I have never been a reader so I don’t know how it’s possible, but there’s a proverb I know. “The dead cannot reveal any secrets”. Given my current state, I choose to disagree.
My name was Narnia Kazarian, but I was an entity, “The Chronic Cool of Narnia”. It’s cute, right? Yes, an obvious play on words, homage to the C.S. Lewis novels that were my namesake. Maybe it was a tad egocentric, but nonetheless the pun worked within the confines of my popular online beauty channel.
“Glam-ily members, it’s your girl Narnia K dropping in one last time before Friday night’s ‘Trendy’s’, streaming live from the Dolby Theater in downtown L.A. at eight…”
Around seven hundred thousand viewers would hear those words, the last spoken in life, as I plugged the fledgling influencer awards show. My assumption was a glitch when the digits on the view tracker dropped into nothingness almost as quickly as they’d appeared. It made little sense at the time. That multitude of people simply does not log off in perfect harmony. Now it all makes sense.
So many things make sense now.
My current reality is that I’ve been reliving my final days and now see missed details that should have smacked me in my face then. It began when I closed the laptop on that final broadcast and missed daddy’s very visible note next to the PC.
The Escalade has half a tank, you must fill it up before leaving.
The replay is starting again.
My iPhone quakes after finishing that last livestream but I hit “silent” without a look at the screen. I assume it’s the usual influx of after show fan comments and I can’t be bothered. It’s always an admirer praising me or a troll seeking attention. It is time to leave Calabasas anyway, as I have planned to spend the next two days prepping for the awards ceremony an hour away in the solitude of the family cabin, hidden deep in the woods away from L.A. traffic or trick or treaters.
As camping trips go, it wouldn’t exactly be that. Looking back, it was hardly a rough outing for me, the twenty-two year old privileged, entitled daughter of real estate magnate Ephraim Kazarian and famed 70’s model Janet Price. Rich people are bizarre. We simply exist in one world, ours, while everyone else does their own thing. What is a mere cabin to daddy is another’s three million dollar chunk of dreams.
Yes, I now realize the life of Narnia Kazarian was quite charmed. Realizing it now is too late and pointless. I think wealth and fame led to my demise; actually, I’m certain of it. Vanity and excess bred tunnel vision.
Have I mentioned that you’re hearing a ghost?
My channel’s success surprised no one. Ariel was my best friend and also the starlet of the Hulu horror series 13 Terrors and she Tweeted about my channel early on. Lennon was a friend whose mom was reality TV famous and also Tweeted photos of a makeover I gave her, double dipping into our shared quest for attention. That was huge. Then God herself smiled upon me, because when a Kardashian follows you, you become Insta-famous.
My beauty game was decent, maybe above average, but since I’m dead now I’m honest; it was nothing compared to rival streamers. However they had no names to drop or celebs to tag. Pretty and rich always exceeds skill, that’s reality in that space. At the time though, I assumed the success was my birthright.
I’m not sure how long since time is not real anymore, but I’ve been watching the final days of my life like a documentary. I’m embarrassed. I’m literally watching now. I watch the Escalade amble through my gated neighborhood on that gorgeous October day with a half tank of gas, as my selfie fingers clutch the phone and my perched lips curve into action. I swerve and almost sideswipe a car, only to laugh about it. Once I post whatever was so urgent, the likes and up votes, things the material girl I was always craved, merely trickle in with a whimper, unlike the typical barrage of heart emoticons. A curiosity for sure but I have no time to wonder, as suddenly the app freezes and the phone rattles with violence. Another Amber Alert, I figure, and toss the tech addiction aside. Missed calls from mom and unread texts from daddy are tossed aside as well but I don’t realize it. The living me wouldn’t have. The dead me notices everything and I wonder if this is hell.
Merging onto the PCH, I peruse my speech while soaking in the coastline. Breaking news interrupts the radio, an annoyance quickly discarded in favor for Lana Del Rey on Spotify. The ocean view must be spectacular I think, since cars are stopping and people exit their vehicles to stare.
“Tourists,” I laugh aloud at the out of state plates. “Go away. You can’t afford to live here, why torture yourselves?”
Ugh. That privileged voice.
At the cabin, our caretaker is missing. A mental note to have Ben fired is filed. How will the massage therapist get in tomorrow or the driver on Friday? I open the gate and leave it that way, seeing my inconvenience but somehow not seeing the note Ben affixed to the wrought iron bars. Then I actually carry my own bags like a savage. What a fool I was looking back, lugging that overpriced junk in my red soled Louboutin heels.
