The Invisible Dancer

Questions

They kept in touch by phone and email for the next few days. Hanna was unwilling to elaborate on what she saw via those means. A few days later, prompted by John, and aided by the plush hospitality they all met to discuss events.
Hannah went to quite some length to describe what she found: A bona fide home anyone of would be proud of. Neat and tidy and vast, extended into the wall, the attic, possibly even too roof. It was too big to explore. Paintings, statues, books and old vinyl records adorned these premises. All neatly arranged and evidently, frequently used. All in all it gave the feel of a home, is somewhat cramped and dark. Hannah got the distinct feeling of raiding someone’s very own private space, their pride and joy.
And so once more the room filled up with an animated discussion of what to do now. If the beast had not been disturbed and left it was definitely too dangerous to venture back in there. What kind of beast roams the city of Birmingham with superhuman strength and are there any others? These are only some of the questions on their minds.
Little did they know there was one more question everyone had forgotten about. The door bell rang again, interrupting their thoughts. When John answered his intercom it was the woman again. She was at the main gate.
El’: “How come I wasn’t invited?” She japed.
John pressed the button to open his front gate and let her in. There were clearly questions on both sides and there were all getting tired of the half-warnings that were falling on deaf ears anyway.
JS: “We might get some answers now…” They looked at him blank until they heard his front door closing and then the woman walked in behind him.
El’: “Good evening!”
JS: “Hello…”
El’: “Well…. are we scared yet?”
JS: “What can you tell us?”
El’: “He has left those premises. But will be back. He left many personal items behind and he is making several journeys back and forth to collect them.”
JS: “Where has he gone?”
El’: “If I knew… I wouldn’t tell you.”
TH: “You don’t know? Makes a change!”
El’: “We tried to have him followed but… lost him.”
JS: “ ‘lost’?”
El’: “Yes…”
HJ: “What is he?”
JM: “What are you?”
El’: “He is… Enlightened. He will not be able to stay hidden forever. He will eventually rob a museum or go to a concert, a theatre. He can’t not…”
JS, HJ, TH, JM: “ ‘Enlightened’? “
El’: “But then, that still won’t tell us his whereabouts. He might even move town… moving to another country is difficult, though not unheard of…” She ignored their silly questions. So, ever the hot-head, Jake took control. He jumped up, grabbed her by the shoulders and looked at her:
JM: “What is he? What are you?”
El’: “You keep going round in circles. What is important here is only one thing: ‘How come only you could see him?’ “

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He returns...

“He is heading back….”
A vacant voice behind them made them jump. The woman… that woman was standing at the end of the corridor.
“I estimate 20’ at best… I do not intend to be here when he returns, I advise you do likewise!”
They just stared for several awkward seconds so she took a step closer and repeated her warning.
“Call her back and leave this place…. now!”
JS: “How do you know?”
El’: “You have been here several times before and have monitored his movements and his schedule. You have simply lost track of time!”
They all mechanically looked at their watches and their eyes widened in horror. Terri stuck his head through the wooden hole as best he could and shouted after her.
JS: “Is it a ‘he’ now?”
El’: “This conversation, old man,” she took another step closer “is going to cost you all your lives. He/she/it might be somewhat enlightened and different but it will kill you if it finds you here!”
JS: “It is not human. Are you like it?”
El’: “Have you lost all sense of self-preservation?” She sighed and tilted her head to one side as if resigned to this sad fact and took a step back. Terri had practically crawled all the way through the hole and carried on shouting to Hannah.
JM: “I think you, being the slowest should follow her out of here. We are right behind you!” Jake said helping John to his feet. John, shone the torch towards the woman and hobbled towards her reluctantly. She smiled and took another step back. He then turned and said:
JS: “Get the fool out of there!” pointing to Terri. Jake tried to grab Terri’s feet to drag him out but he protested. The most cautious character had found some vestige of bravery and instead tried to crawl further in to retrieve Hannah. Eventually Jake had to let go and Terri vanished through the hole in the wall. Jake started frantically kicking at the wooden wall trying to widen the hole so he could get through too. With Terri’s help and John’s torch it was soon wide enough for Jake and just as the two of them started to head after her they saw Hannah running towards them. John’s torch lit the way. They were so relieved to see her alright and coming towards her they did not even ask about the tears streaming down her face.
“What is it? What’s the matter? What did you see?” John asked as she stooped to get through the wall.
“IDIOTS!” The woman hissed one last time, turned and ran off. Terri was the first to crawl back out and run off after her, closely followed by the others.
Terri scampered along as fast as he could but the woman was much, much faster. She bounced off the walls like a demented cat and even the light from hit torch eventually lost her. There was no point now in closing doors behind them. They had disturbed the scene so much it was bound to know.
Out of the hidden room then into the room where the cameras were, they carried on out and down the tiny narrow corridors. Up tiny, steep staircases, and back down at the other end eventually into the corridor where the offices were. Down a few more flights of stairs and out into main access corridors. These were much wider and looked less eerie so John, who was bringing up the rear slowed down for a breather. These areas were better lit, even in the still of the night and they were almost out.
A hideous, inhuman wail from high above made them all freeze. Apart from John – it seems to have the opposite effect on him. He picked up the pace and hearing heavy obstacles smashing to the ground above him, reminded him of the creatures super-human strength. He pulled out his dagger and clung to the walls as he proceeded as quickly and quietly as possible.
As he turned into a dingy corridor into a remote part of the opposite side of the symphony hall Jake was waiting for him. They made each other jump out of their skins again despite best intentions. But another guttural moan much closer by made them get their priorities straight.
When they reached the fire exit Terri and Hannah were waiting for them and as soon as they saw them they sighed in relief. The four of the reunited (the woman was nowhere to be seen) they headed towards the car park and quickly put several miles between them and the symphony hall.

