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Mormon Ghost Stories

The Dance

Cover Image for The Dance
Moroni's Ghost
By: Moroni's Ghost

“The dance steps of the gospel are the things we do…The dance steps require discipline, but the joy of the dance will be experienced only when we come to hear the music. There are those who ridicule members of the Church for the things we do. That is understandable. Those who dance often appear strange or awkward or, to use a scriptural term, “peculiar” to those who cannot hear the music.”

Elder Wilford W. Andersen, General Conference, April 2015, “The Music of the Gospel”

Kirstin was wearing her favorite blue dress. It had white snowflakes stitched across it. She didn’t mind wearing it even though Christmas was over. It was New Years Eve and so snowflakes were definitely still appropriate. She wiggled her feet back and forth as she looked out the car window, the sun was setting over the mountains in the distance.

“Remember to stay in the building and to keep track of your sister” her mom said to Kayla in the front seat.

“She’s gonna be fine, mom. I’ll make sure I keep an eye on her.”

“And let her dance with you and your friends!”

“Maybe… but like, normally the Mia Maids all dance together anyways. I’m sure she will have more fun dancing with them than us.”

“It's ok Mom,'' Kirstin interjected “Tori will be there tonight so I’ll join her group. She told me she already is friends with some of the other girls in the Stake that she met at the Halloween dance.”

Tori was 7 months older than Kirstin and had turned 14 this summer, so she had already been to a couple church dances. Kirstin had just turned 14 a few weeks ago. Tori had told her all about the Halloween dance though. Everyone had been able to wear their costumes and there had even been a costume contest on the stage. Kirstin was sure that if she could have gone, her Princess Leia costume would have won.

“Well I just want your first dance to be a success!” her Mom said “I remember loving church dances as a teen. You know I met your Dad...”

“At a Valentine's church dance in Orem.” Kayla finished the sentence with her. “Yeah Mom, we know. You tell me that story every time you drive me to one of these.”

“Well I guess I will have to tell Kirstin about it on the way home” her Mom said “because we are here!”

She rounded the corner into the church parking lot. There were already rows of cars there as Kayla insisted they show up 30 minutes after it started. She had told Kirstin that it was better to be “fashionably late”.

They said goodbye to their mom then hurried out of the car. The exterior glass door of the stake center had been propped open with a rock while the interior door was kept closed. As they walked inside they waved hello to the older man welcoming youth to the building then made their way down the hall. They passed a few groups of dancers who had come out to grab a drink of water from the drinking fountain or talk with friends where it was quieter.

They turned the corner and walked into the gym through two large wooden doors that had also been propped open. The main gym lights were off, but Christmas lights had been strung up around the walls. The other 3 gym doors around the room had been propped open as well, leaving the room well lit. One or two adult chaperones stood along each wall observing the youth dancers. A DJ stood on the stage as a rhythmic melody played out of large speakers that had been set up on both sides of him. An epicenter of bodies were up close to the stage while many other groups formed smaller circles around the room. Every once in a while two circles would slowly come closer together and combine into a larger circle like an amoeba slowly eating and absorbing its dinner.

Kayla ran off to join her group of friends as Kirstin scanned the room for Tori. Suddenly she felt two hands tickle the sides of her stomach from behind. She yelped while spinning around. Tori stood there wearing a dark red dress. Her hair was braided into two pigtails.

“Hey!” she said, giving her a hug.

“You made it!” Tori said “Come join us over here!”

They locked arms and she led Kirstin to the other side of the gym to a group of girls that she hadn’t met before. Though one or two looked familiar, maybe from passing by them at church as the different wards moved throughout the building on Sunday.

“Hey everyone, this is my best friend Kirstin” she said tugging on Kirstin’s arm.

The group waved and introduced themselves. Just then a slow song came on the speakers. Suddenly all the girls in the group looked slightly more nervous. A young man came and asked Tori to dance. She obliged and left the group. A few more boys came over, picking them off one by one until only Kirstin and two other girls remained.

“Tori said this is your first dance?” The taller of the two girls said. She had spindly arms and legs protruding out of a purple dress. “What do you think so far?”

“Yeah,” Kirstin replied. “I’ve only ever been here for stake conference before. It's so different when the gym isn’t all lit up.”

