The Day of the Dead was supposed to be a celebration.
However, it appeared that no one had informed the skeleton who was glaring at us from across the void of the empty graveyard. Its bones glittered in the silver moonlight as it raised an arm in warning. Universal gesture: do not come any closer.
“Hey, it worked!” Toby said in astonishment. “It’s walking….it’s um, alive?”
“How could llama blood and ancient herbs mixed inside a dog skull NOT work?” Lucy sneered. “Who thought of that, anyway?”
“I did,” I said. “And I told you – anything would have worked as long as it was mixed inside a skull on this night in this place. I just so happened to have the dog skull and llama blood….”
My friends exchanged a look. The skeleton tipped its head with a questioning attitude then shrugged.
“Skulls have long been used by alchemists in their work of transmutation,” I continued. “That’s why you always see them in pictures. The alchemist uses a skull as a sort of ‘mixing bowl’ when preparing something. Skulls were thought of as reservoirs of life, the seat of the life force of both body and spirit at the highest level. ”
Our skeleton raised a hand to its head and tapped lightly on its temple with an index finger.
“See?” I asked. “Even he agrees!”
“Well, let’s see if he wants to go dancing,” Toby said.
We all looked at our now animated friend in the moonlight. The creature tottered forward on unsteady legs. He didn’t look like much of a dancer.
“There’s a party…..” I told him tentatively. “And I need a date. A spectacular date. I think it’s you. ”
He stepped closer and bent down to the ground behind a tombstone. When he straightened he held a perfect blue flower. With a tiny bow and a great waving of his arms he presented it to me.
“I think he said yes!” Toby said. We all laughed and I tucked the flower behind my ear. It went perfectly with my fairy costume.
The skeleton tapped me on the shoulder and tentatively did a slide shuffle to the right and then to the left. He turned his head and looked at us with that charming ironic smile. Then he broke into a tap dance time step, followed by a flawless line of boot scootin’ boogie and ending with the mashed potato. I could practically hear Monster Mash playing inside his head.
“I think he’s good to go,” Lucy said and stepped forward to hand him the tuxedo we had brought along.
After he was dressed the four of us headed for the cemetery gates.
“This is going to be the best Day of the Dead party ever!” Toby exclaimed.
The skeleton twirled once or twice then grabbed me for a perfect tango pass.
I paused to adjust a top hat on his beautiful skull. “I bet he wins the costume contest,” I said.
“Yeah, ” Lucy agreed. “Especially after he takes off the tuxedo!”
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