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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Hidden Secrets - 12. The Moon

Things may not be what they seem

Dan and I stood beside the hole in the stalls floor, looking into the depths. Tall, powerful lights had been set up all around it. It reminded me of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey, when the monolith has been discovered on the Moon. It was a long way down, but I could just about make out a human skull at the bottom of the shaft.

‘You were right,’ Dan said.

His words jogged a memory. Jenny and Trevor; a dream of falling. Cliff saying those same words.

‘Hey!’ Someone called out from the edge of the old circle. ‘What are you doing?’

I looked up to see a man wearing a dark suit. He had the build of a nightclub bouncer.

‘Quick.’ Dan pulled at my arm. ‘We have to get out of here!’ As he dragged me away from the top of the well, I saw the man climbing over the edge of the balcony. As he jumped, he spread his arms wide and glided down after us, like a vampire. Behind him, a woman appeared. She pointed a red gloved hand and shrilled, ‘Stop them!’

I realised I knew the cinema far better than Dan. ‘Left here,’ I said as we rushed down the stairs that led to the under stage area. ‘We can lose him in the tunnels.’ All around us were massive brick vaults. It reminded me of an underground reservoir I’d once visited on a school trip. Our footsteps echoed as we ran.

‘Stop!’ Our pursuer shouted. ‘Stop, or I’ll shoot.’

I didn’t dare look back. I could see the way out. A bright doorway beckoned. The first shot rang out, chipping the brickwork beside me. Then another. Dan fell, with a cry of pain. I sank to my knees beside him as a growing pool of blood began to spread out.

‘You can’t get away.’ The woman stood over us both, smiling. ‘It’s not allowed.’

Dan coughed up blood. I held his hand.

The dark suited man pointed his gun at me and slowly pulled the trigger. I heard the bang, then found myself falling again.

‘Hey! Wake up!’

Someone shook me. I fought them off.

‘Wake up, Terry.’

The contours of an unfamiliar room resolved themselves. A light went on. Dan leaned over me, looking concerned.

‘You’re alive,’ I said, relieved he was unharmed.

‘I hope so. You must have been having one hell of a dream. You were shouting and kicking out.’

‘Ssh.’ I needed to try and remember the details before they slipped away. ‘We were in the cinema,’ I said. ‘Being chased by a man with a gun.’

‘Sounds like you’ve been watching too many action thrillers.’

‘I’ve had the same - no, similar - dream before. There’s always someone shooting at me. This time, they shot you.’


‘It was bad. You were dying…’ I had to convince him. I wasn’t sure why. The memories were becoming fuzzy already.

‘I’m not surprised you give yourself nightmares. Tarot cards. Seances. Obsessing about a murder that might or might not have happened all those years ago.’

‘Obsessing?’ That was a bit strong. Although, he was right, up to a point. Whenever I went back to the cinema, it seemed to reinforce my need to discover the truth.

‘I saw your notebook, in the staffroom. You’re still trying to make some kind of connection, aren’t you?’

‘I suppose so.’

‘I read somewhere that dreams are the brain’s way of filtering through your daytime experiences and laying down memories. So, if you were still thinking about all of that stuff before you went to sleep, it’s no wonder you had a nightmare about it.’

He sounded so logical. I wished it could be as simple. ‘Actually, before I went to sleep I was thinking about what we’d just been doing, right here in this bed.’ I smiled at him. ‘Pleasant thoughts. Nothing to do with the cinema, or old murders. Sometimes, dreams drag up clues our logical minds discard. When you’re asleep, your subconscious takes over. Lots of people have made important discoveries in dreams. Like Mendeleev seeing the periodic table of elements, or Einstein working out his theory of relativity.’

He looked doubtful. ‘I don’t usually dream at all.’

‘You probably do. Everyone does. But you only remember a dream if you wake up in the middle of it, or directly it's finished. That’s where the old wives tale about cheese giving you nightmares comes from. Eating rich food - like cheese - means you sleep lightly and wake up more frequently.’

