Helen Smith was in an Internet café, waiting for her appointment.

She was an actor, not the best, not Hollywood level, although she firmly believed she could reach it. She was twenty, with the rest of her life still ahead of her.

It was 2 o’ clock. Her informal meeting was due to begin in ten minutes. She was still nervous.

Mainly Helen did action films, as well as quite a few fantasy ones, but this new one was different. This new film that was coming up, currently called My Life Underground, was meant to be a revolutionary take on the life of a thief in the United Kingdom, in Victorian times, with special, never before seen special effects. Of course they would need lots of special effects; they always did these days.

She bought herself another coffee and waited.

The thump of a bag on the table startled her. She looked up to see a young man, about twenty seven, near her own age. He was smiling, but it did not reach his cold grey eyes.

“Hello,” The man began. “I presume you are Helen Smith. I am sorry if I frightened you.”

“Not at all.” Helen took a deep breath.

“As you probably already know, I wish to cast you in the role of Miss Edwards in the upcoming film My Life Underground. Let me fill you in on the film.”

He opened his bag and pulled out a thick wad of papers. He began to read aloud.

“Miss Araminta Edwards. Set in Victorian times, she has lost her family after trying to marry a working class boy, and her family turn her out. She goes on the run, stealing what she can. Can she escape the police and marry her true love?”

He shuffled the papers.

“So, you see, it’s a historical tragedy. I forget to mention; as in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, both of the lovebirds die in the end. Are you still up for this?”

Helen nodded her head.

“Good.” The first glint of a real smile came into his face, and touched his eyes. What was slightly creepy was that it had an almost predatory look. He extracted a contract from the mass of papers. “Please sign here. You know the formalities.”

She did not bother to read it through; there were over fifty pages and besides, most films were exactly the same. Benefits, pay, stunt obligations, accident insurance and the like.

“Now you are not a new actress; you’ve starred in a few films. When this film is over you’ll have amassed quite a paycheck. Who would you have it go to?”

“I’m sorry, did I hear you correctly?”

His grin showed his white teeth. “Oh yes. It was all in the contract.”

Helen began to panic.

“What was?”

“You should have read it through. Section 27 subsection 8 clearly states that this film is what is known as a video nasty, meaning that it contains real, strong violence. In this case, we have your character Araminta dying after talking to one of the policemen. We have very good video editing, don’t worry.”

“But-“Helen spluttered. She stopped dead.

She saw a light flickering under his jacket, a red, flashing light.

The light of a video recorder.

Written by Tigerhallam