By Joseph Logsdon
Where had her stardom gone? Once a great actress, Clare Samson had faded into the background, never to be seen again. Where did she go, you ask? Well, to be perfectly honest, that's a rather difficult question to answer. Some say she died, others say she went insane and was sent to an asylum. Whatever the case, it was clear that Clare had disappeared. Walter Chitchat, a journalist, was determined to find Clare Samson, no matter what the cost. Without her, he couldn't be published. His article was nearly complete, except for one small element of the great puzzle. He needed Clare Samson, the greatest of all actresses.
He stumbled upon an old house, aged and decayed. The door was open, so he invited himself inside. It was a creepy place, full of forgotten memories of the past. Walter knew she lived in the house, it was only a matter of finding her. Dust was on the floor, on the walls, on the ceiling. Not only was it no place for an actress, it wasn't a place for anyone. Walter entered the living room, unsure of what he would find. He saw an old woman, probably around seventy. She stared at the wall, not saying a word. There was something about the way she moved that disturbed Walter, and the longer he stayed, the more uncomfortable he became.
"Excuse me, are you Clare Samson?"
There was no reply from the woman. She started to whistle, oblivious to what was happening around her. Walter glared at her long fingernails, disgusted with her poor sense of hygiene. The woman laughed, amused by her strange visitor. Walter started to back away, repulsed by what he was seeing.
"Don't go, the game hasn't started," she whispered.
"Game? What game?"
"The game, the game of death. It's a fun game, only my sister doesn't want to play with me. She's mad at me, because I don't like her games. It's not fair, she doesn't want to play with me," the woman cried, slamming her fist against the wall.
"I'll ask again, are you Clare Samson?"
"I have to tell you, she doesn't like uninvited visitors. If she knew you were here, she'd be very angry. She'll punish me, and once she's done with me, she'll punish you. For your own good, you should leave," she warned.
"I came here to see Clare Samson, and until I talk to her, I'm not leaving. Kick me out, I'd like to see you try," he huffed.
"Anger, negativity, all signs of great despair. Tell me, Mr. Chitchat, are you as handsome as they say?"
Walter started to perspire, agonizingly trying to keep himself from panicking. How did she know his name? He hadn't told her anything, so how did she know it? Walter decided to move forward, confident that he could get an interview.
"First of all, how do you know my name?"
"I read the newspaper, saw your picture on one of the pages. I thought to myself, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have him for dinner?'"
"You mean, to have me over for dinner?"
"You could put it that way," the woman answered, turning around.
In all his years as a journalist, as a human being, Walter had never seen anything more terrifying. Her face was covered in blood, only the blood didn't look fresh. It had been there for quite some time, possibly for months. She laughed, amused by his fear and anxiety. She grabbed Walter and pinned him against the wall, just before kissing him. He fought for his life, only to be overpowered by an insane woman.
"That reminds me, would you like to see my sister?"
Walter nodded, too afraid to speak. The woman led him down a dark corridor, their destination unknown. As they journeyed deep into the house, a horrible smell became more and more prevalent. To prevent himself from fainting, Walter covered his nose. She guided him to a door, mysteriously leading to a basement. The smell was coming from down there, and from appearances, it wasn't anything good.
She led him down the staircase, occasionally looking back to make sure that he was still there. Once they reached the bottom, she proceeded to turn on the light. Even though the light was on, it was still very dark. Walter scanned the room, seeing nothing but old photographs. All of them were photographs of Clare Samson.
"Well, what do you think?"
"She's here, isn't she? What are you, some kind of crazy fan?"
"On the contrary, I'm the exact opposite. We used to go down here as kids, the two of us. I was jealous, awfully jealous. I'm still jealous, now that I think about it. She had everything in the world, so why did she give it up?"
"You're her sister, Ashley Samson," he declared.
"I'm curious, did you ever think about writing an article about me? Of course you didn't, because I'm not important. She had the talent, I had the looks. Your appearance can get you places, and I certainly did go places. She stole everything; my looks, my pride, even my stardom. People cry for her, they cry because they knew who she was. I was nobody, and that's what I remain, a nobody," she cried.
Ashley sobbed and sobbed, defeated by her own despair. Walter gazed at the corner of the room, his eyes examining it closely. Someone was standing there, silently peering at him. He moved closer, fearing the worst. As he approached, the figure didn't move. It just stood there, motionless. Walter extended his hand, just barely touching it. It was a body, the body of Clare Samson.