All The World

by TByrd

Chapter One: Goodnight

She sighed heavily as she took her final rounds through the basement. Only one more time, she thought to herself.  She flipped each light switch off as she passed, sending the bunker-like hallway to empty blackness. The same routine as always when locking the theatre: start with the front doors, and then check the Box Office – they were pretty good about locking up after themselves but it never hurts to check – lock the House all ten doors, then head down into the bowels. There would be the dressing rooms first, there were six dressing rooms in all. Two of them were general, one for the men in the chorus and one for the women, the other four were private for the lead actors and actresses. After checking that no one had left their costume on the floor and the lights were off the doors would be locked tightly. Then there was the dance studio, just to the left of the dressing rooms. It was just as big as the stage, same dimensions, in fact. It was there for rehearsals for the next show while the theatre was in repertory – which was always.  Then a quick jog down the hallways to the studio black box theatre, much smaller and meant for the children’s shows or simple casts of five or six actors. After checking the small lobby for the studio, the sound and lighting booth and the house there, the backstage doors that led into the dressing rooms, the lights would be turned off, leaving one tall floor lamp at the center of the stage.

“Goodnight,” she said to the empty studio as she clicked on the light and headed out. For a second, she felt a cool breeze and the hair on the back of her neck stood up. She shook the eerie feeling away and continued on her rounds.

Passing Bill’s office she could smell the thick smoke of his last cigarette. Smoking in the theatre had been outlawed almost three years ago, but old Bill was a creature of habit and no one could stop him. He always locked his office behind him, but she still checked just to be sure. She stopped by the Costume Shop to check the doors that had already been tightly locked at the end of the work day and continued onward to the offices.

Up one flight of stairs the offices were dully light with a single strip of blue fluorescents. The Artistic Director’s office was the first door, the second was the Technical Director, and the third was the Executive Director. On the other side of the hall was the green room where the actors go when not on stage, able to watch the performance on a large 52 inch screen television, and the kitchen. At the far end the receptionists’ desk. She checks each door to make sure everything is locked tight.

Finally, one last leg of the journey! She climbs the next three flights of stairs to the stage right door of the main theatre. The World Theatre is a 1,000 seat house. The stage is 40 feet wide, 30 feet tall and almost 60 feet deep with every kind of technology you could ask for. The old building  had been bought nearly five years ago as a dilapidated plantation house and the renovations began turning it into the beauty that it is now. She remembered being a part of the beginning when her friends approached her and said it was time to build their dream theatre.

She walked across the main stage and looked over the set that had been built. A brick building towered up at center stage, equipped with a working fire escape. Just stage right of that another building stood not quite as tall, but close. It had a functioning marquee sign, but it only worked while they were performing. To stage left the third building, half the size of the first, stood. Just beyond these three buildings, deep to the back wall of the stage was a cityscape made from wood and painted black with tiny holes for the windows that would light up from behind. Just behind that, the star drop, hundreds of thousands of tiny fiberglass strands that twinkled like stars.

She pulled the ghost light out to center stage and clicked it on, stopping only at the wall panel just inside the proscenium wall to turn off the remaining lights until only the glow of the ghost light was left.

“Goodnight,” she said again. And again she felt the cool chill of cold air brush passed her.

She shook the creepy feeling away again and continued toward the scenic shop on stage left. A large set of double doors, about ten feet wide by 20 feet tall give access to the stage for large scenery, but a small man door is also poised nearby. She checks each door carefully and finally now she’s done.

She signs her name out on the sheet near the performers’ entrance or Stage Door and logs the time. Toni Fitzgerald. She can’t help but notice when she signed in this morning it was 8:30, now it’s close to midnight. She begins to punch in her security code when the chill comes over her again. Its different this time, she can’t seem to shake it away. The hairs on her arms are sticking up as she tries to remain calm.

“I know,” she says out loud. “Don’t worry; we’ll be back in the morning. I’m not going far.”

The chill seems to subside, but only a little. When she pushes the last number a tone erupts into the quiet hallway.

“Building Armed, please exit in 60 seconds.” The computer says

She takes one final glance down the dark space, smiles and opens the last door to let herself out.

“Goodnight, Elizabeth,” she smiles. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

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