LIFE OF A MOVIE STAR
Some time had passed since Caleb’s arrival and at the time, Lydia hadn’t noticed it. The rooms were baron and most of the people in the house had simply vanished, as if they had never existed in the first place. There was an eerie quietness to the place she now called home, and she didn’t like it.
She wandered the halls saying, “hello” each time she opened a bedroom door to hear nothing in response. Silence. She started thinking that maybe, just maybe, this entire middle existence was an illusion brought on by some sort of mental illness and she was in fact sitting in a room with white padded walls, hands tied behind her back in a strait jacket. It made more sense to her than this sudden emptiness.
She had thought that by then she would have totally accepted her fate, but then she would get thrown a middle curveball and question her reality all over again.
“Ouch, watch it!” Lydia screamed startled at the man that seemingly didn’t see her huddled in the doorway.
“Hey, you’re the one with your head in my room. Can I help you with something, Lydia?” Caleb smiled as he spoke and it pissed Lydia off that even in death he was that attractive. I guess her outer appearance hadn’t changed though, so why would anyone else’s.
“Where is everybody?”
“Don’t ask me, I’m the new guy. Remember? I don’t know nothing about nothing,” said Caleb.
“Well, that doesn’t surprise me.” Lydia rolled her eyes. “I’m going to find Aiden.”
“Wait up, can I come?”
The two walked down the hallway towards Aiden’s quarters. They walked in silence for the most part, but because of the absence of almost everyone who was supposed to be there, the stillness of the house was chilling. Lydia wasn’t sure what was going on and she had a very bad feeling about it.
They arrived at Aiden’s room and he was also gone. ‘Seriously, where is everybody,’ Lydia thought to herself because she didn’t want to hear Caleb’s arrogant voice while she figured out why the house was empty and the rooms, silent.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but to me, this is weird.”
“Thank you Captain Obvious.”
Caleb scoffed in offense at Lydia’s remark and kept his mouth shut for a duration of 5 minutes, which for him, was good. He wasn’t sure why Lydia, and almost everyone else he had ever met, eventually came around to feelings of dislike. No one wanted to be a real friend to Caleb, not in life, and most definitely not here. His feelings started to muster up into a bold reimagining.
“What’s happening, Lydia, help me!”
“Caleb, listen to me. You’re fine. Just calm down.”
The walls started closing in around them. The walls inched towards each other, and Lydia and Caleb were being pushed to the centre like a lonely gazelle being circled by a pack of lions.
“Lydia, stop doing this!”
“I’m not doing it Caleb, you are! I don’t have time to explain but you must trust me. You are safe, okay? You’re safe!” Lydia screamed at Caleb over and over again until the walls disappeared around them in a fog of gray smoke.
“So, tell me. What memory was that?” Lydia asked when the walls were gone and Caleb had caught his breath. She couldn’t imagine what it could be, because she didn’t live his life or know anything about it. He was a nameless, faceless, scared little boy for all she knew, and for some reason she enjoyed this newfound
vulnerability. It was the realest she’s ever seen him, huddled in the corner of the room breathing heavily and shedding a lonely single tear down the right side of his face. He looked like a scared child in that corner, and it made her compassionate, if only for a moment.
“I don’t know, Lydia, leave me alone.”
“Hey, why are you being mean to me? I was only trying to help you.”
“You want to help me, eh? What the hell was that?”
“That, my friend, is how memories of your life come back to you. Some good, some bad, but all in a very obnoxious and intense kind of way. It’s the way of the middle and you can’t escape it. The good news, though, is that you can learn how to control these thoughts. You can literally create anything you want and it can be your reality.”
“Are you messing with me right now?”
“Not at all! Are you kidding? Close your eyes.”
Lydia stood in Caleb’s now normally sized bedroom with her eyes closed and thoughts racing. She couldn’t just imagine something beautiful as Aiden did for her when she first arrived, oh no. She had to imagine something that would really throw this Caleb off his rocker. It was about time she got her chance to mess with someone here in the middle.
The ceiling began to life and the walls dissipated around them. Slowly and calmly, the proud wood furnishings started to divide into clouds of smoke and then disappear. The
red carpet started to change shape and colour, and as Lydia opened her eyes she could see that her vision had started to become their reality. The carpet, which turned from a dark blood red to a bright candy apple, rolled out through a crowd of onlookers with big cameras and small microphones. There were flashes coming from every direction in sight and screams of adoration blistered the ears.
“Open your eyes.”
Caleb opened his eyes and stared in awe. “It’s, it’s my life?”
“Well, no. Not really. But since you were a movie star this is the closest thing to it I could imagine. I don’t think I was ever much for celebrity back when I was alive, so this is the best I can do. Cool though, right?”
“Yeah, it’s cool.” Caleb’s voice trailed off and he walked down the red carpet straight faced and apathetic. He’d spot a fan and try to smile back, though it was hard since he knew they didn’t really exist. “I don’t remember what it feels like, the whole famous thing. But it doesn’t feel like this. This isn’t real.”
“This, Caleb, is the most real thing you will ever experience.” Lydia felt cool stealing a slick line out of Valentine’s book, even though she still didn’t know what he meant by that.
“Can I try?”
“Creating my own world.”
“Go for it! But be careful. Any negative energy flowing out of your thoughts will manifest and
it will feel real.”
“Alright, here goes.”