Imaginary Friends

Sophie Chazov is a young successful business writer and has been struggling with her emotion as she has to kill people that she has an interview with. One day, she really likes Mark Lyndon, as he is a successful CEO in one of the largest software company in Palo Alto and the fact is that she is scheduled to interview him.

Mark falls in love with her and proposes her to be his wife. They’re finally married. Sophie is so happy and she is over the moon.

The time has passed, she feels that something is not right, something that she really needs to do; it is just like early in her life. She feels that she has to kill someone and she has been trapped by her own feelings and forced by her emotion that she has to kill her husband.

And what will happen if she does not kill someone that she truly loves?

***

Sophie Chazov is originally from Uzbekistan; the father passed away when she was three years old. She lived with the mother and brother. By the age of five, her mother brought her and her brother to move to the USA. They lived in a small city, Redlands. The mother worked in a child care. After graduating from the college, she continued her study at the University of California majoring in English and journalism. When she was a kid, she liked playing with the toys, talking with them and sometimes nurtured them as well.  She acted as if they were all alive. One day, she fought with her brother over the toys.  Ian, her older brother who was two years different of age was angry as she always ignored and refused if he asked her to play with. He threw all the toys in the garbage bin. And the next morning, when she woke up, she found nothing in her toy box. She was crying loudly and locked herself in her bedroom.  She had been doing this for two days.

The next day, in the middle of the night of darkness overhead and chilly air gushing in through the windows, she woke up as she heard someone called her name.  In the beginning, she thought that it was only a dream. She got up and walking toward the window. She was looking up the ceiling and staring down the street but found nothing. She decided to get back to sleep, but hesitated as once again, she could hear someone calling her name clearly at this time. She got back to the window, and she could hardly believe that there was a girl standing and waving her. She waved her back. She walked down the stairs with bare feet.

“Hi, what’s your name?” She asked the girl.

“Hi, my name is Vivien and yours?”

“I am Sophie. Let’s come inside, I will show you my room”

Ever since, she had never been alone again. She had a friend that she could talk to and played with.

***

“Vivien, look at what we did! I win for the Apex award! And this is not the first time, right?”

“Yes, indeed, and you did a great job! So you know what to do now, right?

Sophie was a great business writer and was twenty-nine. She was a contributor to several famous business magazines in the world and she won many awards for her great works. She had achieved what she wanted to be since she met Vivien who was always there for her.

“What you mean?” she frowned.

“Well, I know you are very happy at this moment, and I believe that you might have forgotten the interview with Diane Godfrey, remember?”

“Oh, shit, yeah, you were right, thanks for reminding me, Viv!”

Next morning, Sophie drove from her condo on Harriet St. heading toward Howard St.  where Diane Godfrey’s office located. She wore her long blond hair in a neat bun. She was tall and thin and ready for her action. She parked her car in front of the building. She was amazed at a marvelous building, painted with the light blue and dark crystal windows around it. She was welcomed by bright street decorated with two tall beautiful palm trees on the sides and fascinating architecture.

Diane Godfrey was a CEO of one of the leading global law firm with a particular focus on serving companies in the technology, energy, and financial sectors. She had been working for seven years and was listed as one of the most successful women CEO in the country. She had done a remarkable job. The company always continued to get the profits. She was an intelligent woman, with a flawless mind for business.

“Hi, you must be Sophie Chazov!” she shook her hands.

“Hi, Diane Godfrey, yes, I am Sophie”

“Have a seat”

“Thank you. I am honored to meet you and really appreciate that you could spend your time for my interview”

“No problem, at all!” Diane replied arrogantly.

Forty-five minutes later…

“Thank God! My interview has been done. It was a bit tough, but at least, I can relax now for a moment.”

“Not yet. You still have things to do”

“What is it?”

“You know, what you are supposed to do after the interview, right, Sophie?”

“I know, but who you want me to kill?”

“You know, right? Of course, that woman, Diane Godfrey!”

“Why her?” she asked with an irritated look.

“You know the rules, right?”

She nodded and said whisper “I know, I have to kill the people that I interviewed with”

***

Paul Vlacic, he was a founder of Vlacic Corporation, which was one of the world’s second largest discount brokers. The company had the experience and had been very successful.  Most of the investors were satisfied with the extensive experience, friendly service, and great value the company provided.

