Friday, May 12, 2006

Chapter fourteen

Chapter fourteen

Once it had been a concert hall, artists trod the boards and the crowds had laughed and sang along to their favourite songs. The artists had been chased away, and a screen hung across the stage… the images of Hollywood had flickered in the darkened room. Finally it had been abandoned, all the customers went away and it had become a derelict wreck. People walking past wondered when the council were going to do their job and pull it down. It had always carried a reputation.

The schoolroom whispers told of ghostly visitations. It was the most perfect location actually. The building sat like the torn hull of a sunken treasure ship. Broken and battered, a sinister monument in the city centre. Its window eyes smashed and sightless.

Paul had shown daring when he had entered the architectural corpse, daring that was quite uncharacteristic. But he needed to be accepted by his peers, and so, with flashlight clutched in hand, which searched the dark in brave sweeps, he had entered the lost land.

His feet stirred clouds of ancient dust, as he walked with care past the rows of empty chairs.

High above, cherubim with cracked plaster features peered down with skeletal grace. Like guardians of a tomb to a grand past, sentinels of antiquity.

She only stood there for a moment.

A memory of lost days. A sad, sad spectre; her face illuminated by an inner sorrow. She surveyed the room where once she had offered nightly performances.

You could just hear the laughter of the crowd, all the more melancholy because it sounded so distant.

Slowly she moved towards the stage, as though floating upon a gentle zephyr. Her ghostly fingers brushing across the chair backs, the dust remaining unstirred.

Then she was gone.

Paul had stood, unafraid, spellbound by the vision and trapped within the reverie of awe. His crucifix hung heavy on his chest. He choked back a tear, empathy welling within for the lost soul, trapped in a neglected present – but longing for a past that she could never regain.

© 1990 & 2006 Andrew M Boylan