FADING STAR

Olivia Hildebrand drained the bottle of beer. She took a long drag on a cigarette and stubbed it out on her expensive Armani dress.

She tripped, one of her Gucci heels had broken, and landed on the ground. She looked up at the Hollywood sign looming brightly over her.

‘This is how it ends then.’ She stared at her own face. ‘Not even a big enough star for a wax museum anymore.’

Well, it had been an exhilarating ride while it had lasted.

She hurled the head away and watched her younger face smash to pieces on a rock.


broken-face-liz
© Liz Young

Written as part of the Friday Fictioneers challenge hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (more details HERE). The idea is to write a short story of 100 words based on the photo prompt (above).

To read stories of 100 words based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Feature photo – © Richard Lund

95 responses to “FADING STAR”

  1. The interesting thing is, despite the ravages of time and the unfeeling world, she seems quite calm about it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Drunken acceptance I was going for, she’ll be back on her feet after the alcohol wears off.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Nicely drawn portrait of bitterness and disillusionment.
    Good stuff, Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bitterness and disillusionment – we writers have got plenty of experience to fall back on there. 🙂

      Like

  3. I love the link to the prompt! And a nice message in this piece too. Great title!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jessie, very kind.

      Like

  4. Photographs of our younger selves are bad enough – thank God I’m never going to be famous enough for a waxwork.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Liz, I always find the waxworks look a bit dead behind the eyes anyway, quite sinister. Speaking of sinister, thanks for the photo prompt this week!

      Like

  5. So poignant. How quickly some stars can fade.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some burn brightly and quickly. That’s the fickleness and vanity of society though. Thanks Louise.

      Like

  6. I loved what you saw and where you took us. Nicely done!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A real Sunset Boulevard feel to this Iain. Tragic and yet inevitable too – no one’s star shines forever. Love how you’ve written this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynn, nice to be compared to a film classic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My total pleasure 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Iain,

    I was thinking of a particular Twilight Zone myself. Stardom is such a fleeting thing. You captured the fading starlet brilliantly.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a shame that for a lot of actors, women especially, stardom is related to looks and youth regardless of talent. Thanks, glad you liked it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Very well written and poignant, Iain. You’ve captured the feeling well — the feeling of somebody resigning to despair and defeat after a life of striving (and self-destruction). It made me think of that line from Eliot: ‘This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Resignation was what I was going for, and there’s not whole lot you can do about getting older. Maybe she’ll get one last hurrah and go out with a bang!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sunset Boulevard supreme.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Excellent. Made me think of the old Westworld and the Faceless Men in Martin’s books.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Perfect mood for this photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Great story full of passion.
    My only thoughts would be to re-visit the second paragraph. You have two sentences starting with she and could mix it up a bit.
    Liked the reference to the wax museum.
    xx Rowena

    Like

    1. Thanks Rowena, and thanks for the suggestion. I like the repetition of ‘She’ as it is, I like to try and keep it plain and simple. Iain 🙂

      Like

  14. If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend the 1950 film “Sunset Boulevard starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. Swanson plays a formerly famous actress who has “aged out” but dreams of a big comeback.

    Some of the cast include silent film stars Hedda Hopper, Buster Keaton, Anna Q Nilsson, and H.B. Warner. Your wee tale reminded me of the movie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks James, I have a copy of it somewhere, been a while since I watched it, always worth revisiting. Glad my story reminded you of it.

      Like

  15. Excellent take on the photo prompt. It’s same everywhere for female stars especially. beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Indira, unfortunately no sign of it changing anytime soon.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s true but hoping for the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. She doesn’t deserve an Armani dress. Even a drunk lady knows not to use it to stub out a cigarette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s how low she’s gone! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s not low, that’s stupid 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Very Gloria Swanson. Liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Nicely written. Acceptance tinged with tragedy

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I sensed an older actress, unsuccessful auditions, rumours in the tabloids. I felt her resignation alright! Maybe if she had built her career on more than just her looks, she could be Betty White, or Meryl Streep, or my favourite, Helen Mirren.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Sadly I think even talented actresses (and some men too) can be cast aside when their looks fade, maybe she just needs to start auditioning for different kinds of roles.

      Like

  20. To bad society judges people so much on their looks instead of their intelligence and creativity! 🙂 Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and I agree – not just for actors either!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, it’s not. I had a good job in sales with an electronics retail store, and after my accident (and facial reconstruction) the District’s GM fired me. Reason given: “You’ve lost the “cute” value.” Had nothing to do with the fact that I was at top sales that earned me $10K @ 2% commission on sales in only fifteen minutes that morning. I haven’t been able to find any steady work since.. That was 21 years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s a horrendous story. Hopefully things have changed in the last 21 years to make sure that doesn’t happen anymore. And the District GM is no longer in a position of power.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Actually, the entire company has been sent into virtual non-existence, shutting down 98% thereabouts of their stores. Karma bites! She laughs.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Ha, they got what they deserved definitely 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  21. Everyone said what I wanted to… excellent portrayal of Hollywood’s cruelty…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dale, always value your feedback 🙂

      Like

  22. The limelight does fade, but the indignity of having your wax figure booted… Nice portrait of yesteryear’s star.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, definitely a blow if they return your wax head in the post! Thanks Trent 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Better to have soared brightly through space than have never flown at all. Or something like that. Thanks Keith.

      Like

  23. I must admit I gasped when I read the part about the cigarette being snuffed out on the dress. THAT line, to me, said it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alicia, glad a detail like that had an impact!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I was caught up in this dark tale, then the last line made me smile, until I realized that this is a still a tragedy. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A tragedy of sorts. She still might pick herself up from here. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Excellent, Iain. I enjoy the Hollywood scene, but I like the take on the prompt. Super!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. ‘Not even a big enough star for a wax museum anymore’ – great line, but such a sad story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, much appreciated.

      Like

  27. Poor gal. Fame is so fleeting. The public is always looking for something new and fresh.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. It’s a terrible day when even your waxwork gets retired 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not a good day, that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Tonight my to comment won’t flow, but you wrote a fine story.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. it’s definitely one of your best. well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Just listened to the story of Peg Entwistle … though she was not old yet, being discarded is harsh in Hollywood…

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Expertly captured dillusionment

    Liked by 1 person

  33. The pathos of a fading star aptly portrayed. The sadness, the disheartened feeling…loved it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, much appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

  34. I love the final line–it tells us a lot about her. Nice take on the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. I am taken aback by how some former stars look when they are older. The sad thing is, I think they still see themselves as they once were. Nicely told.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think your right Clare, very few grow old gracefully. That might be society’s fault as much as the individual’s. Thanks.

      Like

  36. It’s hard enough aging in my simple world (back pain this week, knee last week), but brutal in Tinsel Town! Very evocative, Lain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dawn. Better to grow old gracefully out of the limelight 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Nice. Throwing ones own head away that’s a striking image.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. It must be hard when that adulation moves on to others. It takes a strong personality to cope with fame, and a stronger one to cope without it.
    Nicely told

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Better the wax face shatters than the real one. She seems resiliant despite the disillusion. Great atmosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I think she has the resilience to bounce back once she gets over the set back.

      Liked by 1 person

  40. Good take. I was with her the whole time.

    Liked by 1 person

  41. Some Hollywood actors less reliant on good looks for stardom, seem to command leading parts right up until the end of their lives.
    This story is a wonderful example of how cruel the whole scene can be to those who are no longer useful.
    Such a fickle world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fickle indeed, thanks Sarah.

      Liked by 1 person

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