Bernie flicked the flint, igniting a flame. Stooping to the floor, he reached into the hole, peering inside. Even with the lighter, it was difficult to make out anything in the darkness. Then he noticed a shimmer. “Wait, I can see my reflection. I think there might be a broken mirror down there. Jeremy, will you hold the lighter? I’m going in.” The old man hooked the rope to the floor and slid down.

THUMP…CRASH

“I’m quite alright. It’s dusty down here. I could use more light.”

“Heads up Bernie…” Jeremy pitched the cigarette lighter after him. There was a familiar clicking noise. Jeremy looked into the black hole, seeing a feint pinprick of light. Grabbing the curtain cord, he lowered himself down. Before his head went out of sight, Jeremy whispered to his friends. “If I don’t come back, don’t come looking for me; call the police and destroy The Black and White Horror Show. As he slunk down the rope, he felt it fraying in his hands.

SNAP

The rope broke before he realized what happened. Luckily, he only dropped a couple feet, landing on broken glass. As he picked himself up, he was fortunate not to cut himself. The space under the stage was much larger than Jeremy expected and certainly more interesting.

Bernie held his lighter in his left hand, swiping cobwebs away with his right. It was nearly impossible to see in the semi-darkness. “I’m not sure what we’re looking for, but keep your eyes open for anything unusual,” Bernie whispered.

There was nothing normal about the room they were in. Several ropes and pulleys hung on the walls, looking as if Ignatius employed dozens of assistants to bring-off his illusions. It was impossible to see where to step and the sound of crunching glass kept them on edge.

SCRITCH…CRASH

Jeremy noticed two leather bean bags underneath a boarded trapdoor. Mold lingered in the air. He could only see his feet in front of him, making the room seem endless in the darkness. “I don’t think we’re underneath the stage. Have you noticed…the floor slopes downward?”

Bernie tried to concentrate, stretching his lighter above his head for maximum illumination. “Hello, there’s something lying on the floor over there. It’s shiny, but I don’t think it’s a broken mirror.”

“What do you think it is?” Jeremy asked suspiciously.

“Let’s find out!” Bernie said.

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