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As a kid, I was obsessed with the theatre. With me asking my parents to go constantly, I must have went to a new show every month. Movies and books never really did it for me however; I liked to see things up close and personal to fully understand what they meant. The kids at school were obviously going to be cruel about this certain passion. When was the last time you saw a kid say he liked theatre without being inside a locker?
I was about nine when my parents decided to give me a special treat by checking me out of school on account of my recent good grades. They were talking about this show like it was the second coming or something like that. They had apparently heard excellent things about it, which made me restless on the long drive out of state.
We left the falling sun behind us as we drove down an interstate, finally arriving at our destination on the side of the road. The weak light grew dimmer and dimmer over the horizon as we walked through the somewhat packed parking lot. The theatre looked fairly new, with the exception of some paint chippings hanging from the exterior. Otherwise, it looked like an average entertainment center.
When we got inside, a well dressed man with sunken cheeks and a sweater vest gave us a rather forced smile and asked for our tickets. My dad reached into his wallet and pulled them out, and the man tore off the stubs and handed them to my dad, pointing us towards a door at the end of a hallway. We started walking, but the hallway felt strange. It almost seemed to get older as we walked. It smelled... dank and moist, as if we were walking through a tunnel under the ocean. We reached the dark theatre room, with other people sitting in almost every seat except three ones, all side by side, in the center of the front row. Looking back on it now, I realize how strangely coincidental that what I considered the best seats in the house were the only ones left in a full house. Thinking nothing of it, I walked down the steps carefully through the barely visible darkness. I sat between my mom and dad, who looked expectant for a good show.
By usual standards, the play wasn't all that good. The costumes were strange, the jokes were unfunny, and the actors talked in a monotone, boring voice. My parents, however, were loving it. They laughed at every pun, every horrible one-liner. It was around the end of the show that the princess character was setting up the punchline for the "loveable" knight. Before he started his joke, a figure appeared from the curtains between them.
His back appeared to be broken, because his whole abdomen was lopsided like a ragdoll while he was still standing on his two feet. Another thing, he appeared to be silhouetted although there was no light behind him. He was like a walking shadow, with his face and body covered by a pulsing darkness.
I looked around for other people's reactions to this strange course of events, but no one looked surprised. In fact, they were laughing. I looked on the stage. The knight had said his line, with the shadow man between him and the princess. Everyone acted as if he hadn't even come on stage.
Before I could whisper to my dad about it, the shadow man made a sudden movement. His torso flung itself into motion, unbreaking itself. There were a bunch of horrible cracking sounds, the sounds of dozens of vertebrae locking themselves into place. He stood perfectly straight, looking directly at me. A patch of white materialized on his face. A smile.
When I woke up, I was in my parent's car, riding home. I don't remember them mentioning me blacking out during the play, or me asking too many questions about what happened.
The reason I'm thinking of this now is because I recently asked my mom about it.
"Oh, yes dear, I remember that play. Near the end, you started screaming about how you couldn't see anything. All you could see was blackness. We had to take you out of there because it got so bad. The strange thing is, I looked into your eyes when your father was loading you into the car."
"You didn't have any pupils."
Written by Ameagle