Bev wasn’t hearing it! All this time and he had never admitted his true feelings. Just when she’s about to walk out the door he starts clutching at the past.
And this traffic! She kept threatening her Mom that she was moving back home. Snow, mountains, serenity. Not a bad way to live except for the memories…
Daddy would want her to be happy, but it wasn’t that easy. She missed her #1 guy. Bev guessed Michael had tried to be that. He had talked her off a few ledges for sure. But this last ledge felt more permanent.
Rowan paused the episode. Why on earth were they still watching this show? Bev’s character motivation was unclear, her acting was terrible, and the production values were astonishingly poor when compared to the show’s budget. Where exactly had all the money gone? Certainly not into hiring the actor who played Michael; it was either the man’s first time on a live-action drama series, or there was some behind-the-scenes shenanigans going on between the writers and the producers. They were sure if they went digging on a few fansites they would find the answer, but that would be several hours of their life they would never get back, and that was better spent taking another stab at crocheting or heeding the call of the Duolingo Owl. Rowan’s phone buzzed and they grabbed it off their coffee table and read the text.
What did you think of episode 3? I couldn’t believe how fake that bird looked! And that wig!
They smiled at their friend’s text. Right, this was why they were still watching this garbage show. Their friends had a ritual to pick one terrible show to watch to completion, and Heart of the Wildlands had been the show the dart had landed on the last time they were at Kevin’s place. The joys of having multiple friends meant that only Rowan and Michelle had to have Netflix accounts, while the others chipped in monetarily (and occasionally with homemade snacks.)
Still, this was the third time Bev had flung herself onto a couch and sobbed into that garish, sequined nightmare of a pillow! Personally, they were hoping the pillow went missing much like Bev’s and Michael’s dining room table and received just as little narrative explanation for its disappearance. They texted their friend Rose back and included a selfie of themselves with the most aggrieved expression they could muster.
“There are only two episodes left, there are only two episodes left…” They chanted to themselves. They eyed the remote with trepidation; the plan was to meet back up once everyone had watched episode six, as that was the halfway point for the show. It was such a mystery why the show hadn’t been renewed for a second season. Such a masterful piece of cinema was being denied to the creative community! Woe and suffering and all that jazz. Maybe they would see if they had any of the cookies Sasha had made left in their pantry. The power of friendship-infused sugary sweets had to be enough to counteract the overwrought acting and thrift-store props.
Rowan heard a knock at the door.
It was such a weird time for anyone to drop by… They glanced quickly at the clock on the wall – 2:45am – and headed to the door with the can of cookies still clutched in their hand.
One quick look through the peephole did nothing but leave them even more confused.
Rowan opened the door in a hurry.
“Rose? What are you doing here? I just got your text.”
She didn’t even wait for them to be out of the way before she pushed her way into the apartment, eyes darting wildly in every direction.
“You okay? What’s going on?”
Rose didn’t seem to be listening. She made her way to the living room, where the ridiculous Heart of the Wildlands episode was still paused on the TV, and started rummaging through the couch and coffee table, pushing things around and throwing pillows on the floor.
“Rose? What the heck are you doing, is this– Whoa!”
She knocked a glass down and Rowan barely sidestepped as it shattered at their feet. This was madness. They grabbed Rose’s arm and made her turn around to face them, but the look on her face took them aback. Her eyes were wild, mascara dripping down her face in a stained mess.
“The bird,” she said, her voice barely more than a hoarse whisper.
“The fake bird!!”
She was screaming now, and shaking herself free of Rowan, just to start throwing stuff around the living room again.
She wouldn’t stop screaming. Faster than Rowan could react, she grabbed the remote and threw it against the TV screen, making a crack as the episode resumed playing with a distorted, broken noise. Rowan grabbed her by the shoulders and tried to stop the hurricane she’d become, but she hit their arms repeatedly, blabbering obscenities and pushing into anything she found in her way.
Rowan screamed as one of the glass shards pierced their foot, and wobbled out of the way as Rose continued her destruction as if caught in a trance of horror. Nothing made sense. They winced and plucked the piece of glass out, trying not to think about the blood dripping onto the carpet as they sent a quick text in the group chat.
Rose is screaming and trashing my apartment, what is happening?? Pls come help. They’d just hit send as the doorbell rang, when Rose froze in place. Rowan stared at her panicked face, not daring to move in case they triggered her again. A couple seconds went by, and they were about to say something when the door to the apartment simply exploded in.
And then, silence. A faint ringing. Confused echoes as they slowly lifted their head from the spot where they’d fallen and hit the floor.
There was a big shadow blocking the entrance to the apartment and, right beside it, Rose, a cut on her forehead, surrounded by rubble, muffled screams making their way to Rowan through the ringing in their ears.
It was the bird. The huge, fake bird with a yellow wig, staring back at them from the cracked TV screen and from the broken apartment door, with a devilish smile and crooked teeth. And just as fast as everything had started, the room turned black. And Rowan was gone.