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Excerpt from 'The Night Circus'

  • Article by: Erin Morgenstern
  • October 26, 2012 - 10:59 AM

Standing on the platform in the midst of the crowd, high enough that they can be viewed clearly from all angles, are two figures, still as statues.

The woman wears a dress something akin to a bridal gown constructed for a ballerina, white and frothy and laced with black ribbons that flutter in the night air. Her legs are encased in striped stockings, her feet in tall black button-up boots. Her dark hair is piled in waves upon her head, adorned with sprays of white feathers.

Her companion is a handsome man, somewhat taller than she, in an impeccably tailored black pinstriped suit. His shirt is a crisp white, his tie black and pristinely knotted. A black bowler hat sits upon his head.

They stand entwined but not touching, their heads tilted toward each other, lips frozen in the moment before (or after) the kiss.

Though you watch them for some time they do not move. No stirring of fingertips or eyelashes. No indication that they are even breathing.

"They cannot be real," someone nearby remarks.

Many patrons only glance at them before moving on, but the longer you watch, the more you can detect the subtlest of motions. The change in the curve of a hand as it hovers near an arm. The shifting angle of a perfectly balanced leg. Each of them always gravitating toward the other.

Yet still they do not touch.

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