Two tales. One dying world. A ballad above time.
To view the previous three parts:
Part 1: https://uforunspoken.wordpress.com/2012/07/13/a-ballad-above-time-part-1/
Part 2: https://uforunspoken.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/a-ballad-above-time-part-2/
Part 3: https://uforunspoken.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/896/
Weary, dark eyes stare back, hopeless and bleak. Skin like paper, brittle and too pale. Premature lines are etched into her skin, forever deep. She is of bones and ashes.
She is what I have to become.
“Her name is Chriss Beal-Doughty. She is 20 years old, a very rich heiress that has the perfect life. However, she falls ill to a brain tumor, and her life falls apart. It is the ultimate test of love and faith. However, she survives because the tumor stops growing miraculously, after spending all her money on the nonexistent cure. Do you understand?”
“Yes…I think I understand…..” The mannequin stares back at me, lifeless and hungry. You will have to be me now it seemed to whisper, contempt in its eyes.
Not for long, and you are worth the fame.
Timber shuffles behind, close enough to be felt. He’s admiring his creation, and probably admiring my red gown.
A little smile creeps up, and I poke the mannequin’s eye. Pale against paler, my finger slides smoothly through the glistening white. Well at least I’m real.
“But what we are going to do today and tomorrow is just film a few scenes of when Chriss is still a rich heiress, just so you can get more into the character of the sick Chriss.” Timber said, making a zig zag with his hand and shutting the hologram making machine off.
The room is steaming hot, the little surges of electricity jumping from one wall to the other quite nerve-wracking. “Perfectly harmless,” Timber had said, waving his hands through a bolt of electricity.
Nanobites filled every inch of the silver dome, making up for the barren furniture. But the walls!
Everything from the little storyboards to CGI animation models to colouring; the walls were a rainbow of every process. Each of the 300, suit-clad people sat on the wooden chairs, touching and gesturing at their little section of the wall, a meter apart from each other. One person was making a CGI effect for Chriss the ghost, which looked eerily similar to the character hologram mannequin.
The ceiling disappeared in a splinter of colours, lighting the floor aglow. Staring up, there was only that, a hole in the sky. Somewhere, twenty or thirty feet up, the dome met, stained glass against cold sky.
And above the sky, a bird will fly, seeking for a place to spread its wings.
“Aisha!” Timber snaps, beckoning a small, red haired girl. “We’re going to be doing the concert scene in ten minutes. You know what to do.”
She nods, grabbing me with her tiny, wiry hands, and leads me into an adjoint room, identical but smaller.
“So…Are you excited?” Aisha looks into my eyes, or at least, what of my eyes she could see from her slightly tragic 5”2’ frame.
“Yes I am.” I smile and flutter my eyelashes, a well-rehearsed mask on. Flutter and smile. Even if your family has disowned you, you had to climb your way up to even act in B-list movie, and you’re still stuck in a shabby apartment despite your perfect DNA-structure, smile and flutter. Smile and flutter.
“It’s an amazing opportunity to be of such an original plot…It’s an honor to be a part of this revolutionary question. ‘What if? What if illness did exist?’ Genius!’’ I gushed, another strategy to show enthusiasm.
‘Yes, isn’t it?” Her red hair flutters slightly as she jumps up in the air, flips, and-
Her China-doll face, painted red lips and white face, stares at me upside down. Her hair falls into my eyes as she casually walks to the corner of the cieling. Miraculously, and thank god, her little Victorian style gown, intricately beaded with gold and silver in dragon-like patterns, stay on her body.
My gosh, I’ve only seen this in old vintage “Sanctuary” TV shows, when abnormals crawl up on the walls to attack their fellow human friends.
The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
She’s not going to last long anyways.
The mismatched eye girl’s words ring through my head.
Aisha is looking me now, and on second thought, her eyes are mismatched too-
One slightly bluer, the other slightly greener. What could that mean?
What is behind her painted face?
What are you Aisha?
Aisha grinned, a cold, menacing smile that showed the points of her unusually long, sharp incisors.
So white….so white…
Somewhere in the distance, I hear someone tapping and screetching…The world is closing on me.
Is this my death?
“See, this is one of the newer technology. This whole room is magnetic, and these shoes are too. However, we have managed to manipulate the sensitivity of the magnetive field so that the magenetic qualities of the room will only be activitated when touched. Thus, we can \walk on walls,” she ranted, breaking me out of my little trance.
