Friday, 27 December 2013

#FridayFlash - Stage Fright

A hand shoves the small of my back and I stumble forwards. The boards feel rough beneath my bare feet. I look down at the stage lights. Flames once blazed in those fittings; now it's just energy-efficient bulbs. A single spotlight snaps on, drowning out their weak glow. I shield my eyes against the glare, unable to forget what waits in the darkness beyond the stage.

I stand in the spotlight, legs shaking with fear. I know what they want, I know what they came for, and yet I am paralysed.

A low groan erupts from the audience. It starts a ripple of moaning that rolls around the darkened auditorium. Beneath the moans I hear snarls, and between them both I sense the hunger. The anticipation. Someone hisses something at me from stage left; I cannot make out the words but I get the gist. I am to dance.

Creaky calliope music blares into life from the shadows at stage left. The undulating melody sounds eerie as it echoes around the cavernous theatre, and it takes me a moment to find the rhythm. I start slowly, aware that my movements are jerky and awkward. I never used to be. The snarls die down, overtaken by groans. They like what they see. A fleeting spark of satisfaction flicks through my mind, until I realise that it is ultimately for nothing.

I speed up in time with the music. The knot of fear curled in my stomach relaxes with the certain knowledge that this will all soon be over. I close my eyes as I fall to the floor with the end of the song. I hear scrabbling from the stalls, rotting nails clawing at the wood as they clamber onto the stage. The groans become snarls, and I imagine I hear applause as they fall upon me.

This story was published by Twisted Dreams magazine back in June 2011! Image by Weatherbox, edits by me.

9 comments:

Steve Green said...

Oh my, such wonderful imagery. I'm not sure what the audience was exactly, I visualized them as slavering rabid zombie-types, the really fast moving ones.

Larry Kollar said...

Nice buildup, knowing the end was tragedy, but understanding the need to give that closing act the best performance possible!

elizabethditty.com said...

Fascinating and terrifying world you've created there! Nice work!

John Wiswell said...

Only in dreams and in minds irrational as my own does immediately feeling one should perform under such circumstances make sense. I'd definitely move for them. I'm a bit damaged, aren't I? Though all they'll care is that I'm nutritious.

estrella05azul said...

Oh wow, Icy, this is wonderfully vivid imagery, your piece drew me in from the first sentence. It probably also has something to do with my recent love of abandoned places and the theater pictures I saw these past few days :)

storytreasury said...

The imagery is pretty vivid. Though I am not sure what the audience was - some type of monster.

Stephen said...

I would be a bit fearful as well. A tragic ending that reminds me of prisoners held captive and terrorized, and teased with the false hope that they'll see another sunrise if only... In the end, though, they're just another toy to be played with until boredom sets in.

ganymeder said...

This reminds me quite a bit of Theater of the Vampires from the Anne Rice novels. Very, very cool!

Katherine Hajer said...

What Ganymeder said, although my first thought was a more horrific version of the opening of Triplets de Belleville.

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