Dan glanced at the clock on the bedside table. ‘It’s three-fifteen. Better try to drop off again or you’ll be falling asleep in the staffroom later on. At least I finish early tomorrow.’

‘Don’t remind me.’ I wasn’t looking forward to the weekend ahead. During our chat in the staff room, Dan had told me he was driving down to the Forest of Dean to spend a couple of days in a cottage with some friends from university. It had all been arranged a few months ago. ‘I wish I was going with you.’

‘Next time, maybe. I’ll be back Sunday evening.’

‘I know. It’s just… I’ll miss you.’It sounded soppy, but I couldn’t deny how I felt. I reached out for him as we snuggled up together. The warmth and the steady note of his breathing soon made me drift off. It seemed like only a few minutes until the radio alarm went off at eight, disturbing my slumber a second time.

Dan groaned and not in a good way. ‘Time to get going. I still have to pack.’

‘Can’t you do that later? I thought you weren’t meeting them until five?’ I pulled him back towards me.

‘Yes, but Friday traffic and all that…’

I shut him up with a kiss and fairly soon the groans turned into the right kind. It was eight thirty-five by the time we managed to get out of bed. ‘All your fault,’ Dan complained. ‘I’ll be late.’

‘So will I.’ I feigned shock. ‘Maybe the manager will tell me off.’

‘Very funny. Don’t you have a film to run through?’

‘Yes. With any luck, Colin will have put it together the right way round.’

As it turned out, we got to the cinema only ten minutes late, having been held up by roadworks. Dan parked in his usual space.

‘Have a good weekend,’ I said, knowing I might not get the chance to speak to him later. Or not with any degree of privacy.

‘I will. But I’ll be thinking about you.’

‘Think less, drink more. That’s what they say.’ I had to be realistic. Even if he hadn’t been going away this weekend, I had three twelve hour shifts ahead of me. We wouldn’t have had much time together either way.

There was no one around, so we had a quick kiss in the car before I unloaded my bag and we walked round to the front doors.

Harold was there already, removing some graffiti from a poster frame. ‘Morning.’ He grinned toothlessly. ‘They’ve been at it again. Bloody kids.’

‘You’re doing a good job there,’ Dan told him.

I wondered what he’d make of us both arriving at the same time. Still, I didn’t have a car and it wasn’t unknown for colleagues to offer lifts.

The foyer had its usual morning smell of popcorn and polish. Dan went to the office, while I trudged up the hundred and sixteen stairs to the main projection box. It didn’t take long to get the program running, so while the adverts played, I made a cup of tea, before going down to the auditorium to check the feature. Once it was onto the second reel (and so far, in the right order) I got the downstairs screens ready for opening and moved some prints around. It was handy being able to nip into the stalls every fifteen minutes or so to keep an eye on the film. I soon realised I’d been right about the excessive use of CGI. The plot was convoluted, too. These days, rather than having to wait for film reviews on TV or in magazines, people read about new movies online before deciding whether it was worthwhile spending their hard-earned money on a night out. I didn’t foresee this one doing great business. One week in the main screen and it’d be out.

After a quick lamp check in the public areas, my next project was to start clearing box three. It didn’t seem quite so full of rubbish as two had been, but that may have been because the room itself was slightly larger. By the time I carried out the first box of old leaders, timesheets and other assorted detritus, the staff had begun to arrive. Sylvia must be off today, so it was Jane on the cash desk and a lanky teenager named Robert in charge of tearing tickets and selling ice cream.

The first show passed uneventfully. I soon uncovered areas of the floor in box three that probably hadn’t seen the light of day - okay, fluorescent - for several years. By mid-afternoon, it was getting passably tidy and I busied myself by taking spare projector parts and lamps to the places they were meant to be stored. That was the secret to getting through the day without dwelling on the fact I wouldn’t seeing Dan for almost three days. It also stopped me from worrying about whether any of the friends he would be with might be old flames ready to flare up again. I envisioned them all sitting round a log fire, drinking mulled wine. Lucky sods.

