By Edward Switzer
Click here to send comments
Click here if you'd like to exchange critiques
The Academy Awards were finally here. She'd been waiting for almost a year. Her first movie, a major box office hit. Her theatrical debut had met with huge critical acclaim, and the public loved her. They loved her splendor, her near inhuman beauty. And she reveled in it.
Her lithe figure danced about the room. Her arms held out, dancing with an unseen suitor. The smile on her face would have been enough to stop hearts, had any been present to witness it. She truly was a sight; tall, elegant, all the right proportions. Almost perfect, she had certainly won and crushed her fair share of hearts. Seemingly unaware of her beauty, she went through life unassuming and, refreshingly, real.
She ran to her room to change, tonight was the big night and what she wore would be of the utmost importance. She had to look her best, be her best. She wanted everyone to remember her forever as she looked this night, forever remember her highest glory and honor. She knew she would get the award, she had been told so by so many, it had to be true.
She stood in front of her full length mirror, admiring herself. She wore nothing more than a simple bath robe, tied about the waist. Her long, black hair was mostly concealed in a towel wrapped around her head, save a few stray wisps of hair that fell into her face. She had just passed a full hour singing in the shower, the ultimate escape from reality.
Leaving the mirror she searched her closet. There wasn't too much in here yet, not by Hollywood standards anyway, but she certain had enough clothes. She thought and fretted. Throwing this and that on her bed, she changed venues to chose from a more limited selection. She picked up one blouse, only to laugh and biff it back into the closet. She already knew what she would wear, this was more of a ritual than anything else. Something to calm her nerves.
In the end she decided on the outfit specifically bought for this night, as she knew she would. Every penny she had made on the movie went into this outfit, she squealed with joy as she dropped her bathrobe and prepared to dress. She threw on her top, a tight black leather piece. It was quite flattering, exposing a lot, but not too much. It fit perfectly. Happily she went through the arduous process of donning the full length skirt that she had picked to go with it. It was dark blue and had a slit up each side following the center of her leg. .The slit ended slightly lower than modesty dictated, this way she'd stop hearts without being in the tabloids. Quickly digging through her closet she found the shoes she had bought, three inch heels, the same color as her dress.
In a daze she wandered around the house, applying make_up and getting her hair ready. Most of the stars there would have hired people to do it for them, but she was new. All her money had gone into her dress, so she had to do the extras herself.
Two hours later she viewed the final product in her mirror.
"Girl, you're gonna blow them all away." She nodded with a self satisfied smile and strode from the room. Gabbing her keys, she left her apartment. She quickly went through the building to the elevator, exchanged courtesies with those she knew.
The elevator doors were closing, so she called out and hurried toward the doors. The person inside held them open for her as she dashed inside.
"Thank you very much. " She smiled kindly and took measure of the man in the elevator with her. He was tall, exceedingly handsome, and looked to be about thirty or so.
"My pleasure. You're Melody right? The actress?" He seemed nonchalant about it, but she detected an underlying nervousness. She blushed delicately at her fame and his discomfort.
"Yes I am. Pleasure to meet you Mr...." She trailed off, leaving the obvious hint for him to fill in his name.
"My name is Sedgewick, Charles Sedgewick. And believe me, the pleasure is all mine." He dipped in a formal bow. Melody blushed a little more and smiled, bemused by his manner.
"I love your movie, and I know that you'll win an award tonight. There hasn't been a better actress in the last twenty years. Everyone knows it." The timbre in his voice changed, growing more determined and vehement.
"Well thank you Mr. Sedgewick." She was a little unnerved by this whole thing, but generally pleased by his confidence in her, though it only served to bolster her own.
"Please, call me Charles." He smiled sweetly and stared at her. Just then, as he was about to speak again the elevator reached the lobby.
"Well, Charles, it's been a pleasure, but I must dash." Melody was beginning to be unnerved by him, so she was somewhat pleased to have to leave.
