Mickey Minner


“I take it you haven’t done this type of work before? And you’re not from around here… no local references?”

The questions had been asked casually but Morgan Delaney sensed the man asking was judging her responses for more than just a confirmation she was new to town and she lacked essential experience. Smiling tensely, she shook her head. “I know this would be new for me, Mr. Palbin,” she confessed to the burly man seated on the opposite side of a rather large desk crowded into a rather small office, “but I’m a fast learner. You won’t be disappointed.”

“Call me Tony,” he said waving off her wasted attempts to convince him of her worthiness. “I’m sure you have the ability to do the job… most do since there isn’t much to it—just walk around inside and check outside every hour. And keep the local brats, with nothing better to do, from trying to sneak into the theatre. I’m more concerned whether you’ll stick it out for more than a night or two,” he said leaning back and crossing his beefy arms as he studied her for any signs of indecision. “You do understand this is a night position? Ten to six.”

Morgan nodded.

“And you’ll be working alone.”

Another nod.

“So, are you interested?”

“Yes.” Morgan said pushing aside the tiny, but growing, misgivings rambling about her thoughts.

“Any questions?”

“What do I do in case someone does try to get in?”

“Call 911… let the police take care of it. You do have a cell phone?”


“Good. The phone system in this place was installed in the twenties and hasn’t been updated since; half the time the dang thing doesn’t work. If you have any problems, use your cell. And you’ll need a uniform... it helps to let people know you belong.” Tony retrieved a pen from the desk drawer to write an address on a sheet of paper. “Go here,” he said sliding the page across the desk, “and they’ll fix you up.”

Morgan recognized the address as one of better clothing stores in town. “Is it going to be expensive?” she asked uneasily.

“Won’t be cheap… but don’t worry about it. Tell Jed that I said to charge it and I’ll take a bit out of your paycheck until it’s paid off.”

Morgan let out a sigh of relief.

“That means you’ve got to stick around awhile,” Tony said resolutely.

Morgan grinned. “Don’t worry, I will.”

“If it works for you, you can start tonight.”

“That works for me.”

Tony smiled. “Great. That will get me out of bind with my wife. She doesn’t like me being here after dark.”

“Any particular reason?” Morgan asked curiously.

“Old buildings can make a lot of odd noises… especially at night. She gets creeped out by that,” Tony replied standing. “Welcome to the Lizzie May,” he exclaimed happily, extending his hand over the table.

Morgan stood then firmly grasped the offered hand. “Thanks… I really appreciate this.”

“Let me give you the two bit tour.”

“You’ll have plenty of time to look around tonight,” Tony said impatiently when Morgan lagged behind for the umpteenth time.

“Sorry… but this place is amazing. Look at this stuff,” Morgan said admiring the costumes and props neatly arranged in the storage area at the back of the building. “They must have cost a fortune.”

“I’m sure they did… even back in their day, they would have been expensive.”

“Back in their day?”

“Most of these are as old as the building,” Tony explained.

Morgan reached out to touch a fancy party dress. “They look brand new,” she commented, her fingers running lightly across the somewhat dusty but otherwise immaculate fabric. “You’d never guess they were that old. It’s weird that they were left behind.”

“Yeah… but it was a real stroke of luck for me,” Tony said glancing at the racks overflowing with costumes representing many different times periods. “When the original owners left, they boarded the theater up and walked away… leaving everything. The building sat here for decades collecting dust until I had the brilliant idea to start a performance company and bought it,” he said halfheartedly. “Well, think you can handle it?” he asked ushering Morgan toward the stage door.

“Piece of cake,” she answered confidently following Tony outside.

“Alright. Just remember—lock any door you unlock.” Tony held up half a dozen unlabeled keys on a ring. “And don’t lose these… we only have this set and the ones I use.”

“Any way to know which key opens which door,” Morgan asked examining the oversized keys that she guessed also dated back to the theatre’s opening.

“You’ll figure it out,” Tony assured her. “There are only four doors in the building that we lock—this door, the lobby doors, my office, and the storage area. Not much of a reason to lock the rest.” He started back inside. “Good luck. Don’t let this old place get to you,” he cryptically added pushing the door shut behind him.

