I had borne the thousands of injuries of Rebecca as best I could, but when she added insult to injury – by not only callously stealing the lead role away from my grasp (in the forthcoming play), but then by requesting that I serve as her understudy as opposed to receiving my own role – well, I vowed revenge. However, you, who know my nature so well, will know also that I did not give utterance to a threat, but decided that at length I would be avenged.
It must be understood that neither by word, nor action, had I given Rebecca cause to query my goodwill. I continued (as is my nature) to smile at her, wish her luck for the opening performance and continually shower her with adoration and praise. My thoughts of misconduct were entirely imperceived, how could she identify that my joy was in fact present at the thought of her downfall.
In spite of her numerous talents, she had a weakness, this Rebecca. She was utterly obsessed with her own person, and she would relish in any opportunity to indulge any part of her being, be it mental, physical or some other constituent. She delighted in being praised, and took much pleasure in receiving gifts with which she could pamper herself with. So, when I informed her, that some unknown admirer had left her a sizeable amount of gifts, she promptly instructed me to take her to where the were lain. Of course I attempted to encumber her venture –
“Surely these prizes can wait, for you are due on stage in less than fifteen minutes.” I implored.
“Take me, I cannot wait!”
“But your make-up, your costume…”
“They can wait, I must go now. Besides my hair is already dressed, and that is the most time consuming preparation.”
“I shall have them brought up then, you may see them in the interval.”
“No! I tell you I cannot wait!”
“But you need to prepare, you need to…”
“Stop! Stop fooling around and show me where my treasures rest.”
And so, she took my arm, and we hurried downwards towards the labyrinth of rooms which lay below the grand theatre. We passed through several suites of rooms, and down long and winding staircases. All rooms were deserted, as no work was needed to be done, and all help was required for the performance to run smoothly. At length we came to a vast fire door, which held behind it numerous workshops, in which, the set and props were made for performances. We were about to enter, but at that point, a small bell rang beside Rebecca’s head.
“Come” I said with resolution “We should return, for if that was the cast call bell, we shall still have sufficient time to prepare you for tonight’s performance. Besides, these gifts are surely not more important than this show’s, and your own, success.”
“No they are not, but my performance would be greatly hindered if I had not seen these offerings, as my mind would be preoccupied in pondering what wonders awaited me. Let us continue”
And so we did. We sustained our route in search of the gifts, gradually quickening our pace so as not to miss any part of the show. It was in this haste that Rebecca caught her hair upon a protruding piece of machinery, which therefore led to her tresses falling down from where they had been expertly positioned.
“Come” I said again “Let us go back ere it is too late. Your hair now also needs attending to.”
“It is nothing, it cannot ruin me. A hair out of place will surely not be my downfall!”
“True, true,” I replied “I had not meant to alarm you, just remind you of our situation.”
Some minutes later we reached the lowest level of the building. Here it was dark, dingy and dirty as it was not often visited, and used more as a storage space. We turned the corner at the end of the corridor, and could just make out one last room. Rebecca tried to turn on a light, but the bulb had previously been blown so we ventured forward, being lit only by the faint light from the corridor behind us. A length we reached the final room, and Rebecca peered inside, but evidently could not see the interior, as her person was obstructing the only light source.
“Go inside the room” I advised “Then you shall be able to see the gifts which await you.”
And so she made her way inside, and as she did, I shrewdly shut the door and softly turned the key in the lock.
“My presents!” she ejaculated “I cannot see them now that the door is closed!” And she thereby began rattling the handle.
“Let me out! What have you done to the door?!
And at that point I hearkened as the bell rang once again. But on this occasion, it rang not once, but twice, indicating that the performance was soon to begin.
“Did you hear that Rebecca?” I taunted “Once again, I entreat you, return! The performance will be starting shortly. No? Then I must absolutely leave you, for the show surely cannot go on without a leading lady!”
“You despicable rogue! Now let me go, for I must take my place on stage!”
“Oh no!” I cried “I shall leave you there a while and see how you relish being left out of the limelight, while I take centre stage!” And at this I heard her begin to sob. But I had no time to stop and delight in her sorrow. With one last look at her prison, I hastened upwards, towards the stage and my affectionate, adoring audience. She must have heard me leaving as she shouted one last time, in a malicious, sorrowful voice, which I hardly recognised as that of the dignified Rebecca.