Night one is immediately exhausting. The Wi-Fi won’t work so my toys are useless. Logic says to read the texts from my parents but I opt to play Candy Crush as the battery drains. I planned to stream my prep work. People love the behind the scenes voyeur shot. I have my primary dress; a vintage, original 1978 Versace that mom wore in a Vanity Fair spread with Cher and Farrah Fawcett. In case of disaster, I have my backup gown and my backup’s backup, both Tom Ford creations. I have three grand in cosmetics, Chanel, Dior and MAC, for one use. My hair is pre-coiffed and only a few minor adjustments will be required, adjustments that my “Chronic Cool” can handle with ease. I have everything but the most important thing. Thanks to the Wi-Fi I have no audience to watch the process, which horrifies me.
I know this dead version of me is going to be twenty-two for the rest of eternity, but I feel like a wise old sage when absorbing the pretentiousness of the living me.
I decide to be gross and watch cable since that’s the disaster I am left with, but all channels are blank except one. A local station struggles through and some anchor with helmet hair is being dramatic, probably another wildfire I guess. Click. I’m bored already.
Minutes later, gently placed cucumber slices blanket my eyes and I slide my sensory deprivation pods into my ears and fall into a slumber to fight the frustration. Or at least I think I did. Somewhere in the middle of the night I stir. Initially I know I must have dreamt it because the cracking, thundering explosion couldn’t have penetrated my noise cancellation pods. Regardless, I’m now awake. Gone is the electricity, the lifeblood for everything I am. My weary eyes peer outside through a now fractured window, cucumber juice hitting my pupils, and I see nothing. Had I looked closer I might have noticed the dearth of stars in an area famous for sky watching. Instead, I dance to the tune of self-pity. There is no way to Skype with Dr. Paulson, so I give up on the evening again. Oh, an emergency generator sits alone in the basement but I am not about to touch that greasy thing. I could scoot into town, had my gas tank not been stuck on E. Under my Burberry covers and weighted blanket I nestle, sleepy and annoyed.
Thursday morning is worse. No power, only one day until the awards. All ways to tell time are drained. Flashing a cursory glance towards the window, outside is a faded yellow haze, which is not normal. Most people would’ve been ravaged with curiosity but not the fabulous Narnia Kazarian. Eerie lighting does not pique my interest.
Why? Breakfast is paramount on my mind. It is, after all, to be my final meal until after the awards tomorrow. Salivating at the thought of avocado toast, I realize there’s no way to actually toast it. I take malicious glee now in watching the living me falter because it’s so ridiculous and unfathomable how dense I was. Seeing my face morph into a pathetic pout is strangely satisfying in this dead place I live now, this dastardly abode called hindsight.
Breakfast becomes sips of grapefruit juice as I attempt to get anything from my gadgets. The devices remain silent but not everything is muted. Sirens blare in the hills, and with clarity.
What do I do?
I soak. I soak in more Lana with the remaining life on my MP3 and I soak in the basement Jacuzzi, enjoying the still warm water while it lasts. The living me didn’t see the battery powered radio plainly displayed atop the generator; the dead me can only see it and nothing else.
This part makes me sick. After enjoying the cabin’s amenities I gaze into my vanity mirror with great affection for myself for several hours. An antique porcelain brush weaves through strawberry blonde strands as I practice emoting from my good side. The question of when the girl from the spa will arrive for my foot massage pokes me. My pampering is scheduled for six, so I’ll use the girl’s phone to call daddy and fix everything wrong with the stupid cabin, like the inept caretaker and shoddy wiring and the rest of the unacceptable misfortunes that don’t belong in a civilized world.
The spa girl is late. Waiting is not something I do. I wait and I wait some more. A solar tiki torch allows me to inspect the Versace with a feverish vigor for flaws. I investigate the cabin and saunter into daddy’s media room, which is covered with walls of DVDs. His antique viewing platform makes me laugh. His collection of movies is not my vibe. Independence Day? Idiocracy? Clueless? No Channing Tatum anywhere.
Darkness envelopes the cabin and spa girl is AWOL so muscle memory causes me to reach for my phone to drag the spa over social. There’s still no electricity and I’ve watched this part often since I’ve been dead, and this stupidity always makes me label the living me as such; a pretentious, affected twit.
All hope in the reflexology session dies and so does the tiki torch. The cabin has become the darkest variant of onyx possible. Through my personal periscope into the final hours of my life, I watch myself stumble through the shadows, reaching for walls and cursing. I see myself willingly dismiss the popping outside as holiday fireworks, even though a simpleton knows that Halloween is not a fireworks event.
Look, damn it. Look. Pay attention. See the signs the universe is throwing at your stupid, pretty face. Now is when I shout at my living self during these reruns, knowing the ending never changes. This silly response beckons the definition of insanity.
More deflating frustration always follows this scene. A duo of helicopters will race and hover overhead as the living me stumbles into bed in a huff. Wildfires I guess again, no logic attempted. Any inquisitive nature at all would have deduced that no flame had ever reached the swanky getaway swallowed deep into the woods of the wealthy.
