After stepping out of The Black and White Horror Show into the theater room, Ignatius grabbed Max’s Metallica t-shirt. “Not so fast. I have further use for you.”

The teenager felt like he’d been injected with ice. “I don’t want to have any part in your plans,” Max said through trembling lips.

“Nonsense, every magician needs an assistant who can be sawed in half or made to disappear. Otherwise there isn’t any suspense.”

“But I don’t want to be part of your magic act.” Max complained. He remembered the bloodied blade in the costume closet. He didn’t want to be on the wrong end of a saw. Max knew any assistant working with Ignatius wouldn’t live very long.

The magician’s eyes narrowed and the smile on his face curled into a sneer. “You can start work as my slave by unloading the costume closet. We will restore The Pharaoh to its former glory.”

Max felt like he’d done this before, but he didn’t dare disobey. The door to the costume closet was ajar. The Immortal Game was assembled and the skeletal arm was ready for action. Max wondered how many days went by since he’d entered The Black and White Horror Show. He pulled some Chinese dragons from the costume closet; then he heard a noise coming from outside.

Max decided to risk taking a look. It was the same crowd as before. Hungry news reporters waited to devour a story and riot police tried to hold back the mob while the scene was taped off.

Time existed on a different continuum in The Black and White Horror Show. Max went back to the costume closet, busying his mind with what he should do. His friends were still trapped in The Black and White Horror Show and he didn’t want to go back.

Heavy knocking came from the front entrance. Max opened it to a tall police officer.

 “We have a warrant to search the premises. You will be escorted to the police station to give a statement.”

“Excuse me officer, but what crime has been committed?” Max asked.

“You aren’t the owner, but if you must know… “Disruption of the peace and the alleged disappearance of over fifty people. It sounds fantastic, but a judge approved it only a moment ago. Something strange is going on here and I plan to figure out what it is. My partner will escort you to the station.”

Max followed the slender police woman to her car. She wore a tight fitting uniform, revealing her curves.

Officer Farley walked into the lobby. He heard music coming from the theater. It sounded like circus tunes and the music sang to him, intoxicating his brain with memories of childhood: the fair, cotton candy, girls in swimsuits. Farley walked into the theater, hypnotized by melodies, memories, and the silver screen.

Then something strange happened. The Black and White Horror Show cast shadows into the dark room. The movie was infused with a spectrum of color, as if someone was painting the film while it played.

Farley glanced at the projector room, seeing a figure dart out of sight. He pulled his pistol out of its holster. “There shouldn’t be anyone here,” he mumbled. It was difficult to leave the movie as the music increased in tempo. Farley walked up the steel staircase. The circus tunes grew louder. He couldn’t hear his own footsteps over the noise. There was a projector room ahead of him, with the door standing open. Nitrate film fluttered in the air like streamers at a birthday party. Reels and boxes were overturned. Officer Farley noticed rainbow colored dust filtering into the film projector while the movie played. It was strange, he thought. Suddenly, he sensed an unholy presence. Cold sweat formed on his neck.

Turning to go, he noticed something on the ground. Farley picked up a golden cigarette lighter, examining it.

BANG He was knocked over the head and a slender hand retrieved what it was after, pocketing the lighter.


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