I saw but a silvery glimpse of her gliding through the crowd of people. I didn’t have a reason to follow her, nor did I even want to for any particular reason. Yet, my feet moved, and I was guided through the same groups of people, allowing them to move aside, just as they had for her, although they hadn’t actually looked her way. I looked at the people as I passed them, but they did not see me either. Their heads were turned towards each other, engaged in conversations that had nothing to do with me, as they also had nothing to do with me either, aside from moving side for a shadow, to allow my passage.
I was led to the stairs, each step easily taken and lifting me up towards the upper floor. I looked at the reds and yellows of the carpet, it’s intricate design woven as carefully as if it had been pulled together by angels or gods. I stepped higher, without a thought of why I was absentmindedly counting stairs, and lacking an image of her presence before me. Yet I knew that she was there, coaxing me, guiding me into an unknown area.
I turned, walking past the railing that overlooked the ballroom, the smoothly polished wood sliding beneath my hand as I looked down at the people below. Their eyes neither glanced up at me, nor tried to steal sidelong glances to watch me as I moved along the rail, and into a hallway that was concealed from below.
The carpeting and it’s endless pattern continued ahead of me and around me, taking up every inch of the floor from the bottom of the stairs. My eyes followed a band of yellow that thickened, then narrowed as it danced into curls and leafs of golden intricacies, all the while continuing down the hall.
The light faded as I moved away from the ballroom lighting, my own shadow expanding as I walked from the light. The electric illumination disappeared around the corner, but still kept the hallway lightened as it reflected off of the dark but shiny wallpaper on the walls, and off the edges of the varnished woods of the chair rails, the floor molding and the corner moldings above my head.
I could easily see where I was going as the sounds of the party also dimmed with the lighting. I seemed to be fading into the hallway as I darkened along with everything else and I became more and more invisible. The end of the hall loomed ahead. I stopped at its end.
Doors on either side were dark and impressive in their heavily shadowed wooden panels and frames, holding me out from the interior spaces behind them. I saw them before me as sentries, even with their brass handles catching the little light from the tiny lights in sconces in the walls.
But I had lost the feeling of compulsion to seek, no unknown emotion directed me to open either one of them. The feeling to pursue, that of being called forward that had already led me here had disappeared. It was gone, and my head cleared to a state of wonder, questioning why I was up here in the private areas of someone’s home.
The beaconing whisper of a woman in the ballroom still echoed through my mind, the feeling of her leading me onward, softly and gently. But I wondered why I had followed it, why I had been so compelled to move without question. It wasn’t any kind of force, any sort of demand, yet I moved as if I had wanted to go somewhere, and without the slightest thought of not doing it.
I returned to the stairway and moved down it’s silent steps as the fog cleared slightly. The people on the farthest side of the room below caught my movement and looked up to watch me descend. As I moved to their floor, those closest to the stairs also greeted me with smiles and quickly moved aside to allow my passage. I smiled back, and went along the cleared path to where I had been standing a few moments ago.
Already I had lost the feeling of compulsion that had lifted me along. It drifted away from my thoughts, and the conversations around me enveloped me once again.