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Raiding its lair_02

Jake was too bulky, John was too frail and Terri was too scared. So they stood by the opening, taking turns in shining the two remaining torches down it, trying to see what Hannah was up to. Every so often they would call out to her and she would reply. She would be heard shifting things around as she explored the unimaginably vast spaces behind the wooden wall that had been erected. Shouting back to the three men she explained what this area looked like: a narrow corridor, with a very low sloping ceiling. Dust had covered everything by now, but it had been unoccupied for so long and so hermetically sealed there we no cob webs, as there would have been nothing for their owners to eat. Nevertheless, she could clearly see with her torch that the central pathway was clear of most dust and tracks of previous presence were evident.
Upon removal of settled dust various theatrical props were uncovered: Ropes, planks of wood, more rusted and crumbling tools, curtains, backdrops, posters. Some still hanged eerily from the various sections of this attic and dangled into a darkness well beyond the wall at the back of where the orchestra played. The symphony hall obviously doubled up, in the past, into a theatre.
Some 60ft along the corridor turned left ninety degrees. Despite advice to the contrary she proceeded down that path. She had to really yell to be heard all the way back to where the three men anxiously stood and awaited. Eventually she came to an opening in the wall off to the one side. This was in the actual mortar and bricks and by day it was concealed by a huge pile of dusty curtains she had no chance of moving – even if the other three men were with her. She shone the torch into the increasingly clostrauphobic opening and what she saw could hardly be relayed with yells.

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Raiding its lair_01

TH: “We need to tell the police, or CIA or someone!”
A few days had passed where the creature came and went as usual. Each time they watched transfixed, silently (and sometimes not so silently) wondering what to do about it. Terri definitely had a point. A point worth a few seconds of quiet contemplation by the others. So he continued. “That thing is not human, heaven knows what it is and it is dangerous. We are ill equipped to deal with.”
JS: “If we show this to the authorities we will be arrested for sure…”
TH: “We do it anonymously. Look, you carry around with you, knives and shit. Breaking into building to set up surveillance cameras. You’ll get arrested anyway and it aint safe at best of times.”
HJ: “If we examine its lair when it is gone we might get a clue as to who or what it is? It has items there it has…. acquired? Maybe even some ID?!”
TH: “Are you listening to me?!”
JS: “If we do that, it will know some1 has been there. No matter how careful we are!”
JM: “Who cares? Let’s do it!”
TH: “no1 is listening to me…”
No1 was listening to Terri. Not even Terri, because he was there. Two nights hence they raided the place. No1 knew, or cared to ask, how John was obtaining alarm codes or any other inside information needed for these little expeditions.

TH: “This creatures moves this barrow, on it’s own, much easier than us two do. If it catches here it will have no problem killing us all!” Terri observed between grunts as they heaved the barrow out of the way. Before they could put it down Hannah started chiselling at the panels with dagger, under the bright spotlight John held.
JM: “You got a dagger too now?” She opened them and peered in.
HJ: “Light…“ Terri handed her one of the other torches and she held it into the opening and stuck her head in. “There is an entire room in here guys… a bit tight but I can fit in.” And before any1 could react she crawled in and out of sight.

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An object?

