Chapter 2

Christy set the broom and dustpan on the floor and watched her brother as he left the dressing room. She hated sweeping, mopping, dusting, and pretty much cleaning of any kind, but for her brother and her mom, she would do it. She knew how much it meant to Jake, and she knew how much it would mean to their mom to see some life back in this old place. She stared around the room for a while at the dust piles, cobwebs, and random costume pieces strewn about.
“I bet this place was really something in its day,” she said aloud, to no one in particular. “Too bad no one kept it up.”
She ran a finger along the costume banister, lifted it to stare at the dust she’d picked up, and then wiped it on her pants leg. She took a deep breath, and coughed from the dust. Turning to get the broom, she noticed a small spot on one of the costume vanities was already cleaned.
“Funny, I don’t remember that being clean when I walked in,” she confessed to the air.
Fascination took over, and she went over to see the table. She gasped when she caught glimpse of the item in the cleaned area; a small stuffed Ms. Piggy. Her dad always called her “piggie” because she was so pink when she was born. The stuffed toy brought back that memory. She’d always hated it, but now it was one of the things she missed the most. Beneath the doll lay a small piece of paper; no, and envelope, addressed to C.S. with a heart crudely drawn in red below a ruby lipstick kiss.
Christy laughed, gazed at the letter for a moment, and spoke to the air again. “For a second there, I thought that might have been addressed to me.” She laughed again, a little louder this time. “I wonder if it was for Dad.”
Curiosity overcoming her, she reached down and pulled the envelope from Ms. Piggy. A small cloud of dust erupted from the stuffed doll. Christy coughed again.
“That’s weird,” she said. “Why is the doll covered in dust, but the counter is clean? Strange.”
Too distracted by the envelope to let any fear develop, she turned it over in her hands a few times before finally deciding that whoever owned it didn’t miss it all that much. It had been in an abandoned theatre, after all. Decided, she tore at the envelope’s seal and pull a small folded letter from it.
It read:
Dearest Christophe,
I don’t really know how to tell you this, so I’ll just come out and say it. I just found out that I am pregnant. While I enjoyed my time here, I will not be returning after tonight’s performance.
My husband and I have been trying, for some time now, to have a child. I am sorry if this hurts you, but our story must end here. I love my husband very much, and do not want to risk losing him.
You understand, I hope. While on this tour, you showed me things I could never have imagined, and I am forever grateful for you kindness, but that all must end.

