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Author Topic: A Beautiful Exit  (Read 68 times)

Korsavius

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A Beautiful Exit
« on: 28 Oct 2017, 04:33 »

Hihi! Hope you’re doing well. Here is my 8th entry into the YC 119 Pod and Planet Fiction Contest. Comments welcome. Have a nice day. :)

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A Beautiful Exit

{}-{}-{}

An overwhelming sensation of bliss and pleasure.

The crowd claps their hands together fervently at the end of each magnificent act. The actors and actresses only drop character once the curtains roll back up to allow them time to prepare for the next act. Grins spread from cheek to cheek on some. For others, there is more work to be done, and thus they can only offer fading smirks. He belongs to the former category.

“You got 20 seconds to change, Anzo”, a stage organizer loudly whispers to him.

“I’ll be ready in 15”, Anzo replies sassily.

Anzo quickly speeds behind a changing station and manages to pull off a switch in 13 seconds. Even better. The others scramble to get into their next costumes.

This next set was the final act for tonight’s performance. Thus, it has to be the best. Anzo’s theater instructors instilled this idea in his head. An actor is only worth his grain of salt if he can pull off the best performance during the last act. Anzo positions himself along with the rest of his companions. You can outshine any show throughout the various acts, but fail the final one and your spark is lost. The curtains slowly draw away; the faces of a thousand eager patrons saturate his view. You take the audience on a magical journey throughout the show - you must close out your performance with a flawless act, a beautiful exit. Stage lights snap on, and bask Anzo in their limelight.

What happens next feels like a blur of ecstasy for him. He delivers an incredible final act full of passion and skill. And when, at last, the performers bow in unison at the conclusion of the play, the crowd roars into thunderous applause. Anzo’s fans shower him with a delicate rain of dozens of roses. He breaks his stance to acknowledge them with an endless smile and air kisses.

The curtains fold up, and the stage begins a period of rest.

{}-{}-{}

I am nothing without that stage. My entire life has been to live and breathe on it. I am whole.

Anzo packs up the remaining of his clothes. He bids farewell to a couple of his friends. They are the last to exit the theater. He heads for the back exit, but something stops him in his tracks. A sudden urge, it seems. He must satiate it. Anzo drops his bag and walks onto the lonely stage. He presses the control which retracts the giant velvet red curtains. He stands in awe at the sight of the vacant theater. He strides over to the front center of the stage and scans the empty seats. With a deep breath he closes his eyes, and the sounds of thousands of cheers flow into his mind. He bows deeply for the imaginary audience and waves his hands with elation.

When he bows again, he notices a leftover rose that seems to have eluded the janitor bots. He gently grasps the delicate flower and accepts the gift from the imaginary crowd. Anzo releases a smooth sigh of satisfaction from pleasing his urge. Now he can go home in peace. He places the rose in his bag and slumps it over his shoulder. The theater itself is not the most glamorous entertainment center around. One of the more run-down theaters in the gamma-level Federation city, it is surrounded by mid-tier shops and bars. Still, it often sees a good amount of visits from the surrounding community. And like the city that hosts it, many of the flaws are overlooked.

To Anzo, though, this is paradise. He has worked so hard to get to where he is at. As he casually strolls through the damp alleyways behind the theater, he can’t help but reminisce on all of his life achievements thus far - and the jubilation of hundreds of people at his performances. With each step along the damp concrete, a fond memory materializes. With each breath of the crisp night air, a catharsis of euphoria. He treks onto the street where a dazzling array of hazy neon signs greet him. Wet concrete shimmers off the colorful bright lights. The nightlife is burgeoning as the moon inches higher and higher into the night sky. He walks by groups of young folk just like him. He can’t join them in going out to the bars and clubs, however, it is time for rest.

That night, he dreams of his career aspirations - performing at a theater in a city like Caille or Heuromont. With enough hard work he knows he can get there. To achieve such grand dreams is the manifest destiny of anyone living in the Federation. It is the one place in the cluster that anyone can be anything they want. A place where, with enough dedication and effort, any dream can come into fruition.

But that is a dream pushed out by Federal politicians and corporate CEOs. A dream that, for so many, is a well-crafted lie.

{}-{}-{}

Each gasp comes through with heavy effort. His skin glistens with a thick layer of sweat. Fury, sadness, and weary.

“You need to get this script down!”

“We’ve been rehearsing for most of the day, give it a break”, Anzo expires.

The play director sighs in frustration. “You are going soft, Anzo”, he hisses. “If you can’t get this all down by the end of the night I can’t ever see you moving up the ranks.”

Anzo falls silent. He pants and tries his very best to hold back tears. He can feel himself cracking under all the recent stress. Despite successfully restraining his tears, his peachy cheeks betray him by flustering a soft pink. His eyes dilate, and his lips turn a shade red darker.

