The Chamber of Secrets

A short story by TrippayarSahasranaman Priyaa

What could I say about Mia? If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t have known what to do for aggravation. If I was a moth, she was a butterfly, a butterfly that fluttered its wings more just to look brighter beside the unnoticed moth. Her dagger-like words often went unheard to others for her beauty spoke far more in the world blindfolded in physiognomy. Believe it or not, every person, good-looking or ugly, man or woman is charmed by the beautiful girl until she gets too close to char you with the heat of her attitude.

As far as I was concerned Mia was indeed beautiful, yet my familiarity with her had begun to tarnish the initial impressions I had about her.

Once again, she stood next to me, basking in the glory of the attention that men doused her with. And not to mention, my life had shaken hands with Murphy’s Law ever since I had known her. Her eyes laced with sarcasm as she looked at my unattended self, spoke volumes unspoken. “You will never be beautiful unless you lose that tire around your waist,” she bent over and whispered in my ear as her chaperone had a draft beer from his peg. I gulped down my saliva as I looked down at my tummy. The little flesh around my waist had suddenly begun to matter so much.

“Excuse me,” I murmured though I knew that my presence hardly mattered, and I took a brief hiatus to the restroom nearby.  As I stepped in, I could feel peace welcoming me, a peace that only lasted till I met the mirror. I scrutinized my face and culled out all the defects in them. The slight asymmetry of my face that had hardly worried me ever before had suddenly begun to send itches to my head.

As I bent down taking a close look at the flab around my middle, I could hear footsteps from behind. It was Mia once again. “And I keep these worries at bay by having fat-burning pills,” she said tossing a strip of tablets towards me. “Oh, I wish I were on the other side of the mirror,” I told myself. The mill of rants running in my head would have churned up more grist if not for a young girl, who had no sense of the sort of burden I carried with me, entered the restroom.

In my words, I wouldn’t have called her to face perfect or even remotely close to my definition of beautiful, yet her smile and serene eyes seemed to complete her entirely. “Oh my god,” she gasped looking at Mia. “You are the girl from the advertisement, you look so beautiful.”

Mia chuckled. “Yes, I know,” she said in a gruff husky tenor. The girl’s smile shrunk. She nodded her head and turned away. “These small-town girls!” Mia exclaimed. All I could manage was to do nothing but stare.


The party was over, and I trotted through the hallway feeling at ease for the first time since that morning. The place seemed so estranged yet so familiar. Yes, of course, many times had I heard moans from across the hallway, many times had Mia savored the kisses of different men in the rooms around it. What hadn’t she gained from those acts of generosity?

As thoughts rushed through my head, I could smell a whiff of cologne across my shoulder. And as the smell of the cologne grew stronger, a broad yet smooth hand ran over my clavicle. “Angeline, I love you, so much.” Warm air around my neck awoke my untamed emotions. It had been so long since I had been held with passion or felt that surge of heat in my cheeks.

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For a second I closed my eyes. Someone I recognized as my conscience knocked on my heart. “Joe is Mia’s man,” it told me. As I batted my eyelid the invisible woman with the voice disappeared.

There was tenderness in his touch, lust in his breath. His hands worked up and down my thighs, as my guilt melted and gave birth to the animal in me. He gently ran his hand through the slit of my dress and I gave in to my wants and my revenge.


The jolt that runs through your arteries after the act of revenge is usually not very comforting. And it gets worse each time your eyes meet the eyes of the person you have avenged, especially if he or she isn’t aware of anything that happened. Well, I am short of words to describe what dawned on me the first time I saw Mia after that- the ordeal to decipher the smirk on her face, the twinkle in her eyes that looked like sarcasm through my lens are some things that will remain inexplicable.

She trotted past me with an attitude I couldn’t fathom, and I searched for words to talk to her with such desperation that I had never felt before. My mind was prepared to face the way she looked down upon me. My pent-up emotions had to come out. It was time for the volcano to erupt.

“Everyone looks so small to your eyes, isn’t it Mia?” I spoke in a voice that cracked.

A chortle escaped her lips and she nodded her head, unfazed by my premise.

I, however, continued. “Mia, you don’t know how much the world hates you. You are a star and that’s why people flock around you. Models like us have a shelf life. You are climbing up the ladder of fame so quickly. Soon you are going to reach a place so far that you will find nobody who cares for you around you.”

She turned a serious visage to me. “Choose your words carefully woman! You are what you are because of me. And who cares about what the world thinks of me? And why do losers like you always have so much to speak about life?  People at least flock around me now, but does anyone even notice you? You sink in my shadow.

I make you seek perfection. I am your only friend who tells you about your loopholes. Is this what I deserve?” Long since the time I had known her, she seemed to make sense, yet the bitter truth that seeped through my blood began to curdle it with vengeance.

