Leonardo Da Vinci was fascinated by the changes night could bring.
He walked the streets at dusk, marveling at the beauty of the human face when bathed in twilight’s special grace. There was a muted loveliness denied the harsh illumination of the day.
It has always been so.
Things change at night. Stranger sights and seeming secrets feel freer to move among us. It’s one reason I follow Leonardo’s example, wandering after sunset, hoping to stumble upon lesser-known magic as it goes about its nightly routine.
But I never expected the Vapor Dancers.
I don’t know if this is a subculture or a single occurrence. I don’t know if they are called by another name, but to me…Vapor Dancers.
You’ll find them when the hour is late and the street deserted.
You’ll find them where plumes and columns of steam rise from manhole covers and vents.
The first one emerged from shadow, making a soundless way to the center of the street. Diaphanous fabric floated from her waist, pale and grey as fog. To the music of distant sirens, she approached the pillar of vapor where it escaped the city’s substructure, drifting upward as the breeze sculpted it into pleats and folds. Her arms rose in graceful imitation.
And then began what I can only call a dance.
Moving in silent harmony with the steam, she made it her partner. Then another, and another, and one more appeared, echoing the first’s performance.
But no city street is deserted for long. The dance lasted until a cab turned the corner, the sharp beams of its headlights interrupting, scattering, dispersing both dancers and steam.
I left, too. It was late, and this wasn’t my world. I was just a visitor who’d been treated to something strange and hauntingly beautiful.
Leonardo would have loved it.