The lifeless mannequins all donned tutus made of smooth silk and embroidered with intricate designs. The striking liveliness of the designs made them look trapped in their tiny glass display cases, as if simply removing the glass case would be enough to make them burst into dance. They were exactly the sort of things you’d expect to find in the National Museum of Ballet, but Anne wasn’t here to steal those.
In the darkness, she could barely make out the silhouettes of the display cases, but she had the layout of the whole museum engraved in her mind. The high-pitched shriek of the alarms went unnoticed by Anne, the only sound she was focused on was the beeping of the keypad as she entered the code for the display case. The alarm stopped but the guards would still be rushing in soon, she could hear the pounding of feet against marble floors. Or maybe that was just her heart.
She could see her starstruck reflection in the glass of the display cases and hear her breath come out in shallow puffs as she stepped back, making room for one of the walls of the case to reach the ground, creating a ramp. Now she finally had what she came for. A plain tulle tutu, there was nothing remarkable about it, yet she still looked at it like it was a sacred treasure. Slowly, her trembling hands reached forward as her fingertips brushed the skirt.
The doors slammed open as the guards burst into the room and Anne snapped out of her trance. Not because she was about to be caught, but because she ripped the skirt. And suddenly, glass shards from the cases were flying everywhere, catching the dim light of the moon and skidding across the floor. The mannequins, headless, armless, and lifeless began thrashing around, as if they were trying to fight the guards. Anne felt like air was being sucked out of her lungs and she collapsed to the floor.
Next to her limp body was a small gold plaque.
“It is rumored that the spirit of the deceased ballerina is trapped in the fabric of the tutu.”
Salina Miao is an 8th grader at Redmond Middle School. This is her first story with the Youth Review.