[We have leave our perch in the rafters for a more comfortable seating arrangement. The balcony seats are free and from their position we can close our eyes or duck away if needed.]
[We still are not sure about the madman on the stage, his frantic eyes—even the dead one appears frantic to us—scouring the audience, picking them out one by one and feasting on their dreams, their nightmares.]
[The stage has been dark for quite some time. We occasionally here a cry of pain or fear and that horrible whispering but we have no clue where Corn is. We sense him among us, but that is all.]
And we move on.
[We jump at the sound of his voice.]
[A brilliant orange light appears to the right of center stage. The man from the last show sits in his cage. The bottom is flat, bars all around. A bird cage. Blood lines the floor, face white, lips swollen, eyes vacant. Two teeth lie in front of him.]
[Quelchers—four of them—stand near the dangling cage. One on each side. They whisper still.]]
Ulnet tobe clands
Ulnet tobe clands
Ulnet tobe clands
[Snaps fingers. Light fades. Another one focuses on another man in the front row.]
There’s a fine line between reality and dreams. An even finer line between reality and nightmares.
[Snaps fingers. All is dark again.]
[We here the clop-clop of shoes on the floor, followed by a loud thump. We flinch. Some of us scream. Our hearts race in anticipation and fear.]
[His voice booms in the theater, echoing off the walls.]
[The silver screen lights up and we gaze at the man whose story is to be told. His eyes are alight and we watch as the images pour from him and onto the screen.]
He stands in the center of a large church, hair combed, blue suit and striped tie. He looks around the room, his hazel eyes taking in the scene before him. The church’s red carpet and light tan walls offer stark contrasts to each other. Each pew is packed with black men, women and children, all of them dressed in their Sunday bests.
It takes him a minute to realize he is standing but there are no seats remaining for him to sit in. He looks around, trying to find somewhere to go, to get out of the pristine aisle that ran up the center of the church.
A giant of a man stood at the pulpit. His arms waved wildly as he talked, his afro bounced with each movement.
To the right of the pulpit sat the ivory casket. The man inside had broad shoulders and wore a blue pinstriped suit. His hair framed his head in curls and oil.
The man’s breath catches in his throat when the preacher points at him and then to the dead man.
He looks to the coffin to see the dead man rising up. A long black hand stretches out from the coffin, pointing toward him. The dead man lies back down and then looks up again. He shakes his head. An eyeball burst from the socket and dangles by his cheekbone. His face crumples and then implodes.
Screams fill the sanctuary . . .
[The only audible sounds during the nightmare are the popping eyeball and the screams that follow. Now, as we sit, our hands over our eyes, we realize we are the ones screaming.]
[So real. So very real.]
I knew this one would be bad.
[Snaps fingers. Light appears on him. He scratches his head, frowns. Then chuckles.]
[We watch as Corn leaps from the stage and into the aisle in front of the first row. His shoes send a resounding clack into the air that reverberates off the walls.]
[The man sits in the seat, his head lulled back, one arm dangling between his legs, the other one on his stomach. From our spot in the balcony we can barely make out the color of red on his ivory skin. But it is obvious as to what it is.]
[Corn reaches down and grabs him by his scalp.]
[Lets man’s head drop, lulling on its neck.]
Sometimes, you have to let go. You have to face things that aren’t right in your life. You have to be willing to make a change.
[Turns to the stage and then back to the audience.]
A hard heart is the hardest thing to break. It’s like a bad habit.
[The Quelchers slink from their holes and toward the front of the theater. They stand before Corn, their eyes on the body, their tongues dripping wet from open mouths.]
[The light snaps off as the Quelchers advance to the body.]
[We cringe at the sounds of flesh rinding from bone. Slurps and growls and chewing.]
Let it go. Sometimes, you have to just let it go . . .