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Opening Night (Short Story Competition Entry)

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    • Thread Starter

    She was going to die.

    She could feel it in the tightness in her chest, her heart skipping out of rhythm as blood pounded in her ears. She doubled over in her chair, untying and retying her shoes as an excuse to push her head between her knees and suck in breath after painful breath. She was going to die. Or faint. Or forget her lines.

    “Thirty minutes to curtain.”

    The voice of the stage manager was distorted and tinny. Eliza tutted and stood on a free chair to twiddle the nobs on the small grey box mounted above the door.

    “They need to get the wiring fixed in that thing,” she said, brushing dust off her fingertips. “We’ll miss our cues.”

    Alice shivered and put her head back between her knees. Missing her cue would be only marginally better than forgetting her lines. Or throwing up on stage.

    “You need to get a move on,” Eliza patted her shoulder as she went back to her side of the dressing room. She’d decorated the mirror with Good Luck cards and fairy lights. The narrow table was clustered with perfumes, lipsticks, seven different tubes of mascara and at least eight pots of foundation.

    “You ok?” Eliza put down her lipstick and blew herself a crimson kiss in the mirror.

    Alice sat up and nodded. She didn’t trust herself to speak. She ran a hand down her bodice, unconsciously checking for loose threads, double-checking that all the hooks were done up. Her face looked small and out of place in the mirror, pale despite the layers of foundation and bronzer. Her lashes looked like spiders. She clenched her hands into fists to stop herself plucking the inch-long false lashes away from her eyelids.

    “Eyebrows,” Eliza said from the doorway. She’d slid one leg up the doorframe into splits and her long skirts had bunched up to reveal a large tear in her stockings. She inspected in absently, as if it didn’t matter. As if she wasn’t going to be onstage in less than –

    “Ten minutes to curtain.”

    Alice swallowed. Her hand was shaking. Her eyebrows were wonky, she knew they were, the dark brown pencil thick and unforgiving. The audience would notice and then everyone would see, everyone would know that she was a fraud, that someone else should have her part, everyone would laugh at her and – oh, she couldn’t remember her first line, couldn’t remember how the play began. She was going to have to improvise, have to hope and pray that the lines came back to her.

    “Five minutes to curtain. Act one beginners to the stage, please. Act one beginners to the stage.”

    She was numb. She was vaguely aware of a ringing in her ears as she pushed past Eliza and up the stairs to the stage. The other girls were waiting in the wings.

    The music started. The curtain began to rise. She stepped out onto the stage, alone.

    It was time.

    I like your writing style! I thought this was a very good introduction, hopefully you win
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by ToLiveInADream)
    I like your writing style! I thought this was a very good introduction, hopefully you win
    Thank you! That's really kind
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