One of the seats slammed into her hip and her head landed on a textbook. As she struggled to her feet, someone grabbed one of her elbows and helped her up. The entire auditorium was silent and everyone was staring at her. She was glad that away from the lights it was dark enough that no one would be able to see how red her face was.
“Are you okay?”
Looking behind her, she felt like she’d be sick. Aiden was the one who’d helped her up. He’d been sitting in the back with the rest of the stage crew. His expression was hard to read in the gloom, but Teri’s imagination was able to fill in the blanks. He was totally weirded out. Teri tried to mumble him a reply, but she couldn’t get her vocal chords to work. She attempted to walk away, but she couldn’t. He was still holding onto her arm. His touch burned through her shirt, making her skin tingle.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, thanks,” she said.
He let her go and she started picking her way through the seats toward her destination. As she passed the now empty spot where she’d seen whatever the heck that was, she saw something covered in black fabric up against the wall. Her heart was racing, and she tried to take deep breaths to calm her body. She must’ve just seen the fabric and her mind had gone back to this morning.
Reaching out, she touched the cloth. It was real, everyday fabric. As she pulled her hand back, some of the folds caught on her fingertips and it began to fall away. Underneath, shining even in the darkness, was a full length mirror. Teri swallowed hard, air and spit sticking in her throat.
Being in a room with Emily didn’t do anything to lessen the feeling that she was going crazy. Teri tried to focus on her lines, but it was hard because they hadn’t had them that long. Then there was all the looks and eye rolling from the half of the cast that was under Emily’s control. And the fact that she was seeing things.
If it hadn’t been so dark in the auditorium, there might have been other witnesses, someone she could trust to tell her she was only seeing things. But the girl had seemed so real. It was like she could reach out and feel the coarse, ratty hair and pull away a lump of dirt as a souvenir.
Teri struggled through her lines and when the assistant director thought they had it, they went through the back door onto the stage. The dancers had moved off into the first few rows of seats to hear the scene. Afterward they’d all practice a few of the songs. Mr. Oliver was working himself into a frenzy.