thoughtful princess. She had been a ballerina for as long as she could remember, standing in the same position since the beginning of her time. Never knowing the world, always seeing her globe through doll eyes that comprehended nothing.
She dimly recalled a time when she opened her eyes, only to see her world spinning and jolting, during which she shut her eyes once more out of panic for another slur of centuries, at least, or so it seemed since that horrific day in which she had been shaken almost to pieces. Oh, how terrifying that had been, she remembered. I could see nothing. Everything swirling.... Even now, I would not understand why.
I could not move from the pedestal. Will I be able to now?
She took a moment to realize she was holding a violin, tucked under her chin. As if they were of their own accord, her hands began to move, her right holding the bow while her left fingers flitted over the strings, pressing and releasing as the bow skittered over them. It formed a familiar tune that the girl remembered playing, though not when, or where, or why; she’d never played anything else. It was a song of loneliness and sorrow, of hope and wonder, of elegance and poise, of trust and despair and betrayal. Oh, if only the clockwork could speak, she sang in her mind. I wouldn’t be so alone.
After playing it and letting her arms - and the instrument - drop to her sides, she felt a hole in her heart, a yearning she knew could only be fulfilled by breaking through her glass enclosure. And so it was with this thought that she let her left leg drop, and for the first time her other foot touched the ground. She tested it gingerly, then, slowly, ever hesitantly, she lifted her right foot and stepped off the small, raised, snow-covered circular “stage”.
As the golden ballet slipper touched the snow, and the young girl’s foot with it, she could not help but let out a gasp of amazement, for she had never done this before. The snow began to swirl faster, and she turned around, setting her gleaming brown, polished violin on the stand, for she no longer needed it. Already it was half-covered in snow, and she figured it wouldn’t last very long anyway outside this snowy container if she were to meet worse.
She took a step towards the glass dome that enclosed her, placing her hands against the inside. She could see nothing beyond but an endless darkness that both frightened and comforted her; she didn’t quite know what to think, except for the one thought that kept running through her mind, and that was to escape.
So she brought her fist back behind her ear and then forward, against the glass. It bounced off with a dull thud and she winced as pain blossomed in her hand. She tried again, and again, and again, until cracks spread across the length of the dome like intricate spiderwebs.
The last hit shattered the glass into millions of tiny rainbow shards, pushing the dainty ballerina back onto the snowy ground. She covered her head with her pale arms in a fruitless attempt to shield herself from the sharp edges. She contemplated whether or not she should close her eyes and resume being a doll for who knew how much longer, but now she dismissed the thought, for her curiosity and impatience dominated her fear and confusion.
She waited until the shards of glass had stopped falling, then looked down at herself. Her dress and gloves were torn in several places, and stained a dark red by the cuts upon her face and arms, the only bits of her skin exposed. She ran her fingers over them, but as she did, she was astonished to find that they left only small scars that faded away; the clothing mended itself easily.
She stood up, gazing around at the darkness. It wasn’t pitch-black, she could still see, for the objects around her had some inner light of their own, but there was nothing beyond that, as if the darkness was simply a blanket of fog that had descended.
She heard the flutter of wings, and she watched with joyful eyes as butterflies began to pass her by: blue ones, orange ones, red ones, purple ones.
Lo and behold! she cried out in her mind. Beauty at its finest.
She stepped forth and held out a hand, extending a single finger, upon which a snow-white butterfly landed. She brought it closer to her face and studied it for a moment, marveling at such a creature, then let it fly off with its companions.
As she watched them go, a sudden thought struck her.
Why not follow them? she asked herself. They have to go somewhere, and so do I.
And so the young ballerina took off into the unknown, following the butterflies, forever leaving her snowy glass prison and delicate violin of intrigue behind.