Prologue: That’s Real Blood
Claire drew the huge red curtains closed so quickly that they clicked together with a bang and swung open at the bottom, revealing, just for a moment, the small still form of Macbeth and the little dark pool about him.
“That’s real blood! That’s real blood!” the frantic hissing of panicked stage crew and actors made Claire’s hands clench around the rope till they were as white as her face. Dylan rose, clutching his bleeding wrist and moved stage right. People huddled about him, or stood back in shock. Someone had sense enough to get a white strip of fabric to wrap his arm.
“Curtain call, curtain call!” hissed the stage manager and the actors automatically fell into their positions. “Curtain call!” said the stage manager again, and a fourth time, before Claire realized that the order was to her. She was supposed to open the curtain. But what about the pool of blood? “Just open the bloody curtain!” said the stage manager, her face livid. Claire opened the curtain, thinking how ironic it was that the stage manager should choose to use that particular British profanity.
She didn’t watch the actors go out in pairs for their bows. She could only watch Dylan as he stood, still and leaning against the wall, his face pale under his dark hair, while Marty—the props manager, whom Claire now remembered hearing was trained in first aid—bound up his arm with quick jerky movements. There was a vacant and empty look Dylan’s eyes that was terrifying. That image would fix in her mind for days and weeks to come. As would the slow way in which he detached himself from the wall and staggered out to the stage. Once upon it, his strength and colour returned and he took his bows with a smoothness and a smile that betrayed nothing of the pain he was in.
They rushed him off to the hospital afterwards. By all accounts he was fine, but seemed to be in some sort of shock, and would say nothing except to reassure people that he would be alright.