Prose, Grades 7 – 9: First Place
The World’s End Dancehall — Shira Hanovich
Somewhere at the edge of the far corners of the world lies a small building with a dilapidated sign affixed to the front, proclaiming ‘Welcome to the World’s End Dancehall’ in chipped, yet elegant calligraphy. If one were to push open the saloon-style doors and step in, one would notice that the interior of the dancehall is in no way similar to its exterior. While the paint on the floor may be cracked and peeling in spots from the heels of ladies’ shoes, the rest of the interior is polished to perfection, from the countertops circling the sides of the room to the gilded light fixtures dangling from the ceiling. But, as classy and sophisticated as the building and its patrons may appear, the dancehall seems to exude an inexplicable sense of dread, as though its guests seem unwilling to remain there.
But that’s nonsense.
Some people spend their lives trying to find the dancehall, searching and hunting and hoping, traveling all over just to catch a glimpse of it. Most who have found it purposely hunt for it, although a few people just end up there, simply stumbling upon the entrance. People wouldn’t waste their time seeking it out if it was that bad, right?
There are plenty of tales about the dancehall, but rarely are they true. Some say that the dancehall is a palace, a true utopia, while others say that it’s a scorching, depressing building, filled with screaming and sadness. Of course, those stories are easily ignored. People scoff at the very mention of them. They’re outlandish. A dancehall is a dancehall. Not some sort of proxy for the afterlife. That’s nonsense.