Ella Meyer

An attractive, statuesque woman walked sedately onto the stage, with her long dark hair dressed in the shakespearean period. Her clothing also mimicked the dress a princess would wear during Shakespeare's time.

Oliver stared with a tiny hope growing in his heart, that this one was actually going to audition for King Lear. He reached for the microphone, his hand trembling. He really needed that thermos. Since Tara was watching it like a hawk, it was unlikely he was going to get it, any time soon.

"Name?" Oliver said into the mic.

"Ella Meyer," the woman answered in a perfect high class British accent. She almost sounded like Queen Elizabeth ll.

"Ella ... Ella ... Meyer ... " Tara ran her finger down the list of names, but couldn't find Ella Meyer. She took the mic and spoke to Ella, through it.

"I can't find your name on the list, Ms. Meyer. Are you sure you called in, to be added to it?"

Ella peered down the length of the theatre, and focused her eyes directly on Tara's face. Her voice carried down the entire twenty five rows of seats, as though she were speaking right in front of them.

"I am on the list, check again." Ella spoke in a regal tone of disdain that only a person accustomed to obedience, could use.

Tara turned the pages and started at the very beginning of the list. For some reason, it never even occurred to her to disobey the woman on the stage. She checked the first page thoroughly, and just as she began to turn to the second page, the  name Ella Meyer, showed up on the last line, in thin spidery handwriting. The ink looked kind of scratchy, as though it might have come out of a quill pen. The rest of the names were computer type print. Baffled, she stared at the name. Somewhere in the dusty catacombs of her memory, the name struck a bell, but she didn't know why.

"I got it, the name is here," Tara told Oliver, as she continued to stare at the list.

Oliver eagerly reached for the mic. That accent was perfect! He only hoped she could act.

"What will you be doing for us today, Ms. Meyer?" A tone of respect had crept into his voice. The woman's very presence commanded respect.

"I will be doing Cordelia, Act one, scene one, where she tells her father how she loves him."

Oliver and Tara both gaped in awe. They couldn't believe they might have found a living, breathing actress, who was going to actually audition for a part in the play they had advertised for.

Ella's chin went up slightly, as though she was addressing a taller person, such as her father. She looked straight at Oliver, as she began her speech with quiet, gentle dignity.

"Good my Lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me: I return these duties back, as are right fit ... " She continued the short speech, and when she finished, she stood there, saying nothing more.

Oliver stood up abruptly, and knocked the microphone off the desk, as he clapped loudly.

"Wonderful, Wonderful, Ms. Meyer! You're hired. The part of Cordelia is yours, it could belong to no one else." He shouted, as he walked quickly toward the stage.

Ella smiled, and held her skirt as she dipped in a perfect curtsy. As Oliver got closer to the stage, something seemed to be happening to his eyesight. Ella Meyer, seemed to be fading away! He ran the rest of the way, to the steps on the side that ascended to the stage. By the time he got to the centre of it, he was completely alone. He ran to each side of the stage, and looked behind the curtains, calling her name all the while.

"Ms. Meyer, Ms. Meyer, please come back!"

Tara stared in shock for several minutes, and then it finally hit her why she remembered the name from somewhere. She retrieved the mic from the floor, and spoke into it.

"I think she's probably gone, at least for now, Oliver. I know why she disappeared like that. This is a very old theatre. A Ms.Ella Meyer was the first Cordelia in the first King Lear ever played on this stage ... exactly one hundred years ago today. She was absolutely brilliant, and the play ran for six months to packed houses, until an arrow flew from the balcony, straight through her heart, right at the end of the speech she just gave us. The murderer was never found. The legend goes, that every year on this date, she shows up to do her final performance."

Oliver sat on the stage, and shouted to Tara. "What are you saying? How could you possibly know any of this, you're making it up, just to screw with my head! I've never known you to be so cruel, Tara."

"I'm not making it up Oliver, and I remember it from my Theatre Arts History course, last semester. That's why the name seemed familiar."

Poor Oliver knelt on the stage, screaming and pounding his fists on the floor, in a passion of rage, Tara would have thought he was incapable of.

"No no, no no ! The only person who can actually act is dead, a ghost, nononononooooo! Finally, he put his face in his two hands, and wept bitterly.

The End

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