Backstage at the MetroNeoPoliPoliPolitan Center For Performing Arts was a flurry of activity. Dancers preparing themselves for an evening of intensive balletic dance, choreographers making last minute changes to the pirouettes, stage directors directing the stage to stay put and not collapse. However, at the center of this storm was the calm presence of the prima ballerina, Celestina Czermonski. In her dressing room, she sat cross-legged, concentrated. Her mind could fit on the head of a pin, so closed and concentrated it was. Clear of any distractions, focused purely and solely on the dance.

It took an intense sort of concentration to shut out the cacophony behind her door, but Celestina was gifted in that way. The only sound that could break her from her trance was the knock that heralded the beginning of the ballet. The knock that would not arrive for another fifteen minutes. And yet. Was that not a knock at her door just then? Her concentration pranced away like a frightened bunny. Her eyes snapped open and her body recalibrated. Coming out of her intense focus and becoming aware of her dressing room once more was a bit disorienting, like waking up in a strange place. This is why she didn’t realize until it was too late what was happening.

Figures in dark clothes, black turtlenecks and chinos, were binding her hands behind her with rope. Her legs were lifted and clasped by handcuffs (anklecuffs?) and she was tossed like a paper airplane into a large sack. She hadn’t even been gagged, but the shock gagged her momentarily. When she did think to scream for help, the dark clothed figures had placed her in the back of the Rolls Royce headed to their private airport. One of the figures, in a maroon beret and olive green monocle, made a phone call. “Subject is in our possession,” he purred, snapping his fingers rhythmically.

“Ooh-ooh-ah,” an evil voice cackled over the line. “Ooh-ooh-ah.”


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