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He welcomed us in. His voice pierced through the chatter of over a dozen thespians (including myself) that occupied the entrance hall of what he called a theater. This could not possibly be true. A theater is meant to be warm and inviting, it is meant to be a place to free the mind from the restraints of reality and propel it forward into the world of imagination, where it is free to fly around and interpret ones creativity in their own way. But this place, this place seemed not to unlock the chains of the real from ones conscious mind, but rather burden it further with its dark aura and grittiness. The room in which we occupied was dimly lit by one or two lights that hung low on thin wires that lowered themselves from the high ceiling like spiders lowering themselves upon their prey. The worn carpet displayed its stains with honor and pride, and many of the bricks refused to conform to the pattern of the wall and decided a long time ago, that it would be better to remove themselves from their formation and relocate to the wise, proud, red carpet. Aside from the bricks, the lights, and the carpet, the only other thing that occupied the room (aside from the talkative group of oblivious actors) was a giant staircase. The stairs started on either side of the hall and met in the middle, high above where we now stood. The stairs were quite beautiful considering the conditions of their surroundings. With the same honorable carpet blanketing each step and dark chocolate- colored wood railings trimmed in gold running up the far sides. He welcomed us in, he welcomed us with a purely inviting manner, so inviting that it was as if his manner of speaking began to slither over into the realm of uncomfortable, yet I cannot explain the reason behind this sensation.
We were led up the grand stairs and beyond the double doors into the main theater, which shared an identical aura to the entrance hall. We were invited to fill the front row, and then he began to speak.
“I cannot describe in any combination of words or phrases existent in any language of the world my current state of mind. Quite simply because my mind is lost.” said the director, who stood before us on the stage. I found this statement to be an odd introduction to what was supposed to be a conference about us being cast for his latest work. The lights coming from the stage were set perfectly to hide his face from view, as if it was his intention not to reveal himself. These artsy types tend to be a bit over-dramatic.
He began again, “I suppose I should start with my first masterpiece, created when I was just a young boy”
“excuse me sir, but wouldn’t it be more productive to talk about your current work. I mean, seeing as we are all involved in it” said a man four seats down from me.
“in time my anxious friend, but you all should be fully aware of what it is I strive to do first. I would appreciate the patience of all of you.” The director replied. His voice carrying a hint of aggravation, due to the interruption.
“Anyways, my first work I wrote at a young age. It was the story of a mother, who found an annoyance in the bats that made their home in the attic of her house. This annoyance quickly becomes an obsession and in the climax, it is revealed that these winged creatures are actually vampires. The mother becomes aware of this when one tries to feed on her, and she figures she would meet a better end by her own hand then at the hand of a monstrous creature. The story ends simultaneously with her life. ”
“well that’s not terribly original!” another man arrogantly exclaimed.
“Ah, but I haven’t explained the originality yet” replied the director. “You see, I was perfectly aware that the story itself lacked originality. But I decided the way it was to be made, to be acted out, would be purely my own creation. During this time I had no recording equipment of any kind, except for a polaroid camera. I also had no means of producing a stage play, and the only actress I could cast was my own mother. Being the person she was I assumed she would not partake at her own will. But she would always remind me of my remarkable power of persuasion, said it was like a fire in my eyes”
And then something happened. The second he uttered these words I swore two red infernos protruded from his shadow of a face, but it seemed nobody else noticed, or cared to say anything if they did.
He continued, “ever since this work, I have always believed that the only way to truly make a play or movie feel real, is to make it real.”
At this, several people laughed. “Real? How can vampires be real? How can a movie made with a polaroid be real? You know what?! I’m beginning to question whether or not you are the real deal or not.” There were a few murmurs of agreement at this statement. But despite the obvious anger in his voice, the director managed to settle the crowd and continue his monologue.
“Of course vampires don’t really exist, but I managed over time to persuade my mother that they were as real as you, or me. I started by explaining to her that there were bats in the attic, she bought that relatively easy. And I began to convince her that they bothered her, and again she bought it. She would beat on the ceiling with a broom when they would ‘fly about’. Of course I was completely aware that they weren’t really there, but nevertheless I recorded her fits of rage over the winged creatures with my camera. Once I felt I had enough documentation of this, I decided it was time to initiate the climax.”
By this point several people were concerned about the inhumanity of this vague figures story. The rest had simply directed their attention elsewhere. As for myself, I was deeply intrigued by what I had just heard. Could this guy be for real? Maybe he is insane. Either way, I longed to hear the end of his tale.
“you’re absolutley insane! Im out of here, I have better things to do like give my agent he** for mentioning this moron to me.” As the man four seats down from me started to get up, the director turned toward him. I assume his face bore an expression of intense anger, but this is only an assumption.
“But we havent gotten to the best part, im going to need everyone to remained seated.” After the last words exited the directors mouth, he pulled a small rectangular object out of his pocket. He then proceeded to press one of the many buttons on its surface and as soon as he did, I felt the compression of cold steel against my chest and wrists. The chairs this man had so invitingly welcomed us to were traps for every fly the director now had under his thumb. Every person in the room began to scream and squirm, they wiggled about as if they expected it to free them from their restraints. I on the other hand, sat perfectly still, not a single fearful thought crossed my mind, I somehow knew no harm would come to me. The director was also aware of this, he turned directly toward me and pressed another button on his death-trap remote and the pressure was relieved instantly. He knew I wouldn’t run, wouldn’t try to fight. I just wanted to hear the ending. He looked dead into my soul and I saw the fire again. I would imagine a wide grin would have appeared on his face had it not been consumed by shadow.
The screams of the thespians were extinguished by a tremendous demand for silence that came from the stage.
“Now that I have your undivided attention, lets get to the best part.” He said the last few words in a satisfied whisper.
“As I explained before, the storys climax is the discovery of vampires and the suicide of the mother. One night while my mother and I sat in the kitchen I exlaimed ‘mommy, mommy, the bats are people. They are here to kill us! Hes coming straight for you!’. A look of extreme fear befell her face, a look I captured with my trusty polaroid. She began to back up until the small of her back met the kitchen counter to the right of the sink. The look of fear steadly grew and grew and she reached for a large filet knife from the dish drainer behind her. I explained to her ‘ you cant kill him mother, you know what you need to do’ and she fufilled her task, she brought the knife up under her chin, and let all of the blood in her body flow out. But this scene, I felt, was not as grotesque as I would have liked. So, I took the knife from my mothers lifeless digits and used all of my strength to flip her over so her back faced the ceiling. I cut my poor mother out of her evening blouse and using the fine instrument I possesed, I slashed at my mothers back, opening her up and peeling back the skin that once blanketed her shoulder blades. Now my mothers inner workings were on display. I peeled back her flesh into the shape of two bloody, fleshy wings. At the bottom of each of these wings, fit for angels, I began to carve and carve, until finally her once angelic wings were now those of a bat. This is the image I had invisioned. And with a final flash of my camera, my masterpiece was complete.”
If anyone else was in this theater at this very second they would have not only seen, but felt the overwhelming fear of the actors and actresses in their own souls. They would be able to smell it resonating off of the chairs that held them captive.
“And now that you know my procedures, let us begin production!” said the director.
“But first, we need to pick our lead role,” he turned his attention back to me, and I felt in my heart the same fire I saw in his eyes.
“whats your name dear?” he asked
“Madeline, sir.” I replied, expressionless.
“Well Madeline, its your lucky day. Are you ready for your big break?”
“well then, you and I both know what it is you must do.” He said as he pulled a long filet knife out of his pocket.
“The show must go on” I said as I grasped its handle.
“Well then everyone, its time for our first rehersal.”