“That was perfect. Let’s try it one more time.”
Jasmine Spencer stood in the corner of a white room that resembled a giant box. She quietly coughed, as she stared at the page in front of her.
She stopped thinking and started again.
“Please,” she said. “Please don’t hurt me. I’ll do anything.”
Jasmine knew that she was trying out for a potentially horrible student film, but she didn’t care. She was finally in Los Angeles. Finally living the dream.
She let out her final scream.
The director Clive, a pale guy who Jasmine figured was close to thirty, stood up and clapped as if he had just attended a Broadway show.
“Wow!” he said. “You have a really special quality about you. I’ve been auditioning girls for months, and I must say I haven’t found anyone like you. Have you been in a film before?”
“Never? Really?” He put his hand out in the air. “Congratulations, Ms. Spencer. I’m giving you your first movie role.”
Jasmine screamed again, this time not as part of the scene, and shook his hand.
“Oh my God,” she said. “You have no idea what this means to me!”
He chuckled. “Believe me, I do.”
He grabbed her by the throat and stuck a needle in her neck. The sedative effect took only five seconds. Jasmine’s eyelids became droopy, and she slumped down to the floor.
When she opened her eyes, she looked up to see a blonde woman, fifty to sixty, a cigarette in her hand. Clive was filming a close-up of her.
Jasmine sat up on a wood table. “What the hell?”
Clive slammed his fist against the wall. “Cut! Damn it, cut!” He rushed over to Jasmine and slapped her, hard, against her cheek. “Did I say you could look at the camera? It’s the number one rule of acting. Never ever look into the camera! It’s breaking the fourth wall, don’t you know anything?”
He stormed out of the room, jutting his arms wildly in the air. The blonde woman sighed and sat next to Jasmine. “Hello, dear. My name’s Betty. The other actor in the film.”
“Excuse me?” Jasmine tried to stand, her head woozy, her eyes blurry.
Betty stopped her. “Now, now, you’re supposed to be catatonic in this scene. Just wait a moment. Let Clive do all the work.”
“But…” Jasmine blinked rapidly. “Why am I here?”
“Our director, of course,” she said. “He wanted the perfect look for the dead girl in our newest movie. He searched for weeks, and then… there you were. Long black hair, tan, beautiful. You were perfect.”
Betty crouched down and tapped her fingernails against Jasmine’s bruised cheek.
“Is that so?” Jasmine leaned back, and head-butted Betty in the nose.
“Oww! Goddammit!” she shouted. She put one hand on her nose, and one hand on Jasmine’s neck. “Clive, bring it now!”
He rushed in, holding the camera in one hand and the needle in the other. “I forgot to get the batteries. Hold on.”
“No, now,” Betty said. Jasmine tried to fight her way off the table, but the woman had too strong a grip on her. “The sedative’s wearing off!”
She grabbed the needle from Clive, and re-approached Jasmine, as he walked back out of the room. She held up the needle. “This will only hurt for a second.”
Betty grabbed Jasmine’s arm. Brought the needle down, fast, too fast.
Jasmine didn’t take a second to think. She leaned her head back and kicked the needle out of Betty’s hand.
“Hey!” Betty shouted. “You little shit!”
She reached toward the hardwood floor but Jasmine jumped off the table, grabbed the needle first, and plunged it deep into Betty’s chest. Her eyes bulged from their sockets as her body fell limp to the floor, foam erupting from her mouth.
Jasmine stood up, went through the open door, and found herself in the middle of a bright room, painted mostly in red, a computer setup on one side, a tiny kitchen on the other. She looked down to see Clive underneath his computer desk, removing a battery from a charger. When he noticed her, he sat up like a vampire rising from his coffin.
“Whoa, what?” he said. “This isn’t part of the movie.”
Jasmine ran to the door, but it was locked. She tried to kick it down. Clive came up from behind her and grabbed her by her hair.
“Oww!” Jasmine screamed. “Stop it, stop it!”
“Your character is supposed to be dead!” he shouted.
Jasmine spun around and spit in his face. She kicked him in the stomach, then grabbed the computer monitor and threw it on top of Clive. He pushed it away. Grabbed her foot. Jasmine tripped and fell to the ground. He got on top of her and pinned her hands down.
“Betty, get in here!” he shouted. No response. “Betty?” Still nothing.
Jasmine shook her head. “I think she’s taking a nap.”
He narrowed his eyes. “What the hell did you do to her?” He slapped her again, this time even harder. “Am I gonna have to kill you for real? I didn’t want to, but now I just might you stupid little bitch — ”
She kicked him in the crotch, and when he let out a loud wail, she punched him in the ear.
He let go of her, only for a second, just enough time for her to get away. She ran across the room. Pulled a knife from one of the kitchen drawers.
Clive stood up, and marched right toward her. “I… am going… to finish… my movie!”
Jasmine jumped behind him, pulled his greasy hair back, and slit his throat. He fell down face first, blood gushing out onto the dirty kitchen floor.
She grabbed a set of keys from his pocket and unlocked the door in front of her.
“There’s an ending for you,” she said, and walked into the morning sunlight.