Day Six: Ashley
She was getting tired of this same routine. She knew that there wasn’t much time for her to escape because she feared that she was losing her mind. Perhaps that was the first sign of madness, that one was fearing madness. Her dreams were tormenting her, and she was not used to being tormented. Being beautiful was no cure to the torments of the imagination, and she felt strangely defenseless during her sleep. She had been fortunate enough in the course of her life to avoid the sort of problems that many women suffer from men who don’t know the meaning of no. She had lived a charmed life for the most part, and yet she had visions of crashing into a train over and over again. What was she supposed to learn from this? She could not bear another day in this place, nor another night of miserable nightmares taunting her with death and destruction. If her life was to be continual sorrow, she would rather end it on her own terms, and she knew that she had the means to end this. Yet like many philanthropists, she did not wish to help herself alone, but she wished to help everyone else she could at the same time. That was the problem with so many do-gooders and philanthropists and idealists in this world, that they could not bear only to live what they saw as the right way and to set a positive example for everyone else around them but because they believed that they had to coerce everyone else to live the same way and to not only accept the way that they lived but to approve of it and to abhor any other way of living. It was the same way when people fought over how to fold their towels, believing that there was a right and a wrong way to do things, viz that the right way was to fold it the way that they folded it and how they had been taught by their parents and the wrong way being any other way other than what they had decided. It would have been one thing if Ashley had been content to fuss over her own misery–she would have to answer for what she did, but she would not be doing active harm to others, but it was an entirely different matter that she felt it necessary to be an activist for her way of life.
She was pretending to be asleep once more. It was rather tiresome to do so, she mused to herself, but she could not bear to have a conversation with Kate at this time. She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep the entire week. If she was a fair-minded person–she was not–she would accept it as a fact of her existence. She would have pondered the influence of trauma on nightmares and would have developed some empathy for those who suffered trauma and whose minds worked out the horrors they had seen or experienced in the course of their night terrors. That is what an empathetic person would have done in trying to understand their own suffering in the context of the suffering that was spread throughout the world as a result of the violence suffered by people from the hands of abusers, or through the violence of certain sports or through wars and conflicts. She, though, as was typical for her, only thought about herself. She had not slept well, and she did not feel up to a great deal of conversation, and so she tried to remain silent as much as possible. The conversation she had had with Kate the previous day, when she felt a little better, had not gone well according to her satisfaction and so she did not want to repeat the experience. If it had gone well she would have felt better about it. Instead she felt as if she had not gotten along the best with the bellhop. Truth be told, she was not afraid of the bellhop now. She felt that she had the upper hand and the advantage, and just as she had been unreasonably afraid when she thought that the inoffensive man wished to harm her and Kate, but was quite willing to use Kate as bait to distract him, she now held him in contempt and was unwilling to think of him as a person whose feelings or concerns she needed to respect. She thought of people only insofar as she could get something out of them, and since he was no longer a threat to her and had no interest in her and she had no particular power over him through her beauty because he seemed not to appreciate her personality, she supposed she would do the best she could with the means available.
There was one thing that bothered her, and she didn’t feel comfortable dealing with it until Kate was out of the way. So after hearing Kate talk on the phone with the moronic bellhop and hearing her leave the room, she resolved to take what action she could. She didn’t seem to react as fast as she would have preferred, and it irritated her that she still had that headache from a few days ago that had not vanished, or perhaps it was the lingering effects of the hangover, which usually didn’t affect her so much, or perhaps it was the pain from the endless series of nightmares she had suffered. Whatever it was, she was not feeling her best. She looked at the mirror on the wall again and found that she looked attractive, at least. It was a comfort to know that even if she did not feel well and had not bathed during the entire week that she did not look bad. Perhaps other people would have looked askance at her priorities–probably most people would have thought her to have the wrong priorities–but she was not concerned with what other people thought. Her concern was that she looked good and very little mattered to her except how she looked and how she could use that to get what she wanted. She had never focused on academic intelligence to a great degree, although she had an able enough mind, but she had not trained it to do what other people did with their able minds. Her focuses in life were rather limited to manipulating people and seeking her own glory and this was the sort of thing that she was pleased about. She would just have to find a better scope for her charms than was the case here with people she did not want to charm because she would find it irksome and bothersome to be connected to. She knew within her heart that things were coming to a head and would not continue as they had gone for so long, and she was sure that things were coming to an end. She just did not know exactly how they would turn out, or what it would take for the ending to come about as she wanted. She had some business to do first, and it was time to take care of that.
Having assured herself that she was still beautiful, she took the box after she had removed what was inside of it and was going to return it. She did not feel comfortable relying on the bellhop’s inattentiveness for too much longer. It was time to act. She took the empty box and walked through the halls, concerned that she might be seen and might have to explain herself. She kept what was inside under her sweatpants and made her way to the room she had gone to the night before. It was much the same as it had been. Before she could put the box down and quickly return back to her room, though, she was hit with something. She saw a vision of sorts, and she had to sit on the bed so that she did not trip over one of the piles of books and make herself too conspicuous to whoever would be passing by. As she sat on the bed she was afflicted with something that she had never seen before and never wanted to see again, a vision of herself standing before a judge and answering for all of the wicked deeds that she had ever done. It was a long vision, as she had not lived a very good life, and she wanted nothing to do with it. Who was there to judge her? Was she not free to live as she wished without any repercussions or consequences? Did she not have a spark of the divine within her? Who did she have to convince anyway? Herself? The vision passed, mercifully, and she got up from the bed and put the empty box on the desk in the area where she had taken it the previous evening. She thought she saw Kate as she heard the door suddenly open, and just as suddenly the door was closed again and Kate’s voice and that of the bellhop’s were receding? Had she been seen? Did Kate or the bellhop suspect that she was here or what she was doing? She hoped not. She felt sick to her stomach as her body recovered from the fear and panic that had gripped her when she had thought that she would be discovered with a box that the bellhop would not fail to see some significance in, and she sat on the bed until the waves of nausea had passed and she was something more like herself again.
There was no time to lose now. By now the two lovebirds, she thought contemptuously to herself, would probably be cuddling on Kate’s bed or something like that. The thought made her blood boil that while she had gone an entire week without being able to derive any pleasure of a romantic kind, that Kate and the plain bellhop were able to do whatever they wanted considering they were obviously attracted to each other. It was more infuriating to her that the two of them seemed to be relatively chaste about it. She was sure that if they had made love or anything like that that Kate would have been unable to avoid gushing about it even if she was doing her best to pretend to be sleeping, and as she had not heard any of the details she assumed that these two people had been immature enough not to rip each other’s clothes off and make love like any reasonable adults would do. She was slowly making her way down the hall, until she came to the door, which she opened. She could hear breathing and did not hear the two of them moving from where they were–she could see their feet pretty quickly and could see that they were cuddling close. She took the gun out of her sweat pants and checked once more to see how many bullets there were–three exactly, so she would have to do this well. She pointed the handgun at the bellhop’s head and fired. Kate’s eyes jerked awake in horror and she let out a terrible scream. Ashley turned to Kate and shot her in the head. By this point, blood and brains and who knows what else where splattering all over the room, and the thought made Ashley sick to her stomach. Only one bullet left to go, she said to herself as she pointed the gun to her own head and pulled the trigger one more time. As soon as she heard the gun fire she lost consciousness as the world went black.