The Cost of Entertainment

The Cost of Entertainment In a town known for its bustling entertainment, where the best performers are seen as gods to the general population, lived a very prominent actor named Spencer. From a young age, Spencer dreamed of being the best performer in the world, frequently sneaking into performing arts and movie theatres' to watch the best actors of the time mesmerize his psyche with their elite acting ability. In time, Spencer would devote all of his energy into honing his craft as a performer and before long, he would rise up the ranks and eventually accomplish his goal of being the best actor in the world. He was a beloved figure by everyone in entertainment town and quickly became a source of admiration to those who looked up to him. During the height of his fame, Spencer would star in movies spanning different genres, from intense dramas to sci-fi adventures and most interestingly, psychological thrillers. Spencer’s most prominent role belonged to the character “Damien Duvall,” a successful philanthropist who fell into depression after the death of his long-time lover. Duvall ends up selling his soul to a dark entity in order to reverse time to exactly one week before his lover’s demise so that he can inform his partner of a secret he’s been keeping throughout the relationship. 

Spencer’s reign as the best performer in the world would eventually come to a halt when word got out about his connection to underground figures. As a shock to everyone, Spencer was discovered to be associated with a well-known gangster who used his power and influence to assist the once novice actor into getting prominent roles. News spread from city to city, as the citizens of entertainment town began to turn their backs on the disgraced performer. With his reputation in shambles and his fame and fortune a thing of the past, Spencer fell deep into depression. He decided to leave his hometown and travel the world, looking for some sort of inspiration to keep him from putting an end to his existence. Far from his childhood upbringing, Spencer attempted to revive his career in foreign locations. He would act in local theatres, hypnotizing the crowd with his performance and gaining momentary popularity until someone would eventually recognize him as the disgraced actor who fled his hometown. After months of moving from location to location, and unsure of the reason for his continued existence, Spencer decided to retreat to an area uninhabited by human beings. 

The depressed performer travelled to his final destination, a place known as the Forbidden Forest, where wild beasts were believed to rule the region and no human had ever made it out alive. Stories about mythical creatures and evil spirits parading through the forest filled the minds of many although to a man who had lost everything, Spencer invited the possibility of meeting his fate in such a dismal place. Grasping a stick lit with fire and staring into the entrance of the forest, the disgraced actor began to walk forward. He immediately felt an eerie sensation as if some supernatural presence was nearby. Spencer continued his march, although a new feeling had crept into his psyche. He imagined a herd of beasts staring eagerly at him from all angles, ready to pounce at moments notice. Taking a second to observe his current surroundings, the depressed actor didn’t notice anything too out of the ordinary, so he continued to press on, making sure to ignite a fallen tree branch whenever he needed a new source of light. What at first seemed like minutes quickly turned to hours as Spencer made his way deeper into the forest, not knowing where exactly he was headed while also wondering when he would make contact with its rumored inhabitants. Suddenly, he noticed a small shrine-like structure protruding from the tall grass in front of him. Cautiously, he approached the wooden sanctuary and studied its appearance. Enthralled at the glimmering stone that lay at the heart of the altar, Spencer slowly reached out his vacant hand to grasp the shining object. Upon contact, the curious wanderer fell slowly into a trance state, unable to resist the foreign sensation that had swiftly overtook his senses. Momentarily, Spencer began to hear a voice speak to him although he could not see where it was emitting from. The voice declared that it had not seen a human for years before congratulating the immobile traveler for making it this far. Because of this rare occasion, the voice offered Spencer one wish that would be granted after being released from his hypnotic state. Once freed from his trance, Spencer took a second to think before declaring his wish to be as famous and wealthy as he was during the height of his profession. The mysterious voice declared that personal glory is oftentimes the catalyst of corruption, but such words fell on deaf ears as the desperate performer insisted his request be granted. Immediately after fulfilling Spencer’s most coveted wish, the voice vanished into pure silence and the once glimmering stone that lay at the heart of the altar no longer shined like a star in the night sky. In order to make sure that his glory had been returned to him, Spencer decided to return to his place of origin to discover the reactions he would garner after disappearing into obscurity. 

To his surprise, the former king of entertainment town was welcomed back with open arms although curiously, everyone addressed him as Damien Duvall instead of his commonly known name. Even his closest friends and associates labeled him as the character in his most prominent role. Spencer’s greatest fear was confirmed when he encountered an individual who looked exactly like his beloved partner in the well-known psychological thriller. At that moment, the startled performer realized the complexity of his situation. He was living in a world where he truly became his most revered character. With his reputation restored, Spencer began to wonder at what cost did it take to return to his former glory.

The Cost of Entertainment written by fmr. Intern Raphael Campbell in association with Beauty & the Beast Publishing for Writer's Block.   

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