ext_20269: (Sally - black and white with rose)
[identity profile] annwfyn.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] writing_shadows
It's a strange thing, leaving the dressing room. I mean, I've been here for a long time; longer than any of the others. For a while I was even the best loved. I had my own e mail address, which none of the others ever had, and I was given the starring role. I hated it, of course. I've never much liked being on stage; it's high risk, after all. And I always knew, even if the management didn't, just how fickle the spotlight can be.

Which isn't to say I didn't take a certain satisfaction in winning. In taking praxis, in sitting on manumission panels. In being the thing that Jack wanted me to be, even if it was for just a little while. But I never liked it. And in some ways it's a relief that it's over.

It's over for all the vampires now, I'm told. None of us are sticking around. The blackout curtains on the dressing room windows are coming down. The tall girl with the ice blue eyes and the werewolf boyfriend has bought a bonsai tree for the windowsill.

I won't be the last to go. I always thought I would be for some reason. I don't know why. I wasn't the first to arrive - that honour went to Sophie Mirabeau, who I never met. I know a little about her from the scraps she left in the dressing table I inherited; the saint's medallion bound up with chicken bones; the slim book of nineteenth century poetry; and the few pressed flowers from the bayou which she had caught between the pages. But she walked into the sun.

She was followed by others but they never stayed for long. One was called Malachite. I know that because she carved her name on the woodwork. Another was some kind of Nordic creature with a fondness for runework. I believe she barely lasted a month. Then the dressing room was left empty for a while, until I arrived. And of all the vampires who had come and gone before, I was the only one who stuck around.

The Chance girl (the blood junkie who gives other blood junkies a bad name) and Miss Morris, the pleasant little nurse, came along as well in time. But I stayed in place as the senior one, the most important of the vampires.

Of course, for a long time, the other creatures took precedence. The little redheaded fairy girl was a favourite for ages, and then the noisy parrot girl took over. For me those were strangely restful days. They were on stage nearly all the time, and I had peace and quiet in my little corner at the back. But in time, perhaps unfortunately, darkness came back into vogue.

Miss Morris approves of this. She's an odd little creature. She seems so quiet and retiring, but for all that, she likes having a place centre stage. She was originally meant to be a bit player, just appearing for a night or so in London Requiem, but she didn't go, and instead just determinedly moved into the dressing room. She didn't even have a table set up for her when she arrived, so unexpected was her appearance and she still sits perched at a piece of wood laid across four crates, with a tablecloth draped over it.

I think she's the only one of us who's sad that we're all shipping out. The Chance girl has already gone. She left a while ago, pushing a few things into a backpack. She took off holding a letter from a dubious Eastern European she referred to as 'Uncle Micky' which disturbed me on a number of levels. She talked to me a little before she went; how much she'd lost herself in this place, how she'd let her bloodline down, how she needed to find herself again. I didn't say anything, but she didn't seem to care. She promised to send me a postcard, but never did.

"I'll miss Mr Taylor," Miss Morris says wistfully. I ignore her, as I tend to if I'm not interested. Mr Taylor will, I think, undoubtedly miss her as well, but I'm sure he'll find someone else to distract him and this one will probably be infinitely more troublesome. Just like he'll find another liege and I'll be forgotten in time. That's one thing I've learned over the years. Everyone is forgotten. There are Invictus now who've never heard of Christopher Marchant. Soon there will be Daeva who won't know who Katie Crassus was, and before that, even, there will be Kindred who don't know who I ever was.

We're all just dust in the wind, after all.

There. Enough. My dressing table is clear now, and I look around the dressing room for one last time. I look at the empty tables where the changeling girls used to be and I chuckle a little at the memory, which surprises me. I never thought I liked them. I nod to the mages; who have actually come in on their day off (they have a lot of days off) to say goodbye and then I smile at the wolf girls who I've got to know better than all the rest in recent years.

I don't shake anyone's hand, but I do smile.

They have not been bad girls to share space with, in this peculiar dressing room at the back of someone's mind. I won't miss them, but I'll remember them, and that's nearly as good.

"Good luck," I say.

I've not said goodbye to anyone else. Not Ed, not Narissa, not Maximilian, not Mr Taylor, and I won't miss them either, I don't think. Well, maybe Ed. I'll always miss him. There's too much baggage not to. But for most part, I think I will be fine and they will be fine without me. And that's why it's easy to go now. That's how I know it's time.

That's why I don't look back when I walk out of the door.


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