If before meeting that woman they were prepared to try and get some sleep before the rigours of the day began, all such notions vanished. They got into John’s SUV and went back to his house. They switched on his PC and waited for telemetry to start arriving.
For an hour more they chatted about the events of that evening. Eventually, 4 little black windows on the monitor of his PC came to life one by one. They had picked something up. There was only the tiniest of static of the mic. They all watched with baited breath but despite carefully planning the cameras merely showed a hulking figure dressed in tatters. It’s facial features were just a blur, but this time it was carrying something. A square object, about 0.5m x 0.5m, wrapped in papers. It went through its usual routine and then hid behind two wooden panels taking the object with it.

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more sage advice

Whether prompted by the mysterious woman or not they decided to not revisit by day. Instead, they found out that John, despite his age, had some tricks up his sleeves. He produced more cameras, a microphone and armed himself with a hideous looking knife and advised his companions to do likewise. They all refused. But go back to the creature’s abode they did. They waited until it had left and this time, were extra careful not to disturb anything and set up the cameras in more advantageous locations.
Immensely chuffed with their efforts they slunk back out. At gone 2am they were not many people around. A few revellers straggling and flagging. Two policemen across the road chatting, a road-sweep and a woman, looking slightly out of place, sitting on the low wall outside the closed coffee shop. They all saw her but carried on. Apart from John. She looked straight at him and after a double take he began to recognise her.
Separating from the others, as they all walked towards the car park, he walked towards her. The others stopped, called him but he ignored them.
JS: “You!”
El’: “Yes… “
JS: “Who are you? Are you following us?”
El’: “Yes, I’ve been following and watching for a while. What you are doing can have a happy ending: i.e. you all end up arrested, with criminal records, possibly fines and prison for breaking, entering, vandalising. Or it could have a bad ending: With all of you dead.”
JM: “John? Is that the girl from the other night?” The rest had caught up.
JS: “Yes” He replied without looking. “What is it? Who are you?” She never answered. She just sat on the wall, one knee under her chin, dressed in casual, well worn black jeans and trainers. Her long hair, likewise unkempt, matched her old jean jacket. All black. Jake and John bombarded her with questions: who was she, has she knew, what she knew, who was it, what was it doing in the concert hall, how come only they could see it and who was she – again! Hannah was the only one that kept silent and instead scrutinised every last detail about her.
TH: “She is the police – or some secret agency!” They all looked at him blankly. Terri kept quite from then on.
JS: “What do you mean ‘dead’? are you threatening us?”
El’: “Me? No! The creature you are meddling with…. a more interesting question has already been asked: ‘How come only you can see it?’ “
JS: “There were others…”
El’ “I know. I was at the pub. The wisely chose to go on with their lives and forget about it.”
HJ: “We cannot!”
El’: “It will be your undoing….” The woman got up to leave.
JM: “You are coming with us!” Jake grabbed her by the arm. They all paused, the woman looked at him perplexed.
El’: “To what avail?!”
JM: “How come only we can see it?”
El’: “I do not know! Wish I did. That is what first drew my attention to the newspaper adverts John posted.”
JM: “Tell us everything you know…”
El’: “ ‘Everything?’ that could take a while!”
JM: “Which is why you are coming with us.”
El’: “Coming where? John’s place? You gonna tie me up and interrogate or torture me? You have not thought this through, have you?” They all looked at Jake, barely managing to conceal a smirk. His grip loosened and he let go. The woman walked off….

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Sage advice

Terri looked at his watch blinking a few times as he tried to snap himself back to reality.
TH: 7.35. I can still get to work on time.
JM: Work?! You serious?
TH: Yes! I am!
And then there were three.
HJ: Terri has a point. We have each other’s numbers. Lets think about what we have seen and chat further?
And then there were two. Soon they were all going about their daily routine as best as they could. Late that night they all got a call off John: “The creature is out! It got out at about 10.30 and left. I assume it sleeps there by day and roams about at night. It will probably be back in the morning. Let’s meet up tomorrow evening?!”

They met up again on Friday evening. A horrible, cold, rainy night, but still it was Friday! John prepared a sumptuous meal complete with a hired chef and butler. They watched some more videos of the creature coming and going. At about the same times. During the meal they chatted about what it all meant and what to do next. Jake wanted to contact the others now they had some proof. Terri else wanted to contact the authorities. John wanted to carry on investigating, better equipment, better angles, better shots, perhaps even go there in the day time. The meeting descended rapidly into a full blown argument. But the buzzing of the front gate bell soon put a stop to that.
John excused himself and answered the intercom. When he returned he was white as a sheet.
HJ: “What? What is it?” she enquired walking up to him and taking his hand.
He took it and allowed her to help him to a plush arm chair and took a sip from his brandy.
JS: “A certain…. lady, rang my front door bell and advised us that….. ‘going there in the day-time is a really bad idea’.”
JM: “What?! Was it the police?”
JS: “Don’t think so – then again, she did say we should stop investigating this….”
JM: “What? Why? Have you informed the police?” turning to Terri.
TH: “No!”
JS: “… and that we should go back to our little lives. In a few days, maybe weeks, we will forget all about it and we will all be much better off…. apparently!”
Jake got up dashed outside and ran to the tall, wrought iron gate. No one was there and in seconds he was soaked and freezing so came back inside.

