Is Anybody There?

by Anthony D Redden

‘Ticket, Sir?’

Allen Lancaster passed his ticket to the elderly doorman. The old man was smartly dressed in an old-style theatre uniform that Allen had only ever seen in old American movies. The doorman tore along the perforated line and retained the stub. He passed the ticket back. Allen smiled but the old man just looked at him blankly.

‘Is this your first time?’

‘Erm…yes. Does it show?’ Allen answered.

‘Yes.’

‘Oh.’

‘It’s perfectly fine. Just follow this corridor down to the stalls and an usher will show you where you need to go.’

‘Is he any good? The medium that is.’

The doorman scrunched his nose and raised his hands in a non-committal way. ‘He’s okay I suppose’.

Allen frowned. ‘I did spend rather a lot of money on this ticket you know.’

‘Everybody always does.’

Allen took no comfort from that. ‘I am quite nervous.’

‘Just relax. If this guy manages to connect you with those on the other side just make your intentions known and hope for the best. Just don’t expect miracles, eh? But you’ll be fine.’

‘Okay.’

The doorman gestured down the corridor towards the auditorium doors. ‘Some others have already gone through so you may have to wait a little bit.’

Allen smiled again.

‘Go on then.’ The elderly man was obviously not a smiler.

Allen wandered down the corridor. He periodically tapped the wall with his fingertips and hummed a made-up tune. His anxiety was bubbling. He had never really given much credence to mediums or psychics. He had watched them on his telly and remained quietly dubious but at the same time intrigued. The opportunity had arisen for him to attend a special live performance with a one-on-one reading on stage, and it was enough to peak his interest. The ticket had been pricey, a week’s wages, but he figured that it was one more thing off his bucket list. Plus if this guy was actually any good he may even get to connect with the other side. Allen had never known his parents but he and his little brother had spent most of their young lives in foster care. When they were old enough they had joined the navy together. Although they had spent many years at opposite ends of the world they had always remained close. That was until the accident.

It had been over two years now but Allen still felt a closeness to his brother even though they had been separated by death.

A middle-aged female usher approached Allen as soon as he pushed through the auditorium door.

‘Hello Sir. If you would follow me.’

The woman led Allen past rows and rows of seats. The house-lights were up and the show had already started.

‘I’m sorry I’m late.’

‘Not to worry Sir.’

When they reached the front row the usher led Allen to a small set of stairs beside the stage. They made their way up and stood by the stage side curtain.

‘If you wait here until its your turn and then just make your way out. It can be quite an intimidating experience especially in front of an audience, but don’t worry, stage fright is quite natural.’

Allen nodded his anxious understanding. He peered out to the stage but the bright lights just dazzled his eyes.

‘Actually, I believe you’re up now.’ The usher gestured out onto the stage.

‘Oh.’

‘Fingers crossed.’ The woman held up two hands with fingers crossed and smiled.

Allen cleared his throat and stepped out onto the stage.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m feeling a new presence. Come forward my friend, don’t be shy.’

Allen approached the medium. He wasn’t impressed by what he saw. A heavily tanned man wearing tight leather trousers and an unbuttoned white billowing shirt reminiscent of a naff 80’s rock star. He had long wild blond hair and with legs apart he held a very dramatic stance.

‘Hello?’ Allen asked.

‘Yes I sense someone…’

‘I would like to get a message across to my brother who is here tonight.’

‘I didn’t quite get, that you’ll have to speak louder.’

Allen looked to the usher, who smiled back awkwardly and then gestured for him to try again.

‘Who are you trying to connect to?’

‘My brother.’ Allen replied loudly into the medium’s face.

‘Mother? You’re someone’s mother?’

‘No Brother. B-B-B-Brother!’ Allen shouted emphasising the ‘B’.

‘With a stammer? Did someone here have a mother with a stammer?’

‘Oh God.’

In the audience Colin Lancaster was sitting and listening intently to the words of the medium, hoping that tonight he might just hear some words of comfort from his dearly departed brother Allen.

The medium continued to converse with the spirits upon the stage. ‘Something about a hat?’

Colin had no chance.

-

Anthony D Redden is a Derbyshire-based writer of mostly scary fictional things.

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