“I heard at midnight they are going to drop all those balloons down and turn on a strobe light!” the other girl said. She had bright red hair and sported a green bow that matched the dress she was wearing. “My dad is in the high council and was on the youth activity planning committee. He said there would be prizes inside some balloons too!” She pointed at the ceiling which Kirstin had just noticed was covered with a thin plastic net which was supporting quite a number of balloons.

“Oh cool!” Kirstin replied “I can’t wait!” She pulled a watch out of her dress pocket to check the time. Her Dad had lent her one of his spares so she could keep track of how close to midnight they were. “It's 9:47, only 2 hours to go!” she said.

Just then the tempo of the music changed to something more lively. Within 30 seconds all of the girls were back at the circle and they started chatting about how their slow dances had gone. After a few songs, the DJ came over the speaker.

“Alright! Who is here having a good time tonight?” he bellowed into the mic.

The crowd cheered a semi sheepish cheer.

“Oh is that all you got? I said, who here is having a good time tonight??”

The crowd responded more enthusiastically this time.

“Oh you are awake!” He said “Well you are all in luck because I have something special for you. This next song is one I mixed especially for you tonight. Just follow along to the dance moves as they are called out. And moms and dads on the side lines, I want to see you getting into it as well huh? It's New Year's Eve for all of us!”

The music shifted to an even more fast paced beat. The girls around Kirstin bobbed up and down as the music started yelling out commands.

“Lemme see you step, Lemme see you slide, Lemme see you spin, Lemme see you raise your arms out wide”

The crowd stepped, slid, spun then put their arms out as directed.

“Lemme hear you clap, Lemme hear you yell, Lemme hear you scream, Lemme hear you wail”

“Lemme see you wiggle, Lemme see you shake, Lemme see you step on back, Lemme see you wait”

The dancers responded accordingly. They repeated these three stanzas a few times. As she attempted one of the spins, Kirstin bumped into Tori, sending them both to the ground. Kirstin’s watch flew out of her pocket and landed on the ground. They dusted themselves off as the music continued. Kirstin grabbed the watch and did a double take.

10:56 it said, that couldn’t be right. Tori then grabbed Kirstin's arm.

“What is going on?” Tori whispered in her ear. She pointed at the other girls in the circle. They were dancing, but as if in slow motion. The lanky girl in purple was in mid spin and appeared to be defying gravity. One foot touched the ground while another spun about her. But by all accounts she should have toppled over. The other girls all similarly moved eerily slow.

Kirstin scrunched her face and then noticed that the music was not playing at the same speed as before. It had been an upbeat tempo but now it sounded like a low and slow rhythmic pulsation. The notes were held out for at least 5 seconds each, when each note played, it rattled Kirstin’s insides.

“I don’t know...Is it really 11 already?” Kirstin managed to say.

“I don’t know, should it not be?” Tori said.

“It wasn’t even 10 when the song before this one started”

“Maybe your watch broke when it fell out?”

“Maybe” she gestured to the slow motion dance “but what’s happening?”

“Look!” Tori screamed. Kirstin followed her gaze to the stage. The DJ stood on the stage and was staring directly at them. He had a wicked grin across his face that rested beneath eyes that had a far away look to them. He wore unassuming black pants and a black button up shirt.

He flicked his fingers across his setup and suddenly the music appeared to shift to a normal rate again. Kirstin looked down and saw that she had begun dancing without realizing it. She could feel herself smiling, though she had been filled with fear only moments before. She glanced over and saw that Tori was also dancing with a smile on her face. She looked back towards the DJ on the stage. As soon as she made eye contact her heart dropped. He was still wearing the same far away wicked smile. She stumbled again and fell to the ground. As she did so the music returned to its slow rhythmic pulse. She blinked her eyes, staring up at the balloons above her. She had knocked her head on the ground this time and it hurt. Pain radiated out of her temples. She blinked again in pain.

When she opened her eyes. The DJ’s face was a mere inch from her own. She screamed.

He put his hand over her mouth, then pressed his other index fingers to his mouth in a shushing motion.

She tried to speak, but only grunts came out as she tried to fight the hand covering her mouth off. Suddenly she felt two other sets of hands grab her arms and lift her up. She looked to the sides and saw that they belonged to two chaperones she had seen as she entered. A middle aged man with dark brown hair was holding her right arm while a plump woman with blonde curls held her left arm. They dragged her to a metal chair that was along one of the walls. The DJ returned to his spot on the stage as the two chaperones continued to restrain Kirstin. They stood still but tapped their feet slowly to the rhythm of the deep bellowing pulsations.

