The Smile of an Idol: Another Story

by Julia Zagar, age 12
The Smile of an Idol: Another Story Julia Zagar loves reading and writing fantasy stories. She also loves reading psychological horror stories and mysteries. She enjoys drawing and creating original characters and designs for her stories.

“H-huh? What? Has my hearing gone bad or something? I glanced to my side, only to see Karin’s eyes filled with hope and determination. Her eyes were the complete opposite of mine, filled with despair and malice. I looked forward once again, trying to find the trace of a joke on the scout’s face. All I could see was joyful seriousness.”

At our 99th performance in Akihabara, a scout found us. He noticed our performance and approached us for a deal. He invited us to the Akihabara School Idol Company Audition Session. Various school idols from all around the globe will be auditioning for a chance with us, he said. We think you’ll do wonderfully, he said. One condition, he said, only Karin. 

H-huh? What? Has my hearing gone bad or something? I glanced to my side, only to see Karin’s eyes filled with hope and determination. Her eyes were the complete opposite of mine, filled with despair and malice. I looked forward once again, trying to find the trace of a joke on the scout’s face. All I could see was joyful seriousness.

“Wait… REALLY?!” 

Karin started jumping up and down like a bouncy ball. Up and down. She was so animated, I could almost see the sparkles in her eyes. 

“Lynn, this is wonderful! C’mon, let’s go tell Mom!”

I didn’t respond with my usual submissive “alright” or even a simple “okay.” For once in my life, I stayed silent. 

I didn’t even notice that Karin had already left me behind. I was far too busy burning the scout’s business card. I know he gave one to each of us, so it wouldn’t really do anything in the long run, but defiance is defiance. The main lesson I learned from this experience: lighters are surprisingly easy to find on the street. All I had to do was ask some old guy if I could borrow his. He was surprisingly chill about it, but we ended up in a far-too-long conversation about boats. Well, more like he roped me into a far-too-long conversation about boats. 

After burning the scout’s business card, I felt a rush of energy. Is this what defiance feels like? Is this what a rebellion feels like? I never understood what the point of a rebellion was if everything was moderately okay until this point in time. If I were to describe the feeling of rebellion at this point, I would say it’s addicting. Almost like an invisible version of cocaine. And unfortunately, this mental drug has a very long effective time.

That night was the time I had ever not been in the small apartment I shared with my parents and Karin. I left the performance setup in the pouring rain, hoping that it wouldn’t work the next morning. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the despair and malice had consumed me whole. I was somehow drowning in a dream that wasn’t mine to begin with. I never even wanted to be an idol in the first place, it was Karin’s idea, so why was I so angry? I somehow managed to sleep through the pounding rain, even in a dirty city alley. Sometimes crying and kicking makes it easier to fall asleep. It seems like it would be counterintuitive, but somehow it always worked like a charm. 

After a week of the same ol’ defiance, I wandered back home. I was reluctant at first, but I figured I had to. I can’t just keep living off of snacks and cheap coffee. My already-small amount of pocket change was running out, and I wasn’t particularly fond of having to starve in some alleyway. 

I sprinted through the pouring rain for 3 miles until I reached our apartment block. I dashed up the creaking stairs, careful to avoid any loose steps. I was at the doorstep, huffing and puffing, even with all of the dance practice. I shakily pulled my index finger up to the doorbell.  My dread and anxiousness were growing along with the movement of my finger. My shaky finger hovered over the doorbell for at least a minute, hoping that no one would notice me at the door. My finger shakily hovered for a few more seconds before it dropped back down to my side. I can’t do this. But before I could selfishly run away, a third party intervened. The door nearly hit me in the face, the already broken hinges almost snapping off. A fairly short girl who looked about my age answered the door. She had navy blue-dyed, short, choppy hair with long bangs covering her eyebrows. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she looked like she hadn’t slept in days. She looked exactly like Karin, but her mannerisms were completely different than usual. She spoke in a quiet, slightly lethargic voice, 

“… Lynn, that you?”

“…”

It was understandable why she might have had second thoughts on who I was. I mean, I looked quite different than before. My clear, porcelain-like skin was covered with dirt and bruises and my long hair that used to match Karin’s was now messy and uneven.

“Yeah… it’s me-”

Before I could get a chance to finish my sentence, Karin shoved me into a tight embrace. I could feel her tears on my shoulder and my eyes widened. I thought she would’ve wanted nothing to do with me by now. It was a while before I brought myself to reciprocate her embrace. But eventually, I gently brought my hands up and returned her hug. I buried my head into her shoulder and soon, we were both sobbing. By now, all of the neighbors and even my parents were staring at us, but we didn’t care. Neither of us even realized how much we missed each other. 

After what felt like hours of sobbing, we finally parted. Karin smirked at me teasingly. She gently shoved me into the apartment. 

“WHOA!” 

I nearly tripped and fell over the little step next to our apartment door. “Nee-hee-hee! That’s what you get for leaving me for a week!” Karin said playfully. 

“Fine, fine! I deserved that.”

“Damn straight!”

“…”

We were both silent for at least a minute until we both bursted out laughing. 

“Who actually says ‘damn straight’ anymore?!” 

“I dunno! Maybe me!”

We were laughing together as if nothing ever happened. The scout never came, I never ran away, and Karin was the same as ever. She was a loud and annoying sister for sure, but she was my loud and annoying sister. I moved my head up and brushed my long hair out of my face. I looked at Karin.

“What did you do to your hair?”

Her cheeks flushed red and she looked flustered for a second. 

“Oh, uh-”

“Not that I don’t like it! Blue suits you well, and I think you look great with short hair!”

“Oh, thank you! Yeah, I felt like I needed something new, hee-hee.”

“It’s a little choppy, though.”

Karin went from fluster to worried in the blink of an eye. 

“Well, I-”

“… Did you cut your hair with craft scissors?”

“Ummmm… maybe?” Karin shrugged. 

I laughed.

“Of course you did. Good to know that you’re still Karin!”

Her worried expression changed to one of joy and happiness, and we smiled together for the first time in years. A real smile. 

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