Thursday, 5 July 2018

From Cinnamon Stevens: Ghost Light by Pauline Hosking


Diary entry for March 18th

I am sitting in the brand-new Ambassador Theatre, observing.
That’s what detectives do.
          My bum is the first bum to ever touch this prickly, cloth-covered seat. How awesome is that?
          Around me heaps of nervous kids are waiting with their parents/teachers/friends. They’re here to try-out for a part in Macbeth, the play by William Shakespeare. The one about murder. And witches.
          My best friend Cossie hurries up the aisle. ‘Cinnamon, Cinnamon!’ Behind her glasses, her eyes are wide with excitement. ‘Cinnamon, do you believe in ghosts?’
           ‘Do I believe in goats?’
          ‘No, GHOSTS!’ Cossie bounces into the seat next to me. ‘I think I just saw one!’
          ‘Wow! True?’
           ‘It was white and shimmery. It gave me a wave and disappeared.’ 
          Wow to the max! ‘Where did it go?’
          ‘No idea. Back to the astral plane?’ Cossie grins. ‘Course I might be mistaken. I’d taken my glasses off to give them a polish. You know I’m short- sighted. Maybe it was a cleaner or someone.’
          ‘Yeah. Maybe.’ Or maybe not! This sounded like something I should investigate.
          I check the time on my phone. ‘Cossie, we’ve ten minutes before your audition starts. Let’s go find this ghost!’
          She gives a thumbs-up. ‘Wicked!’
          That’s why Cossie’s such a good friend. She’s always up for adventures.
          ‘Follow me, Cin. A ghost hunt might settle my nerves!’
          We hurry down the centre aisle. Cossie leads, I limp along behind. During my last case I’d sustained a life-threatening injury (okay, a broken toe) which was healing. Slowly.
          The auditorium is built like an amphitheatre, with tiered seats leading down to the stage. The whole place smells of fresh paint.  
          When we reach the stage with its massive scarlet and gold curtain, Cossie whispers, ‘Quick, in here!’     
          We slip through a narrow gap at the side of the curtain into the backstage area. An almost invisible door is tucked against a far wall.
          My friend says, in a Dracula-type voice, ‘I voz searching for a place to practise my lines ven I discovered zat door and ze secret stairs beyond. Come, Cinnamon, ve must go down ze stairs into ze darkness!’
          She opens the door, revealing a space like a lift shaft. But there’s no lift. Instead, a metal staircase spirals above our heads and beneath our feet, lit by dim electric lights. We’re near the bottom of the stairs, only a few steps away from a shadowy, cavern-like basement.
          I’m starting to feel less enthusiastic. Not that I’m scared of the dark exactly. I just prefer places that are brightly lit.


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