Christy glared at the letter in disbelief. Who was this Carlos, and why was her mother writing to him so affectionately. The questions barraged her mind. Did her father know? Was her mom a cheater?
She sat in the dusty chair at the vanity. Reading the letter over and over, looking for some clue to what it all meant. The words didn’t change, written ones never do, but Christy hoped they would. It still made no sense.
A cold breeze drifted by her cheek. She shivered, slightly, brushing it with her hand. Steam started rolling from her breath.
Jeez, it’s cold in here now, she thought to herself. Jake must’ve turned on the AC.
The breeze continued to waft around her, pushing her auburn curls into the air and letting them settle. Her green eyes continued to dance across the words on the page.
Carlos, she thought. Then aloud “Who is Carlos?” And again to her mind, and why didn’t mom ever mention him.
“Christy,” the breeze seemed to whisper her name.
She jumped from the chair, looking for the source. “Jake, if you’re trying to mess with me, it is not going to work. Jake?”
“Piggy,” the wind whispered.
Christy nearly fell on the floor, tears pooling in her eyes. “That’s not funny Jake. Did you leave that stupid doll there? Did you write this letter so I would find it?”
No reply.
“Seriously, Jake,” she cried out, anger pushing the tears away, “this isn’t funny. The joke’s over. You can come out now. Jake?”
Great, this is just what I needed; my jerk brother messing with my head because I was nice enough to help him.
“Jake,” she called out, “I am leaving if you don’t stop. Come out.”
“Christy,” the wind whispered to her again.
She fell into the chair, put her head in her hands and tried to push it all away. She glanced up in time to see the silhouette of a man in the mirror.
“Jake,” she jerked around to face him, but no one was there.
She looked back at the mirror. Nothing.
“You’re losing is Christy,” she scolded herself. “Get a grip.”
She stood from the chair and walked over to get the broom and dustpan. She set the dustpan near the vanity and gripped the broom to begin her sweep.
“Might as well get started,” she urged herself, trying to ignore her brother’s stupid game.
If he wants to play games, she thought, angrily, and then I’ll just ignore him. I have work to do anyway.
With a satisfied ‘humph’, she started sweeping dust into piles. The wood beneath was still in good condition, considering the time it had been neglected.
She’d managed to clean out a corner of the room, and went to retrieve the dustpan.
The dust she’d been sweeping drifted into the cleaned spot on the vanity, covering any insinuation that it had ever been clean.
She let out another satisfied ‘humph’ and took the dustpan to the pile she’d built. Setting the dustpan on the floor with her foot holding it in place, she took the broom to the pile. Just as she began to push it into the pan, another breeze scattered it around her, and the room. She coughed again.
“That’s just great,” she replied to the breeze. “You got a fan to mess with me now, too, Jake? Really? Funny, really. Ha-ha, I just can’t stop laughing at how funny you are. ” Butthead, she thought.
She brushed off the annoyance and continued sweeping, this time taking the dustpan to every spot with her.
Let’s see the fan blow the dust out of the pan. She laughed at her brother.
She dusted for a few minutes, and took the dustpan to empty it in the hallway waste basket. Taking one satisfied look at the area she cleaned, she exited the room. The cold followed her into the hall. She shivered again.
It is really not supposed to be cold in May, she thought. Jake and his childish games.
She turned to go back to the room, slowly, hoping to catch her brother lurking in a corner. She turned to face the entry hall. Nothing. Snapped back around to see the backstage hall. Empty. No Jake. Deciding to continue with her ignorance, she walked back into the room. Looking at the floor, she let out an angry groan.
The floor was covered in dust again. No clean areas, except for Ms. Piggy’s seat on the vanity.
Worry began to creep into her mind, followed by anger again.
“I don’t know how you’re doing this Jake,” she called into the room, “but I am seriously going to get you back for it. Just you wait.”
She walked back into the room. Saw the dustpan standing with the broom laid at its side.
I am not cleaning anymore, she thought. Then, calling out to her brother, “You hear me Jakey? I am not cleaning anymore. I’m leaving.
Another breeze, icier than before pushed around her. The dressing room door slammed shut. She let out a scream. She was facing the mirror, and in the reflection, her reflection, was a man staring at her with the brightest blue eyes, glaring at her from the mirror. She let out another horrified scream.
Not glaring, she noticed, gazing. The man in the mirror was looking at her with fondness in his eyes.
“Christina,” the man spoke, his voice broken and whispered. “My dear Christina.”
“D...” Christy stuttered, “D…Dad? Is that you?”
The man in the mirror nodded. “Yes,” it replied, the last letter sounding like a snake’s hiss.
“How is this possible?” her voice was shaken. Her father was staring at her from a mirror. The whole world just flipped her brain upside down.
“Shh,” her father coaxed. “I don’t have much time. Listen.”
“Okay,” she said, and sat, silently, while he began speaking.
Another image entered the mirror beside her father’s. It was just a small glimpse of something moving, like the light from a door opening then closing.
“Did you,” she stuttered, “Dad, did you see that?”
Then he was gone. Vanished back into the mirror he’d come from. She glared at herself in the mirror, tears coming back. Wishing, hoping, and waiting for her dad to come back to her.
Nothing in the mirror. Just her.
Then she saw her brother’s image, a frightened look in his icy blue eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Jake cried out reaching for her. “What happened?”
“I think…” she began, trying to collect words that made sense. “I think I just saw….” She paused, turning to face the mirror again. She just sat staring at it, hoping again to see her father’s face, his eyes, his beard, anything. As long as she could see him one more time.
“Saw what?” Jake cried, snapping her out of her daze. “What did you see Chris?”
“I think I just saw.” She paused again. Trying to decide whether she’d imagined it or not. Then she noticed her brother’s impatient worry and finished her thought, “Dad.”

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