Shadow of a Star
All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2012 Aditi.M
'Stars are but giant creations
And every one has its massive shadow
To escape it is to end a creation
For a shadow will live on forever'
432, Silver Lake lane was no inconspicuous place in the relatively unknown town of Cherry Brook. For Silver Lake lane contained a beautiful estate which had a lovely wrought iron gate that proudly proclaimed to anyone that passed by-
'Welcome to Silver Lake estate, the home of the one and only Dawn Meador'
The gate was the pride and joy of the town. Once upon a time, thousands would throng to the gate, trying to catch a glimpse of its elusive owner. Pictures would be taken of the gate to preserve in yellowing scrapbooks. Every day, frantic housekeepers would rush out and polish it gently to prevent rust from eating away its splendor. The gate was a symbol of fame, something that was unattainable and thus, fervently desired by mere mortals.
If you were lucky enough to be invited into the mystical world that lay beyond the gates, you would see a large, aristocratic villa. A lovely water feature will catch the corner of your eye and entice it towards a majestic fountain, which remains tranquil in the daytime, but dances with colour provided by some sort of technical contraption hidden away expertly. A trimmed lawn adorns the rest of the land, with artistically arranged flower and show-plant bushes. A small path, created with eclectic stone-shaped tiles leads you to the main door.
I assume you have read enough about gates, doors and other contraptions that let people enter a particular destination. So I shall just say that the door was large and grand like everything in Silver Lake estate. The villa was done up very well and kept clean and tidy by the same branch of harried housekeepers who cared for the gate so professionally.
Inside one of the lavishly decorated bedrooms was a woman. She reclined on one of the plush sofas, face scrunched up in thought, cigarette loosely held in her hand, mind deeply lost in thought. She was timelessly beautiful and her lustrous blonde hair, trim body and the gentle flush on her cheeks indicated that she intended to maintain it. Her doe-shaped eyes, though now closed were an unimpressive brown on normal days. Yet, when she was before the camera, the same eyes came to life, expressing multitudes of sentiments that words could never bring forth. However, the little wrinkles that had crept up on her face and the faint crow's feet conspicuously near her eyes showed that she was far past her youth.
Dawn Meador slowly took a deep drag of her cigarette and reminisced the first time she had auditioned for the role of Beatrice in 'Beatrice Beloved' – the very same role that had propelled her to stardom. Her innocent portrayal of Beatrice, a simple country wench who becomes a village hero after rescuing someone who was drowning, only to be finally burnt at a stake as a witch after a long fight against the church moved many critics to tears. She became a Hollywood darling immediately after that, with producers and directors literally begging her to work with them. She had worked in the industry for 30 years, from the wee age of nineteen to the ripe age of forty eight, when she had finally decided that she could endure it no more. For all roses have their thorns hidden, but well placed and extremely painful.
Dawn took another long drag of her cigarette and focused on the happier memories of her long time in the movie-making industry. She rarely made public appearances, choosing to seclude herself with exotic holidays. This added to her alluring persona and people continued to fall irrevocably in love with her. Often she would be mobbed on the road by people asking for photographs, autographs, hugs and kisses. She would always oblige everyone until they all left or until her assistant, Phoebe sensed her fatigue and drove them away. She adored her fans and loved replying to their innocent messages. She was a regular at the awards shows, but she never consented to show herself as arm candy. She walked alone, with a resolute smile on her face and often received the loudest cheers.
Life had been perfect, until she came.
It had all started when Dawn had reached her forties. She was content playing older roles as long as they did not look too frumpy. Twenty years in the industry had eventually grown a deep dislike for frumpy clothing in her heart. Her vanity led to her losing out on many wonderful roles which went to the artsy actors, who rarely became famous. She did not mind, for she intended to retire anyways, as she had found the love of her life. - Victor Raymond-a fellow thespian who had charmed her so well that a gentle blush would crop up on her cheeks whenever anyone mentioned him. They had a whirlwind romance, which resulted in him taking her to Paris and proposing marriage with a lovely background of the Arc de Triomphe. She had gladly accepted and immediately started planning for the wedding of her dreams
Dawn dumped her used cigarette on the newly cleaned ashtray and stood up to stretch herself. Her back pained her but she ignored it. Her expensive nightgown tried its very best not to tear. Then she walked out towards the balcony and breathed the fresh country air. She still remembered the day she had finally bought this house out of sheer desperation. She had bought it to run away from memories of that woman.
That woman in question had wrecked her life, almost rendered her insane and made her do something she would never have done. The woman in question was Grace Mara, a little starlet of twenty five who had co-starred as her daughter in one of her last movies. Grace was a sweet thing, lovely soft red hair and bright blue eyes. Her face was that of an angel and her body had inspired many women to get off the couch and at least, walk to the gym. She remembered how she had adored Grace like her own child. She remembered how well they had bonded and how much she and Victor had loved and pampered her. She remembered how she had walked in on Victor doing things to Grace that no married man should ever do to another woman. She remembered how they both had stood there grinning like idiots looking at her as if nothing had happened. She remembered how he had finally remembered to tell her that he intended to marry Grace, as an afterthought, before he had left to drive Grace home.