"Well, I am headed there also, albeit a bit later than you. I shall see you when it is all over." He seemed anxious, unwilling to leave the elevator. So she smiled and went on her way. If she had looked over her shoulder, she would have noticed the predatory gaze that roamed over her entire body. She would have seen the hungry glow in his eyes as he devoured every inch of her shapely, wonderful body. But she didn't look over her shoulder, and the elevator doors closed, forever blocking that awful smile from her vision.....
Melody walked to her car, the man in the elevator pushed from her mind. She stopped for a second to gaze at her car. She adored it. It was a gift from her parents, the last thing they gave her before leaving for Europe that spring. She looked at in with a swelling pride, her blue mustang convertible, every young girls dream.
The film company had hired a limo for her, had even arranged for an escort. This had been done without her approval, so she had nixed the idea. She wanted to drive herself, revel in the moment her own way. She frowned a little again at their presumption, and at their insistence. The limo would likely show up in another twenty minutes anyway, silly people.
Shaking her head to clear the cobwebs she opened the door, hopped in and drove off. Once out of the parking lot, she scooped up her shades from the dashboard. It was early evening, and the shades were not necessary, but she enjoyed the feel of rebellion that came with wearing them. Hair fluttering behind her, she drove off to the awards show.
**************Back in the apartment**********
"She's the one, she has to be the one! There can be no other. Her beauty is unsurpassed, and her talent is supreme." Sedgewick spoke with passion to those now surrounding him. He had taken the elevator back to her floor and broken into her apartment. There he met with three other's that had also managed to enter the apartment.
"While we don't share your obsession Charles, we do agree with your assessment. Our choice this time is made easy, none in the last generation are close to being a candidate when compared." The one speaking had slightly older tones in her voice, but an underlying power that would shake a man to the core. Her wise, piercing gaze bored into Sedgewick, making him increasingly uncomfortable.
"Forgive my pretension Lady Dawn, I just feel that she would be the perfect addition." Sedgwick's chastised tones showed that he knew his err, that he had spoken out of turn and assumed too much.
"It is forgotten simply because you are right. The honor is yours. After the awards ceremony she will be too happy to think. She will get the award, of this there can be no doubt. Therefore, meet her, and bring her to us, she wont resist." The lady smiled, her years told, but only in her voice. She was radiant to behold. An aura surrounded her, filling those around here with fear and awe.
"Thank you my lady, I shall not disappoint." With that, Sedgewick left, speeding toward the elevator.
"You had best not...." The threat never reached Sedgewick's ears, but it didn't have to. He already knew the price of failure. They understood this, and disappeared into the apartment.
Melody sped along toward the awards ceremony. She was speeding, but just a little . . . as always, she enjoyed pushing the limits. Blasting from the tiny speakers in her doors was some loud music, she bobbed her head lightly with the beat as she drove. One hand grasped the top of the wheel the other strummed the dashboard, creating her own percussion background as she drove. She smiled evilly and began singing along with the chorus:
"I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer. Is there something more, than what I've been handed? I've been crawling in the dark, looking for the answer!"
The cool air whipped over her bare shoulders as she drove, creating tiny goose bumps and causing a slight shiver. She did not care, not now. A thick coat of smog rested lazily over the road, assaulting her delicate nose with the noxious order that exists over most heavily trafficked streets. It caused her a small feeling of lightheadedness, blurring her reality a little more. She giggled slightly and sped up a little, anxious to get to the ceremony before she became too lightheaded.
She watched the road a little more now, watched the cold, eerie buildings blur as she passed. A quick thought raced through her mind, a longing for a more natural background. She loved nature, the fresh, crispness that was always there when unspoiled by man. She shook the thoughts away, now was not the time.
Her thoughts swirling back into reality, she noticed that she was almost there. Slowing down near the entrance, she went to give the keys to one of the Valet Parking boys. The boy's jaw dropped as he gazed stricken upon her, she smiled and tossed the keys into his hands. She laughed and shook her head lightly as she strode away, she'd never understand that reaction.
