This was the first musical she’d worked on, but Teri had heard stories from Morgan for the past two and a half years. Mr. Oliver was between the two of them in height, so he was very short for a man, and he had hair that literally exploded off his head. Frizzy strands of grey and white stuck out from his scalp in a thick mane. He always told his performers that they made his bald spot grow, but if there was one up there it was well hidden.
Once the cast assembled, he spent five minutes lecturing them in turn on how to stand. Teri’s lower back and shoulder blades were starting to ache. Normally, she slouched all the time. Emily kept asking if she was doing it right, knowing full well she was. She was just trying to get Mr. Oliver to hold her up as an example to the rest of them. Even her friends were getting exasperated. Finally, Mr. Oliver came over to Teri.
“No, no, no, this is all wrong. You look like a soldier standing at attention.”
“I thought you wanted us to stand up straight?”
“You’re a person, not a lamp post. Spread your feet. Drop your shoulders. A little less. There, perfect.”
Teri was pleased at the compliment, and she tried to memorize how her body was at that exact moment. Mr. Oliver moved on and Teri was returning a wave from Morgan in the front row when she heard a screech above her head.
Screams erupted from the crowd and everyone on stage looked up. One of the light fixtures was throwing off sparks as it fell towards the ground. It was headed right for her. There wasn’t any time to even think about moving out of the way. She could only throw her hands up to shield her face before sparks fell around her like raindrops. Teri’s eyes snapped closed as she hoped the metal and glass contraption was somehow going to miss her.
Darkness wrapped her up like a blanket. She waited for a thump or a crash. As the seconds dragged on, shock and terror turned to puzzlement. Had a wire brought the light up short before it could hit her?
Opening her eyes, she thought that was exactly what’d happened. The light was hanging in the air a couple feet above her. It was vibrating slightly, but the movement was strange and unfamiliar. Looking past the light, she saw there was no cord trailing up into the rafters. There seemed to be no reason why it’d stopped moving. It wasn’t until she looked around that she was able to fully appreciate the freakiness.
Everyone on stage was standing almost perfectly still. Almost, because their bodies were blurred slightly, like they were in a picture that’d been taken while they were moving. Looking out into the crowd, Teri saw faces frozen in mid scream. At her feet, the sparks were dancing back and forth through the air and across the stage, like they were trying to be in two places at once.