I’d just started the adverts in screen three, when my walkie talkie crackled.

‘Where are you right now?’ It was Dan.

‘Box three.’

‘Just need a quick word.’

I waited by the projector, watching the adverts, until the door opened and I heard the second step give out its warning creak.

Dan was all ready to leave. ‘Thought I’d just pop in to say goodbye.’ He looked around. ‘It looks… different in here.’

‘Yes. You can see the floor. And the rewind bench.’

‘Nice job. Look, do you want me to pick you up on Sunday evening?’

‘From here?’

‘Of course from here.’

‘That’d be great.’ Maybe he wouldn’t be re-kindling any embers during the weekend after all. ‘I can hardly wait.’

He glanced out of the porthole. ‘Can people see us?’

‘Standing there, yes. Standing over here…’ I guided him past the slowly turning platters to the newly cleared bench. ‘Definitely not.’

‘Good.’ His arms went around my waist. I put a hand behind his neck and brought him close for a kiss. My body reacted like one of Pavlov’s dogs when they heard that bell ringing, anticipating more than just lips meeting and a touch of tongue.

‘Can’t wait for Sunday,’ he said when we reluctantly parted. ‘I wish I could stay.’

‘Don’t be silly. Enjoy your break. We’ll have plenty of time to be together.’ Even as I said the words, I felt an odd little shiver; a presentiment. ‘Drive carefully. There are some nutters on the roads on Friday afternoons.’

‘Course I will.’ He stayed close for a moment more, our fingers enmeshed, before finally pulling away. ‘Well, best be off.’

‘Bye.’ When he’d gone, the cinema felt suddenly hollow and empty. There was only one thing I could do. Tea first, then find something else to clear up.

The chief’s office was chilly. I turned up the old radiator and shoved a box file over the crack in the window pane. Time to get to work. I needed to be ruthless.

I’d brought a plastic rubbish sack and filled it with anything that wasn’t needed any more, such as copies of old timesheets dating back seventeen years, overtime records and film reports. Much as it was interesting to read that on it’s re-run, the used print of Star Wars had minor edge damage and light scratching on the base side, such observations didn’t really warrant keeping a whole cardboard box full of them.

The old equipment manuals belonged in a museum. I seriously doubted anyone was actually using any of the kit these days. Maybe George might like some of them as a souvenir, along with the box logs? Although he’d only asked for photocopies, he might as well have the originals, really. They were just taking up space here and if I didn’t chuck them away, some future chief probably would. I flicked through them, disturbing ancient dust that made my nose tickle. No one had probably opened these since they had been filed away for posterity. The last one was dated 1980. I guessed that was when the organisational structure of the company had changed so the Regional Engineers’ job description no longer involved checking and signing written accounts of the minutiae that kept a projection box running. Certainly, the entries in the last couple of books were much less detailed. In most cases, they were just accounts of films made up, or spares ordered. Odd to think that the writing in these last books was probably George’s own. How would he feel to re-read notes he’d dashed off all those years ago?

I turned back to the earlier books, finding one that covered the fateful year of nineteen seventy-five. Jack’s writing was easy to recognise. He was one of those people who presses the pen so hard on the paper an indentation is left on the page below. Was that a sign of violence, I wondered? There were lots of books available on how handwriting could reveal aspects of personality, but no scientific evidence to prove it really worked. Mind you, you could say the same about reading Tarot cards. Or sensing ghosts.

This book started in mid-February. I knew from my research tripling had begun in the summer and the cinema’s grand re-opening had taken place in November. Most of the entries were fairly similar. Usual box duties carried out. Ordered carbons. Lamped up decorative lighting in circle. Nothing interesting until May 17th when Jack had noted preparations for the live show. Screen moved back and stage cleared ready for Quo get in. Extra staff brought over to assist. So that gave me a date for the failed burglary; only a couple of months before the cinema began to be tripled. Obviously, nothing had been written about that particular incident.