As she approached the doors she was met by the expected flashing of a million cameras, as always the media showed up en-mass to photograph the stars. They always delighted in ranking the stars on everything from their dress to their dates. She smiled sweetly for the cameras, envisioning herself in the paper, the unknown starlet that stole the award. Her smile grew more genuine with that thought.
After a polite amount of time she headed into the building. Her agent was there, ready to meet her and question her on everything. He would want to know why she was wearing what she was, what her speech would be... it never crossed that man's mind that she could lose, his confidence surely bolstered her own.
As she approached him, he just smiled and patted her on the shoulder. They'd been through this already, and he'd been lectured for sounding like a broken record, so he said nothing. Her agent was allowed in, but his seat was much farther away then hers, so he waved her on and gave her the thumbs-up to try and settle her nerves. She waved and headed in.
She checked again, and confirmed where her seat was. She was in the seventh row, in an aisle seat. Her mind raced at this, only the winners got an aisle seat. She took her seat, and checked the evenings schedule... the award for Best Actress was given out close to the end, so she had quite a wait yet. She adjusted herself in the chair, reveling in its luxurious softness.
The evening began to blur for her. As each award was given, she forgot who won the last. Her little paper with the evening schedule was crumpled and rolled, her vexations pouring into her unconscious hands.
Finally her award came up. It was being presented by two prominent actors, but she couldn't place either at the moment. She opened her eyes again, upon realizing that they had been shut for the last hour, and stared at the envelope that they held. Her eyes tried to bore through the paper, desiring to wait no longer. Her entire being seemed to lean forward, all her thoughts bent upon that envelope. She compelled it, pleaded with it... but in the end knew that it would contain what it contained. The two men concluded their speeches, then paused for effect.
"And the winner is..." The man's voice resonated throughout the building, echoing in her mind. She took a deep breath and steadied herself... the man opened the enveloped and, had she been looking, nodded knowingly.
"Melody ...." His voice continued on, but she heard nothing more. Tears ran down her face, and she squealed slightly in joy. She hopped up quickly, receiving a pat on her left shoulder from the person sitting next to her, she had no idea who it was but certainly didn't care at this moment. She flew down the aisle, trying to calm herself and seem dignified. She managed, for the most part. Her long legs still pumped quickly, but she managed not to go so fast as to attract any attention to her nervousness. Her heart raced and her chest heaved as she went, she was glad she had worn something tight... else she could really have embarrassed herself.
As she reached the stage, the front row stood. They were applauding... the best actors and actress' in the world were applauding her. The rows followed, almost as a wave, each standing and applauding loudly for her. She reached the podium and took her award, hugging each man that was presenting it. She held the trophy aloft as the tears streamed down her face. One of them gently pushed her toward the microphone, she had to make a speech after all.
" I would like to thank..." Her voice continued on, her practiced speech flowing perfectly... but she did not care, she had won.
In the shadowy recesses beside the stage, a lone figure clapped still... slowly and quietly he clapped, his intense gaze again boring into the woman he admired so. She left the podium, clutching her precious trophy, he couldn't blame her really... but he did envy her. He had never won his... no matter, she would soon be his... he would see to it. It was his duty...
The rest of the ceremony blinked by for Melody, as she cuddled her statue. It was several minutes before she realized that it was over, and then only as the person beside her nudged her. He politely congratulated her though, trying to lower her embarrassment. She thanked him, smiling sweetly, and left.
Outside in the lobby she was hounded for photographs, far more intensely than when she went in. She stayed for a while, posing with her statue... allowing them their coveted pictures. When her agent appeared she left to speak with him, but wound up hugging him instead. They both laughed and talked excitedly of the opportunities this provided her. Then she excused herself, promising to call him in the morning, but that she needed her rest.
She left the building in a glow, and a parking attendant brought her car. As she was about to hop in, a hand clasped her shoulder.