“Wonder what the heck that meant,” Morgan mused out loud. She thought about following her new boss to ask for an explanation but before her hand reached the knob she heard a click as the door was locked from the inside. She studied the antique keys in her hand. “I suppose it’s not worth the effort to figure out which of you unlocks this door,” she muttered turning away from the stage door. “Probably just meant the old place can be freaky at night,” she told herself walking toward her car. Chuckling uneasily she glanced back over her shoulder at the building. “Like I couldn’t have figured that out myself.”

Morgan peered through her car’s bug splattered windshield at the neglected structure before her. Sort of eerie looking, she thought noticing the deep shadows darkening the edifice in spite of the full moon overhead shining brightly in a cloudless night sky. “I wonder what you must have looked like in your glory days when you were all lit up for a performance,” she murmured. An internet search had yielded few facts about the old building’s history and even less about its original owners.

Built in 1902, the theater had, at one time, commanded the downtown area; the four-story structure towering high above the adjacent shops and offices that surrounded a carefully manicured square. The front had originally been ornately decorated with a façade of skillfully carved sandstone blocks; but the passing years had not been kind and several sections of the fascia were missing. Unlike the street facing wall, the rear and side walls were remarkably indistinct red brick, now dirty and stained. No windows decorated these walls and only a single door was tucked into a rear corner with a cracked and almost unreadable sign hanging over it that disclosed its purpose— STAGE DOOR.

Morgan pushed open her car door and stepped out. After making sure the vehicle was locked she headed across the unpaved parking lot, deftly avoiding the numerous potholes. The front entrance was through a pair of beautifully etched glass doors protected by a delicately arching portico. Above the entry, granite lintels topped two rows of arched windows. The front wall was split by a carved wooden sign hanging down its center— it’s once brightly painted but now faded and discolored lettering read from top to bottom—LIZZIE MAY.

“Odd name for a theatre,” Morgan remarked approaching the polished granite steps that matched the columns supporting the portico. Reaching the landing, she pulled the ring of keys out of her pocket and set to work testing each key to find the one that would unlock the entry. As she bent over her task, she again questioned the wisdom of accepting the night guard position. But after six months of unemployment and with her savings almost depleted, she desperately needed a paycheck. “Okay, maybe I have no clue what I’m doing,” she told herself as she gently pushed another key into the lock. Turning the key, she heard the welcomed click as the mechanism released. “But how hard can it be to walk around an empty building for eight hours?” she speculated pushing the door open.

Entering the lobby, Morgan suddenly felt as if she had stepped a century back in time – which in some way she had. Carefully walking around the red velvet settees and couches arranged in the center of the lobby, she noted once more how the original furniture and fixtures appeared to be in remarkably pristine condition even though they were well over a hundred years old. “You sure were a classy lady in your time,” she murmured reverently then headed up the grand staircase, her footsteps silenced on the thickly carpeted risers.

Reaching the second floor, Morgan diligently made sure the wide landing stretching the width of the building lacked any activity. Then she continued up the middle of three slightly less grand staircases to the third floor where she would gain access to the theatre seating and stage. There was only a small landing on the third floor as each of the smaller staircases led directly to a wide doorway then immediately down another flight of steps. Uncarpeted and much steeper then those leading up from the lobby, the arena steps allowed patrons access to the curving rows of seats looking down on the stage.

Before opening the arena door, Morgan paused on the landing to give her already aching legs a brief rest. “I guess I should be thankful that there isn’t another floor to this place,” she said stretching out the muscles tightening in the back of her thighs. Though from the outside it appeared the building had four floors; in actuality, the space above the stage and seats rose all the way to the ceiling taking up the area that a fourth floor would have utilized.

Morgan halted her stretching when an unexpected sound tickled her ears. Straightening up, she cocked her head trying to focus in on its source. “Sounds like someone talking,” she whispered, nervously inching closer to the door in front of her. She froze. That’s definitely someone talking, she told herself. Cautiously, she gently eased the door open a few inches and the voice became louder. Pulling her cell phone out of her pocket, she slipped through the opening.