Jack’s handwriting became even heavier as the building works began. He protested frequently about the mess and had noted every phone call to the Regional Engineer, as well as each time he’d complained to the manager. I tried to put myself in his shoes. Film and dirt wasn’t a good mix and Jack clearly had the old school pride in his show that would have made the situation even worse. I suddenly realised that if the extra screens Dan had told me about went ahead, I’d be going through the same process next year. Mind you, with modern Health and Safety regulations, they’d have to close the place, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

The end sequence’s shrill tone prevented any more introspection. It was time to re-lace screen two. As I stacked the box logs in a pile, a loose piece of lined paper drifted to the floor. It seemed to be blank, but as I picked it up I saw it was covered in indentations. Must have been the sheet below one that had been written upon, I supposed. I was about to crumple it up and throw it into the rubbish sack when something stopped me. A feeling this might hold a clue. I knew not to ignore it, so left the paper on the desk while I went to get the next shows running.

Almost an hour and a half later, I returned to the office, bringing a yellow Chinagraph pencil from the projection box. I ran it lightly over the surface of the paper using the same method I’d learned as a child when making pictures with a wax crayon on paper placed over coins. The technique in this case needed to be slightly more delicate to avoid flattening out the indentations. In a few minutes the words were revealed, proving it was definitely Jack’s writing. It would have been easier to decipher had the light in the room been brighter and if I’d used a darker colour, but after reading the first few lines I realised my hunch had been right. It seemed to be a continuation of something that had started on another, vanished page. What I saw had nothing to do with projection.

…they can't get hold of me. Life is shit. Don’t expect death is any better. What is it they say about better to have loved and lost than never been loved at all? That’s wrong. If I'd not fallen for him, I’d never of got involved in it. Too late now. Only choice left is to leave. Get away from them.

I re-read the note carefully, trying to keep my mind open about what was implied. Aside from the obvious. Jack had fallen for him. Jack was gay! And he’d obviously got himself involved in something bad. But could it have been a murder? The murder? I imagined him in this office, all those years ago, trying to work out his options. A lot of people, myself included, found it easier to focus their thoughts by writing things down. Jack must have been the same. Having finished, he would have torn out the incriminating page and either taken it with him or thrown it away, unaware of the evidence below. But why leave behind that blank page? Maybe it had been accidental; just something to use as a bookmark. Or perhaps he’d felt the need to leave a clue, hoping someone would find it? I wasn’t sure if such a note would be permissible as evidence in a court of law but it was a good deal more concrete than anything else so far.

Jack had walked out of the cinema and never come back. I was certain of that now. Certain also that I needed to find out what had become of him. It was all a part of the bigger picture.

Cynthia was still up when I got home, toasting her toes in front of the fire and reading a book. ‘Hello, stranger,’ she said. ‘I had a feeling you might be back tonight.’

I should have rung her. ‘Sorry about that.’

‘Don’t be. You have to live your own life. Mind you, you might have caught me with my secret lover…’ She smiled on seeing my expression. ‘Not really. Nipper and I have been eating crumpets and watching Newsnight. Too depressing, so I turned it off. Why don’t they ever report good news?’

‘Because human nature inclines towards wanting to know bad things?’ Gossips in the old days wouldn’t have bothered to tell their neighbours about acts of kindness. No, they’d have preferred to pass on the information that Biddy Crookshanks was a witch, or that Father Bradley was having inappropriate relationships with female parishioners.

I took a seat in the other chair, warming my hands in front of the softly glowing coals. ‘And talking of bad things, I found out some useful information today. It might shed more light on the dark deeds of the past.’

‘Do tell.’ Cynthia leaned forward eagerly.