At thirty-five, Paul had been running the company for ten years now and made a fortune with the company itself, the Vlacic stock.  And he had done very well.

He had finished his breakfast and stopped a while in front of the television as he watched the news about Diane Godfrey who had died last night in her pool. The Pool cleaner who always came in the morning had found the body of Diane floating with empty eyes stared upwards. It was mentioned in the news that the SFPD found her neck bruised. They assumed that she was killed strangled.

Paul looked pale as the incident had been happening in the last a few years, that’s a lot of business people found dead of a sudden and obscure.

He glanced at his watch, and it was already eight. He was in a hurry as he would have an interview with Sophie by nine o’clock.

Paul sat on his desk waiting for Sophie to come to his office. He had a large contemporary office design which was located on the twentieth floor.  He had a very good taste, placing the unique shape and organic design. He might have a thought that the organic shape contrasts nicely with the rather formal Edwardian features of the bay window and enjoy the view at a diagonal, transforming a staid interior into a dynamic composition.  It was a really comfortable office.

Shortly after, Paul greeted her in front of the office, “Hi, I am Paul Vlacic and I bet that you are Sophie Chazov?”

“Yes, I am. I am honored to have an interview with you, Paul Vlacic?”

“No problem. Just call me Paul. Please, make yourself comfortable. Oh, by the way, what would you like to drink? Coffee, tea?

“Just a glass of water, please?”

He pressed the intercom and asked his secretary to have her glass of water and a cup of coffee for himself.

***

“I cannot do it this time!” she yelled at Vivien who was looking at her through the rear-view mirror.

“Why not?”

“He has been nice to me and I-“

“You like him, do you?

Sophie was silent. She did not respond to her question. Vivien looked impatient and said “Do you?!”

“Yes, I do. I think I like him”. She drove to her office on Second Street, which was in the same area as Vlacic Corporation. She stopped then.

“I cannot kill him”

“Well, it’s too bad, Sophie”

“What will happen if I do not do what you ask me to do this time?”

“Well, I will leave you and you are on your own”

“Fine!” she yelled. “I am on my own”

Silence. She was looking at the mirror and nothing there. She was looking outside, in front and back of the car, but she was not there. She realized that Vivien had gone. She felt relieved for a moment and thinking that she could manage her life of her own.

It had been one month that Sophie and Paul were in a friendship. They liked each other companionship. Since their office was closed by, sometimes, Paul picked her up to have lunch together or even only for a cup of coffee.

On one night, Sophie had a dream about Vivien. It was the time; Vivien came to her parent’s house in Redlands. She always companied her, listened to her and led her to do until she became a very successful business writer. She was devastated when her mother and brother died because of a car crashed near the house. She blamed her brother for this accident as he was under alcohol when driving the car. He hit a big tree that was only five meters away from their house. They could not manage to get out of the car, as it burst into flames. The car burned and they had died.

“We have been together for so long and why did you leave me for that man?”Vivien said sadly.

“I like him and I do not want you to control my life anymore”

“You have to kill him… or?”

“Or what?”

She has gone. She always had the same dream every night. She had been trying to get rid of Vivien, but she could not. She woke up. She realized that she would always be there; she was never going to die. And she missed her and she knew that she could not live without her.

“Vivien?” she whispered. “Are you here? I am so sorry if I had a thought to leave you, but I knew that I cannot change anything, I knew that I cannot leave you”.

“Yes, I am right here, next to you”, she smiled.

“I miss you, and I do not wanna leave you anymore!”

“Good!” so let’s get the things done!

***

The headline from morning newspapers and televisions around the world reported that a successful founder of Vlacic Corporation was killed last night in a car accident. He was speeding and loss of balance, causing in plunged into the deep river. He had died on the way to the hospital.

Vivien showed up and smiled to her whilst she was watching the news. Sophie with her eyes filled with tears and said “I killed him”…

“C’mon, you made a decision and you know that, right?”

She nodded and whispered “yeah, I know, and hopefully, there was no one who is going to see me while I was sneaking up to his parking lot to cut his brake line”

“Nope, no one knows, we had checked all the places, surveillance, the security, everything! So do not worry, okay?” Vivien calmed her down.