She gave him the divorce and kept up her cheerful façade around them. Grace remained the same, blissfully unaware of the wrongs she had committed. Dawn would return home from a hard day at work and drown her sorrow in cigarettes. She began to blame Grace for every little problem. If she did not get enough work, it was Grace's fault. If someone called her old, it was Grace's fault. If the newspapers blissfully printed the scandal all over their front page, it was Grace's fault. If she did not get the life she had dreamed of and deserved, it was Grace's fault! Everything was Grace Mara's fault.
Grace Mara would pay for her mistakes.
Dawn smiled as she recounted the next part of her memories. Day had changed to dusk and one of her efficient housekeepers turned on the fountain lights. She watched the lights play across the water as she recounted the last part of her memories.
She had finally declared her retirement from the movie industry and was going to spend the rest of her life in Cherry Brook, a quaint and posh town
Grace and Victor had made plans to go to France for their Honeymoon. Dawn had surprised them by turning up at their engagement and supporting their every move. Sweet, innocent, stupid, devious, Grace had hugged her and excitedly showed her the same ring that Victor had given her. She had then driven home alone, broken hearted, with a resolute plan and determination to make it succeed.
The next day, Dawn had turned up unannounced at Grace's lovely penthouse apartment for brunch. They laughed and talked and had a great time. Then she remembered how she had removed a butcher knife from her purse and stabbed her with it. She had adored the look of surprise on Grace's face and continued to stab her again and again and again, till her old arms cried out in protest. By then, sweet Grace had long gone to Hell.
She then had looked at Grace's perfect face and slashed it. She slashed it till it became a grotesque parody of the beauty it had once beheld. Then she wiped her knife clean of fingerprints and left it beside her, after thoroughly soaking it in Grace's blood. Then she waited outside the complex, for Victor to return home.
Once he had come, she persevered until he had opened the door to Grace's apartment. She had flipped open the phone she had bought that morning and called 911 to inform them that Viktor Raymond had murdered his fiancé.
It had been an excellent ruse. According to her alibi, she had already left for Cherry Brook. She had relished every minute of the drive to Cherry Brook and quenched her anticipation immediately after reaching her wonderful new home and turning on the TV. She had been elated. She had followed every single moment of his trial, from the first day, till the day when he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Dawn suddenly hollered out, "Would someone get me wine?"
An occasion like that required celebration whenever it was thought of, mused Dawn. Then she giggled a little and waited for her wine.
A small lady materialized almost as if she had appeared out of thin air. She held a wonderful and large bottle of vintage wine. She looked into the bright blue eyes of her maid, Leanne and whispered, "Thank you, Leanne. Would you like to join me for wine?"
The timid maid agreed and took the glass she had brought along with her for herself, while Dawn used her glass. Everyone knew that Dawn drank wine only out of one glass that was rinsed after its usage and kept on the bedside table. Dawn didn't think much about it, she just dismissed the suspicion and let Leanne pour her a glass of wonderful vintage wine. It surprised her how much poor Leanne's hands shook when she poured the wine.
'Poor thing is extremely intimidated. I think she is new.'
Dawn downed three glasses of wine while Leanne merely sipped hers, trembling continuously. After her third glass, she gently leaned her head on the soft headrest of her chair and fell asleep.
Leanne silently observed the sleeping star. Although her beauty was pretty much the same, she seemed like she had preserved only a shadow of her glory. Her body rose and fell gently when she snored. Leanne felt a surge of pity for the woman. She had risen to dizzying heights and been forgotten. She reminisced herself as a little girl, putting up posters of the very woman in front of her. The Dawn Meador that had captured the hearts of millions was a simple, sad woman who had forgotten how to live up to who she was.
She reached inside her pocket and her hand enclosed her future. She pulled out the gun and shot Dawn three times, square in the chest. She never got the chance to scream.
My baby never got the chance to scream either, bitch.
Then Leanne Mara, who had somehow always known, due to some supernatural or simple maternal instinct, that it was Dawn who had killed her baby Grace shot herself through her head.
Silence prevailed over Silver Lake Estate for a small while before the paparazzi, the police and the people who watched. Who would have known that a simple issue such as monogamy would have eventually taken three lives? Who would have realized how grey the shadow of a bright star would be.
Dawn Meador had been buried inside the mansion, the same place where she had found true peace and hidden from her inner demons. It had been a simple burial, with a tiny newspaper article announcing the cause of her death as 'natural'. The police had hushed up the case and kept it away from the media, to protect the famous people involved in that case.
Leanne Mara was buried next to her daughter, as she had asked her husband to do, before she had set off for her final journey to Cherry Brook. He was relieved, secretly, that his wife was in peace. Too many nights had he woken up and comforted an irate and devastated Leanne, screaming "That woman killed my daughter. I know she did!" and collapsing into tears. He spent the rest of his life mourning his darling daughter, who he had never had a chance to mourn.
Victor Raymond had been killed in a prison brawl long before he could be proved innocent in the Grace Mara murder case.
431, Silver Lake Estate still exists, but without the care of well-paid housekeepers, the roses are dead, the bushes have grown wild and the gate has rusted. No one ever talked about the incidence at Silver Lake Estate. It was just too sad, too strange to be bothered about by respectable people and so, Dawn's story was forgotten for the better.
'Stars are but giant creations
And every one has its massive shadow
To escape it is to end a creation
For a shadow will live on forever
But a star's death makes black holes
Dark vortexes of murky depths
That sucks in the shadow and hides it
Till no one bothers the star's sleeping soul.'