by Andrew Davis
Anya's mother was a cruel woman, so she and Hans danced on her grave. Once the wake was over and she no longer had to nod, thanking the blank faces telling her "it's a terrible thing, your mother was a great woman, we're so sorry for your loss", they returned to the graveyard. Night had fallen. Only the stars watched. Bearing their feet, they felt the grass tingle beneath their soles. Anya set her cassette player next to the unmarked patch of earth, and the tiny, scratchy noise of a waltz's tentative opening notes began to sound. Hans took her hands in his. Fingers intertwined as he wrapped his arm around her waist, and they twisted and weaved.
"Well, why would you tell me? I'm just your mother, after all."
The echo of her words faded as they laughed.
"Honestly, the nerve. What would your father say?"
Their ritual banished the memory of her glowering presence. Hans dipped Anya low, and she felt safe. She spun on the spot, inhibitions freed from the sting of that first slap. Mother rotted below, flesh and bone. Let tomorrow bring what it would; they had tonight. Bare feet pressed against loamy soil as the music played, and they danced.