And she nodded again “okay”

Day by day, she went through her life as usual and her career was increasingly uphill. And she was very proud of herself and yet, she had been struggling and fighting inside, she could not stop what she had been doing, but, on the other hand, she satisfied what she had been doing. As if, it was a kind of healer from the bitter life that she had been through, living alone without the family around. And she started to think that she was crazy, that she was insane. She always had a thought to see a doctor, but she was reluctant to do so.

***

Mark Lyndon was the VP of one of the largest software company in Palo Alto.  In his forty-two, he did an extraordinary job in his role. He was single and never had a date. The wife had died because of a car accident. He was devastated. They had been married for five years and had only one son who lived in New Jersey with his granny. He was tall and handsome. He had a style and that made most of the women liked him. He was very creative, but had been suffering from schizophrenia. He had been struggling enough to control his mood and trying hard to hide what he was fighting inside. He did some kind of treatment and therapy from his doctor once or twice a week. He was remarkable. He looked so perfect and no one even knew that he had a problem.

Sophie was so excited when she knew that she would have an interview with him. She always had a dream to interview him. And when she was told that the magazine would like to have him for the front cover and have some words about his successful career as well as the company itself, she pinched herself as if it was only a dream, and it was not. It was going to be real. She would be with him for at least forty-five minutes. “Well, I must be very lucky, “she smiled to Vivien. “And you know what, the interview would be at a coffee shop, isn’t it amazing? I know that he is different, no wonder, that he was the brilliant and shiny CEO in the country!”

And before Vivien said something, she looked at her deeply and said “Please, do not do anything to him this time, I do really like him, I mean it, please?”

“Well, let’s see…”

Exactly at 16:00, Sophie had arrived already at the coffee shop and Mark had not come yet. She asked the reception whether there was any booking under Mark Lyndon and yes there was. The hostess led her to the table which was booked earlier. It was in the booth and very comfortable. The view was amazing facing to the city where we could look the blue sky from the window. She looked at the watch and it was already 16:10.

A waitress approached her “Would you like to order now, ma’am?”

“Well, can you wait for another 5 minutes, please? I am still waiting for Mark Lyndon.

“It’s alright, I’ll come back”

She was a bit restless and looked at her watch at a glance. It is already 16:30.” I don’t think he is coming”, Vivien looked irritated.

“No, I am sure, he is coming”, she looked restless one more time.

The waitress came again,” would you like to order now, ma’am?”

“Ok, no problem. Can I have a cup of café latte, please?”

“Sure, anything else?” some pastries, perhaps?”

“No, thanks!”

“Ms. Sophie Chazov?”

Sophie almost jumped out of the chair as she heard a heavy voice called her name. And she turned and looked at a handsome man, neat and tidy standing behind her. She could smell that he was wearing Bulgary.

“Yes, I am Sophie and thank you for your time to have an interview with me, Mark Lyndon”

“Just call me, Mark. And my apology for being late, I had a sudden meeting and could not sneak from it” he smiled warmly. Oh God, he was so amazing! It’s alright; I am enjoying my café latte here”

“Oh, it’s good! He waved the waitress for his order.

The interview had been running for more than an hour, and it looked like that both of them enjoying the conversation.

He looked at the watch and it was already 18:05. “Well, I think that was it for today”, he shook his hand and said “it was nice talking with you”

“Thank you. I really appreciated your time and…”

“Oh, by the way, can I invite you for dinner tomorrow at 19:00?”

Sophie hesitated and said “I would be glad to have a dinner with you and appreciate it”

“Well, thank you…so see you then”

***

It has been three months now, Sophie and Mark had a relationship. They really enjoyed the time they spent together. Mark realized that he had never found a woman like her, after his wife; she was so natural, honest and smart. He really liked her, so did Sophie. She got a man in her dream. A man that most of the women wanted him. She still could not believe how lucky she was.

The next six months, he proposed her to be his wife and it was some kind of surprise. She thought it was only a dream. She thought he was only making a joke. No, it was real. He really wanted her to be his wife.

“Viv, I am going to marry him. Don’t you think that you will be happy?”

“I am happy and sad”

“Why is that?”

“Because you are going to leave me”

“I will never leave you if you do not ask me for murder anymore. I am tired, please, help me on this?”

Vivien hesitated and said “Okay, I am always there and help you if you need me!”

