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Old 14-05-2010, 07:27 PM   #1
lurkerinthedark
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Default "Everything She Ever Wanted" : a cautionary tale

Everything She Ever Wanted: A Cautionary Tale

She was used to the cold by this point. Every room she had been in had been near freezing. She shivered without even realizing it. One of the other girls had told her that They preferred it cold, that it was more comfortable for them. They didn’t like too much light, either. The rooms had all been dimly lit by a faintly golden light that cast long shadows into the corners. Even her own quarters had been dark. She hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. Not since the day she had said goodbye to her mother and walked into the building.

But it would all be worth it. That’s what They kept telling her. They kept showing her videos of the others who had been through the program, looping the images and movies over and over again, all day and all night. She had been chosen because she was special. She was beautiful, and she had a voice that could be manipulated by studio magicians into being pleasant enough with the right bass and drum tracks behind it. She knew they watched her from behind two-way glass in her quarters, but when she complained they only told her to be quiet about it, that she needed to get used to being watched all the time.

Now she was used to it. Everything she did in her quarters, she did as if she were performing to her unseen audience. All the fans They promised she would have. She practiced her smile in the mirror, perfected her casual hair flip and watched the way her mouth moved when she spoke. She was nearly ready to be reborn.

“Jane?”

She jumped at the sound of the voice. It sounded metallic somehow, like it came from a robot instead of a human. Looking around, she couldn’t see the person in the darkness surrounding her.

“Yeah?” She caught herself—couldn’t let her southern accent come through—and cleared her throat. “Yes?”

A blinding spotlight suddenly framed her in a cone of warm white light. She squinted, then remembered how quickly wrinkles could set in, and forced herself to keep her eyes open normally.

“You know why you are here.” The voice boomed all around her. Jane could see nothing beyond the spotlight.

“I think so…” she tried to sound confident, but her voice failed her. All she really knew is that her mother had put her in beauty contests since she was a baby, and that she’d always won them. By the time she turned fifteen, she was told she was too pretty for cheap trophies and crowns and that she should go to Hollywood and be an actress. Her mother had jumped at the opportunity, and they’d traveled out to California on their own, leaving the rest of the family behind.

Then she’d gone to an audition for a kids’ cable-TV series, and They discovered her. A fat check was handed to her mother and Jane was given to her new handlers and since then, she’d been waiting in those dim, cold quarters.

“You are going to be the biggest name in television within three years.” The voice spoke matter-of-factly, but Jane’s heart raced at the thought. “You will have top-selling albums, numerous recording contracts, and several successful films by the time you turn seventeen.”

Jane couldn’t help herself. She laughed, feeling as if her face might split from grinning so widely. “Oh, my God!”

“You will tour the world in sold-out performances, you will have relationships with many specially selected mates, and you will make millions from advertising and merchandising revenue alone.”

Jane shook her head, stunned. “I don’t believe this. This can’t be happening to me.”

“In return, you will be expected to repay our generosity in kind.”

The coldness of his voice made Jane’s smile fade.

“I don’t understand…”

“You will serve our needs for as long as you remain useful to our cause. You must remain attractive. You will remain drug and alcohol free. You must do as we say, when we say, when we want it. Do you understand?”

Jane nodded.

“When it is time for you to breed, we will select your mate. You will bear at least one child for us. That child will be properly inducted into the Group. It will become as successful as you, and reap great rewards for us.”

“What do you mean, ‘inducted’? I won’t be able to keep my own baby?” Jane felt foolish talking about her future child—she wasn’t much more than a kid herself—but she didn’t like the sound of what they were saying.

“This is the price you will pay. You are ours now.”

Jane’s legs suddenly felt watery. She wanted to sit down—fall down—and feel something solid beneath her again. All she wanted was to be famous. She didn’t want all…this.

“But…my mom…”

“Your mother will no longer be a part of your life. You will have specially scheduled meetings with her, and public disputes when deemed necessary to gain public sympathy after your stays at drug rehab.”

“I don’t take drugs!”

“You will be a meth addict by the time you are twenty. It will threaten to end your career. If you do not cooperate, you will die of an overdose before that can happen.”

