“The ghosts of the Theatre are woven into the brick.”
“Bit of a weird thing to put at the entrance,” Eva commented as they walked deeper into the atrium of the Old Grand Theatre. The hall was immense – sweeping staircases flowed up the sides of the room. Cascades of red carpet streamed back down. When new, they would have been the height of luxury. Now, they just looked worn and tatty.
“This was a great theatre in its day,” Lyle commented striding forward towards the desk sat between the case staircases. “Crowds flocked to the Grand to see the macabre and mysterious. All kinds of mayhem was portrayed on that stage. Which I imagine is part of the problem.”
Eva followed her boss round the desk and through the door hidden behind. Instantly the sound was muffled, even their footsteps were imperceptible. A corridor ran in either direction with dresisng room doors and offices dotted along its length. Lyle seemed to know where he was headed for as he ignored each peeling door and marched onwards towards the backstage area. A shudder ran down Eva’s back as they pushed past long drapes, caked in dust and cobwebs. Boxes of props and costumes lay discarded between curtains.
“I imagine,” Lyle began as he nonchalently tipped a case lid up, “that were this building to fall,the ghostly remnants would remain, playing out an unending pantomime or debauchery and chaos.”
“Were the plays that bad?”
“Sensational, yes, they were,” Lyle nodded. Eva bent down and picked through the case Lyle had opened. A grotesque Mr Punch puppet lay staring up at her. She grmiaced and left it where it was, following Lyle out to the stage. “A few even died on these very boards. I saw it happen once. An accident with a prop. I wonder if it’s him?”
“So this place is properly haunted?”
Lyle didn’t respond, he just stood waiting patiently. Eva took his lead, feeling uncomfortable even though the seats were empty. A rush of static flowed of Eva as the stage floor lights sparked into life, blinding them and Punch’s mischievous laugh filled her ears.
She stepped closer to Lyle, “That’s a yes then.”
Word count- 365
This story was expanded from a piece of prompt fiction from 30th Jan 2019 based on the vss365 prompt #pantomime. It was written inresponse to the Seedling Challenge on A J Walker’s webpage. Visit it here.