I’d put the note in my bag, sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard to keep it flat. ‘See what you make of that. I found it tucked inside something that probably hasn’t been opened for thirty years.’

Cynthia squinted at it for a couple of minutes. ‘Well,’ she said at last. ‘Do you know who wrote this?’

‘Jack. He was chief at the Regal in nineteen seventy-five. It’s definitely his handwriting.’

‘Sounds as if someone was threatening him, doesn’t it?’

‘I’d agree with that. And maybe I was being too short-sighted when it came to all the relationships in that place. I’d never considered that any of them might be gay.’

‘It looks as if Jack was. As for the man he loved, well, we can’t be sure if he worked at the cinema or not. Could it be someone found out about them and threatened to tell everyone unless he fell in with their plans?’

‘I was wondering more or less the same.’ The main suspect had to be Colin. I could imagine his maliciousness coming to the fore in a situation like that. I pictured Jack leaving the cinema and walking to his lover’s car, down in the car park. Colin, lurking on the projection box fire escape for whatever reason, noticed them embracing - kissing even - and plotted his chief’s downfall. ‘Could people be sacked for being gay back then?’

‘I expect so. It was a different age. Some companies didn’t even want to employ married women in case they became pregnant. Discrimination was rife.’

‘Hmm.’ I mused over my scenario. There was something not quite right about it, but I couldn’t for the life of me think what. It was too late to be doing any serious thinking. The puzzle had lain untouched for thirty years. It could wait a while longer.

I’d only spent two nights sleeping with Dan, but waking alone the following morning felt strangely lonely. I called in at the library on my way to work and managed to get some time on a computer, just to send a quick email to George.

Thanks for all your help so far. You might as well have the originals of the box logs. They’ll be just as safe with you - maybe more so - than if they were left at the cinema. It’s surprising no one’s thrown them away before now, really. There are also some equipment manuals you might like. I was wondering if you kept in contact with any of the projectionists you worked with at the Regal? I’d particularly like to get in touch with Jack as I’ve found some…

What should I put? I hesitated briefly before continuing.

…items that may be of interest to him. I heard that he left in a hurry and assume he didn’t return to pick up anything.

That would do.

Let me know your address and I’ll post the manuals and logs to you next week.

I hit send and closed the window, then walked the short distance from the library to the Regal. The town was becoming familiar now. I’d even found a few shortcuts.

Karen was in the office, slicing open letters. ‘Morning,’ I said, attempting to be cheerful. She briefly raised her eyes to check who had come in, then retired behind her monitor. I didn’t even bother to try and engage her in conversation.

The main projection box was still and quiet. It felt somehow - peaceful - as if the cinema somehow approved of my efforts to tidy it up. I decided to spend some more time on the chief’s office today. There might be more hidden treasures in there, although I had a feeling that I’d already found everything that I was going to. It still needed clearing, though and the task would get me through a long day of fairly routine work.

After getting screen one ready, I made my way downstairs and through the old stalls area to turn on the plenum. As soon as I got through the door I could smell it; not the usual disinfectant overlaying damp, but the sort of whiff you get when you open the fridge and realise the chicken breast you’d forgotten about at the back is beginning to turn. The smell became stronger as I walked down the aisle. I recalled what Maurice had said about the time of year ‘when it happened’. It must be getting closer to that time.

I wasn’t sure if the smell was real, or, like the other sensation, only accessible to those whose senses were attuned to it. I was pretty sure Karen wasn’t the sort of person who could be described as sensitive in any way, shape or form, so persuaded her to take a sniff in the stalls.

‘Can’t smell anything unusual,’ she said.

‘That’s good. I was worried it might be drains.’

‘I’ll leave a note for Harold to check out the toilets. We do get problems every now and then. Thanks for letting me know, anyway.’

She went back to her office. Getting a thank you from Karen was a first for me and it left me feeling fairly happy throughout the morning. Business was steady; nowhere near as busy as it would be when Harry Potter was playing, two weeks from now, but not bad for a Saturday when the newest film wasn’t anything special and everything else was on its second or third week.

