Soul of Flames

On the edge of the reality we know, there exists a pathway that conceals a realm far more extraordinary than any have dared to imagine. In this realm, a war is raging. And one girl is at the centre of it all. Yet, to fight the suffering, she must learn to accept a heritage that could send the life she knows up in flames. One way or another, she is about to discover that, sometimes, giving yourself to the flames can unlock your soul...

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5. Chapter 4-Robyn

Back on the stage Luc is pacing, looking agitated. He hears Matt and I coming down the stairs, our shoes thudding gently against the old wood. As we reach the floor, Luc turns and walks towards us.

‘Matt! I thought you were sorting out the lighting. What happened?’

Matt shrugs, running a hand through his short, brown hair. ‘Sorry Luc. I saw Robyn go into the sound box and decided to stop her before she broke anything.’

‘In that case, I’m glad you went after her,’ Luc says, a small smile on his usually serious face. ‘We all know that Robyn and technology don’t mix. Do you remember that incident from a couple of years ago?’

‘No!’ I shout in horror. Matt chuckles and presses his lips together, trying to hold a laugh in. I feel my face begin to heat up, burning red hot with embarrassment. Matt glances at Luc, who is also trying to hold a laugh in, then back at me, locking his eyes with mine.

When he sees the expression on my face his composure breaks, and both him and Luc dissolve into fits of laughter. Matt opens his mouth to try and say something, but I rush forward and clamp my hand over his lips, sealing them shut.

‘You swore you would never mention that again!’ I tell them. They laugh even more and Matt pulls my hand away from his strong jaw line.

‘It was funny though! And ridiculous. How did you manage to set a comp-’ Matt starts to say, but I cut him short by stamping on his foot. He glares at me, nursing his injured foot, yet a grin still lingers on his face. I give him a pointed look, a reminder that there is more where that came from if he brings the subject up again.

‘Guys!’ Em calls. ‘You should be sorting the lights out, not standing around down here doing nothing. Get moving!’

Luc sobers instantly. ‘She’s right. Matt, I need you to go back up to the box and play around with the lighting. See if you can find a setting that works with this scene.’

‘I’m on it,’ Matt replies, and then bounds up the steps, sore foot forgotten. Em comes forward and stands in front of Luc, Cherri (who somehow slipped up behind us-that girl is too quiet) and I.

‘Right then,’ she says. ‘Luc and I are going to bring the props and backdrops onto the stage and set it all up. Robyn and Cherri, go and find the scripts from the store cupboard. Meet back here in ten minutes.’

Without waiting for a sign of assent, she marches off the stage with Luc following.

‘Well then, I guess we’re going to the cupboard,’ I say to Cherri, who is still hovering behind my shoulder.  I begin to walk towards the cupboard hidden behind the folds of the theatre curtains, knowing that she will follow me.

Sure enough, when I reach the cupboard and glance back she is right behind me, watching me with her almost-coal black eyes that slant slightly, revealing her Japanese origins.

I turn away from her gaze to open the door when I hear a whisper.

‘Emily can be bossy, can’t she?’ I spin around, searching for the source of the voice. Only Cherri stands behind me. My brain catches up with me and I realise that it was Cherri who spoke-Cherri!

I gape at her, my mouth hanging open in a stunned gasp. I can’t remember the last time Cherri spoke outside of performing, which is why I am so astounded.

I must have a strange look on my face because Cherri is watching me, a worried expression flitting across her delicate features.

‘Robyn, are you alright? Robyn?’ Cherri mutters, almost too quietly for my ears to pick up.

I don’t reply at first, my brain still trying to make sense of the fact that she has finally spoken, unable to form the jumble of words in my head into a coherent sentence.

I shake my head to clear my mind. When I think that I can speak without sounding like I’m uttering a load of nonsense (not that it’s uncommon), I respond.

‘Erm... yeah...she is sometimes, I guess.’

Cherri nods her head slightly to acknowledge my comment, but doesn’t speak again. I pause for a moment, just in case she feels the urge to communicate.

She stands there, silently waiting for me to open the door to the cupboard. She doesn’t speak, just watching me like a stone statue.

Apparently chat time is over.

Pushing open the door and propping it open with a box of ‘Othello’ books, I cast my thoughts away from the strange scene that just occurred and focus on finding the scripts for Luc.

Which might be more of a challenge than I first thought.

The cupboard is much bigger than it looks from the outside, kind of like the TARDIS from Doctor Who. Only not as cool.  And it’s littered with books. Seriously, I didn’t even know that many plays existed, let alone that Silver Tree had most of them locked away in an old, dusty cupboard in the back of the theatre.

Books line the dozens of shelves along three of the brick walls, and yet more books are packed into cardboard boxes stacked precariously in piles that reach the ceiling. A box to my left teeters on top of its stack and I quickly scurry backwards out of its path.

‘Wow,’ I whisper, ‘they really need to get a cleaner in here. Or at least a duster. Look at this place!’

I turn, taking in the amount of dust and cobwebs that coat the shelves and books in thick layers, making the whole place look like an eerie scene from a horror movie, or a dark corner in a haunted mansion.

A shiver creeps up my spine and the hair on my neck stands on end. I feel as if I am being watched, ice-cold eyes drilling into my back.

Slowly, I glance back at the shadowed recess behind me, tensing my legs and crouching slightly, ready to sprint away. There seems to be a darker shade lurking in it, inching its way slowly towards me.

I edge forward to investigate, when I catch sight of a shape moving to my right. I look that way and see a tower of boxes falling forwards ever so slowly-and Cherri standing underneath them, oblivious to the danger she is in.

‘Cherri!’ I shout, rushing over and shoving her out of the way just before the heavy books crash down on top of my head, shrouding me in darkness.

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