Happy birthday, let's cut your throat! - A Mysterious Tale by Aqsa Malik - Reedsy Prompts (2023)

"I think…is she dead?" I stand over the girl, swallowing hard, drops of crimson falling from my dagger onto her ghastly face. It almost looks like she's alive again like this, blood running down her cheeks, giving the appearance of a deep blush.

"She looks beautiful," I comment, still talking to myself, wonder in my voice, a look of wonder on my face.

oh, andscene,” Ryan bangs the clapper, signaling the support crew to clear the stage. However, his eyes never leave me. Too exhausted to care this time, I'm determined, pushing each other, tracing my steps the shortest way to my dressing room, when a sweaty hand grabs my arm. I know it's him even before I look, and he's squeezing harder than necessary. I wince to the side before breaking into a sickly smile, my eyes blinking too fast.

"That was amazing, Qara...truly your best take yet," his voice breaks off my skin as do his round eyes, sending chills throughout. I try to discreetly pull away, but his fingers tighten a little more. I'm still blinking fast, but I've played this game before. If I'm smart, a few more minutes and I'll be out.

"Well, thanks, Ryan. I really tried to give it my all today, what, after a hundred takes? A little smile, a peck on the cat's eyes, a brief caress of his hand still on my arm, and I knew had done that. He releases me, looking at me like he knows all my secrets. Everything from the moment I thought my little brother was going to float and almost pushed him down the elevator, to the small birthmark on my right hip. I'm sure I'm sweating all over now, that he sees this and it fills him with wicked, glittering emotion.He considers me for a moment, before reminding me that I'll see him on set tomorrow, and leaves with his usual wink.

My whole body convulses, and I'm suddenly aware that the tattered suit barely covers my damp skin. It seems they're all looking at me intently, like wolves that haven't eaten in days. Like wolves that will tear me to pieces, leave me half alive and take me back to their children, howling at the compassionate moon, satisfied with their food.

Of course, no one is looking at me, but Donovan Carter is. He says something like “congratulations” to me, cracks a smile, and walks away. He's next to shoot his new zombie action movie, and the whole crew is racing to get everything ready. Personally, I never understood how the masses could devour such clichéd cinema over and over again. On the other hand, I am not part of the masses. Well, at least not anymore.

I think my dresser is the way I left it. The clothes I arrived in were crumpled on the cream couch. A half-full glass of red wine rests on the stained makeup counter, its base dangling precariously over the edge, as I do. The rest of my belongings are in the farthest corner of the tiled floor, and I can see the glint of the knife's edge. That's when my mind starts talking to itself again, questioning what I already know.Was the knife under your purse when you left? Why is the knife here in the first place? Should you use it today? Someone has been in your room and must have seen it.

Not.No one has been in this room, no onecouldThey've been in this room. And even if they had, they couldn't have thought of it.Oh that? Haha, it's just an extra in case something happens to the person I'm acting with,I wouldn't say it convincingly, and they would look at me funny, but that would be it.

You don't have to say it, you're the only one who has room keys.It's not an opinion. It's not a false memory. It's a fact. I have to keep reminding myself that it's a fact.

***

The ironic thing about fame is that it doesn't get you any closer to being known. Superficially yes, but really being known? You'll be chasing it for days, weeks, months and years, only to realize that even a lifetime of being revered by strangers won't make you feel any less alone.

I often find myself reminiscing about the early stages of my acting career; It's the only hobby I can afford that doesn't involve me living in my miserable present.

Qara, you're so talented... I bet money she'll become the next big star... Priyanka Chopra could never appear in Hollywood... This will go very well with the cultural integration in our new series. ...Finally we will be able to attract the Indian demography... We will be the benchmarks of a new industry...

I thought that was all I wanted. ThatI waseverything I wanted and more. But it wasn't enough. It wasn't enough and I wasn't prepared for the amount of pressure, expectation and anxiety that comes with it. I had people who loved me, praised me, wanted meto beI, however, was not comfortable even with myself. I also received a lot of criticism. Hate in the form of light insults that were supposed to hurt, and they did. They had me, right at my core, questioning my very existence. He couldn't stand relationships either; always overthinking and unintentional public exposure ruined something that was doomed from the start. Also, other actors, crew members, and even directors were reaching out to me. They whispered sweet words in my ear that were supposed to mean everything. It was producer Jack. It was the photographer Simon. It was screenwriter David. It was choreographer Mark. It was Principal Ryan. It was even Donovan Carter.

Hollywood doesn't make you a star. It turns you into a satire.

***

I open the door to my humble two-story home, pursing my lips at the memory of the social media explosion about how I was so modest, buying a normal apartment in a normal isolated neighborhood, as if I were normal. It hadn't worked though, he was still alone. No comments from 14 year old fangirls could have changed my loneliness.

I think my living room is exactly as I left it. The fan is still running, an oversight on my part in the morning rush. Both plates were dirty in the sink, last night's lasagna smeared around the edges, as was I. The dress hugs the back of a closed door, and I can see how its sequins sparkle. That's when my mind starts talking to itself again, questioning what I already know.Was the dress hanging there when you left? Why is the dress there in the first place? Did you intend to leave him out so blatantly? Someone has been to your house and must have seen it.