What met her eyes was far from what she had expected.

Instead of being dimly lit, the stage was brightly illuminated by several spotlights—their intense streams of focused light exaggerated against the contrast of the theatre seats left completely in darkness. And on the stage, a woman was moving about emoting as if every single one of those seats was occupied.

Morgan considered retreating to the safety of the lobby and calling the police to report an intruder. But after a moment, she put her phone back in her pocket and, instead, started down the steps toward the stage.

The woman suddenly stopped her actions; then, holding a hand over her eyes, peered into the dark arena. “Is someone in the house?” she asked, her voice reverberating around the theatre.

“Security, ma’am,” Morgan called to the woman. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know anyone would be rehearsing tonight,” she explained when she was halfway down the steps.

“Ah, Anthony… he does seem quite forgetful when it comes to me,” the woman said nonchalantly. “I like to rehearse at night,” she continued. “So many fewer distractions,” she added tersely.

“I’m sorry, ma’am,” Morgan said moving as quickly as she dared down the steep steps. Feeling the woman’s eyes following her movements, she reached the orchestra pit then hurried to yet another series of steps at the far side of the stage. She quickly arrived on the stage floor. “I am sorry to interrupt, ma’am, but… um… how did you get in here? All the doors are locked.”

The woman smiled. “Would you like a cup of tea?” she asked crossing the stage to a small table holding a pot and tea service. An empty chair waited beside the table.

“Ah, no thank you,” Morgan responded as she searched her memory. She was sure the table and chair had not been on the stage earlier in the day… or had they? If Tony had placed them there, why hadn’t he told her about this woman? Or had he? No… she was sure he hadn’t. The woman interrupted her conflicting thoughts.

“I find that tea helps to keep my voice strong. That’s so important for a performer… don’t you think?”

“I, uh… I wouldn’t know,” Morgan replied. “Ma’am, if you could tell me how you got in here.”

The woman smiled. “Please, dear… a cup of tea?” she asked again motioning to the table beside her.

Morgan shook her head. “No… really, no thank you. I… uh… I never developed a taste for tea,” she told the woman who seemed to be scrutinizing her as she sipped from a porcelain cup.

“I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a female security guard,” the woman said after placing her cup back on the saucer. “Such a thing would have caused quite a scandal back in my day,” she continued off-handedly moving back across the stage.

“Back in your day?” Morgan questioned the odd phasing. “Oh, I get it… you’re talking in character,” she said observing the woman’s costume. “I read somewhere that some actors do that when they play a part. Seems kinda silly to me,” she shrugged, “but to each his own.”

The woman gazed at Morgan scornfully. “If you will allow me… I would very much like to return to my work.”

“Your work? Oh, you mean rehearsing,” Morgan acknowledged. “Sure… but, first,” she said trying to sound as authoritative as possible, “I really do need to know who you are and how you got in here.”

The woman smiled and nodded. “Of course. My name is Elizabeth Ferndale,” she said haughtily. “And I am allowed access to the theatre as I choose.”

Morgan wrote the name on a small pad she took from her breast pocket. “Do you plan to be here very long tonight?”

“My dear, I plan to be here as long as is required. Performing before an audience is not to be taken lightly.”

“I guess it does take time to learn the lines,” Morgan commented tucking her note pad back into its pocket.

Elizabeth tittered. “Oh, my dear, I know my lines. My time now is taken to ensure that every member of the audience will enjoy my performance… to its utmost.”

“Oh,” Morgan muttered nodded her head while not understanding the woman’s meaning. “Okay, I’ll leave you to your rehearsal… just wait until I come back if you decide to leave. I’ll let you out.”

“You expect me to wait until you return?” Elizabeth asked in disbelief.

“It won’t be for long… Tony wants a complete walk through every hour.”

“Tony? Ah, Anthony… such a dear man. But he has no business here,” Elizabeth stated deprecatingly. “He knows so little of the theatre. Do you wish to be on the stage?” she inquired returning to the table and her tea.