She looked at the watch of the man who was holding her. 11:28 it read. Another half an hour had gone by in almost an instant. She wrestled against the adults holding her back to no avail. They didn’t even budge. She sat there and watched as the room of teenagers continued to dance in slow motion. She screamed at the others, begging them for help. But they all appeared to have a similar far away look to them as the DJ. No one seemed to hear a thing. The watch on the man's arm slowly ticked forward.





When the clock hit 11:45. The music shifted. The beat began to slowly speed up. The others started to move at a more normal speed. But they were not moving in normal ways. Their movements felt erratic. Like someone was just learning how to dance and didn’t have the fluidity and timing down yet. Her captors' feet started to tap more quickly as well.

She started to make out the words of the song once more. Though she felt no desire to dance.

“Lemme see you crack, Lemme see you break, Lemme see you snap, Lemme see you rip off someone's face”

“Lemme hear you hiss, Lemme hear you cry, Lemme hear you curse, Lemme hear you die”

As she heard those words, the youth in the room started to engage with each other. They started quietly and slowly at first. A young man in a red tie nearby let out a soft hiss, then punched a neighboring boy in the nose. Blood spurted out as the boy fell to the ground. He writhed on the ground making an awful yelping sound like a wounded dog, then proceeded to bite the other boy’s ankle.

The chaos was sporadic, with some people still dancing, just more quickly now. Some were acting violently. While others appeared to be acting incoherently.

She saw the lanky girl in purple hop past her like a frog. She was tugging at peoples socks as she went by. The chaperones restraining her started to tap their feet more vigorously until finally they let her go, as if giving into some unseen force that drove them to move. They ran out into the center of the gym. The man proceeded to do a continuous number of somersaults while the blond woman began to urinate on the floor. She fell to the floor and started to roll around in the puddle she had created.

“Kayla and Tori” she thought “I have to get them out of here”

She ran around the perimeter of the gym, looking for her sister. The dancers were all so engaged with their own odd behavior that no one seemed to mind her, at least for now. She finally saw Kayla and rushed over.

Kirstin gasped. Two of Kayla’s toenails on one foot were missing. Blood oozed out and ran across her cheek as she continued gnawing on the next toe in line. She grabbed her sister and shook her. But it didn’t appear to break her from her trance.

“Kayla!” she screamed “Kayla wake up!” Tears fell to the floor as she looked around the gym floor desperately. “What did that DJ do to you!”

She looked around the room and found she couldn’t see the DJ anywhere. Maybe if she turned off the music, she could get them to stop. But the center of the gym was absolute chaos. Maybe she could sneak around and enter the stage from the hallway door instead.

She bolted towards the door and had almost reached it when she saw Tori. She lay on the ground, foaming at the mouth. Her body jerked in convulsions every few seconds. Kirstin paused for a second and ran through more tears around the corner. She found the other stage entrance and ran up the stairs.

There were two classrooms at the back of the stage that were dark and empty. She crept past them, keeping an eye out for the DJ. The coast appeared to be clear, so she ran toward the outlet on the wall and ripped the plug out of the socket. The music came to an abrupt stop. But the chaos down below continued.

“They must be too entranced” she thought to herself “I just need to get Kayla out of here”

She needed a distraction. That's when she noticed a rope that hung from the ceiling. She followed it up and saw it was the release for all of the balloons. Maybe that would give her the cover she needed to escape.

She reached for it when she saw the DJ suddenly appear at the crowd in front of the stage, just in front of where she was at. But he made no motion to stop her.

“What did you do to them?” Kirstin sobbed “Why are you doing this?”

The DJ shrugged nonchalantly. As if to say he was bored. As if to say this was the most normal thing in the world. Then he mimicked a tugging motion. He pointed at a watch he was wearing on his wrist. It was 3 seconds to midnight.

Kirstin didn’t know what else to do, so she tugged on the rope.

Balloons dropped to the gym floor. But they didn’t float gently down. Instead they burst on the ground sending liquid all over the room and its entranced audience. The smell of gasoline suddenly permeated the air.

The last thing Kirstin saw was a lighter in the DJs hand as he clicked a flame into life.

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