The Theatre

The final curtain fell and the public, some still applauding, others already discussing where they’d go next, left the theatre. I took up my flashlight and began to make my rounds, collecting forgotten things and tidying up. When I came to the second floor there stood before me a startled girl, with long, dark hair and pleading doe eyes: is there any way we can stay behind? I understood that she had mistaken me for another stowaway.  I told her we could, if she wished, but we’d have to hide. I lit my flashlight and led her up towards the chambers where the prime minister, royals or other notables sat when visiting. The room was embellished with gold laden candlestick holders and a low ceiling adorned with fine frescoes depicting wars from medieval times. Once inside, I drew the curtain on our hiding-place, lit all the candles and showed her to an armchair, where she sat looking out over the dark theatre. The empty seats were visible in the shadow and our human forms created silhouettes on the distant stage curtain: two awkward giants, made giddy by the dancing candle flames. The balcony was lined with soft red velvet cushion; and it was here that she rested her head upon her arms. Her eyes began to close, fluttering, like a butterfly’s wings when it comes to rest – once, twice and then they shut: she’d fallen asleep. I sat beside her, quietly – listening to her breathing. I could feel her tiny breathes escape – her deep sighs – come rushing up against my skin where they’d break like waves. In the silence of the empty theatre, the dreams of a sleeping girl played themselves out before dying candle light, and I – my giant form diminishing, ever fading, into sleep, and a dream – just like her.

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