Morgan laughed. “Me? Oh, no. I’ve got stage fright just standing up here now.”

Elizabeth sat down. “I have been lucky not to suffer from such,” she said refilling her cup. “Oh, but father… how he suffered. So fearful he was to even leave his dressing room. But once on stage, his anxiety vanished… and what performances he gave. Father was magnificent on stage,” she declared proudly.

“Your father?”

“Edward Ferndale… surely you have seen him perform.”

Morgan shook her head. “Can’t say that I have; but, then, I don’t go to many plays. I’m more into movies.”


“Yeah… you know, up on the screen—“

“Is that what they call them now?” Elizabeth pondered. “I believe Father referred to them as talkies,” she said with a shake of her head. “’Abominations’, he called them. ‘They will never compare to a live performance’, he would say. And he was right,” she stated sweeping her arm in a wide arc toward the darkened seats. “What joy it is to sit high above the stage as you are drawn into the lives unfolding before you. What absolute elation.” She took a moment to sip her tea. “Surely, such cannot be experienced by watching a talkie,” she said dismissively.

Morgan shrugged. “I like them.”

Elizabeth frowned. “Uncivilized… young people of your age know not of the finer things of life.”

“That’s kinda insulting,” Morgan retorted.

“Such improper language… did you not complete your education?”

“Lady,” Morgan growled. “I’ve got a college degree… not that it’s doing me much good.”

“College?” Elizabeth asked, her interest perking up. “You attended the Academy?”

“I don’t know what you mean by the Academy… but I attended the U of M.”

“The U of M?”

“University of Montana.”

“Ah, yes… I believe I heard father talking of it. Did they not instruct you in proper grammar in your etiquette classes?”

“Etiquette classes? Lady, I didn’t take any etiquette classes.”

Elizabeth smiled cynically. “Perhaps you should have.”

Morgan’s mocking retort was forgotten as the sound of heavy banging exploded through the building. “That’s coming from the stage door,” she quickly accessed.

Elizabeth stood. “Ah, my fans… they so love to visit me. Be a dear and let them in.”

Morgan turned back to Elizabeth. “They’ll have to come back another time,” she informed her. “Tony doesn’t want anyone in here at night.”

Elizabeth’s face contorted into a scowl. “Anthony does not dictate when I may be seen,” she snapped.

“He does as long as he’s signing my paycheck,” Morgan said trotting toward the back of the stage then disappearing behind the heavy curtain. She quickly reached the steps at the back wall that went directly into the storage area; the banging growing increasingly louder as she hurried down them.

“Elizabeth,” someone called from outside. “Let us in.”

Reaching the bottom step, Morgan paused and pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. Fumbling fingers finally found the right buttons and she breathed a sigh of relief listening to the ringing in her ear. “Hello,” she said as soon as her call was answered. “Hi, this is Morgan Delaney,” she told the dispatcher. “I’m the security guard at the Lizzie May. Someone is beating on the stage door. Yes, I’ll wait right here. No, I have no intention of opening the door. Thanks… Hurry,” she insisted just before the dispatcher disconnected.

Keeping a firm hold on her phone, Morgan crept closer to the door verifying that the voices, though not as loud as before, were still there. Reaching deep down, she drug up all the courage she possessed. “You outside,” she barked confidently through the wood, “Whoever you are, the police are on their way.”

“You called the cops?” a young female voice responded.


“Elizabeth, we just want to see you.”

“I’m not Elizabeth,” Morgan called back. “I’m the security guard and if you don’t leave now, you’ll be arrested.”

“Damn it,” a male voice hissed. “I thought you said there wasn’t going to be a guard tonight.”

“I didn’t think there was,” the girl answered.

Morgan’s ears picked up the wail of sirens in the distance. “Here come the police,” she warned.

“Let’s go,” the male insisted.

As the voices faded, Morgan pressed her ear to the door. She thought she heard the sound of running footsteps but they were faint and drowned out by the blaring sirens. Flipping the latch on the lock, she hesitantly pulled the door open.

