Closer_ A Stage Dive Novella - Kylie Scott

ONE THOUSAND AND ONE DARK NIGHTS

Once upon a time, in the future…

I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and

the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast

library at my father’s home and collected thousands

of volumes of fantastic tales.

I learned all about ancient races and bygone

times. About myths and legends and dreams of all

people through the millennium. And the more I read

the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered

that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually

become part of them.

I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher

and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I

would not be telling you this tale now.

But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off

with bravery.

One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to

see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar

(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then

sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written

and I had read, that by the time he met Scheherazade,

the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand

women.

Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived

in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged

places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had

never occurred before and that still to this day, I

cannot explain.

Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have

taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can

protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

protect herself and stay alive.

Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before

you now.

CHAPTER ONE

I couldn’t have been more tired if I tried. It felt like a billion hours of traveling cross country for a two-day shoot. And it hadn’t helped that I was modelling winter clothes on the streets of New Orleans during the middle of their hot, wet summer. Honest to God, I was ready to lie down and die. Or at least snooze for a really long time, Sleeping Beauty style. Once I got up to my new apartment, of course. After so many years of my life being in a constant state of flux, it was beyond nice to have a home.

“Miss Cooper,” said Leonard, the concierge/security guard, with a smile. He was a big strong man in his fifties, if I had to guess. Not someone you’d want to mess with. “Welcome back.”

“Thanks.”

“How was your trip?”

“Good. How’s your week been?”

“Fine, miss,” he said. “A parcel came for you. I’ll just grab it.”

“Thanks, Leonard.”

He headed for a door behind the counter as I set my LV Keepall Bandouliére on the floor. One day I would learn not to overpack. Probably not anytime soon, however. I rolled my shoulder back a few times then forward. It didn’t help the ache.

Finding exactly the right place to put down roots hadn’t been easy. The apartment block sat in the middle of the Pearl District. Right in the heart of a heap of great shops and restaurants. I loved it. New York and Los Angeles might be more fashion world relevant, but Portland was my hometown. Art deco stonework surrounded the front door and the lobby was all shiny surfaces. The building had lots of old world charm. Lots of rock stars too,