Movement from the shadows, and two men stepped into the edge of the light. They were shirtless, wearing almost obscenely tight black trousers. They were brutally muscled, their arms thick slabs folded over wide chests. They wore leather masks with zippers over their mouths. Their eyes—what little Jane could see of them—were black and cold, like a shark’s.

“We sense that you will want to fight this,” the voice said mildly. “You haven’t been properly introduced into our methods. You have too much of your own mind left, and we cannot have that.”

The men stepped forward, each of them grabbing one of Jane’s arms. She could smell their sweat—a horrible, musky stench that hinted of awful things to come—and see smiles in their eyes. She wanted to jerk herself free of their grip, but they were too strong. She’d end up pulling an arm out of the socket.

“We’ll see how much independence is left to you after the boys finish up.” The voice sounded almost bored. “Take her away.”

The men lifted Jane off her feet and half-dragged her into the darkness.

And awful things happened.


Three years later…


She knew the drill by heart. Ease out of the limo gracefully—always mindful of how much leg and crotch she was ordered to show; the punishment for showing too much or too little would be severe—and stand on the red carpet for a few moments as camera flashes exploded around her. Look around slowly, giving everyone a moment of her smile, which had been practiced and perfected after many hours of tortuous work. Wait for her escort—whoever had been hand-picked for the occasion—and be a good girl, always a good girl, while the public devoured her.

Her escort would be more famous than she, of course. It wouldn’t be right for her to have the perceived power. He was the man, therefore he dominated the relationship that was created for them in the back room of some agent’s offices. She would look at him adoringly, joining him for some photos, standing alone for others. Her career was still on the rise. Her television show was more popular than ever. Her new album was beginning to rise on the charts. Her upcoming movie was guaranteed to be a summer blockbuster.

Smile for the cameras. Tilt head. Turn slightly. Make eye contact. Look approachable and adorable. Everyone’s best friend.

She wore the clothing that They picked out for her—a skin-tight leopard print that managed to reveal as much as it concealed. They had decided that her legs would be her selling point, so the dress was slit up to mid-thigh. Her breasts—still too small for Their tastes; the surgery would be done after she finished the movie—were hidden behind yards of fabric. The leopard print would remind her of her programming—she was to always be a sex kitten, young and frisky and irrepressibly fun. She hated leopard print.

Her escort took her hand and she tried not to think of how much older he was, or of what he would expect from her at the end of the evening. She was his reward for breaking a box office record. She had heard that he liked to tie girls up and whip them until they bled. The girls who kept their mouths shut after a night with him went on to have successful careers. The ones who didn’t were shut up permanently.

She blinked as tears threatened to ruin her make-up. They were watching her. She couldn’t cry. She couldn’t do anything but smile prettily and pose for pictures.

She’d had two children in the years since her mother dropped her off at that building. Both of them had been taken away as soon as they were born. No one told her if she’d had boys or girls. She had heard that they were determined to be of poor stock, and so they were used for other purposes. She didn’t ask what those might be. No one knew she had ever been pregnant. Sometimes even she could tell herself it had just been a dream, that she had never given birth.

Sometimes. Most times she could not.

They took everything and gave everything. They convinced the world that she was an actress when she knew that she had no talent. They made everyone believe she could sing when she could not carry a tune. They controlled the magazines, the tabloids, the paparazzi. They determined who was popular, who was famous. And they chose who failed, and how spectacularly their stars might crash.

Now hers was on the rise—after all the programming, after all the pain—and the world bowed before her as if she were its Queen. They didn’t know what she had done to get to this point, and she suspected that they wouldn’t have cared if they did. She was theirs now. She belonged to them, the faceless mass that bought her albums and watched her TV show.

She smiled again, dazzled by the cameras, hoping that they would not pick up the glassiness of tears in her eyes.

After all…this was what she had always wanted.

Wasn’t it?
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Old 17-05-2010, 04:45 PM   #2
truthspoon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lurkerinthedark View Post
Everything She Ever Wanted: A Cautionary Tale

She was used to the cold by this point. Every room she had been in had been near freezing. She shivered without even realizing it. One of the other girls had told her that They preferred it cold, that it was more comfortable for them. They didn’t like too much light, either. The rooms had all been dimly lit by a faintly golden light that cast long shadows into the corners. Even her own quarters had been dark. She hadn’t seen the sun in weeks. Not since the day she had said goodbye to her mother and walked into the building.