Mid-afternoon, I noticed on my way through the foyer that Sylvia had started her shift. She beckoned me over. ‘Heard the news?’ she asked.

‘No. What?’

‘Karen thinks Mr P’s gone off for a romantic weekend with his new girlfriend.’

‘Really?’ I feigned surprise.

‘Yes. She agreed with me he’s had a spring in his step this last week.’

‘Good for him.’ I had to suppress a smile. Wait until I had a chance to tell Dan about this. It was so typical of cinema. People loved to speculate about relationships.

‘Now all we need to do is get you set up with someone…’

‘Oh, don’t worry about me.’ What she said had reminded me of something. ‘Is Colin attached, do you know?’ Having asked the question, I immediately wished I hadn’t. She might get the wrong idea.

‘Would have thought he was a bit old for you, love.’ She said it with a smile, so I knew she hadn’t misread my interest.

I made a face. ‘I can assure you I don’t fancy Colin in the slightest. Just wondered if he’d managed to get together with someone after being jilted by Jenny all those years ago?’

‘He’s had a few girlfriends, but nothing that’s lasted. I reckon that’s one reason why he’s so miserable.’

‘Really. Is he? I hadn’t noticed.’

She gave me a sympathetic look. ‘How are you getting on with him?

‘When he’ll actually talk to me, not so badly. Thankfully we don’t see much of each other.’

‘Give him a few months. He got over Maurice being promoted so he’ll get over you, too.’

‘I hope so.’

‘I spoke to Brenda yesterday on the phone. Maurice is a lot better after his fall, so I expect we’ll be seeing him again soon.’

‘That’s good.’ I had a sudden idea. ‘Would she mind if I visited, do you think? I’ve been having a clear out and found some old projection bits and pieces he might like as souvenirs.’

‘That’d be nice, love. I can give her a call later, on my break.’

I didn’t see Sylvia again for a few hours, but when I next passed through and she wasn’t in the middle of serving customers, she handed me a slip of paper. ‘Brenda said that was fine. I’ve written her number down. Just give her a call to arrange it.’

I did, later, after putting on the evening shows.

‘Maurice would love that.’ There was a hint of desperation in her tone.

I tried to imagine how it must be to be trapped indoors with someone you’d known all that time, but who was gradually drifting away. ‘I’ll come over on Monday afternoon, then.’ There was plenty of old stuff in the office I could save from the bin. Maybe it would help Maurice to make some kind of connection to his past. And perhaps I could ask Brenda some of the questions that had been plaguing me.

Finally, the last shows started. I sat in the comfy chair with my feet up and a mug of tea in easy reach. My phone had pinged earlier and although I’d noted the text was from Dan, I’d not had the time to stop and read it.

How’s your day been?

Not bad. The staff (and Karen) think you’re away on a dirty weekend with your new girlfriend!

I waited for a minute or so, sipping my tea. He might be drunk by now, with his friends. It was after ten on a Saturday evening, after all. The phone pinged again.

Really? Better hope my boyfriend doesn’t find out!

Boyfriend. Just seeing the word on the screen gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. I knew it was early days yet, but the signs were promising.

Had a good day?

Not bad, except for not seeing you. So, what are you doing right now?

Resting my aching feet and drinking tea. Wish you were here. Last shows always take an age to end.

There was a longer pause before the next message came through.

Text me when you get home. We might not be together, but can still have some fun!

Reading the words made me wish I could fast forward an hour or so.

Look forward to it.

That sounded a bit too formal. I deleted the words.

Can’t wait.

That sounded better. I sent it.

This time last Saturday, I’d been worrying about what he’d think of me, following the Maurice incident. What a difference a week could make.

My phone pinged again.

Told my friends I met someone. They are trying to guess who and where. Every time they guess wrong they have to drink a shot.

How much have you had to drink?

