The Author and the Fraud
I knock on the door. After a minute or so it opens.
“Rob, everything okay?” She stands in the doorway.
I hold up a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses. “I thought we should celebrate a great start to the book tour.”
She pauses a moment. “Okay. Come on in.” She steps out of the way and closes the door behind me.
I sit at the edge of her bed as she turns the TV off. I pop the cork and pour a glass.
She takes it and stands in front of me. “You didn’t have to do this.”
I pour a glass for me. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without you. The way you bring Sarah to life is better than I ever dreamed. I’ve gone through more Sarahs than I care to count and I’ve finally found the perfect Sarah.”
“That’s what you pay me for.” She takes a sip. “It’s getting late and we’ve got a big day again tomorrow. We should probably get some sleep.”
“I’m too wired to sleep. Today was amazing. I can’t stop thinking about how much you became Sarah. You were her.”
She shifts on her feet and takes another sip.
“Come on. Sit down. Relax a little. This is a celebration.”
“It is. I’m just exhausted and we’ve got a really long day tomorrow. I could really do with getting to sleep.”
“Okay.” I get to my feet and down the rest of my glass. “Sorry. I’ll let you sleep.”
“Thanks.” She puts her glass down and opens the door for me. She closes it before I can say goodnight. Sarah shouldn’t be this temperamental.
The crowd comes and goes in waves. Men and women take their selfies with my Sarah. She signs their books. She smiles at them, makes small talk and shakes their hands. She hugs a few of them. Sarah’s a nice friendly girl but she should be showing me more attention than she is. During the lulls she gets herself a coffee or uses the bathroom. It’s almost as if I’m not here. She’s certainly acting as if I’m not here. If she wants to keep being Sarah I think she’s going to have to learn how to behave more appropriately. If it carries on like this, though, we will sell a lot of copies.
I knock on the door to her room again. I give her a minute with no answer. I knock again. Same. It’s a tiny hotel room; it’s not as if she wouldn’t be able to hear it. Sarah would answer the door to me. Sarah should answer the door.
I give her another ten minutes, a few knocks spread out. Nothing. She’s doing a really bad job of being Sarah right now. I’m going to have to do something about this. It’s not right. Sarah wouldn’t treat me like this. I made Sarah. Sarah owes me her life. She needs to be shown how Sarah behaves.
The room’s in my name. The staff are more than happy to give me another key to the room. As they should be. Sarah would have given me a key anyway. She’s sleeping on the bed, lying sweetly on her side. My beautiful Sarah. Perfect little Sarah.
She murmurs a little in her sleep. She tosses and turns. Just like I knew Sarah would. I can’t stay mad at her. She’s the perfect Sarah. Everything about her is exactly the way I pictured it. She is Sarah.
I should leave her alone. Let her sleep. I step away from the bed and make my way to the door. Trying to be as quiet as possible. She stirs again, I turn to her and her eyes catch mine.
“Rob, what the fuck are you doing here?” she shouts, pushing herself up and covering herself with the blanket.
“Sarah, it’s okay. I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” I step towards her, holding my hands up.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” She’s still shouting. Sarah shouldn’t react like this.
“Sarah, calm down. It’s okay.” Another step towards her.
“My name isn’t Sarah!”
Why would she say such a thing? “Sarah, what are you talking about?”
“Get out of my room or I’m phoning the police.” She picks up her phone and dials a number. She holds it out, ready to press the call button.
“Sarah. There’s no need for that. It’s okay, Sarah.”
“My name is Julie!”
My hands are around her throat before she can make a call. I squeeze. She claws at my arms; blood runs down to her face. She squeaks and tries to groan. Her throat pushes into my hands. She locks eyes with me. Not Sarah’s eyes. Julie’s. She stops attacking me; her arms limp by her side. She stops struggling under me. She stops moving entirely. We could have been so good together. Julie had to ruin it. Why couldn’t she just be Sarah? Julie killed my Sarah. My perfect Sarah. I need to find a replacement. Someone who can fill the gap. Someone who can bring my perfect Sarah to life. Someone who can be everything that I need Sarah to be. I can’t keep doing this. I need to find my Sarah.
The crowd run away from me when I sit in Sarah’s seat. They scream and shout, pointing their fingers at Sarah as they do. A couple of people throw up. Some faint.
It’s just Sarah.
They can’t see her for who she really is. They can’t see her for her beauty. I go to calm the masses. Stepping towards them I try and talk. The stitching is too tight and Sarah muffles my words. I try again. The stitches tear Sarah’s skin a little. I can mend it later. But Sarah’s mouth is open enough for my words to come out. Nobody listens. Someone tackles me to the ground, ripping Sarah’s dress in the process. Sarah falls off of me and skids along the floor. I get free and crawl back to my Sarah. Someone grabs me before I can reach her.
Sarah, I’m sorry. My hands are forced behind my back. Metal around the wrists. Sarah, I won’t let them take you away from me.
You were finally perfect.
© 2017 David Chitty
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.