Celia Part 1


Did I mean to kill her? No. Of course not.

Am I sad she’s dead? Not really. I didn’t like her, she’d done nothing but make me miserable and/or angry, but she wasn’t a particularly big part of my life. Honestly, I think me killing her is the most important interaction we ever had.

But then, she didn’t know I was killing her at the time. How could she? I certainly didn’t. I mean, maybe she had a flash of realisation as she fell but…I doubt it. She was only in the air for a second and then THUMP. Dead.

Come to think of it, maybe it was the ladder that killed her. I have to admit, I never read the police report or the death certificate or whatever. I’d just gotten away with murder; I wasn’t going to muff it up by going around asking questions like “So what happened?” or “Are there any suspects? I was home all evening.”

I don’t remember how I found out she died. Okay, that’s a lie, I saw it with my own eyes; I mean, I don’t remember who told me.

Maybe I should start with what I do know, because that’s the far more interesting aspect of this story– you already know the ending, but I can’t change that now. I’m not going back and editing.

So, I had to come back to the theatre because I’d left my laptop. Not the laptop I’m typing this on. I got a new laptop shortly afterwards. I don’t know why that’s important. It isn’t.

Anyway, by a stroke of luck, I hadn’t realised that I’d left my laptop until I got home– I can say it was a stroke of luck now but at the time, I was bloody pissed off, I don’t mind telling you. But, because I didn’t realise until I got home, I didn’t say to anyone that I’d forgotten it or, crucially, go back to the theatre in front of them. As far as everyone knew, I went home and stayed there. But no, I got home, realised I’d forgotten it, reasoned that I couldn’t do without it until tomorrow when I’d go back anyway and so had to trump back, in a foul mood.

I don’t say the foul mood to justify it, by the way. I mean, that’d be a pretty poor reason to kill someone. Even accidentally.

But yeah, I went back to the theatre– Ian had forgotten to lock the side door, so he’s complicit in this as well, because if I’d had to knock, then Celia would have had to come to the door and thus dismount the ladder and thus would have lived to see another day. And probably a few after that as well.

But no, the side door was unlocked, so I went through into the auditorium, saw my laptop bag on the front row and Celia on the stage, at the top of a rather tall ladder, affixing a light. I assume. I don’t know what she was doing up there, and yet again, it would have seemed somewhat suspect if I’d suddenly developed an interest in the technical side of things the day she died. The important thing is, she was up a ladder and she spotted me.

She asked me for help.

I don’t know why I did what I did. Well, I do, but as reasons for murder go, it’s not particularly cool: she’d insulted me. No, it wasn’t even that. That gives it an air of the Godfather, macho pride-y bullshit that at least gives me an air of superiority. She’d insulted a show I’d written. She’d said it was shit and she knew I could hear her and she’d said it anyway and honestly, I found that very rude. But more than that, I found it hurtful that she’d disliked my show and I was embarrassed because I knew that other people hadn’t liked it but she’d been the only one to say so and so I focused all my negativity on her and for the past few months, I’d been talking shit about her at every given opportunity (always when I knew she couldn’t hear, you understand. I wasn’t as bad as her.)

She asked me to foot the ladder as she came down and I nodded even though I thought it was really unforgivable that she’d say stuff about me (it wasn’t about me, I know but at the time I couldn’t tell the difference) and then ask me for help. As I was walking over, I got madder and madder because I really had quite the ego back then and then a wicked idea sprang into my mind.

No, that’s wrong. The idea didn’t come ad nihilo, I thought of it. I thought of a wicked idea and now Celia’s dead and I killed her and that’s what I should say. The wicked idea I thought of was: “What if I ‘accidentally’ knocked her ladder over?” Brilliant, I know. Truly, even Iago could not have devised a plan of such byzantine malevolence.

I thought she’d fall and hurt herself and I’d have a giggle knowing I’d hurt someone who hurt me and she’d probably blame me but everybody knew I was clumsy and hardly anyone knew I was hateful, so they’d all just think that my ungainliness had gotten the better of me and poor Celia, she bruised her knee (at least one part of me hoped that she would break her arm) because of it. There’d probably be a meeting about how we shouldn’t allow people who are unfamiliar with equipment– i.e., me– around dangerous, unknowable tools– i.e., a ladder. Celia’s friends would probably take a few pops at me, but I already hated them because of their association with her. And she’d still be hurt and that would feel good.

Anyway, I reached the bottom of the ladder– I wasn’t that slow a walker, you must understand, it just took me a while to explain my thought process. So, as I got to the base of the ladder, I “tripped.” My shoulder hit against the ladder’s leg, quite hard because it was a heavy ladder and probably wouldn’t have toppled if I’d just hit it normally– you’ll be glad to know I bruised my shoulder in the attempt, so it wasn’t completely karma-free.

So, the ladder came crashing down, and Celia with it; I don’t remember if she screamed but my, what a noise the ladder made. I was lucky that the auditorium was sound-proof otherwise I would’ve been caught in the act. I immediately knew that something was wrong because she didn’t shout at me or swear or anything. Plus, her neck looked funny.

I waited for a few seconds but she didn’t move or blink and then I realised she wasn’t breathing and that something had definitely gone wrong with my petty revenge. I remember thinking that I couldn’t check her pulse– if she was dead, there’d be my fingerprints on her and that would be a dead giveaway. They were already on the ladder and the seats and stuff, but that could’ve been from any number of previous times when I’d been in there.

I should have phoned the ambulance, I know that. But then I should have done a lot of things– or rather, there is one big thing that I shouldn’t have done. I think the customary thing to do would be to scream or to shake her and sob and say her name or whisper “What have I done?”

I didn’t.


Rory Kelly

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