A few beers. A few shots, too. We played another game earlier and I lost a few times.

Never mind, you’re definitely on to a winner later 😉

I checked the clock. It was time to go and turn off the plenum. By the time I’d done that, screen two should be on the credits. I shoved the phone in my pocket and set off. The foyer was quiet now; the kiosk shut. I heard a film soundtrack increase in volume as a customer opened the auditorium door and made their way along the corridor to the toilet.

The stalls were locked. Obviously no one in a wheelchair had come in tonight and there hadn’t been any need to open it to provide overflow seating. The smell was still there, stronger over the well. Definitely not drains. I ignored it and made my way backstage. Once the plenum was off, the sump pump’s muted whirr seemed louder. I thought of all that water, flowing underground, continually gathering in the cistern.

Coming back through the door by the orchestra pit was always disorienting. The screen towered above me, so close the picture was out of focus. As the scenes changed, varying amounts of light flickered over the empty rows of seats. But wait. One of the seats was no longer empty! I wondered if someone had sneaked in during the couple of minutes I’d been to the plenum room. Or perhaps the same customer I’d spotted before, returning from the toilet, had accidentally gone through the wrong door? Although, I was fairly certain I’d locked it behind me.

On screen, a night scene began, with spooky music. I thought I saw the shadowy figure move. I didn’t call out, because the soundtrack was fairly quiet and customers at the front of the circle might hear me. Cautiously, I made my way back up the aisle. Someone was definitely sitting in the seat nearest to the well, although it was still too dark to make out any features. From their size and outline, I guessed it was a man. He didn’t seem to notice me; too engrossed in the film, I supposed.

‘Excuse me,’ I said. I was close enough now not to have to raise my voice much. ‘I think you’re in the wrong screen.’

Several flashes of light from the screen briefly illuminated the stalls. One moment he was there, the next gone. I stood next to an empty seat, directly over the well, feeling the hackles rise on the back of my neck. My feet suddenly felt as if I’d stepped into icy water. Not wanting to believe the evidence of my own eyes, I leaned down and searched between the rows. Even as I did, I knew I wouldn’t find anyone.

‘What do you want?’ I whispered, as the scene on screen slowly built in tension and the volume rose to accompany it. No one replied.

Copyright © 2022 Mawgrim; All Rights Reserved.
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This story will update every Monday

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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It is with great sadness I must announce the death of Mawgrim, Promising Author on GA. He had been in declining health for some time and passed away on Christmas Day. Mawgrim worked for decades as a cinema projectionist before his retirement and was able to use this breadth of knowledge to his stories set in cinemas. He also gave us stories with his take on the World of Pern with its dragon riders. He will be greatly missed and our condolences go out to his friends, family, and his husband.
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2 hours ago, raven1 said:

I am feeling much like @CincyKris That Trevor and Jenny may be at the center of this.  How many other male/female pairs are related to the cinema.  The above two and Maurice and Brenda.  It does fit the dreams that Terry has been having.  Also, in the dream, it is Dan who has been shot.  Dan is the manager, just like Jack, and also like Jack is gay.  Great tension in this chapter.  I love it.

Not too long to wait now for the next one!

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I'm at a loss to speculate on things with all these damned herrings schooling around...

The only mention of Jack's being gay tied him with Maurice, but perhaps Trevor was a first crush?  The fact Maurice later married Brenda is no real deterrence to that as he could be bisexual.  My first relationship was with a bi friend who later married and had three kids, and my last and longest was with another bi guy who succumbed to mental pressures from his family over his entire conduct of his life and not following their plans so that he committed suicide .  His memorial service gave no clue to who he was as it presented the parents as perfect symbols of Christian beliefs and proved they had no clue or desire to get to know who their son was in any respect...and all this was without their knowing of his sexuality!

So, the apparition...is it an employee or an outsider who stumbled on something he shouldn't have seen?  And where's Jack after all these years?

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