But it would all be worth it. That’s what They kept telling her. They kept showing her videos of the others who had been through the program, looping the images and movies over and over again, all day and all night. She had been chosen because she was special. She was beautiful, and she had a voice that could be manipulated by studio magicians into being pleasant enough with the right bass and drum tracks behind it. She knew they watched her from behind two-way glass in her quarters, but when she complained they only told her to be quiet about it, that she needed to get used to being watched all the time.

Now she was used to it. Everything she did in her quarters, she did as if she were performing to her unseen audience. All the fans They promised she would have. She practiced her smile in the mirror, perfected her casual hair flip and watched the way her mouth moved when she spoke. She was nearly ready to be reborn.

“Jane?”

She jumped at the sound of the voice. It sounded metallic somehow, like it came from a robot instead of a human. Looking around, she couldn’t see the person in the darkness surrounding her.

“Yeah?” She caught herself—couldn’t let her southern accent come through—and cleared her throat. “Yes?”

A blinding spotlight suddenly framed her in a cone of warm white light. She squinted, then remembered how quickly wrinkles could set in, and forced herself to keep her eyes open normally.

“You know why you are here.” The voice boomed all around her. Jane could see nothing beyond the spotlight.

“I think so…” she tried to sound confident, but her voice failed her. All she really knew is that her mother had put her in beauty contests since she was a baby, and that she’d always won them. By the time she turned fifteen, she was told she was too pretty for cheap trophies and crowns and that she should go to Hollywood and be an actress. Her mother had jumped at the opportunity, and they’d traveled out to California on their own, leaving the rest of the family behind.

Then she’d gone to an audition for a kids’ cable-TV series, and They discovered her. A fat check was handed to her mother and Jane was given to her new handlers and since then, she’d been waiting in those dim, cold quarters.

“You are going to be the biggest name in television within three years.” The voice spoke matter-of-factly, but Jane’s heart raced at the thought. “You will have top-selling albums, numerous recording contracts, and several successful films by the time you turn seventeen.”

Jane couldn’t help herself. She laughed, feeling as if her face might split from grinning so widely. “Oh, my God!”

“You will tour the world in sold-out performances, you will have relationships with many specially selected mates, and you will make millions from advertising and merchandising revenue alone.”

Jane shook her head, stunned. “I don’t believe this. This can’t be happening to me.”

“In return, you will be expected to repay our generosity in kind.”

The coldness of his voice made Jane’s smile fade.

“I don’t understand…”

“You will serve our needs for as long as you remain useful to our cause. You must remain attractive. You will remain drug and alcohol free. You must do as we say, when we say, when we want it. Do you understand?”

Jane nodded.

“When it is time for you to breed, we will select your mate. You will bear at least one child for us. That child will be properly inducted into the Group. It will become as successful as you, and reap great rewards for us.”

“What do you mean, ‘inducted’? I won’t be able to keep my own baby?” Jane felt foolish talking about her future child—she wasn’t much more than a kid herself—but she didn’t like the sound of what they were saying.

“This is the price you will pay. You are ours now.”

Jane’s legs suddenly felt watery. She wanted to sit down—fall down—and feel something solid beneath her again. All she wanted was to be famous. She didn’t want all…this.

“But…my mom…”

“Your mother will no longer be a part of your life. You will have specially scheduled meetings with her, and public disputes when deemed necessary to gain public sympathy after your stays at drug rehab.”

“I don’t take drugs!”

“You will be a meth addict by the time you are twenty. It will threaten to end your career. If you do not cooperate, you will die of an overdose before that can happen.”

Movement from the shadows, and two men stepped into the edge of the light. They were shirtless, wearing almost obscenely tight black trousers. They were brutally muscled, their arms thick slabs folded over wide chests. They wore leather masks with zippers over their mouths. Their eyes—what little Jane could see of them—were black and cold, like a shark’s.

