Created for the Tropetember Event - Let the Past Burn
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Made in collaboration with Elysian Triplet <3 (Part two of their entry "Let the Past Burn..." following Callista!)
Distant echoes of melodies and the thundering applause of crowds lingered in the vacant halls of the aristocratic theatre as Varvara twirled around them in a memorised but very botched dance, spilling thick gasoline around herself with every turn. Her laugh carried across the walls around her, carrying its hysterical sound in place of the serene ambiance the theatre held. A rank of sophistication she was deemed too crass for; too volatile and passionate to belong.
“You’re too volatile; too eccentric. It puts people off. Your place is that of an assistant, not manager. It’s best you remember that.” the words circled in her mind, only serving to increase her laugh with every repetition. She remembered them vividly, as if it had just been yesterday.
She gave everything to this place. Not even having graduated from high school yet and she was already volunteering, doing random chores for a simple chance of taking a peek at the artists during practice. To get a chance to see what it was like, even if she’d never experience it for herself. Then as soon as she got her diploma, she was back, this time officially and in full force, starting out low and working tirelessly every single day to build her way up.
There wasn’t a single day where she regretted all the effort she put in. Making sure everyone was alright, safe and taken care of, it wasn’t even part of her job. All she was supposed to really do was make calls but she did so much more. Gave so much more. Wanted so much more. So she did, going over and beyond to give her everything to the only place that ever truly felt like home. To make sure it could be that for others too.
But of course it had to end.
She dragged her hand over the wall, new canister of gasoline in hand as she came to a stop in front of the doors leading into the main hall. They were intricate in design, one of a kind she had been told. A piece of work costing several thousands and long hours of dedicated work. What a shame, she thought, but kicked them open anyway, the thud that came from it echoing across the vacant hall.
A stage stood in the far end, surrounded by the orchestra pit and then rows upon rows of chairs in front of it. The carvings and decor framing the stage were nothing short of marvellous, a true show of artistic talent marked by sophisticated patterns of marble arranged in such a way that made the place feel grand; like a palace. A pair of balconies overlooking the space could be found on either side, places that had housed more than a handful of esteemed guests back in the day. Before Arturius brought it all to ruin.
This had been it. Where she first met the woman she’d grown to call her friend. Callista. She worked in a different part of the theatre than Varvara, so it wasn’t often they saw each other but Varvara knew from glances she stole after hours the sheer talent the young woman held; a passion for art unlike anything she’d seen before or since. Truly a diamond in the rough. It brought forth a whole other wave of incentive for Varvara to make sure people like her friend would one day get the recognition they so deserved.
But that all crumbled when he came in, the new owner of the theatre. A sick bastard by the damned name of Arturius.
“Remember your place” She gritted to herself, a flash of anger flickering in her eyes before her face lit up with a grin and she started her way down the aisle on the side, pouring the thick liquid onto the ground and chairs around it, ensuring the substance soak into the the soft velvety cushions.
This wasn’t just a simple act of vandalism. No. This was revenge. But not just for herself. No, no, it wasn't only herself that had gotten punished that day. The bastard had to have it out for the rookies. And specifically, the only other woman the theatre had hired aside of herself.
She never forgot the sight of utter defeat on Callista’s face as she walked out of his office that day. They stumbled into each other for only a moment, but the image was burned into her mind, haunting her every day since; slowly twisting her mind from sympathy to a profound, distorted rage. And in that anger, the two become friends. Joined by shared betrayal and a mutual desire for justice.
Her eyes fell onto the stage, the deserted image before her morphing into the last performance held just the night before. Who would’ve thought it would be the last moment of intentional glory this theatre would ever see? Once upon a time, the mere thought of hurting this place would never have crossed her mind. Much less to hurt it in such a violent way. To do such a thing to the very place she grew to call a home; to do such a thing to people she called her own.
But now? Now it brought a smile to her face, filling her with a newfound thrill.
With a frenzied giggle she climbed up the steps onto the stage, slowing her pace to take in the sense of importance the stage offered; even if it was only her and the ghosts of memories the place held keeping her company. She took in a sharp breath, letting the intoxicating smell of gasoline fill her lungs before pouring the remains of the coannister across the stage, making sure to coat it entirely.
She took one final look at her home and all of her greatest moments and darkest hours it held, she hopped off the stage, leisurely making her way out of the hall, humming quietly one of the songs she had learned from stalking the sidelines. She picked up the final canister of oil she had brought with her and popped the lid off, draining its contents clumsily as she made her way across the foyer, taking a final spin around its grand and glorious bearing, the memories of radiant glory flashing in her mind only to come face to face with its deteriorated state.
Courtesy of its current master obviously. For even the building itself withered at his presence. Everything he touched turned to shit. What a shame.
“Theater Diamandis, it’s been a pleasure” she took a dramatic bow, paying her respects to the building one last time before she spun around, swinging the front doors open with a vigorous kick. They burst open with a loud thud to reveal the sight of her friend waiting for her outside; just like they had agreed. She tossed the canister right out the door, its contents spilling onto the floor in a messy trail from the theatre towards where Callista stood in the dark.
Varvara’s laughter filled the silence of the night as she stepped out of the grand building, arms outstretched and head tilted back in relief. She came to a stop beside the younger woman, flashing her a devilish grin. “Light her up, Callie” she spun on her heel, facing the theatre as her friend lit the match in her hand and threw it onto the trail of gasoline.
The flame spread with enthusiasm towards the building, as if it too was chasing the sweet scent of revenge. The theatre erupted in a wave of flames, casting a radiant light on the two women as they watched, eyes reflecting the magnificent sight of fire before them.
Oh how poetic it all was, watching a thing so beautiful be consumed by another thing of equal– though vastly different– beauty. The sounds of the theatre died within it, the echoes of songs and the remnants of applause finally parting from Varvara’s ears. For once in a long, long time there was silence.
Within the friend now leaning on her shoulder, she found solace. And within the roaring flames, freedom.