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Back at John's

Jake got there first. John made him wait for the other.
When all were there he switched on the huge, flat monitor of his PC. When it came to life, 3 little windows corresponding to the 3 cameras they set up showed the room they were in. It showed the four of them setting things up and chatting and eventually leaving. A few minutes later the cameras switched themselves off. When they automatically switched themselves back on the time on them showed about 2 hours had elapsed since they left. But why had they come back on? There was no sound. Just a dirty, green, grainy picture.
The 3 cameras shook and jolted by some tiny vibrations. As through some1 was close by. It ambled slowly, almost dragging its feet. When it was in a position where all the cameras were on it, it stopped. It seemed to sniff the air and look around suspiciously. Almost as though it could tell some things had been moved. Despite how careful they had been some things were bound to have been moved. They saw enough to recognise the tramp’s clothes, the long overcoat, but not much else. Then it turned slowly (never revealing more than a blur instead of a face) and suddenly darted off out of view. The cameras shook violently, one fell over. For several minutes they jumped about violently and then silence. Then the cameras switched themselves off. Half an hour later it reappeared. It seemed to sniff around again cautiously but found nothing. So shifted a wheel barrow full of cement. They saw that when they were there. 4 sacks of cement in a wheelbarrow weighing about 200Kgrms. It lifted it effortlessly and moved it to one side. Then pulled upon two planks of wood on the wall. Squeezed through and placed them back behind him. Through a hole in the bottom of one of them it put its arm through and adjusted the wheel barrow again. Then vanished never to be seen again.

A few moments later the cameras switched off. The last time on their display was 4.31am. John, Hannah, Jake and Terri stood there, speechless. They looked at each other and then back at the monitor.
“Worth missing work for?” Asked john eventually.

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Rude awakening

They all went home, rather dejected and disappointed. John made sure they each got a taxi to wherever they wanted to go. What did they expect anyway. They tried to get a little bit of sleep before the rigours of the day began again.
Hannah was at college. Studying drama. 1st year. She had to concentrate.
Jake Mallone was a builder. Hard labour needs rest.
Terri Hannik, has a little family and was a car salesman. They all had lives that put other kinds of pressures on them. But 2 hour later they all got rudely awoken by their mobile phones going crazy.
Looks like John Small had a little more time on his hands.
The message was clear despite some panic and some babbling: Telemetry from the cameras shows…. the creature?! Get here ASAP!

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The Hall

Hannah, Terri and Jake instinctively flinched as the halogen lights flickered on. When they recovered they found themselves in an eerily empty, huge symphony hall. Seconds later John ambled round the corner, walking stick in hand, huge grin on his face.

JM: How come you know so much about this place, John?
TH: Yeah!
JS: The concert was over a month ago now. I’ve been planning this for a month. Security codes, rotas, the lot. We are alone, trust me – I have more to loose than anyone else here!
Temporarily comforted the proceeded down the central isle towards the platform. But they were definitely not alone! El’zah was never far from the action. She followed them, as only she could, silently and invisible. They examined the platform, the curtains, then explored the hall to find access to the rafters. Up tiny ladders and along winding corridors they explored for over 3 hours every inch they could reach, but other than untidy store rooms with tools and materials and dusty clothes nothing much could be found.
John was visibly getting tired, Terri was getting scared and Jake frustrated. They began to bicker. All they had found was what could easily have been the working room of various maintenance staff – yet it did not exactly make sense: recently used, some personal items as though it was where they lived. But no-one was here right now. Did they get spooked by the people approaching?! Or were they just out right now?! Is that a good thing or a bad thing? What exactly were they gonna do if they met the creature?
They bickered at length about these and many more questions. But John had the answer – as always! He took off his rucksack and started rummaging. He handed a small parcel to his 3 partners-in-crime.
JS: Find an out-of-the-way perch and set these CCTV up. They have a battery life of three days with infra red and motion detectors. Military issue – very expensive.
As they busied themselves El’zah watched from afar. Giving them something to do stopped all the in-bickering. Soon they were making their escape good. Well, four of them were. El’zah stayed behind to observe first hand!

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