Dancing at the St. Louis World’s Fair–Happy Thanksgiving!

November, 1910; St. Louis, MO

Ragtime2The dance was beside the water. City officials had erected a great set of stands for the event it was said that people could see the place illuminated all the way from the Illinois side of the river. The things that had already crept into the world were unbeknownst to most of the people at the world fair. Then again, not everyone at the world fair was known to the people of St. Louis. It was not due to some malevolent plot of the man behind the piano, the world famous Scott Joplin, that the world would soon crumble. Rather it was an old spirit that had possessed the pianist. So old, that it had assumed dominion over most other spirits that pressed at the gate between worlds. In his life, he had been a powerful warlock, much stronger than some famous musician of any time period.

It was through an Ouija board that the ignorant artist got himself possessed, Cakewalk4on the very day before he was supposed to play for the competition at the world fair. His friends had all thought the board a novel idea for a party on the train in, and had called up something they would never be able to put down. Music has its own powers, as do dances. The mighty warlock from ages past had seized Joplin at the most opportune moment, and while he was unable to cast the man out of his own body, he assumed dominion over that which he wished.

RagtimeThe illustrious gate that had been erected in the city was formed in just the right conjecture and angles to open a rift between the worlds. While many humans had willpower enough to resist a spirit, spirits adhered to his words like children harking to a saint. With the man’s melodic abilities, and his dark and ancient magic, the warlock was able to call up the spirits of the watching damned. Frozen in hell, they had more than enough time to imitate the motions of those who still drew breath. The possessed Joplin surmised that if he could get the damned to keep exact rhythm with the well rehearsed competitors, he could get have his most loyal servants possessing bodies almost as strong and coordinated as his own.Cakewalk

49 bodies from seven teams in the end. A good number, the warlock thought. What the old trickster did not count on however, was those who monitor and watch the world beyond ours. The crowd, which had begun to disperse at the end of the last performance, only to reappear at the final marks, froze without intending to. Their eyes were cast down to the stage where seven competitors, all in black, stood in a line, at the ready and anticipating Joplin to resume his masterful piano playing. The Fair5oldest of the group, a witch known as Meddling Granny stepped forward and raised her hand to request a ragtime beat. The others, not so young in their own respects, former a phalanx close behind her, at the ready.

The energy from the witches radiated fiercely, and the forty nine Joplin had managed to possess stood in a wide circle around them. Should they raise wands or start incantations, they would fall on the seven like a wolves on rabbits. As it was, the warlock nodded politely, a grin cracking his dry lips, and conjured up the next seven demons he could muster to fall in step with the witches as they Fair3danced. Then, he began to play.

Vernon and Irene took the lead in the cakewalk, and after they had rotated ridiculously within the circle once, Pippa, Feebles, Pageant, and Prunes fell in step. Meddling Granny performed in the middle of their dance, without a partner and without a care. Those stalking spirits that tried to fall upon the witches came upon a nasty surprise. Each of them already had the spirit of a long dead dancing slave within them! The demons were buffered back, and the witches began to take the form of those long forgotten Africans not yet liberated. The dance became faster and faster, moving at such a fluidity and rapid pace that most of the other demons abandoned their new shells to flee in terror. The warlock tried to stop Joplin from playing, but found the man’s strength renewed and unable to be broken as easily as before! In twos and threes, the possessed lost their occupants as the demons fled back Cakewalk2towards the StarchGate and into oblivion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernon_and_Irene_Castle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irene_Castle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Joplin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragtime
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Louis_Worlds_Fair

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