The Invisible Dancer

In the concert hall.

In the pause between movements 1 and 2 (Beethoven’s 7th symphony) a figure jumps down from the rafters. He looks like a hobo. Dressed in tattered jeans, a filthy T-shirt and a long black overcoat and some non-descript trainers. Matching his attire, his facial features aren’t terribly attractive either. He lands behind the orchestra totally noiselessly. No one seems to notice him. Yet he takes no precautions whatsoever to hide himself. In fact with one mighty, inhuman leap he jumps over the orchestra to land right in front of the conductor. He cautiously sidesteps him as the 2nd movement commences. He starts imitating the conductor and his movements, seemingly totally enraptured by the music. Yet no one seems to be able to see him. He proceeds to dance up the isles, and flings the hair of one of the women sat next to the isle. She straightens her hair but never sees him. When the 2nd movement ends he pulls funny faces at a few members of the audience, turn the page of one of the orchestra (who quickly finds the correct page and carries on playing) and shuffles to the back of the stage again. There he jumps on one of the massive purple drapes (that sway slightly under his weight) at the back and climbs up them, to vanish (out of sight) somewhere up in the rafters!

Are you alone?

“You are not alone!”
That was the eye-catching, mid-spread title of an announcement hogging the two center pages of almost a dozen newspapers (local and national!). In similarly large, dark blue block capitals on a plain white background it continued:
“If you saw what a room-full of people seemed to miss, on 7.6.2009, at the CBSO, in the middle of Beethoven’s 7th symphony, you are not alone!
If those sightings are driving you to distraction and everyone thinks you are insane, you are not alone!
On the 19.6.2009, I will be at the Tap and Spile, just off Broad Street, from 8.30pm onward, clutching two half-empty glasses of beer.
Come talk to me!"

Tap and Spile
Are you alone?

First to arrive was the person who posted the article.
Who was soon joined by a tall, 30-something Caucasian male, then a similar female, then a 20-something, black male, then young, white female. Sometime later a middle-aged, Asian gentleman joined them and finally another white, 30-something man joined them. They gingery introduced themselves and chatted in hushed voices about what they saw. Though details were sketchy they all agreed:
A man, unkempt and ugly, climbed down the heavy, maroon drapes at the back, danced to the music, and then eventually climbed back up them to vanished somewhere among the rafters. This was during a packed out concert in the symphony hall and disturbingly, only the people at this table seemed to see him!
John Small, a man true to his name, with salt-and-pepper hair in his 50’s (the man who posted the newspaper adverts) took control of the conversation:
“Gosh! It’s almost 11. My bedtime. If you give me your numbers, I’ll arrange for us to meet in a more private location in the near future and discuss what to do about it, if anything?”

the listener

Unbeknownst to any of the people at that table, there was another person taking part that night. Or at least listening, if not contributing. Her name was El’zah and having seen the newspaper article knew this would be something of interest to her. The paranormal fascinated her and she took great pleasure in ensuring she got involved in all such investigations.

Her problem now was gaining access to the next secret meeting….

Private location

Only some of the aforementioned people attended the private meeting.
“Understandably,” John Small tried to explain “some of the people that we met at the Tap and Spile last week were not too interested in discussing this further. Who is the saner of the two parties does not concern me. What concerns me,” he paused and took a sip of brandy long enough to give the impression he was thinking of his words “is that… creature and how come only we saw it!” In truth, John has prepared this speech carefully. “I would like to investigate further, avoiding all forms of recognized authority – which will simply call us ‘crazy’ and do nothing but hinder us. There are risks, but hey…” Here is stopped for another sip and did not continue. Instead he waited, as long as necessary, until some1 else spoke.
Only half of the initially 6 people were in attendance. John himself completed the quartet that were united in silence. Eventually, the youngest person there spoke up:
HJ: “What did you have in mind?” As if waiting for the question John replied instantly:
JS: “A break in! Not to steal or vandalise.” He continued prompted by the raising of the eye brows, “Rather to investigate the curtains and the rafters and the whole symphony hall, see what we might find?”
JM: “ ‘A break in’ !? “
JS: “Yes. I have contacts; I have money; I have curiosity; what I lack is youth!”
TH: “Not into breaking into places, personally”
JS: “Neither am I – ordinarily! This is not ordinary…. I know the staff rotations there, cleaners, security procedures and systems.”
TH: “You break in…”
JS: “I intend to. Hopefully all together!”

And so John Small, Hannah Jones, Jake Mallone and Terri Hannik sipped their drinks and chatted for a few hours. And so El’zah listened. Not terribly well, at first, but as the conversation grew more animated and lively she found that she could concentrate and block out the soft music and eavesdrop past the thick wall that separated them. She heard enough to get the gist.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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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