Curtain Call

She looked at the tiny vial in her hands. The vial brimmed with a transparent liquid that caught the moonlight and sparkled deviously. She absentmindedly twirled the vial between her long slender fingers, savoring the feeling of power it accompanied. Her lips were quivering slightly and she felt slightly hot, despite the flapping wetness of the night air.

She gazed out of her window, out to the oak swaying in the windy night. Her windows struggled to smash shut, barely restrained by the rusty stopper. Swirling black clouds blotted out the moon, casting a twisted silver lining of steely light against a mass of black.

She felt the tears begin to rise as she felt the pressure pounding down on her. All through her life, she had been told what to do. She had been expected to study, and ace all her examinations and be the ideal daughter. Her father had made it no secret that he had wanted a son, and never in her life had she remembered a word or act of kindness from her father.

The only thing that she really liked to do was to act. It was her passion, and she felt it liberated her in a  way little else could. When she was on stage, acting, she didn’t have to be herself. She could delve into the personas of noble ladies and foreign diplomats and queens and strong independent women. When she was up there, she could be free. Whenever it seemed like everything was going downhill, she could turn to the theater.

Until her father had decreed that she had grown too old for acting.

And now, she sat in her room, alone. She sobbed heartily, her body wracking with dry spasms of despair. Her entire life, she had been helpless. She had been little more than a tool for her parents to fill their wishes through her entity. She was just a vessel. She could see her life ahead of her, and it was bleak. She didn’t want to lead such an existence at all.

Today was the day, she had decided, that she would take control for once. For the first time, she would do what she wanted and not care. No one had cared for what she had wanted, why should she?

When she had wanted to enroll in summer camp, her father had refused on the grounds that it was pointless.

She had never gone to a field trip. She wasn’t allowed to make any friends. She was allowed to just…exist.

She had had enough. She was going to rebel. One final act of defiance. One final act to break free.

With a steely resolve and shaking hands, she opened the vial and downed it in one gulp.

It was tasteless. 

For a second, as the rush began to subside, the enormity of her decision hit her. What this would mean.

And she came to the realization that she had nothing to live for. No one to live for. Nothing to grasp onto and clutch onto it for support. She envied everyone who had an anchor: a best friend, a parent, a sibling, a wife, a child, a puppy.

She slowly got up from her bed as she began to feel the contents of the vial coursing through her body. At first it began like a slow heat, slowly ascending till it felt like a blazing inferno trapped inside her veins, scorching her from the inside.

The clouds parted and a single moonbeam burst forth through the inky night and pirouetted into the room, illuminating her. She was surrounded by a diaphanous aureole of light, like a final spotlight. 

Her vision began to blur, her breathing growing shallow and painful. Her head hurt with an excruciating throbbing. As she tried to scream, she discovered her vocal chords would not obey.

A strong gust of wind blew, and the rusty stopper gave into the relentless force of the wind. The windows banged shut, the glass resonating with the force of the impact. As the branches of the oak danced in the wind, they bombarded her window.

The howling of the wind, the branches against the glass, it all sounded like the tumultuous roar
of a happy audience. This wasn’t the cacophony of conflict, this was the symphony of appreciation.

A slight smile curled up against the side of her lips, despite the pain. She began to picture, slightly, the thronging mass of people cheering for her in the theater.

Silhouetted against the moonbeam, she felt her legs buckling under the weight that her body had become. Groaning in pain, she sank to the floor as the pain began to crescendo.

Her back arched with mirthless agony of a body trying to persevere, she looked to be bowing for one last time. Her final curtain call. 

Then, as a single tear rolled down her cheek onto the curve of her smiling cheek, she fell to the ground. The pain began to fade, as did the spotlight. And before she knew it, she faded off into the darkness.

One final act of liberation.

One final bow.

Curtains close.

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