Closer: A Stage Dive Novella - Kylie Scott
ONE THOUSAND AND ONE DARK NIGHTS
Once upon a time, in the future…
I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.
I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and
the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast
library at my father’s home and collected thousands
of volumes of fantastic tales.
I learned all about ancient races and bygone
times. About myths and legends and dreams of all
people through the millennium. And the more I read
the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered
that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually
become part of them.
I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher
and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I
would not be telling you this tale now.
But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off
One afternoon, curious about the myth of the
Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to
see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar
(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then
sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written
and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,
the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand
Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived
in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged
places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had
never occurred before and that still to this day, I
Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have
taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can
protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to
protect herself and stay alive.
Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.
And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a
point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.
And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that
he might hear the rest of my dark tale.
As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new
one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before
I couldn’t have been more tired if I tried. It felt like a billion hours of traveling cross country for a two-day shoot. And it hadn’t helped that I was modelling winter clothes on the streets of New Orleans during the middle of their hot, wet summer. Honest to God, I was ready to lie down and die. Or at least snooze for a really long time, Sleeping Beauty style. Once I got up to my new apartment, of course. After so many years of my life being in a constant state of flux, it was beyond nice to have a home.
“Miss Cooper,” said Leonard, the concierge/security guard, with a smile. He was a big strong man in his fifties, if I had to guess. Not someone you’d want to mess with. “Welcome back.”
“How was your trip?”
“Good. How’s your week been?”
“Fine, miss,” he said. “A parcel came for you. I’ll just grab it.”
He headed for a door behind the counter as I set my LV Keepall Bandouliére on the floor. One day I would learn not to overpack. Probably not anytime soon, however. I rolled my shoulder back a few times then forward. It didn’t help the ache.
Finding exactly the right place to put down roots hadn’t been easy. The apartment block sat in the middle of the Pearl District. Right in the heart of a heap of great shops and restaurants. I loved it. New York and Los Angeles might be more fashion world relevant, but Portland was my hometown. Art deco stonework surrounded the front door and the lobby was all shiny surfaces. The building had lots of old world charm. Lots of rock stars too, what with rising star Adam Dillon and half the members of the world famous Stage Dive band taking up the top two floors. They were the cause of occasional fans lurking outside. Thankfully I wasn’t the one drawing crowds, which was how I liked it. Live next to someone more famous than yourself and you’re bound to be left in peace—most of the time.
Leonard stepped out of the back room with a box in his hands and a frown on his face. “Something’s leaking.”
“Oh no.” A drop of red fell onto the white marble floor. The box was the wrong size for a bottle of wine and I highly doubted someone would have sent me tomatoes. “What the hell?”
He set it on the counter. Several of his fingers were smeared with the stuff. We both stared in growing horror as more of the red stuff oozed from a corner of