The back door loomed large in her sight and she examined it critically. Badly in need of a paint job, rusty around the edges… Maren still didn’t quite have the guts to get out of the car. Cal opened his door. “You’re really scared,” he stated.

Maren nodded.

“Look,” he said. “Safety in numbers. I’ll be right there with you.” He slipped from the driver’s seat and she followed.

The back door remained steadfast in Cal’s efforts to wrest it open. He nodded to himself, satisfied, as he fished for his keys. “No one got in this way,” he said.

“I’m not worried about burglars,” she muttered.

Cal shoved the back door open. The mercury security light above the threshold pierced the shadows of the doorway and mingled with the green ‘Exit’ sign hanging above the inside of the door. The resulting lighted path was a putrid color. Maren felt sick as they stepped inside. Everything disappeared into the darkness. Silence hung thick and heavy around them, almost as if it were waiting. The thought freaked her out, and Maren couldn’t help crowding Cal a bit as he swung his flashlight across the rear stage.

“Where is it?”

Maren almost leapt into Cal’s arms at the sound of his hushed words. She swallowed the lump in her throat. “What?”

“The piano. It’s… Not here.”

She followed the line of light to the empty backstage wall. “Good God,” she hissed, fighting the urge to turn tail and RUN back out to the car.

“Did you move it, Maren?”

She shook her head violently, then remembered he couldn’t see her movement in the dark. “No, Cal,” she said.

The stage door slammed behind them. Maren found herself holding Cal’s hand as they swung around toward it. “What the Hell?” Cal started —

Then the bolt thumped into place, securing the door from any outside interference.

Locking them in.

“He’s here,” she whispered.

* * *
This is part of an ongoing story — catch up via the Serials page!

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