Puzzled by their looks of amusement, Morgan answered the officers’ endless and repetitious questions for almost an hour.

“So you say they wanted to get in to see this Elizabeth?” one officer persisted, his smirking partner standing quietly beside him.

“Yes, that is what I said,” Morgan affirmed again.

“And this Elizabeth is an actress who was rehearsing tonight.”


“By herself?”

Yes,” Morgan emphasized. “Why are you asking me the same questions over and over?” she asked; her annoyance clearly evident in her voice.

“We just want to be sure we have your story straight,” the officer said brushing aside Morgan’s aggravation. “Does this Elizabeth have a last name?” he repeated another question.

“I told you… her name is Elizabeth Ferndale.”

“Elizabeth Ferndale,” the officer echoed as his companion chuckled.

“Yes,” Morgan insisted. “Is there something funny about this? You know, you could just go inside and talk to Elizabeth yourself,” she suggested angrily.

“No, ma’am,” the officer replied trying, but failing, not to grin. “Nothing funny about intruders. And we don’t need to go inside.”

A squad car pulled into the parking lot and, after bouncing through several potholes, braked to a stop beside Morgan and the officers. “No one is around, Sarge.”

“Did you check the alleys, too?”

“Checked everywhere, Sarge. As always, there’s no one around.”

“Well, Ms. Delaney, seems the perpetrators have fled so there isn’t much more we can do tonight.”

“I suppose not,” Morgan agreed hoping the officers would leave and take their endless stream of repetitive and useless questions with them. “Should I call you if they come back?” she asked thinking that, if she did, she would be wasting her time.

“Oh yes, you do that,” the sergeant replied walking to his squad car.

“Yeah, you be sure to let us know if Elizabeth re-appears,” the smirking officer said before bursting into loud laughter.

“Get in the car, you idiot,” the sergeant commanded.

“Hey, what does that mean?” Morgan shouted at the officers. “Re-appears?”

The sergeant started the engine then quickly spun the car about and sped out of the parking lot followed immediately by the second squad car.

“This night just keeps getting better,” Morgan muttered pushing the stage door shut and locking it. “First, I find Elizabeth inside. Then the cops act like I’m a complete nutcase. Great impression to make on my first night,” she grumbled climbing the steps back up to the rear of the stage. “Only thing that will save me from being fired is I have to pay off this dang uniform.” She shoved the stage curtain aside. “Whoa!” she exclaimed. “Wait a damn minute!” The stage, previously lit up as bright as day, was now dark as night except for a dim row of lights at the edge of the wooden platform. And the stage was vacant—no table, no chair, no tea set… no Elizabeth.

Puzzled, Morgan called into the darkness, “Elizabeth.” Hearing no response, she ducked back behind the curtain. “Elizabeth,” she called louder.


“Maybe she’s waiting in the lobby,” she decided knowing the actress could not have departed through the stage door. She made her way up the steep steps, pausing periodically to look down the rows of seats for any sign of the woman. “Elizabeth, are you here?” she asked loudly as she walked down the grand staircase to find the lobby unoccupied.

Reaching the front doors, Morgan verified they were still locked then peered through the etched glass looking for any movement outside. The street was empty. Sighing, she turned away from the cold glass and set off on a methodical search of the building.

An hour later, Morgan stood in the middle of the lobby letting the puzzling night’s events replay in her perplexed mind. “Okay, Elizabeth, you win,” she said out loud. In the stillness of the theater, her voice sounded unusually loud to her ears. “Elizabeth, I’ve looked everywhere,” she continued attempting to sort out her jumbled thoughts. “I know you didn’t leave through the stage door… at least not when I was out there with the cops. And it’s still locked so you couldn’t have left after that. And the front doors were locked. There’s no other way out… you have to be in here somewhere.”

“My dear, you are quite the persistent one.”

Morgan almost jumped out of her skin. “Where are you?” she demanded spinning about expecting to see the woman standing behind her. She found herself alone.

Elizabeth laughed. “By now, all of your predecessors had run into the night… never to return.”