“We sense that you will want to fight this,” the voice said mildly. “You haven’t been properly introduced into our methods. You have too much of your own mind left, and we cannot have that.”

The men stepped forward, each of them grabbing one of Jane’s arms. She could smell their sweat—a horrible, musky stench that hinted of awful things to come—and see smiles in their eyes. She wanted to jerk herself free of their grip, but they were too strong. She’d end up pulling an arm out of the socket.

“We’ll see how much independence is left to you after the boys finish up.” The voice sounded almost bored. “Take her away.”

The men lifted Jane off her feet and half-dragged her into the darkness.

And awful things happened.


Three years later…


She knew the drill by heart. Ease out of the limo gracefully—always mindful of how much leg and crotch she was ordered to show; the punishment for showing too much or too little would be severe—and stand on the red carpet for a few moments as camera flashes exploded around her. Look around slowly, giving everyone a moment of her smile, which had been practiced and perfected after many hours of tortuous work. Wait for her escort—whoever had been hand-picked for the occasion—and be a good girl, always a good girl, while the public devoured her.

Her escort would be more famous than she, of course. It wouldn’t be right for her to have the perceived power. He was the man, therefore he dominated the relationship that was created for them in the back room of some agent’s offices. She would look at him adoringly, joining him for some photos, standing alone for others. Her career was still on the rise. Her television show was more popular than ever. Her new album was beginning to rise on the charts. Her upcoming movie was guaranteed to be a summer blockbuster.

Smile for the cameras. Tilt head. Turn slightly. Make eye contact. Look approachable and adorable. Everyone’s best friend.

She wore the clothing that They picked out for her—a skin-tight leopard print that managed to reveal as much as it concealed. They had decided that her legs would be her selling point, so the dress was slit up to mid-thigh. Her breasts—still too small for Their tastes; the surgery would be done after she finished the movie—were hidden behind yards of fabric. The leopard print would remind her of her programming—she was to always be a sex kitten, young and frisky and irrepressibly fun. She hated leopard print.

Her escort took her hand and she tried not to think of how much older he was, or of what he would expect from her at the end of the evening. She was his reward for breaking a box office record. She had heard that he liked to tie girls up and whip them until they bled. The girls who kept their mouths shut after a night with him went on to have successful careers. The ones who didn’t were shut up permanently.

She blinked as tears threatened to ruin her make-up. They were watching her. She couldn’t cry. She couldn’t do anything but smile prettily and pose for pictures.

She’d had two children in the years since her mother dropped her off at that building. Both of them had been taken away as soon as they were born. No one told her if she’d had boys or girls. She had heard that they were determined to be of poor stock, and so they were used for other purposes. She didn’t ask what those might be. No one knew she had ever been pregnant. Sometimes even she could tell herself it had just been a dream, that she had never given birth.

Sometimes. Most times she could not.

They took everything and gave everything. They convinced the world that she was an actress when she knew that she had no talent. They made everyone believe she could sing when she could not carry a tune. They controlled the magazines, the tabloids, the paparazzi. They determined who was popular, who was famous. And they chose who failed, and how spectacularly their stars might crash.

Now hers was on the rise—after all the programming, after all the pain—and the world bowed before her as if she were its Queen. They didn’t know what she had done to get to this point, and she suspected that they wouldn’t have cared if they did. She was theirs now. She belonged to them, the faceless mass that bought her albums and watched her TV show.

She smiled again, dazzled by the cameras, hoping that they would not pick up the glassiness of tears in her eyes.

After all…this was what she had always wanted.

Wasn’t it?

Very good and insightful little story.... Nicely creepy and unsettling too.

Last edited by truthspoon; 17-05-2010 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 21-05-2010, 07:53 PM   #3
lurkerinthedark
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Thank you. I'm glad you liked it. I'm not sure exactly what sparked me to write it--I think I'm just generally creeped out by the idea of a person's life being so totally manipulated and controlled.

Again, I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting. If any other readers have any thoughts or comments, I'd be glad to hear them.
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Old 21-05-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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I don't often read long posts but that was well worth it...gripping!

Make it into a book, you never know..
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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really good, I like the premise!
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