Anne-Marie dodged a bullet and started to run as fast as she could to the car parked a few paces in front of her, dodging as many false bullets as she could while the camera men tried to catch up as fast as they could.
That was her life, the life of a stuntwoman. It was just like every other day she had to get set on fire or jump from one tall building to another, or intentionally make her car summersault in the air and into a crash. Her life was tough, hard and filled with a lot of risks and just like every other day, she fought monsters like these ones, too many monsters even in form of humans.
she tried to find her way to the car as fast as she could with all those men in suits with huge sticks running after her. She was running out of time and one of them was getting really close, closer than the script had said they would, taking his role entirely personal and before you knew it, he hit the back of her head with the stick just as she got closer to the car and reached for the knob.
Anne-Marie felt her legs weaken as she pushed her body to the car for support. She froze, she needed a minute to take the pain as her vision started to become really fuzzy. She could feel the blood that tickled down her back as she slowly turned to the man behind her who was shocked on his own, he couldn't believe he had just done that.
"Why is she stopping?" She could hear the movie director whisper to a crew member. "How can she stop now?"
"It looks like she's been hurt sir,"
"I can see that but she has to go with the scene, she can't stop now, this is the passion we've all been waiting for. Shouldn't she take advantage of the current situation?" He clicked his tongue. "Gosh, I'm about to lose my mind, where on earth did you hire such an unprofessional dimwit?"
How could he call her a dimwit when she was literally bleeding? Did they not care? Did they not care how badly hurt she was? Anne-Marie held her breath.
"Anne-Marie," she could hear the assistant director whisper her name behind her, she slowly turned to him. "Anne-Marie, keep up with the acting." He encouraged her, "get into the car." he pointed at the car.
Was he serious?
Anne-Marie narrowed her gaze on the camera and the crew that had their attention focused on her, waiting for her to make a move, she could see the heroine of the movie, standing there watching her so comfortably in a fur coat that shielded her from the cold. Anne-Marie took a deep breath, her head was aching and she was barely managing to keep herself from falling at that point. She could feel how the blood kept tickling down her neck and into her blouse.
That's how she had lived for the past seventeen years, so recklessly, from hand to mouth, doing the hardest jobs just to survive. She had a lot at stake and she needed all the money she could get from doing things like this, from sacrificing her safety. She knew she needed this job, it was the first one in weeks and she couldn't afford to lose it like the last one. She had to keep going for his sake.
How long did she have to live like this? How long did she have to suffer like this? Until when did she have to do things like this just so she could afford to place a meal on her table? Anne-Marie sniffed the moment she felt the tears that welled up in her eyes.
She couldn't give up now, she had already gone so far, she had to at least see through the end of it and get paid. She had to take in the pain, all of it.
You've got this Anne-Marie,
She reminded herself.
You can do anything!
Those were her power words, the only way she ever reminded herself that she was in control. Anne-Marie pulled the door knob and got into the car immediately, she knew she didn't have to waste the rolling tapes.
"Good girl," the director threw his fist in the air in triumph as everyone continued to watch in anticipation while the cameras followed the moving car to the slide. That was the cue for the bad guys to keep running like they were, even the guy that had hit her. Anne Marie sped up, keeping the speed limit at the exact number she was instructed to until she got to the slide. And just like her script said he should, she ran into it and the car came flying slightly in the air and crashing to the ground.
Silence filled with smoke for about seven seconds was all that happened.
"And cut!" The director yelled.
It was a success!
Anne-Marie couldn't hear much but she could hear the cheering from outside as the health team rushed to help her out of the car. She had filmed a success and she couldn't help but be happy she saw through it just as always.
"Anne-Marie!" She raised her gaze to the little man with blonde frizzy hair and beards that hurried to her as fast as he could. That was Nathaniel, the person that had introduced her to the job and also one of the cameramen.
"Is it over?" Anne-Marie tried to keep a positive face as the nurses pulled her away from the scene to safety. They made her sit on a long bench and got the first aid box to clean her wounds.
"Yes it is, and you did so well as always."
"Really?" She took a quick look around the scene just so she could see all those busy people. She really hoped they all felt the same way seeing that the heroine who had barely done anything was taking the entire credit for it. It made her feel so bad.
"Don't feel sad." Nathan could read her as always. "You already know stunt doubles never get any credit."
She pursed her lip.
She knew that. Anne-Marie knew the rules. She knew the conditions that came with the job but she still wished to be on that screen one day, taking credit for her work, she wished she was the center of attention just for one day.
"It's already bad enough that I got you the job even though you're underage for it. If the authorities find out, we could get into a lot of trouble. Please don't make me feel worse than I already do."
Anne-Marie nodded. She understood perfectly.
"Here's your payment." Nathan stretched a white envelope in front of her. "Get home safely, you should also get that treated at the hospital, check for a concussion." He pointed at her head.
Anne-Marie reached for it and took it. She watched the round man make for the rest of the crew. Anne looked into the envelope as she always did, you just couldn't trust people these days. She pouted in satisfaction when she realized her money was complete.
"Ouch." She shook a little bit when she felt a sting behind her head.
"Sorry." The nurse behind her told her softly. Anne-Marie returned her gaze to the crew, they looked so happy celebrating the success of the completed episode and it looked like they were talking about an after celebration that evening. Too bad there weren't any reservations for stunt doubles, she really needed the free food.
"I'm on my way to the hospital." She turned to the woman behind her who had suddenly stopped cleaning her wound. "Would you like to come with?"
Of course not. Anne-Marie knew the hospital was the last place she needed to be. She didn't even have any insurance and the last thing she needed to do was take out of the money she just made. She had a lot to save for and her brother's chemo treatment was one of them. The money she had just earned could go a long way. She waved her hand in front of her politely.
"No, I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" The lady wasn't convinced. "You look like you were hit pretty bad, you should see a doctor."
"It doesn't hurt one bit." She lied. "I'm sure it's just a scratch, I have tough muscles so it'd heal before you know it." She got up quickly before the lady tried to convince her any further. "Thank you so much for the offer though." She folded the envelope and pushed it into the pocket of her jeans.
"I'd just get out of these expensive clothes before I'm asked to pay for them."
"Thank you Felicia."
Anne-Marie turned immediately and started to make for the crew's bus. It was exactly where she had to change into her own clothes.
In a few minutes, Anne-Marie was in her own clothes and out of the bus. She hopped on her bicycle and started to find her way home.