Here’s the part where I watch the living me throw a tantrum. I scream into my plush pillows. I need my things for tomorrow. Why wasn’t everything fixed yet? Why was I being treated like a poor person?
Kendall’s handlers would have checked in by now. Nikkie de Jager, Addison Rae, they weren’t worried whether they could power a hair dryer, or stream a pre-show tomorrow. They have nothing riding on it like I do. I’m negotiating a sponsorship with Sephora. Thoughts of finally having my own money instead of daddy’s paltry allowance had swam around for weeks. No more suffering through Escalades without personalized stitching, or being forced to live in that tiny five bedroom guest house on his property. It was unfair, these burdens. Not a single person living is more cursed than I am.
It’s amazing that I had these tone deaf, privileged thoughts. Every time I watch this ordeal unfold, I am thrilled that I die the next day.
Somewhere in the middle of the night, heavy thuds erupt from the front door. It jolts me upright and I peek through the curtain below. Had trick or treaters or pranksters trespassed? The banging continues and I can make out a rough outline of some car a cop would drive. In fact I think maybe I even see the shape of lights atop the vehicle but I’m not certain. Then the living me came to the most asinine conclusion a person could conceive in such a moment.
It had to be the spa girl.
Was she insane? What good would a foot massage be at this hour? This girl must have tried in vain to make up for her lateness upon hearing who her client was. She was probably trying to save her job, but I am irate. Back under my layers I go and put a pillow over my head. Eventually the thumping fades into the acoustics of a car driving away. In an orgy of anger, frustration and sadness, I manage to doze off, visions of vengeance my only calming force.
Death becomes me the next day. Morning has finally arrived but the electricity has not. I run through the usual predictable failures, attempting magic with the gadgets that will never manifest. The sun is really dim today, I mumble as I pass the window without bothering to see why.
No longer will the dead me mention how ignorant I was in life because it’s becoming quite redundant and it crushes me to watch.
Tears flow as I realize the power is gone for good. I spend hours fiddling with my hair before finally settling on an up do that was junior prom quality. Maybe battery powered blow dryers weren’t so gauche.
Now comes the foreign ringing.
Landline telephones were never something I’d used but I’d watched old TV shows, how hard could it be? I would never know. I continue to be ashamed at my imperviousness in life. How could I think it was a security system glitch? Just, how? My naïveté was criminal and, obviously, fatal.
Time blurs and I can only assume the ceremony is getting close. The limo could arrive any time. With minimal lighting I apply my makeup, quite well I must admit, at least enough to draw attention to my face and away from my hair. I slink into the Versace with ease, the hunger pangs in my stomach telling me why. The things that sparkle are adorned with perfection and lastly, I wiggle my feet into a pair of peep toe pumps that the Jessica Simpson line is paying me to be seen in.
Time to exhale and try to reclaim my center, as my meditation guru in Bel Air has taught me. Then, for the first time in days, my silhouette throws its shadow through the door frame.
Well, this is when it all made sense to the living me, when all of the missed signs and blatant warnings flashed before me. Quite a jarring thing to realize mere seconds after it’s too late. I suddenly remember the note from daddy. The SUV was on empty now and there was no driving out of here. The people on the highway staring above at something, the frantic attempts by others to reach me, the sirens and breaking news and police officers and missed miracles…even daddy’s silly movie collection now appear to have been a gutting case of foreshadowing.
None of this matters now though. If irony has a taste, it is very, very bitter.
Dressed like a queen, I must appear as though I am presenting myself to them as the elite my celestial neighborhood has to offer. Or perhaps they understand our ways and think I’m giving Halloween my best shot.
Anyway, it is quite an image to absorb, almost too beautiful to be horrifying.
Like a checkerboard crafted with precision and exact mathematical spacing, the sky above is filled with the ovular ships for miles and beyond. The massive array of the invading army is a lesson in eerie excellence, as the behemoth vessels rest in silence and stillness. No longer does life prove its existence through the twittering of birds or the banal echoes of humans at play. The alien menace floats as conquering gods, and I know in this exact moment that all is lost.
At least it was quick and painless, the piercing yet calming light from the ship directly above as it entered my soul. That was the last thing I’ll ever remember of life. Now, I’m cursed to replay the heedless flaws of my character until a higher power dictates otherwise. I suppose I can take solace in looking good while I wait. One thing is certain; I’m proof that the paranormal is real. Who else can say they’ve answered both the question of whether we’re alone in the universe as well as if there’s something beyond death, and all in one day?
Neither is more frightening than the pedestrian detachment that brought me here.
The only proverb I ever knew said “The dead cannot reveal any secrets”.
It said nothing of revealing the dreadful, cruel ruination that comes from being oblivious.
Credit : Jon Allen
Venmo : @jonathan-allen-154
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