Morgan’s head whipped around, hoping to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth. “What?”

“You’re not afraid of me… interesting.”

“Why should I be?” Morgan asked, her eyes still darting about searching the room’s shadows.

“I believe the better question is why shouldn’t you be?” Elizabeth countered. The actress’ words faded as she spoke until only the faintest sound of laughter could be heard. Then it too evaporated.

Morgan dropped into one of the lobby’s velvet chairs. With unfocused eyes staring out the lobby doors, she tried to force meaning from Elizabeth’s question. “Why would you want me to be afraid of you?” she wondered. Unable to think of a logical reason, she jumped to her feet; grim determination was written across her face as she set off to search the building again. “I’m going to find you, Elizabeth. It’s not like you’re a ghost or something.” The words had barely cleared her lips before she stopped dead in her tracks. “No,” she uttered under her breath, her head vehemently shaking from side-to-side. “Uh, uh… no freakin’ way did I just have a conversation with a ghost. Absolutely, no freakin’ way! ELIZABETH!!”

Gentle laughter floated down from the top of the grand staircase.

Morgan, slouched on a settee, greeted her boss after he unlocked the front doors and entered the lobby. “Morning, Tony.”

“Isn’t your shift over?” Tony asked apprehensively.

“Yeah,” Morgan replied remaining in the relaxed position she had spent the hours since Elizabeth’s last appearance.

“Heard you had a bit of a problem,” Tony stated uncertainly.

“Oh, you did, did you?”

“I told you… local brats.”

“Ah, the kids… they weren’t a problem,” Morgan said uncaringly. “Now, Elizabeth—she’s a different matter. I’m surprised you didn’t mention her yesterday.”

Tony gasped. “Elizabeth… y… you saw her?”

“Saw her… talked to her… heck, she even offered me tea. Interesting woman. Doesn’t think much of you, though.”

“Y… you t… talked to her… about me?”

Morgan shook her head. “No, she talked about you,” she answered pushing up from the settee then quickly closing the distance between the two of them. “Who the hell is Elizabeth?” she asked harshly glaring at the alarmed man.

Tony held his hands up, sweaty palms toward the menacing figure standing mere inches in front of him. “Calm down.”

Morgan glowered at him. “You’re the one shaking in your boots.”

Stumbling back a step, Tony said, “Let’s go into my office.”

“You sure you don’t want to sit down here?” Morgan offered softening her tone. “You look like you’re going to collapse.”

On unsteady legs, Tony headed toward his office. “I just might,” he said moving wobbly across the lobby.

Following Tony, Morgan claimed the same chair she had sat in during her job interview the day before.

Tony stopped at a file cabinet shoved into the corner of his office. Rifling through the top drawer, he finally pulled a file free from the other folders crammed inside. “When I first bought this place,” he started his explanation, his voice quivering, “I’d heard rumors of Elizabeth but figured they were just made up tales that had grown over the years.” He carried the folder around his desk, sat down, and eased the cover open. “Take a look at this playbill.” He carefully slid a folded piece of yellowed paper across his desk.

Morgan unfolded the paper. “The Lizzie May Theatre,” she read out loud, “presents Miss Elizabeth Ferndale in a production of Cloudless Skies.” She bent over to get a better look at the woman pictured on the brittle paper. “That’s her,” she declared then she looked up at her boss for more details.

“Look at the date of the opening night,” Tony instructed.

Morgan squinted at the washed out printing. “October 31, 1926.” Puzzled, she raised her eyes to the man across the desk. “That can’t be… that’s ninety years ago.”

Tony nodded.

Shaking her head, Morgan straightened back up. “No way. The woman I talked to was… maybe thirty… thirty-five.”

“Twenty-nine,” Tony stated.

Her forehead furrowed in confusion, Morgan studied her boss. “What am I missing?”

Tony removed a second item from the folder then placed the newspaper on the desk in front of Morgan.

“Adored actress, and native daughter of our community, Elizabeth Ferndale, was killed last night. Hurrying to the Lizzie May Theater for the evening’s performance, Miss Ferndale stumbled while crossing the square. Unable to see Miss Ferndale in the darkness, a carriage driver failed to rein in his team and, our beloved friend, was trampled by the horses.”