My hand stretched out and aimed at her beautiful face.

“So this is what I get in return for making you who you are. It is because of me that you learned how to dress up, it is because of me…” My ears grew number and number as she kept gloating about what a savior of mine she was. As I seethed in fury as she pounded on my face with her fist and her words, and I retaliated with my nails and arms. We grew more and more bruised as dirty history was recalled midst the fistfight. I could see a dark patch around her eyes.

Our mettle had kept the fight going for so long, yet our bodies had given up on us long ago. Our hands had left our faces scarred and ugly. Our once learned grooming had been forgotten, sophistication seemed to be far-fetched; all those lessons about gracefulness seemed to have gone down the drain. Probably the wounds of our hearts would never heal.

A moment of silence transpired between the two of us as we panted facing each other. Anger gave the picture a finishing touch when I told her, “Your boyfriend loves me. We made love to each other, right on one of the beds where you surrendered to your ambitions and slept with so many men.”

Words stranded in her mouth failed to spew out. I could see how her tears struggled at the rim of her eyes. She looked betrayed and frustrated, yet that didn’t make me feel better. She pointed at me.

“You are such a traitor, and you treated me like I was the evil one doing everything wrong. I know that you don’t love him. Look at where your jealousy has brought you.” Her voice had a touch of contempt to it. She plummeted to the floor with her hand on her head and cried with all her heart. I could see her groveling in the mud where her attitude had brought her. I felt pity, guilt, and a strange surge of pain in my heart.

As I drew close to her the world around me grew hazy. Soon all that I could see was black.


When I opened my eyes next, Mia was gone. I tried hard to put myself together, took off my heels, and limped towards the door as fast as I could. As I walked through the corridor, I could see people drifting away from me. “Oh my god, isn’t that Angeline,” I could hear some inkles. “Yes, the pretty girl from the Audi advertisement, what happened to her?”


I hung my head down in shame, but what was more shameful was the bitter secret I harbored with Mia. I had never felt worse about myself, not even when Mia called me fat or ugly.

A known face rushed towards me and draped me with a shawl. I was off to the hospital in the next few minutes.


A lady in white touched up my wounds with iodine. She fed me with an obnoxious concoction that tasted like poison. “You will feel better,” she said in a voice that was pretty reassuring. “How did you get all these bruises?” she asked as she finished bandaging my knee.

“Long story short, I had a bad fight with one of my competitors. It started verbally and ended up like this. I don’t know where she is now.”

“That sounds awful, would you like to report this to the police?” she asked, and I nodded in denial.

She rose up as Joe entered the room, at a pace which would more likely be called running. He hastily touched the region around my eye with his thumb and I screeched in pain.

“Who did this to you, my angel?” His tone was pretty soothing.

“Don’t ask. It’s over now, and I promise it won’t get this bad again. Let’s just put this to rest and unclench,” I said hoping to immortalize the warmth and attention he was giving me. He obliged and held onto me with passion. As I rested my chin on his shoulder, I could see Mia at a distance walk past the door. Her face was unbruised and she looked serene and calm. She parked herself at the doorway and made it her vantage point.

“Are you alright? You suddenly seem to be so stupefied,” inquired Joe. I raised my eyebrows not knowing what to say. “My little kitten, you are so stressed out. You need some rest. I’ll go and get you something to drink. Don’t worry, just lie down.”

He tucked me in the white bed sheet and walked towards the door calmly without noticing Mia, or he was probably seeing through her. Then he turned back, gave me a flying kiss, and went on to get me some food.

Mia gradually paced towards me smiling. “How did you clear off all those scars?” I asked her. She gestured me to lie down as I tried to sit up.

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“Well, well… I thought you would begin with an apology my girl,” she said with no modulation in her pitch. “There is something that you should know, pretty embarrassing though- you really thought that you were the innocent one and I was the one doing all the bad things. But you know what? You sleeping with Joe, that bit made you no less than what I am. So it’s time for you to face the truth. I am no one but you.”

Marveled by her unbelievable statement, I sat up, tongue-tied in confusion. “Oh yes, I know what you want to ask me- that why didn’t I tell you for so long? It was more fun when you didn’t know who exactly I was. I know, I know, you can thank me later for all the success and adulation I brought you. It was my constant nagging that made you perfect.

Oh yeah, even Joe loves you because he saw me in you. I am going to live as a part of you forever and don’t even think that you can get rid of me. The day the world finds out about your alter ego, it will replace you with one of those million other girls who have huge dreams and brand you as a mentally ill person within a wink of the eye. You need to put up with me all your life.

I promise to bring you success whether you realize it or not.” Mia stood up to take a little time off duty. “Oh and one more thing- Use these bruises as a stunt to climb up the ladder. Do it smartly. You know what I mean.”

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