By Himanshu Goel. 

Razia slowly poked her head up lying on the hospital bed, Dr Rajeev had left and Nurse Nadia was asleep by now.

Razia was a fifteen year old girl, and she was stuck in Fortis hospital in the town of Kuil for the next two months. She was found to have the LF-XZ contagion. A rare disease but extremely volatile once it gets evolved. Fortunately, she was admitted in time for recovery. The doctors said that there was a risk she might not make it alive even after two months of recovery. They also mentioned that side effects can be caused due to the process which can slow down her brain development. She wasn’t bothered or afraid of a slow developing brain, maybe she could experience the world with more time now. What bothered her was the quarantine procedure she was going through. Because of the highly contagious nature of the pathogen, no one could come near her without wearing a protective suit. She hadn’t seen her mother or her friends for a week. Her only company for the last week had been several doctors and nurse Nadia.

She poked up her head again to make sure no one was watching. Slowly she unbuckled the equipment from her right arm and shifted her weight slightly on the edge to get up as quietly as possible.

Tip toed she stood, walking around slowly in the small room. She had started doing this a couple of days ago. She pressed the hospital gown across her belly a little tighter so it would fit more nicely. The light blue gown wasn’t anything anyone would wear to a special occasion. She wasn’t going for flashy, she joked to herself. She had no shoes except for a little sandal with a little rubber duck on top of each one. She decided she would rather go barefooted.

She took out the violet sheet from a table beside the bed. She got up on the bed and hung the sheet over the light in the room. The white light came out with a hint of violet as it went filtered through sheet. Like someone had bought colored lights at the 99 Rupee store.

Everything is set. She tiptoed to the edge and moved gracefully to the center. She spun and swirled as she let one of her legs rest on the bed. She moved back with a small pirouette. She wasn’t a good dancer, but with no mirrors and no one but herself here, she felt like Beyoncé.

The lighting was pathetic, and she barely had room to move around. The hospital gown was no masterpiece either, and she occasionally tipped her toe on the table or the bed. But she didn’t care. She danced, little at first then gradually speeding up. Michael Buble’s Sway running through her mind and imprinted on her lips. When marimba rhythm starts to play. Dance with me, make me sway. And she swayed…  Because she missed her prom, which must have happened a couple of days ago.  Because she was always too embarrassed about her dancing skills to move freely. Because in two months she might never be able to dance again.

She closed her eyes. The violet light transformed into fancy chandeliers and branches of LEDs. The hospital gown transformed into a long, royal blue, silk gown. The small room transformed into a grand ballroom, and she danced. She swayed as if the ballroom was filled with guests, all their eyes on her. She danced like she hadn’t danced before. She danced like she could die tomorrow.


HIMANSHU GOEL is a 20 year old engineering student in Punjab University, India. He is featured in 101words.org, Flash fiction magazine and beam me up podcast and forthcoming in Polychrome Ink. When not writing he likes to play football. You can find some of his writings here – https://www.facebook.com/lighthousehg

Photo by Steve Depolo.

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