15. A gust of hot wind came in with the man…

paper shots 34

A gust of hot wind came in with the man from the foyer. The chandeliers in the auditorium rattled and bits of dust whirled down and dissolved before reaching the carpeted floor.

“Lily and Becky, I presume?” the man asked.

“Mr. Reynolds… My sister couldn’t…”

“Yes, it’s you and your sister, right? So the gig is outside the castle. Starts at 6am. Till evening. People will all be gone by 8.”

“At 6.” Lily confirmed.

Mr. Reynolds nodded, smiled apologetically – for his delay, for his lack of time – then hurried on backstage. A thin line of sweat showed on the back of his shirt.

The megaphone-shaped auditorium stood empty and abandoned. In the royal box, ghosts of opera-goers stared at the paint flaking off the stucco work around the proscenium.

Backstage a voice was giving orders, drowned out by the sound of a horn outside. Becky, of course, double-parked. By the artists’ entrance.

The irony of it.

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