The sight of it gave everyone chills except Bernie who didn’t notice their reactions, showing off his find.
“You aren’t planning to show a movie this afternoon, are you?” asked Brandon
“Of course I will. The Black and White Horror Show must go on,” said Bernie enthusiastically.
Jeremy didn’t know what to say, feeling helpless. He motioned for the others to join him in the lobby. When they were alone, he told them what happened. “Bernie found the camera underneath the stage, but I think I’ve found something more important.” Not speaking, he pulled the black and white photograph out of his pocket, holding it above his head like Indian Poker.
“IGNATIUS SPECTER!” everyone gasped.
“Precisely; Ignatius snapped his own photograph by accident, losing his camera when he disappeared. We can humor Bernie this evening by playing his motion picture, but when Ignatius comes onto the screen we must burn his photograph. If I’ve thought about it correctly, he should disappear.”
Growing impatient, Max blurted out, “We must destroy The Black and White Horror Show now!”
“I’m not sure it can be destroyed, but we can try,” said Jeremy, offering some hope. “The film, like all of Bernie’s motion pictures is made of nitrate. We’ll need to steal it from the projector room, but it won’t be easy to lug it down the stairs and out of the theater undetected.”
“Why can’t we burn it in the projector room?” asked Max.
“Are you kidding?” laughed Brandon. That film will explode faster than a firebomb, incinerating Bernie’s entire film collection, blowing the theater sky-high.”
“So what is your plan?” asked Sissy somewhat putout that no one included her in the conversation.”
“First, we must block Seat 13 with caution tape; we can make-up any excuse,” offered Jeremy. “Then we must reproduce the results of our first showing. Bernie can’t suspect we plan to eliminate the star of his picture.”
After careful deliberation the mutinous teenagers went their separate ways.
Brandon and Max passed out flyers across every inch of town.
Jeremy and Sissy kept a wary eye on Bernie as he removed an antique engine from the stage closet. Clearing out the Sarcophagus, he assembled a machine. The efficiency of his work was enough for Jeremy to wonder if Bernie had done it before, but that was impossible.
Bernie held an enormous gear between his thumb and forefinger, gently fitting it into position. A skeletal arm was strategically attached, guaranteeing maximum leverage. Cogs and springs were assembled without second guesses. Bernie’s brain was like an owner’s manual as he put the contraption together from disorganized components. He worked even faster, becoming more precise after each adjustment.
“Magic is at work in the old man,” whispered Jeremy. “Perhaps The Black and White Horror Show awoke something inside.”
Sissy nodded, worrying that another show could unleash more magic. They watched Bernie arranging a tent; then placing his camera on a tripod.
Jeremy cleaned the hall carpets while Sissy made popcorn in the concession stand.
The grandfather clock struck six times.
“We should expect our audience at any moment,” announced Bernie cheerfully.
Jeremy nodded, “Why don’t I run down to Sally’s Drug Store to pick up some soda and candy bars? We can sell them for four times what their worth.”
“An excellent idea and grab me a Mars Bar while you’re at it,” suggested Bernie. He handed Jeremy a sweaty wad of cash. “I think this should be enough for a sold out crowd, what do you think?”
“I think it’s enough,” Jeremy said.