Read Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die; The Deep End of Fear Online

Authors: Elizabeth Chandler

Tags: #Murder, #Actors and Actresses, #Problem Families, #Family, #Dysfunctional Families, #Juvenile Fiction, #Family Problems, #Horror Tales; American, #Fiction, #Interpersonal Relations, #Death, #Actors, #Teenagers and Death, #Tutors and Tutoring, #Sisters, #Horror Stories, #Ghosts, #Camps, #Young Adult Fiction; American, #Mystery and Detective Stories

Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die; The Deep End of Fear (4 page)

BOOK: Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die; The Deep End of Fear
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Chapter 6

We gathered in the seats of Stoddard Theater at eight-thirty the next morning. Walker came up the back steps, strode across the stage, then stopped, scanning us slowly, like a shopper carefully eyeing apples before reaching into the pile. Our nervous chatter died.

"Oh, don't be bashful," he said.

Maggie called roll. Next to Mike, two rows in front of me, sat a guy who answered to Paul McCrae, but all I could see of him was brown hair hanging thick and wavy down the back of his neck. Maggie handed out adhesive name tags, which we were to stick below our left shoulder. Anyone who put it on his or her right was corrected. Brian gave out the books.

"Put your names in them immediately/' Maggie instructed. "Katie, no more free replacements of lost scripts.'

"She doesn't forget anything," the girl named Katie hissed to Shawna.

Walker continued to study us. "Okay, people," he said, putting on his half-moon glasses. "I am assuming you are all intimately familiar with A
Midsummer Night's Dream
and are fully prepared and eager to impress me with your auditions. Let's begin."

"Excuse me, Walker."

His eyes rolled up over his glasses. "Maggie."

"I think we should review the plot."

His smile was a tiny bow. "You have my permission to think whatever you like. Meanwhile, I'm starting the auditions."

"And is that because you prefer to review the story halfway through, once it becomes obvious that everyone is confused—as we did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that?"

"I told you she doesn't forget," Katie whispered.

Walker sighed, then eyed us. "I believe in learning from my mistakes," he said, "but I keep making Maggie assistant director."

There were muffled laughs. I glanced at Maggie, but she didn't seem to care, perhaps because she knew what he would do next—exactly what she had suggested.

"As you all no doubt already know," Walker boomed, "there are four lovers in this play. The two guys, Lysander and Demetrius, are both in love with Hermia. Hermia is in love with Lysander, but Hermia's father has chosen Demetrius to be her husband. Meanwhile, we have poor Helena, Hermia's friend, who is hopelessly in love with Demetrius. Got it?"

We nodded.

"Like all good star-crossed lovers, Hermia and Lysander plan to run away. Helena thinks she can score some points with Demetrius by tell ing him of Hermia and Lysander's departure. So, what do we have? Hermia and Lysander running off to the forest, Demetrius running after Hermia, and Helena after Demetrius. We have four lovers wandering around the Athenian woods on Midsummer Night."

Walker strode back and forth across the stage as he spoke, gesturing with the script. He held our attention as if he were Shakespeare himself.

"Enter the fairies: Oberon the fairy king and Titania, the queen. They're married and they're quarreling. Oberon has a jealous, vengeful streak in him. He also has a very mischievous fairy working for him, Puck, and, with Puck's help, he plans to spread a magic flower ointment on his wife's eyes while she is sleeping. The first person, beast, or thing Titania sees when she awakens, she'll fall madly in love with."

A couple kids giggled, as if just now figuring out what would happen, which told me they hadn't read the play, at least not too well. Maggie knew what she was doing.

"Now, there are some interesting candidates for Titania to fall in love with that night," Walker continued. "A group whom we refer to as 'the rustics,' six bumbling guys, are rehearsing a play in the woods to present to the Duke of Athens at his wedding. The Duke's wedding frames the entire play. Puck has some fun and transforms one of the rustics so that he has an ass's head instead of a human one, and it is he whom Titania sees first when she awakens.

"As for the lovers, Oberon gives Puck instructions to use the flower ointment to work out their problem, that is, to make Demetrius fall in love with Helena, so the four are neatly paired up. Unfortunately, Puck gets the guys confused, and we end up with a wonderful reversal, with Demetrius and Lysander now in love with Helena and chasing her, while Hermia is left out in the cold. Got it?"

We all nodded again and Walker hopped down from the stage steps, surprisingly light on his feet.

