She’d had a dream the night before, of long enduring winters, and snow that would not give way to the rising sun. Of whites and blues tainted by the casual browns and greys of hollow trees and ruptured mists; a world that had lost all beauty to the calmness and serenity, bitterness and coldness of colors so pale even the hardest of stones shuddered under their veils.
In the dream, Shannon was one of those dead trees who stood watching the bitter and cold world turn bitterer and colder still.
After tonight, Shannon realized the moment she opened her eyes to the darkness of her penthouse, she would be the only tree whose greens shall burn through the frosty whites. Her mind could think of nothing but the performance she would be throwing when the blacks and greys of the night drew near.
It had been a long time since she last woke before the sun. The butterflies in her stomach would not allow idleness. She got out of bed, and stood by the window watching the restlessness of the city. Shannon’s penthouse was so high in the clouds that no eye could breach through the glass walls. She could watch everyone down in the city, but no one could see her peeping at them as they went on their daily routine. She was so high above she could not even hear the sounds of shrieking and screaming of a city that never slept. It was the city where it had all started. She was a nobody when glory had started to become her destiny. Shannon had not been a name the world had known, and was never a name the world would remember. She smiled at the city that looked so little from above. And made a promise to herself and to all the little skyscrapers and the millions that inhabit them, that tonight she would repay by throwing the performance that would make the crowds scream and cry in admiration. It would be a mark of new heights she would attain, and she would forever carve her name in the books of history.
She turned back to her apartment and made her way to the bathroom. She turned the hot water on, waited for the tub to fill out, and slipped off her silk nightgown. Without flinching, she sank into the scorching water while humming to herself in the privacy she rarely indulged in. Her morning bath ritual was one of the few little things she looked forward to. It was of the only moments of the day where she was truly alone, and every tune she sang was hers to keep, not for the ears of the world. The echo made her voice seem deeper, and the vibrations on the edge of the tub made it seem as though she really could shake the world with the simplest of her tunes.
About an hour had passed when she got out of the water that had begun to cool. Her skin had become wrinkled from the water when she began to dry herself. She smiled at the hands that seemed as old as time. She knew these wrinkles would never become permanent.
The sun had ascended, and its light peered through the transparency of the walls as she wrapped herself in a towel and emerged from the bathroom. Her humming had stopped, and her mind focused on the preparations for the night.
She went by the mini bar in her penthouse and started making her honeyed tea. And while waiting for the water to boil, her phone rang. It was too early in the day. No phone calls had ever been diverted to her before noon.
“Ms. Shannon. Someone would like to speak with you.” Said the operator. “I tried to get him to call you later but he insisted that he talks now. He says it’s about your show tonight.”
Her guts tightened.
“Is it someone I know?”
“He says he knows you very well. And you know him.”
“Very well. Let me speak with him.”
She put the line on speakerphone and went about drying her hair. There was a beep, and the line crackled. The deep voice came out of the speakerphone and at that moment Shannon’s guts gave a churn, and her eyes widened with horror. It was a voice she hadn’t heard for a very, very long time. And its breaching through her ears that day, before the defining moment of her life, could never be a good omen.
Her horror struck face could not give way to any form of response.
“You are one tough woman to reach, eh? Reminds me of back in the days—“
“I should think you’d never forget me, eh? Even after all this time.” The man’s tone was casual, his accent hasn’t improved the slightest bit. It gave her the chills when she heard him.
“What do you need Davis? Why are you calling?”
“I’m thrilled to hear you too Shannon.” The sarcasm in his voice boiled in her feelings that would not surface under the threat of horror. “I will make it short and simple. The show cannot happen. You will cancel all the preparations. You cannot go through what you have in mind.”
Shannon had thought she had gotten over her fears of Davis, but this man always found a way to break through the courage she had thought she’d built. She sighed silently, composing herself, and made her voice promise it would not falter. She would not let Davis know she was scared.
“Or what… Davis?” She failed. She’d known her voice was a traitor.
“I will not discuss the consequences, because you will do what I am telling you. The show will not happen. I do hope I have made myself clear.”
There was a pause, and the whole world went silent.
“Now… Have a good day Shannon.”
And he hung up.
It took Shannon a few moments to regain herself. During which her mind was racing in frenzy. Davis knew what she was planning. Of course he did.
If only she could carry on with the show before he had time to stop her. It’s only 14 hours away. But Davis was not a man to be taken a fool. If she defied him, she will pay a high price. She sat in her sofa, hands clutched her face. The show must go on. By the time it will be over, she would have reached a power no man or living creature could touch her.
Tonight was the night she would defy the laws of nature and of heaven. It was the night where she will become the name that shall never be erased.
The water boiled, and Shannon stood. In her mind she planned the course of the day, where she would make sure Davis would not stop her. She poured the water thinking of a tomorrow where Shannon will have announced herself above the limits of humanity, a Christess upon the living; a tomorrow where she will have conquered death, mastered the art of living, and finally became immortal.
[…to be continued]
Read the next chapters of Crudelis here: