“I love you. Byeeeeeee.”
Lewis mouthed the final word along with Rose, her sweet smile fading to black as the video ended. His daughter sat transfixed beside him, her hand feeling blindly for the mouse to select the next video.
She, like every other young girl was obsessed with Rose and her videos. An entire generation of young women was transfixed, and while many parents couldn’t understand why, they did their best to accommodate their children’s love for the star. Lewis was prepared to go the extra mile, for his only child, Hannah.
“No more.” He muttered, patting her head gently and ignoring the small moan of disappointment from Hannah. “We’ll see plenty of her later.”
“Special meet up! Special meet up!” He smiled, watching his daughter bounce in the chair beside him, in sync with her chants of excitement.
The day had finally arrived when his daughter would meet her idol. It had been months in the making, and many hours of careful planning and hard work for Lewis, but it didn’t bother him. How could it? He wanted only happiness for his daughter, and he knew Rose could understand that.
“That’s right.” He stood from his chair, extending his hand to her. “And why do you get a special meet up?” He asked as she jumped down from the computer chair.
“Because I’m her favourite.” He nodded, leading her towards the basement, and unable to suppress a smile as he looked down at her bright eyes, sparkling with excitement.
He opened the door and could feel his daughter pulling at his sleeve, silently pleading for him to take her downstairs. He had teased her for weeks, warning that going to the basement would ruin her special surprise.
Rose had replaced Santa in ensuring good behaviour from his child, but he had seen her, sneaking a look down the stairs of the basement, hoping to catch a glimpse of her idol, but just like Santa, Rose would only appear on one very special day, before vanishing from sight, and being nothing more than a dream.
As they slowly descended the staircase, a small whimper could be heard, and while any normal child would be frightened, Hannah didn’t seem concerned.
As they reached the floor of the dimly lit basement, an upturned water bowl at the foot of the stairs was the only thing visible, until Lewis reached up and switched on the light, and Rose, dishevelled and exhausted was finally visible.
Rose wasn’t quite herself, she usually accessorised so well, but ropes around her wrists and ankles wasn’t quite the look she’d usually go for. As Hannah ran to her, screaming with excitement, Rose’s hoarse voice could barely be heard.
“Please let me go.”