"I told you that you would win." The man's confident smile could be heard in his voice, a voice that Melody recognized from earlier today. She turned to see Charles Sedgewick there, confident and handsome. In her mind she shrugged, why not.
"That you did Charles. That you did." She continued to open her door.
"Would you mind if I treated you to a drink?" He asked quickly, catching her attention before she climbed in the car. A shot of fear raced through to her heart for a moment, but was lost in those lustrous eyes. Those hypnotic eyes, she lost herself in those eyes.
"Nah, hop in." She was a little unsure of this, but he was so handsome and she was too excited to think clearly.
They chatted lightly on the way to the nearest pub, Melody did not want to go to a bar right now. He was a captivating speaker when he wanted to be, so she let him do most of the talking. He talked of many things, and of how he loved art. He talked of his great desire to preserve all that was beautiful, immortalize that which could never be reproduced. She agreed and talked a little of her interest in art, oblivious to the hungry and longing stare that once again roamed her body... she saw only those eyes, those eyes that seemed to dominate all her thoughts. Those beautiful, captivating eyes...
They arrived at a quaint little pub, an Irish establishment if her guess was correct. Charles went on and on about how much he loved this place. When they entered the manager greeted him and led them to a special table, secluded in the unlit back of the pub. It was a small booth, with a cushioned bench around it. Each sat at opposite ends, and ordered something light. Melody ordered a salad, and Charles ordered champagne for a celebration.
"Ah Melody, can you understand my desire to immortalize art?" Charles spoke slowly now, measuring each word before it left his mouth. He looked even more charming now than before, almost unearthly so. Melody attested it to the lighting, but her focus fell into his eyes once more.
"Certainly, I've always loved art. I enjoy looking through museums. " She spoke softly, not wanting to share her conversation with others. The waiter arrived, placing a plate full of salad in front of Melody and a silver stand full of ice beside the table. Within the ice he placed the ordered champagne, and added two glasses to the table. Charles reached over and opened the bottle, the loud pop catching Melody unaware. She jumped slightly and they both laughed. For a moment the eyes left her mind, and her mind screamed in fear. This was wrong, she shouldn't be her. She was about to stand up and leave, but Charles just looked at her smiling. Again the eyes loomed in her vision, again she fell into their depths, and her smile returned.
Charles poured his own glass, then scooted closer to Melody to pour hers. As he did so he spoke again.
"There you are... now one more thing about art..." His voice became softer, and he inched closer, Melody was not on her guard so she sipped her champagne innocently.
"What of human beauty? Would it not serve all if we could immortalize that?" His voice was deathly low, causing Melody to lean in unconsciously to hear.
"But that's impossible Charles... humans can't live forever." She giggled slightly, then looked closer as she noted the seriousness of his expression. "You're joking..."
"Hardly my dear, though I understand your hesitance. Now, hypothetically, if I could immortalize human beauty... what would you think, would you like to live forever Melody? To only grow more beautiful as the years, nay centuries roll past?" His eyes glowed with an inner intensity, his ace had been played... he awaited only her response.
"To live forever? Immortalized as I am now? Of course I would... if it could be done." She sipped her champagne again, unsure of what game Charles was playing.
"Then you shall my dear" He leaned in and kissed her softly on the neck. She started to slide away, unsure. Then those beautiful eyes once again looked at her, askance. She yielded with a smile, leaning her head slightly away so he could lean in. She was enjoying this night too much, and the champagne had effected her so quickly...
He smiled as he kissed her, then pulled back for a second repositioning. As he leaned in he sped up, sinking enlarged canine teeth into her neck. She almost began to cry in pain, then a sublime bliss seeped through her body. Her vision darkened as she was swept away in this bliss, a strange power seemed to course through her veins now... but she neither understood or cared. Then all went black, all she could see was those eyes. Those beautiful eyes as the surroundings slipped from her consciousness, she felt something seep from her to him. She cared not, she could hear everything in his mind, and it all implored her to enjoy. In sublime bliss, she learned everything that he wanted her to learn, and, in her mind, those eyes smiled...