"Now, Maggie, may we begin?"

"I'm waiting," she said with a smile.

Walker started by assigning the parts of the lovers, trying different combinations for the two guys and two girls. Watching Mike read, I was amazed at his skill. I had imagined that he had just enough talent, or more accurately, the good looks to earn a small high school part. I was wrong—or perhaps the part of a lover came quite naturally to him. I glanced around: I wasn't the only girl who had trouble taking her eyes off him.

"Jenny Baird."

I didn't respond; it wasn't the name for which I was used to snapping to.

"Miss Baird." Walker's voice could roll low like thunder. Shawna nudged me.

"Walker," Brian said in a quiet voice, "I spoke to you about Jenny, remember?"

Walker turned to Brian very slowly, demonstrating for all of us how an actor can make an audience wait for a line. "I remember. Get up there, Miss Baird."

I walked to the stage steps carrying my book.

"I can try out," I told Walker, "but I get terrible stage fright when it comes time for performance."

"Act Two, Scene Two, after Puck has exited," Walker replied, as if he hadn't heard a word I'd said.

Brian stared at him and shook his head.

"Helena," Walker said to me when I was on stage, "you've just come upon Lysander, who is sleeping. What you don't know is that Puck has put the magic ointment on his eyelids, and the first person Lysander sees—you, not his beloved Hermia—he will now be madly in love with. Not knowing what has happened, you think he's making fun of you. Pick it up on
'But who is here?'"

We positioned ourselves, Mike on the stage floor and me bending over him. I began:

"But who is here? Lysander! on the ground?

Dead or asleep? I see no blood, no wound.

Lysander, if you live, good sir, awake."

Mike opened his eyes, then pulled himself up quickly, responding fervently: "'And run through fire I will for thy sweet sake.'"

I blinked and drew back. The incredible blue of his eyes and the intensity with which he zeroed in on me made my heart jolt, made me feel as if I were on an elevator that had suddenly dropped from beneath me. All I could do was stare at him, surprised. Of course, the character of Helena would have reacted the same way. I wasn't acting, but I looked like I was.

"'Transparent Helena,'" Mike began softly, kneeling now, his eyes, his whole person focused on me, the way a lover's would be. My heart did strange flip-floppy things. I struggled to make sense of the instinctive way I responded to Mike; in the play, Helena struggled to make sense of Lysander.

I dutifully told Lysander why he should be happy with his Hermia.

"'Content with Hermia?'" Mike responded. "'No, I do repent the tedious minutes I have with her spent.'" He reached out and touched my face. I tingled at the brush of his fingers and could feel my cheeks getting pink. Of course, Helena's cheeks would have reddened as she got increasingly angry at Lysander.

"'Not Hermia, but Helena I love,'" Mike said. "'Who will not change a raven for a dove?'"

But I was the raven and Liza his dove, I wanted to say. I stood up quickly, feeling mixed up, caught between the play world and the real one. He gazed at me as if his eyes would hold and cherish what his hands could not. I reminded myself that this was acting.

At last he got to the end of his lines, and I pulled myself together. I was mad—mad at him for using his eyes and voice that way, madder at myself for being caught in their spell. Hadn't I seen a million actors deliver lines like that? Hadn't I fallen for not one, but two guys who were pretending to like me because they wanted to know Liza?

Just as anger was boiling up in me, it was bursting from poor Helena: "'Wherefore was I to this keen mockery born?'" I exclaimed—ironically, totally in character.

Finishing my speech, I exited quickly, exactly as Helena should have. In fact, I wanted to run back to my seat, but I figured that Walker, upon observing my flight, would make me stay and read some more. I stopped onstage about twenty feet from Mike, waiting to be dismissed by Walker.

He looked from Mike to me, then turned to Brian. "Your new best friend doesn't seem all that shy," he observed. "I believe she has some talent." "I never said she didn't," Brian replied coolly. "You two are done," Walker said to us. "For now." Mike headed for the steps stage left, I went stage right.

Lynne was called on to read as Hermia. She was so strong in the role she made the guy who played opposite her look good. Shawna tried out as Helena and Queen Titania, then Keri read for the queen's role opposite Paul as Oberon.

"No accents, Keri," Walker told her halfway through. "Save that lovely Jersey British for New York, where they can't tell the difference."