“What-How did you hear me?”
Did I speak aloud? Shoot, another thing I have to fix
Aisha smiled, a warm smile after all, and her incisors were just normal sized.
The wall convulsed as Aisha made a few little marks in the square metal box in the corner of the cieling. It rippled like waves in the sea, glittering with scales and metal. The light filtered in from the cieing as it opened up, pink and blue skies against a setting sun. As the nanobites rained down from the glass it clung on, the whole world opened up.
A desert world, air so thick that it was almost red. And beyong the red and barren land, the small outline of the city, the bubble where we live.
The sun is casting shadows across the desert, over every rock, but I can’t feel the heat. No one can.
A sharp pain on my right leg, and then I’m drifting off towards the unbreathable air and the silent land.
Static. Pure static. The clip rolled over, starting from 0:00.
“Stupid camera, come on work.”
Pure black on the screen.
I race to figure out what is happening, flipping switches and adjusting the lighting. Mr. Sandell, the director, is going to be here any minute. “One more time…” he had warned, the last time I had failed to capture the perfect take because of technical issues. Why doesn’t he ever hire another person to help me? A one man camera crew just doesn’t work.
At the back of my mind though, I knew the answer. Even though Mr. Sandell would probably never admit it with his million dollar ego and his BMW and iPhone 4s. Studio 10 was for the losers. The B-list movies, with the cheesy sound effects and the tight-budget directors. The failures. Being right next to Studio 9 didn’t help either, the “A-list” studio, where stars like Angeli Smantha and Heath Cooper. We had nothing to compare ourselves with.
“Camera! Are you ready?”
Sigh. Come on camera. Work!!
A good-looking man and woman walks in with the woman’s daughter. They’re about 30 at most, mildly attractive, probably new to the acting world.
In the little make-shift green screen in front, with a bashed up car in the middle of it, they stand.
“Okay, so what are we acting again?” the woman asks, gum in her mouth. She has smudged eyeliner, and her T-shirt is mildly ripped at the hems.
“We don’t need the girl. You and Ted are going to be acting as spies. Just…do some crazy stunts in the car.”
“Well, what about out costume?”
“Well, spies don’t have costumes. They are trying not to be noticed, so this is the most discreet you could get!”
He points at the jeans and T-shirt they both are wearing.
Click! The camera finally comes to life, multicolor and sharp. Yes!
Before I can update Mr. Sandell on the status of the camera, the door clicks open.
A small figure rushes in, grabbing me, dragging me across the tiny room, across the other exit, and onto the pavement.
“Come with me,” Angeli Smantha says, already taking me towards the main street.
She’s wearing very dark makeup, her eyes glittering with tears.
“Where are you taking me!!”
She runs off into a street behind Studio 5, a little burst of speed against the black buildings.
“Come on!” I find myself pulled forward yet again by her incredibly strong hands, trying not to break my camera.
Feet against concrete fill the screen, shaky hands and unsteady hearts.
Grass. And then everything is still again.
“I can’t do this anymore!!”
Angeli collapses into the field behind Studio 5, her body spasming in the dead grass.
The wind braids flowers and leaves into her silky hair, still so beautiful even when in distress.
Angeli Smantha. I am actually in front of the world’s most acclaimed actress. Me. Her.
“They say they’re “working on a cure.’ Ha. What a joke. They’re too busy trying to make people pretty, to care about me!! Me!! I’m Angeli Smantha!” She screams into her hands, her face twisted into barred fangs and uncontrolled pain.
She looks up, confusion in her eyes. “What?”
“I-I mean. You are Angeli Smantha, winner of 28 Grammy Awards. You’ve done everything from fighting ogres to spying. You can anything, and I’m sure whatever you’re going through now, you will get through it. Because..you are Angeli Smantha.”
She stills, her breathing slower. She glances up at me through long eyelashes, her eyes almost red against the dimming light. Biting her lip, she continues examining the grass.
“No..Not this time…..You see….There’s a slight problem….”
She uncrumples herself and leans real close, as if she’s scared that there is someoen watching from the always vacant Studio 5.
The setting sun filters little bubbles of light in the shadow of the studio.
The screen freezes, at the end of that clip.
Getting out of my bed, I walk across to the adjoint room. What a series of events that have happened, that transformed little old me and her into….this.
Stepping into her ambient, rose smelling room, something’s missing.