The Fictionals: The Phantom of the Theatre
Larry had never understood why patrolling the school theatre was such a big responsibility. In his ten years of service at Woodmore high school Larry Kent had never once been ordered by a member of staff to patrol the theatre stage so thoroughly before he locked the school up.
Apparently there had been talk of people vandalising the set and it had gotten the drama teacher, Ms Vander, quite riled up.
He could still see the fury in her eyes when he had been called down to inspect props and backgrounds which had been sprayed over with black paint.
‘Be sure that this never happens again! We cannot possibly do a performance of Romeo and Juliet if our set is destroyed by these blaggards!’ She had screeched at him before storming out of the room and leaving him to wonder what a blaggard was.
He stepped out onto the stage and shone his flashlight over the set. Everything had now been covered with a large white blanket and had a sign in front of it saying; do not touch without permission, in big black letters before being signed by Ms Vander. He let out a sigh and shook his head.
‘It’s not like a vandal is going to pay any attention to that’ he jeered before patrolling the rest of the backstage.
As he double checked the props he couldn’t help but think that the arts department of the school had out done itself. They had always had a talented bunch of students work on costume and props but this time they seemed to go the extra mile. The costumes were authentic handmade Tudor clothes and the swords for the fighting scenes looked as if they had been taken right out of a museum. The set itself had been painted with buildings, vines, flowers and all sorts of wonders with absolute detail.
‘I can see why the old bag is so hissy about it all.’ He said to himself, before letting out a loud sneeze as the strong smell of fresh paint filled his nostrils as he passed by newly painted backgrounds.
It was at this moment that he realised he was not alone. He was certain he had heard something loud clang above his head.
‘Hello?’ He called out, running a finger through his bushy grey moustache to clear the smell of pain that irritated his nose. He listened out for a response, but heard nothing.
‘Anyone there?’ He called out peering through the darkness to try and locate the source of the noise.
A second clanging noise was heard. This time he knew where it had come from; the lighting rig, the large metal bridge that hung high above the curtains and allowed the technicians to manually alter the spotlights.
His flashlight pointed upwards, cutting through the darkness like a sword as it cast a large circle of light on the metal grate.
At that moment Larry’s heart almost stopped.
A shadowy figure wrapped in a long black cloak dangled from the metal bridge. Violent red eyes staring out from behind a large white skeleton mask which shone in the light of his torch. The masked head cocked to one side as if judging whether Larry was a threat before he chuckled maliciously in a tone that seemed to echo through the silence of the theatre. ’They send you here to guard what cannot be saved’
It spoke to him, laughing cruelly as he stumbled back in fright. ’You will tell them that they will cancel this abomination that plagues my stage...or my next victims will not be mere toys and pretty outfits’
It whispered and before Larry could say anything in response a piercing light illuminated the room. He let out a cry of surprise and discomfort as he covered his eyes. For a moment he thrashed wildly as he was blinded by the sudden change in light.
Soon his eyes adjusted to the scene and he let out a roar of frustration.
The stage was a wreck. The blanket that covered it was now gone revealing the remains of a once proud set that was now illuminated by the bright spotlights which hung above his head. The phantom was now nowhere to be seen. He sighed and shook his head, trying to process the madness of the situation.
‘The old bats going to have my head when I tell her we got a Phantom in our theatre.’ He spoke before turning off his flashlight and making his way to the lighting desk to turn off the spotlights that had been used to blind him.
School had barely started at Woodmore high school, but the news of vandalism in the school theatre had already reached every student. Some people were horrified, some laughed, some were saddened and some pointed fingers, but no one talked of the Phantom. That had been kept a secret from the school. Well that was what they believed.
‘It couldn’t be more obvious if they put his picture on the front cover and had him handing out photographs of his work by the school gates’ Alistair muttered as he looked over the copy of the school magazine. He was sat on the front steps of the school building, circling sentences with a pen as his eyes scanned the article again and again for more information.
‘He’s not getting sloppy though.’ He mumbled to himself before sucking on the end of the pen as he thought over the facts of the whole mess before sighing and shaking his head.
He so did wish that his friend Lulu was about. Even though she never listened to him due to constantly having her head in the clouds her silence often helped him concentrate even when hundreds of school kids were walking past him to attend their lessons.