It was a relief and she smiled “Thanks!”

After a month of their marriage, Sophie was feeling restless and she asked Vivien “What is the matter with me, Viv?”

“Well, what you feel?”

“I feel like something forces me to do something which makes me satisfied?”

“Such as?”

“Killing someone!” she said in a choked voice.

“Maybe, you should,” Vivien said simply.

The next morning, Sophie drove to her office earlier as she had a meeting with the Editor and other contributors.

On the way to her office, she felt that something was wrong with her car, she looked at the red light was on and she braked but it seemed it did not work. She screamed as there were a lot of people crossing the road. She then swerved and continued speeding. She hit the wall and plunged into the river.

Shortly after, the police were already there. The pedestrian who had just passed the road approached the broken wall and looked down to the river, trying to see if the passenger would show up; but nothing. Only a Fiat sedan white showed up.

Mark was devastated to hear the news. Two officers came to his house and brought the terrible news he heard for the second time after the wife died. They could not find the body; they could only identify the car which did belong to Sophie Chazov.

Ever since, he could not sleep. He was thinking a lot about Sophie. He loved her so much, but nothing he could do to help her. He sank into alcohol; he swallowed some pills from his doctor to make him better. Nothing changed.

And the next three days, he decided to comfort himself by calling a girl to sleep with. He thought and hoped that it would make him much better and forgot what had happened. The front door knocked and he ran down to open it. He smiled and said “Hi, I am Mark, come on in”

“I am Lisa”, she smiled awkwardly. But Mark did not notice and he led her to his bedroom. He watched her undress and grabbed her hand to sleep in a bed that he shared with Sophie a few days ago.

Mark excused for a while to go the bathroom. When he came back, she was already naked and started to undress him and unzipped his pants. She was on the top. She kissed all over his face and lips. He held her waist and caressed her back. They were making love. Mark seemed to enjoy. Without his notice, she took the syringe under the pillow that was hidden when he went to the bathroom. She injected it to his neck. Mark shocked and tried to grab her, but he was too weak as the drug spread his blood stream very fast. He was unconscious. Fainted.

An hour later, he woke up and looked confused. He looked around. He wore a businesslike suit. He found himself with his hands and feet tied.

“You are confused, sweetheart?”

He heard a familiar voice and tried to find out where the voice came from. “John, am I dreaming?” he asked his friend who was always there for him.

“No, you are not. Look at who was behind you?”

Mark turned around, but he could only see a shadow. “You’d better show your face to me, you are a chicken!”He said angrily. When the shadow showed up, he looked like he saw a ghost. He was pale.

“You are not dead?” he said with a look of horror.

“Well, Mark, luckily I am not dead”, Sophie threw the mask and took off the wig. “When my car plunged into the river, I unbelted my seatbelt and swam as far as I could. And I ran to the hospital to get some treatment. I hired a detective to find out the cause of my accident. He found out that the brake line was cut off. My friend, Vivien, suggested me to find out about who you are. And yes, you had been suffering from schizophrenia, you killed your wife and it was the same way you did to me. But, you failed”, she said matter-of-factly.

“Sophie, I am sorry about what I did to you. I have a delusion; I have a friend, John, who asked me to kill someone that I have sex with. I fell in love with my wife, I had been struggling for not killing her, but it tortured my emotion. I could not handle this. I killed her. And yes, I did the same thing to you. I had seen a doctor and a therapist for a long time, but it frustrated me. And I am so sorry…” he said with his eyes filled the tears.

She approached him and cut the rope off “Vivien. I had been with her since I was a kid. She asked and forced me to kill the people that I interviewed. I did not kill you because I couldn’t, I love you. I begged her for not forcing me to do it and it worked, but I killed someone else instead. I have to!”

“What is it in your hand, sweetheart?”

“Oh, this? It contains a very high dose of Clozapine, your medicine, if you try to kill me now, then I will straight away inject you and you will die soon. But I hope, you will not do the stupid thing. I believe there is a way to heal from what we had been suffering” she said kindly.

“I hope so, “he said desperately.

All of a sudden, with a quick movement, he grabbed the syringe and injected himself in the chest. Sophie panicked and tried to stop what he did, but it was too late. He fell down. She cried and hugged him. She held the pulse, but nothing. Mark Lyndon was dead.

***END***

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