Paul was destined to be Oberon, I thought. His face was handsome, a model's face, and yet there was something wasted about it. His green eyes had circles under them—right for a jealous and somewhat vengeful king of the fairies. His body was hard-wiry, like a rock star's, his hands strong and expressive, but too thin, a thinness that could suggest cruelty.

By lunch everyone had read but Tomas, the heavyset guy who had said he'd "rather not." I thought Walker was showing some heart, or perhaps knew better than to torture the guy who had provided the winning set design for the play. I was wrong.

"All right, Tomas," Walker said as soon as we had gathered again, "this is your big chance."

Tomas was jolted out of what appeared to be the beginning of an afternoon nap.

"Get up there. You're Oberon."

There was a snicker from the vets. If Tomas played any role, it would have to be one of the rustics; there was no way he was going to prance around the stage as if there were magic in his feet.

"Paul, you're Puck," Walker said.

The contrast between the two guys was striking, and I wondered if Walker was pairing them up for his own amusement.

"Kimberly, you're Hermia." A blond girl giggled and made her way to the stage.

"Mike, Demetrius again. Act Three, Scene Two," Walker said, when the cast had assembled. "Puck is reporting back to Oberon about how he fared with the magic ointment. Demetrius and Hermia enter, and it is discovered by Oberon and Puck that Puck got the wrong guy when he tried to fix things for the lovers. Got it? Take it from the top, Oberon. Oberon?"

Tomas was paging frantically through the book; the more quickly he tried to find the scene, the harder it became. Kimberly giggled annoyingly. Paul finally snatched the script and found the page. When he shoved the book back in Tomas's face, Mike walked over to the embarrassed boy, leaned close, and ran his finger down the page. "You start here," I heard him say quietly. "Then Hermia and I enter—see?—and you don't say anything more until I lie down to sleep. Okay?"

Tomas nodded. Without waiting for Mike to get back in position, he began what had to be the most painful reading I'd ever witnessed. "'I wo—wonder if Titan be—'"

"Titania!" Walker called out. "She's a fairy, not a football team." Kids laughed.

"'—if Titania be awak'd.'"

He didn't know how to pronounce the
and stumbled over it as if it were a piece of broken concrete. Kimberly, waiting for her entrance, rolled her eyes and made faces at her friends in the audience.

Fortunately, a long speech by Puck followed. Unfortunately, while Paul read, Tomas practiced his next few lines so intently, his lips moved and little whispery sounds came out. Paul paused halfway through his piece.

"Which one of us is talking here?" he asked, provoking more laughter.

Tomas continued to work on his lines, though silently now, with such focus that he missed his cue. "Oberon!" Walker hollered.

Tomas looked up and promptly lost his place. When he found it again, his voice shook badly. He got through the last line before Mike and Kimberly's entrance, but he didn't look as if he were going to make it through the entire scene. As the dialogue ran back and forth between Mike and Kimberly, Tomas's face grew redder. He looked as if he was going to cry. Given his size and his bristly eyebrows, I knew it would be a terrible sight. He began blinking his eyes. He was never going to live this down.

"Excuse me." I stood up. "Excuse me."

Mike, who had just finished a line, turned with surprise, as did everyone else.

"I'd like to play Puck if you don't mind."

It was a strange request for a person with stage fright. Brian looked baffled. Maggie frowned at the interruption. But Walker studied me with a shrewd look on his face; he knew I was trying to distract people while Tomas regained his composure.

"Would you now, Miss Baird," Walker said. "That old menacing stage fright seems to be waning, does it?"

I glanced at Tomas out of the comer of my eye. "Seems to be."

"All right. Paul, sit down."

Paul stared at Walker a moment, caught off guard by the abrupt change, then slowly left the stage, pressing his lips together, giving me a smile that was meant to chill. I ignored him, glad he was walking slowly and giving Tomas time to pull himself together. Giving me time as wel—I quickly bent over and stretched before climbing the steps to the stage. Onstage I worked my back, my wrists, and my ankles, knowing I looked silly to everyone in the audience and buying Tomas even more time.

"We'll start from the top," Walker said.

Of course, I thought, let's drag him through it all again. But Tomas's eyes were clear now. If I could give the scene some lightness, play with him a little, I might get him through it and he'd have a chance of surviving camp. He looked at me curiously when I placed my script next to his feet and told him not to move an inch. I withdrew to the wings and removed my sandals. Walker sat back in his seat, arms folded over his chest, waiting.

BOOK: Dark Secrets 2: No Time to Die; The Deep End of Fear
8.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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