“If you want to go home and rest, rest”, instructs the play director. “But if you go home now don’t expect to come back tomorrow. I’m going to find someone else for the part. Your performances have been lackluster lately.” He turns away from Anzo and takes a read through his written scenes. “Such a shame, really. You displayed such talent in the beginning. But then again most rookies do, until they realize that acting isn’t a walk in the park. Maybe you should look into other careers, Anzo.” The director speaks from experience. He offers no sense of condolence or kindness.

Anzo remains idle in shock at what he hears. The truth hits him like a wall of crystalline carbonide. His vision becomes blurry. His breath slows. A terrible sinking feeling manifests within him. The urge to cry becomes irresistible, but still he fights valiantly against it. He collects his belongings and exits the theater. He hesitates for a moment as he walks away through the alleys. He stumbles along and doesn’t look back.

He’s been down this path before. The streets, the lights, the buildings. They are all familiar. But suddenly now they seem so hostile. They glare at him and mock him as he cowers his way back to his humble apartment. Once he shuts out the ridicule, he collapses against his door. Anger, sadness, and confusion wither away his strength. The urge to bawl overcomes him like a tidal wave claiming an undeveloped colony. He weeps and weeps and weeps. Anzo buries his face in his curled up knees. This sadness is uncontrollable. In one night, his life turns upside down.

His watery eyes look up and around the inside of his apartment. He sees an unopened bottle of spirits beckoning to him. It urges him to confide in it. Only it can numb the pain. Anzo walks over to the bottle and drenches himself in a wave of desensitized rapture.

{}-{}-{}

You must close out your performance with a flawless act, a beautiful exit.

Anzo wakes up with the whole world spinning. He looks outside the window of his car only to have a harsh morning sun stare him down. He collapses back onto the extended seats. The world keeps spinning. His toe stubs against an empty bottle of liquor. His stomach grumbles in displeasure. Anzo jolts up and manages to open the door in time for last night’s contents to come pouring out in a putrid fashion. After he relieves himself, he closes the door and lays back down inside his car. A little better, but the world still spins.

For the past two weeks, he has been treading a fine line between reality and insanity. Other theaters in the city do not seek his talent. The entire act which he has devoted his entire life to is cut short. An intense depression clings to him like a slaver hound’s fangs onto the neck of a misbehaving slave. His monetary savings can only last so long, however. And the urge to satisfy both his alcohol and crash cravings has no intention of letting up. As his life around him falls into shambles, Anzo can’t help but dip further and further into a declining spiral.

Insomnia and pain coalesce. The duo triggers a deep sleep within him, and he dozes off into a chaotic blissful sleep.

Anzo wakes up much later in the day. He looks outside the window of his car only to witness a once-harsh sun giving way to its silvery companion. The world still spins, but this time it does so in a much more bearable way. He rubs his temples and releases a few sighs. The sighs bring some relief, but they cannot bring him back to where he belongs - a theater stage surrounded by adoring show-goers. He glances over towards the back of his car. The bag he always brought with him during rehearsals and performances just sits there taunting him. Despite the cruel taunts from the bag, he clutches it and embraces it dearly. Tears start streaming down his face. He hears something crumple inside the bag. Curious, Anzo opens to see the cause of the sound.

He pulls out a dried up rose. A loose petal wilts over as he pulls the dead flower closer to his face. The petal breaks off with a single brush of Anzo’s alcoholic breath. He watches the delicate petal fall for what feels like ages. His heart shatters as the petal touches the flooring of his car. The depression festers uncontrollably within him. Its tendrils tighten their noose around him. Anzo hyperventilates as his gaze shoots around for something to fight back. He spots a packet of crash and rips the pouch open while smothering his face in it. He leans back in his seat, satisfied with this course of action. Almost immediately, his pupils dilate. A faint ringing sound trickles through his ear as the scene in front of him unfolds into double vision.

He looks at the flower once more. The dead rose strengthens his resolve. I am an actor. His jittering hands fumble around frantically as he grabs the keys. I am worth my grain of salt, and thus I must finish this performance with a bang. He slips the key into the ignition and the engine roars to life. This act will be a flawless one - a beautiful exit. The vehicle accelerates forward with fervour.

These streets are all familiar to him. The shops, bars, clubs, and more lure people in with their glimmering neon signs. The colors are joined by the flashing red and blue of the local Gallente Police Department forces pursuing Anzo. His vehicle cuts through the streets of the city at dangerous speeds. He narrowly misses other vehicles on the road, easily outrunning the GPD forces despite his intoxicated state. He speeds through intersections and red lights. Tears run down his face as he closes his eyes and smiles. He dreams of a beautiful exit.

He hits a curb at a fatal angle. The collision ejects the dead rose. It lands in the middle of the road in front of the smoldering wreckage of Anzo’s car.
« Last Edit: 28 Oct 2017, 19:17 by Korsavius »
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