Those who live in the surrounding villages simply call them "The Fires". They tell stories of two invisible dancers who climb the tower each night in robes of flame. The figures dance from window to window, parapet to parapet, buttress to buttress. For miles around they can be seen, but not from within the tower itself.
Each night, as the sun sets, they rise from the gardens at the base of the tower, and begin their dance. Slowly, but with ethereal grace, they scale the walls. At any given moment, they appear to be frozen in this bright dance, but they are always a little higher when you look back later, and they never take the same path twice.
At the end of the night, as the sun rises again, and shines upon the tower, they may no longer be seen. On the longest nights of the year, they can be seen almost at the top of the tower just before they disappear, but in the summer, they barely make it past the balconies mid-way up.
In the villages, many homes have benches in their gardens or on their roofs, which face the tower. One popular inn has a series of sleeping-balconies on that side. Tourists and scientists come from all over the land to witness The Fires' ascent, and try to understand it. At night, when it is cool, and there is a pleasant breeze off the ocean, hundreds of people come out and sit to watch. Late night picnics are common on moonless nights, as is outdoor lovemaking.
There are many theories about The Fires, of course. Some say they are the spirits of lovers who once lived in the tower, and whose affection for one another was so great that they are forever tied to the tower and to each other, dancing every night in celebration of their love. Others say they are fairies worshiping and delighting in the darkness and beauty of the night. Still others say that this spot is the birthplace of the stars, and that The Fires are two new lights being added to the sky each night; it is difficult to count accurately enough to prove this wrong.
All seem to agree, however, that The Fires are a beautiful, beneficial force.
Is there any harm in letting them believe?
This story originally appeared in Culture Cult Magazine.