'Final Performance' by Lisa Vooght
She was ready for her closeup, groomed to perfection, encased in velvet, highlights picked out in precious gold. Although her glory days were behind her, a treasured lover would tread the floorboards tonight, his rich voice reverberating and calling forth the fluttering heat of her youth. There were many men, once, clamoring for the opportunity for just one night; women too, who dreamt of using her to launch their careers.
She could be a cruel mistress.
In the beginning, those who gave up everything she embraced with heat and fervor, magnifying their talents until the very heavens seemed to ring with applause. Then age had crept upon her, cracking her facade, fading her glory, and they had left her to die among the voiceless rabble; under the thin veneer of glamour she was now rotten to the very core.
The orchestra began, he took the stage to the thunder of hundreds who leapt to their feet, and the tidal wave of loving hatred swelled until her heart burst, raining destruction and debris on the audience. The night was spent ministering to the wounded and praying over the dead, and in the morning the old opera house, also among the dead, was a smoldering ruin in the heart of the steel and glass canyon.