Morgan grimaced. “That must have hurt.”

“Look at the date.”

“November 1, 1926.” Morgan paused. “Damn,” she whispered after several moments. “She was killed on opening night.”

Leaning back in his chair, Tony said nervously, “You don’t seem too surprised to learn that you spent the night with a ghost.”

“I figured that part out waiting for you to show up this morning,” Morgan said leaning back to mimic the man’s crossed arm posture. “And I figured out that since she knew about you, you must have known about her. What I’ve yet to figure out is why you didn’t clue me in about her.”

Tony squirmed under the scrutiny. “If I had, you probably would have laughed in my face or run screaming into the street.”

Morgan nodded, conceding the logic of his statement. “Like the others? Elizabeth was quite proud of that, by the way.”

“I didn’t need to know that,” Tony said apprehensively. “Last night being Halloween… I should have known she’d be here.”

“Oh, I get it,” Morgan exclaimed as the pieces started to fit together. “She died on Halloween… Heck, did they even celebrate Halloween back in the twenties?”

Tony shrugged indifferently. “Doesn’t really matter, does it?”

“I suppose not. So, one night a year… Halloween… she comes back to this theatre where she was supposed to perform but couldn’t because she was trampled by horses and died. I guess that makes sense.”

“Uh… she actually comes back a lot.”

Morgan laughed. “Of course she does. I guess that’s what she meant when she said she was allowed in the theater whenever she wished.”

Tony groaned. “That I really didn’t need to know.”

“I still don’t get it. If Elizabeth was killed coming to this theater, why would she want to come back here. Seems like she’d want to go someplace with happier memories for her.”

Tony shifted uneasily in his chair. “The Lizzie May was named after her. Elizabeth’s father—”

“Edward,” Morgan interjected.

“You know about him?”

Morgan nodded. “Elizabeth mentioned him. She said he acted, too.”

“Edward was a quite distinguished actor in his own right,” Tony informed her. “His career was winding down when he and his wife had Elizabeth. When she started to show some talent of her own, he built the theatre and named it for her—Lizzie May was her nickname. After Elizabeth was killed, Edward never recovered. He boarded up the building and left town. No one ever heard from him, or his wife, again. The sightings started soon after. People passing the theatre at night would claim to see a woman standing in one of the upstairs windows.”

“Considering they were boarded up, that would be hard to do,” Morgan commented.

“Except that when someone checked it out the next day, they would always discover the boards on the particular window had been knocked off—from inside.”


“Yeah. The cops would write it off as kids getting into the building but, funny thing, nothing else was ever disturbed… and the doors were always found locked. Everyone thought Edward had taken the keys with him; it wasn’t until I bought the building that I found them in this desk.”

Morgan blew out a long breath. “So, I spent last night with a woman who died eighty eight years ago.”

Tony nodded.

“Damn, that’s freaky…,” Morgan grinned, “but absolutely amazing when you think about it. Is that why your wife doesn’t want you here at night?”

“Elizabeth appeared to her once. Terrified her so bad, she won’t come near this place after dark.”

“She freaks you out, too,” Morgan stated deviously. “Doesn’t she?”

“You’re the first person I know that hasn’t been freaked out by her,” Tony exclaimed. “Why is that?”

Morgan considered the question. Why wasn’t she? “I like her,” she concluded with a smile.

“You like her?” Tony asked dubiously.

“Yeah… I like her.”

“So you’re not going to quit?”

“Nah. I’ll stick around. Maybe I’ll get another chance to talk with Elizabeth.”

Tony’s eyebrows shot up. “You’d really want to?”

“Why not?” Morgan asked standing up. “Helps pass the time. Speaking of which, I better go get some sleep before tonight’s shift starts. She doesn’t follow people home, does she?”

Tony shook his head. “Not that I’ve ever heard.”

“Good.” Morgan turned and walked out of the office leaving Tony looking bewildered, befuddled, and bemused.