Lily remembered all too well how the world ended. The universe’s crucible had seared each vivid moment into her mind, locking in the terrifying flavor of that night.
“Fuck this!“, she spit out for the millionth time. “and Fuck You Too!“ Then she screamed as red hot agony stabbed her wrists, rewarding her for the outburst. Anger made her jerk her arms against the metal restraints that bound them to her bed. Her wrists had become raw from the involuntary and fruitless motion. No matter how many times she told herself to relax and be still, such self-discipline should not be expected of her in the face of overwhelming cruelty.
Oh, remember! The black day had started the same way every day did, with Mom waking her up wearing that patented, plastered-on smile. Mom had babbled on and on about what a wonderful day she was going to have. What did that bitch know anyway? Like rehearsals were ever fun. Oh sure, this one was supposed to be even more special than usual. After all, an important talent scout was going to be there!
Yeah, real important. One more sex-starved, pot-bellied middle-age fart who was looking for any tiny excuse to paw her. Lily knew how the game was played, and played her part to perfection. Ha! The asshole actually left believing he was God’s gift to young actresses. Make no mistake about it: She would do whatever it took to become a mega-star. At this point, she deserved it, for everything she’d had to put up with.
So much was fucked up that day, as if someone had it in for her. Walt could not remember even his simplest lines to save his life. The lighting crew kept shining that god-awful spotlight straight into her eyes. And Peter kept interrupting her: “Oh no, dear! Lily, hun, you need to turn to Walt pleadingly when you say that, speaking it so softly that the audience strains to catch every word.” He might have written this trash, but that didn’t mean he had a clue. And Lily was no one’s hun.
She was in a foul mood by the time rehearsal ended eight hours later. She did not want anything to do with anyone. She stormed out the dressing room, ignoring Peter’s “what’s wrong, dear?” (she was no one’s dear either), and slammed out the back lot door. Her Mom better bloody well not be late again tonight.
But she was.
The night air was cold and clammy. The light drizzle might as well be a downpour for all the damage it was doing to her hair. The minutes of pointless waiting stretched into an endless eternity. Enough was enough. If Mom was going to treat her like this, then she deserved the earful she was going to get. Lily started to head back to a phone in the building, when she was startled by a sudden banging noise behind her, as if something had been tossed against the rusty dumpster.
She turned around quickly enough to see a soda can still skidding across the pavement. Surprised, she cast her eyes back and forth trying in vain to see who had thrown the can. No one was there. Figures! She was descending into someone’s idea of hell, no question about it.
Lily had no idea.
The can came to a stop in front of her. Taking out all her rage on this harmless scrap of metal, she cocked her right leg back, then kicked it forward with all her passion. Her foot connected squarely with the can, sending it flying hard against the alley wall ahead of her. The force of her kick spun her upper body back That’s when the sharp knife stabbed deep into the right side of her neck.
She screamed, of course. She felt someone grab her from behind. She must have passed out. And then she woke up to this prison of a bed, with her arms and legs chained to the bedposts. For hours and hours she yelled and cursed. No one came. No one brought food. There was nothing to drink. She was going to be tortured. She was going to die here. It wasn’t fair.
So, she was surprised when a male voice spoke hoarsely out of the dark, open doorway.
“You’re right. It isn’t fair.”
“So, let me go, you shit.” For sure, she wasn’t going to show any sign of weakness.
“’Fraid I can’t do that. No, correct that: I don’t feel like doing that right now.”
“Fuck you. You wait and see; you’ll be sorry you messed with me, if you don‘t let me go this minute.”
That made him chuckle, an annoying self-indulgent laugh. He must think he’s got a weak little girl tied up, all helpless and scared. He doesn’t know he’s cornered a dangerous tigress. Yeah, it’ll be too late by the time he learns how wrong he is.
But he was a man. And she was an actress. She knew what she had to do.
Speaking now with the softest of voices, she let an “I’m sorry.” pass her lips, . Then she cried, so carefully, the tears of feminine helplessness. It was time to soften him up.