I watched him wander up the winding path from my window.
A slow smile parted my lips. Only for a second, but it felt so good. The boy had been coming here for three days now, and every day he grew a little braver, and he drew a little closer to the creaking old Theatre, shrouded from sight by the thick climbing ivy. He picked his way carefully through the overgrown garden, lightly stepping over the gnarled and sun-bleached twisting tree roots that cracked and mangled the uneven stones, ducking delicately beneath the overhanging branches which reached out like bony fingers. I watched as a tangle of his dark brown curls flopped over his eyes, and he reached up to brush them away automatically. I watched as he ventured ever closer to the towering oak door.
I turned away from the glass and sighed. It was tempting to let him continue, to see how far he would get, but I couldn't take that chance. I wanted my secret visitor to stay alive, after all.
I licked my lips, and gave three low, sharp whistles. Immediately I heard the familiar fluttering speeding towards the room where I stood, the Royal box, which had once played host to actual royalty, and looked out over the grand stage from it's balcony behind me. The floor was covered in a thick red carpet, which I couldn't help but dig my bare toes into, like I had when I was a child.
Seconds later, a tiny bat fluttered hastily over the barrier which wrapped protectively around the open part of the box, appearing out of the darkness the Theatre Hall was made of. His film-thin wings beat erratically. He gravitated towards the window where I stood, smiling softly. I held my hand out, palm to the ceiling, and the bat perched lightly on my outstretched fingers, his too big ears pricking up as he smiled, in his own batty way.
"Oh, my dear Hamlet." I cooed to the bat, scratching him softly behind his big ears. His black eyes closed in bliss. "He's back again." My eyes flicked back to the garden, where the boy had reached the arch. I watched him lean back and crane his neck to read the ornate iron lettering. His lips silently parted and formed the ghostly words 'Wakefield Theatre'. My voice dropped to the barest of whispers. "You know what to do."
With a little nod of his head, Hamlet took off the way he came in, making an echoing screech that resonated through the whole theatre, bouncing off the high ceilings and reverberating out like the strike of a tiny bell. The boy's head snapped up, and his eyes darted immediately to my window. I stumbled back from sight as his eyes widened, as if he had seen a ghost.
"No no no no, please no." I whispered through clenched teeth. "Please don't have seen me."
But I will never know if he saw me or not, because at that exact moment, with a screech almighty enough to wake the dead, Hamlet burst from the ajar Theatre doors, like he had been fired from a cannon. The boy stumbled back, nearly tripping on the carpet of thickly matted roots, before turning on his heel and running back through the courtyard. I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight.
"Well, that's the end of that." I tentatively stepped back into the light, and leaned on the windowsill, watching his figure growing further and further away through the glistening April morning. "Goodbye, Visitor. Please don't come back." I watched him flee the stone boundary wall, out of my sight forever. I added, rather needlessly, "For your own sake."
Turning from the window, I scampered off into the darkness, taking the side staircase down through the lighting rigs and past rows and rows of empty, abandoned velveteen seats, down until the cold, welcoming wood of the stage met my bare feet.
Back to reality.
YOU ARE READING
The Secrets of the Wakefield TheatreFantasy
No one ever goes near the Wakefield Theatre. It just sits there, crumbling away. That is, until one brave boy goes further than anyone has been in four years, and stumbles across something he never dreamed of finding. The girl of his dreams. And wha...