Not.No one has been to my house, no onecouldThey've been to my house. And even if they had, they couldn't have thought of it.Oh that? Haha, it's just the color of the dress. Really no! Yes, I know it looks like blood, but it's not! The dress is red, a beautiful shade, right?I wouldn't say it convincingly, and they would look at me funny, but that would be it.

You don't have to say it, you're the only one who has the keys to the house.It's not an opinion. It's not a false memory. It's a fact. I have to keep reminding myself that it's a fact.

***

I woke up to a soft knock.Hit, hit, hit.At first I thought it was my dream, but then the ground started to crack in half and my mind started to piece it all together.Hit, hit, hit.My eyes match my family room. Are the dirty dishes still in the sink?Check.Does the fan keep turning?Check.Dress floating in the doorway?What-

I hope that?

The dress is not floating, no. But he moves, sways from side to side, as if blown by a light wind. I take a look at the door, realizing she was causing the movement.Hit, hit, hit.More punches, and it's eating my brain, sinking into my teeth, flooding my tongue with guilt and confusion and sharp edges that sting like acupuncture without relief.

The key is still in the lock, which makes me think maybe someone broke into my house.No... you left it there in the morning rush.It might be. Anyway, I unlock,click,Hesitantly, slowly, lightly, peering through the crack, though I'm aware that no vision will meet my eyes. Just the sounds of your pleadings.

“Please…I…I'm sorry for everything I've done, please! Please let me out of here, I swear I won't, I won't do anything, I won't tell anyone… n-nobody needs to know…” Her muffled sobs break when I touch my hand to her neck. I remember Ryan from this morning, mimicking his menacing but gentle grip. I've played this game before. If I'm smart about it, a few more minutes and she'll be ready.

A small smile, a slow blink that adapts to a cat's night vision, a brief caress on her face wet with tears of loneliness. I release her neck, looking at her, because I know all her secrets. Everything from the moment she thought I wouldn't respond and wrote me an excited fan letter, to the red bruise on her right hip. I'm sure he's shuddering now, he can feel it and it fills me with a bright, wicked emotion. I consider her for a moment, before reminding her that today is supposed to be the day and I won't be seeing her tomorrow, and I give her my usual smile.

“You don't have to do this…” he says weakly, unaware of everything I've been through at this very moment.

“As if I hadn't thought of that before. Also, what if someone came to my house and somehow found me sheltering a child in my spare room? No... no, that wouldn't be good now, would it? I spin out of his way when I feel his hand move to my leg. Not that it matters, the ropes prevented her from reaching him anyway.

"Please...not on my birthday, please just give me a few more days and we can work something out-"

They arebirthday? Your birthday?" I spit in disbelief. Maybe,Can it beI might have thought to give it a few more days, but no more. I smash the plate I bought with me on the floor. Pieces of lasagna and pieces of the cake I'd made fell on both of us.

"Yummy. So fucking yummy! I'm laughing now, laughing and crying and licking the cake off my fingers. "It's not your birthday honey, it's OUR birthday? Remember? In your sweet letter, I still have it pinned to the next wall, You know?he knewme like this! And then I answered and you were all 'FUCKING SHIT MY IDOL ANSWERED ME' and I knew I had you at that point and. Oh. I just wanted someone to love me, you know? And know me like you thought you knew me. But you just had to go in and make assumptions, like everyone else. 🇧🇷You're crazy, Pele. You need help, Pele. Perhaps you should see a doctor, Qara. Try to take on fewer roles, Skin. Black Black Black!And now I have no one and I just wanted to share this moment with you, becausefor us,because it's our special day. I think I'll cut to the chase now,” I laugh at my own joke at the end, about cutting. Cut cake? Cut your throat? What a double-edged sword! Ha ha! I'm in a hot phase.

Eager not to let this good luck pass me by, I retrieve the knife that had fallen to the floor with the plate. My mind shuts down, and all I can see are her pleading eyes and her lips moving.

***

"I think…is she dead?" I stand over the girl, swallowing hard, drops of crimson falling from my knife onto her ghastly face. It almost looks like she's alive again like this, blood running down her cheeks, giving the appearance of a deep blush.

"She looks beautiful," I comment, still talking to myself, wonder in my voice, a look of wonder on my face.

Except I'm not acting, and this isn't a scene from a movie, and there are no cameras around me. It's not an opinion. It's not a false memory. It's a fact. I have to keep reminding myself that it's a fact and I don't feel bad about it.

I just wanted to feel less alone.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kieth Sipes

Last Updated: 10/14/2022

Views: 6276

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kieth Sipes

Birthday: 2001-04-14

Address: Suite 492 62479 Champlin Loop, South Catrice, MS 57271

Phone: +9663362133320

Job: District Sales Analyst

Hobby: Digital arts, Dance, Ghost hunting, Worldbuilding, Kayaking, Table tennis, 3D printing

Introduction: My name is Kieth Sipes, I am a zany, rich, courageous, powerful, faithful, jolly, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.