Kyoko stared at the wall of DVDs, taking in the titles stamped on narrow spines, the lurid images splashed across faced-out covers. This, she thought, was true despair. Her first movie role, and it was not that of a beautiful princess, a perfect lady or even a fallen angel. No! Of course not!
She was going to play a serial killer.
"Why am I always cast as mean girls?" she shouted at the ceiling. If the few people within speaking distance gave her uneasy looks as they backed away slowly and found another aisle to browse, Kyoko didn't notice.
"Excuse me," a female voice said from behind her. "If you don't want that movie you've been punching for the past ten minutes, can I take it? It just came out two weeks ago and I haven't watched it."
Kyoko turned and--
She squinted. Was a shadowy blob talking to her?
Dark eyes peered up at her. "You don't want it, do you?" A stubby finger pointed at the DVD Kyoko had been unintentionally defacing.
"Er." The cover sported a willowy girl in a bloody, white dress being chased by a guy with an axe. "No." Kyoko quickly handed the DVD to the blob, who clutched it as if it were made of gold and diamonds.
"Um," she began. "If you don't mind my asking, do you watch a lot of these movies?"
"Do I--? Of course!" The blob began to twirl in place. "The inventive death scenes! The splattering blood! The way people scream as they--"
Another customer who happened to walk by at that exact moment broke into a run. Kyoko watched him dash out of the store, puzzled. What in the world could have scared him?
"--it's an artform few people appreciate!" The blob finished with a flourish and watched Kyoko expectantly.
Oh no! She had missed everything the other girl had said! Why had she let herself get distracted?
The blob peered at her face more closely. "Why do you ask?"
Should she tell her she was an actress? No, Kyoko dismissed that idea almost as soon as it came. That didn't seem like a good idea. While she wasn't famous enough to be recognized on sight, not like other actors at the agency, Kyoko needed to be more careful these days if she didn't want to end up in the tabloids.
Instead Kyoko said, "I'm trying to understand the appeal."
"Why? You either like something or you don't. If you don't, that's okay."
Good advice, but Kyoko didn't have that option as an actor trying to reach superstardom. "I guess I'm trying to figure out why horror villains kill people." There, that didn't sound too suspicious.
"It depends on the villain. Sometimes they want to punish people. Sometimes they want revenge--"
"Hey! Aren't you done yet? I'm hungry!"
"Sometimes," the girl continued darkly, "they want to get rid of a very annoying person."
Kyoko blinked. How obvious. That was it. Hadn't her character's first victim been killed simply because he'd taken the last copy of a book she'd wanted? That was something to build on.
"Hey, did you hear me? I said--!"
The blob whirled to face a stunningly beautiful young man their age -- not that Kyoko was gaping in any way because that would mean she noticed and she had closed her heart off to that nonsense long ago! -- and said, "I'm talking to someone about horror movies!"
The boy eyed Kyoko dubiously and jammed his hands into his pockets. "Only you could find another weirdo in a place like this."
Weirdo? Kyoko bristled. This guy! He was just like--
Then he placed his hand on top of the girl's head and smiled. Kyoko thought she heard a few muffled squeals coming from the next aisle over but that was ridiculous; she must have been imagining things. "We'll be at the ramen cart across the street, Sunako." He slouched off to join three other equally beautiful guys standing in the front of the store.
"They live with me," the other girl said, answering the question Kyoko didn't ask. "That one--" She gestured vaguely towards the door. "--is trying to kill me with his light."
Kyoko wasn't sure what exactly the other girl meant by that, but she had a feeling she understood the relationship between the two of them. A little. "Thank you for answering my questions even though I'm a complete stranger."
The blob-girl smiled. "You're welcome." She shifted. "Well. I should go. If I don't, those bright creatures will come back in here looking for me."
"You're not going to meet them across the street?"
"Why would I do that?" She held up the DVD. "If I can leave without them noticing, I'll be able to watch this in peace!"
Bemused, Kyoko watched as the other girl started to go. Then:
"By the way, those bright creatures really like your drama. Not that one, but the others do. I watch it with them sometimes. It's not as good as a horror movie but your character's fun." Kyoko started. She'd known all along? "Congratulations on the movie role. The story sounds interesting. I look forward to seeing what you do with it."
And with that, she left. And if she didn't look much like a shadowy blob and more like a tall and slender young woman with a shining curtain of black hair -- a lot like the proper lady Kyoko had once tried to be? Well, Kyoko filed that away for later, in case they ever crossed paths again.
For now? She had a movie role to prepare for.