Thirty six year old Ivy Douglas is a star actress in Shakespearean theatre. She is gorgeous, rich and famous. Ivy has a secret problem: she is unable to sleep. Memories of the brutal 11 year old murder of her lover Rebecca Scott come to haunt her every night.

Rebecca had been strangled—with her own underwear. Autopsy reports suggested that she had had sex only minutes prior to her murder. The evidence in the case was circumstantial; it hadn’t been enough to convict the two prime suspects: Oscar Scott, Rebecca’s jealous husband and Lydia Baker, Ivy’s hysterically envious girlfriend. The case had eventually turned cold, but is still fresh in Ivy’s mind.

Following the lead of an anonymous note, Ivy goes to Dartmoor and rents the house in which Rebecca was found murdered. Apart from the murder, Ivy relives memories of her torrid love affair with Rebecca and her eventual feminization from Ivan to Ivy. Eventually, the young transsexual woman meets and falls in love with the handsome melancholy Noah Campbell: a man she later suspects to be Rebecca’s murderer…

A Slippery Slope in a Shakespearean Theatre

A Transgender Suspense Story

by Yulia Yu. Sakurazawa

Chapter 1 – The Tormented Idol

I am in trouble. My husband Othello has found my perfumed handkerchief in the possession of Cassio. He is convinced that I’m having an affair with his chief lieutenant. This is by no means true. I’m deeply devoted to my husband. It hasn’t ever crossed my mind to be unfaithful to him. I have no idea how my handkerchief was found in Cassio’s possession. All I know is that I’m being made a scapegoat in a conspiracy far beyond the grasp of my pure, trusting mind.

My husband is looking at me with dark, murderous eyes. His suspicion is far greater than my protestations of innocence. It is clear that someone has been filling his ear with untrue, slanderous words about me—lies that my Lord believes. And in Othello’s eyes, murder is the apt punishment for adultery.

Othello wants to use the incriminating “evidence” of my “adultery” to murder me. He encircles the perfumed scarf around my fragile neck. I demur. Yet my husband has no mercy. He tightens the scarf around my neck. I can feel my face go blue, as I choke and grasp for breath. Othello tightens the scarf further. I can feel the life-force draining from my body. The world around me goes dark.
The curtains fall. Thunderous applause floods the Swan Theatre. The hall is suffused with cries of “Ivy, Douglas, Ivy Douglas!”, screamed in throes of sheer rapture. It takes me a while to realize they are calling out my name.

I’m Ivy Douglas, the 36 year old star performer of Shakespearean plays. Over the years, I have proven myself to be a versatile actor who can play any part: the tragic Desdemona, the young star-crossed Juliet, the scheming Lady Macbeth or the vulnerable Ophelia with equal ease. But critics hail my performance as the witty Lady Portia as the best. My acting draws crowds from all parts of the UK. Our troupe also travels all over the country, and sometimes also abroad, to Netherlands and Germany. Of late, my fame had reached such heights that roles are being written for me.

Presently, the names of cast members are called out. I see my colleagues walk on stage one by one. As I emerge out of the wings, the audience goes into another frenzied bout of applause. I take a bow, basking in the glory that I’ve earned. I feel good rarely, so I milk the moments to the maximum. In spite of my spectacular success, my inner life is a haunted one.

“Ivy, you were excellent tonight” says Andy giving me a peck on the cheek. I take both his hands in mine and look at him gratefully. Andy’s kind black eyes twinkle at me. He, a co-actor, is the only person I can call a friend.

“Are you alright, love?” Andy asks giving me a sympathetic glance “or are you thinking of her again?”

I nod, trying to blink back tears. Andy is the only person in the troupe who knows about my past. And about the intensity of my feelings for Rebecca….He knows everything, except Thursday’s development. I have remained tight-lipped about that.

“We’re going to the pub to celebrate” Andy says “come along. You’ll be distracted”.

“No, Andy” I reply shaking my head “I want to be alone tonight. I want to spend it thinking of her”.


I walk down the cold street and let myself into my flat situated in the posh High Wycombe area. I make myself a chicken sandwich, but am unable to eat. I stow it away in the fridge, have a glass of warm milk and go straight to the bedroom. The sight of the bed triggers a new sense of panic. I know I shall be harangued by sleeplessness or worse, by nightmares. Life certainly hasn’t been easy for the past eleven years.

The woman I loved, Rebecca Scott, had been brutally murdered in her Dartmoor home. I was the one who’d found her, lying still and frozen in the bedroom. Something about Rebecca’s rigid stance and unblinking eyes has struck me as unnatural. And then I’d seen it: the angry purple welt around her neck. I had bent down to check my beloved’s pulse. Much to my shock, I couldn’t find one. I remember breaking into hysterical sobs before calling the police. By the time they arrived, I’d apparently fainted.

Rebecca had been murdered in the most brutal way imaginable. She had been strangled to death, evidently with her own panties.

Circumstantial evidence presented itself in the form of little dregs of information. The crime scene (that’s what our love nest had become post Rebecca’s murder) suggested signs of a scuffle: usurped contents of the dressing table, a few loose hairs wrenched off Rebecca’s dark head and a dislodged silver earring.

Then there were the ruffled bedclothes, suggestive of something….the autopsy confirmed that Rebecca had engaged in sex, a few minutes prior to her murder. Her un-bruised vagina suggested that the intercourse had been consensual. There were no traces of semen inside Rebecca’s body. Her partner had evidently been careful to flush his seed down the toilet.

Why had Rebecca been murdered? Had the lovers had a fight after sex?

Besides, who was the lover? I thought I was the only special person in Rebecca’s life.

It all didn’t make sense. Oscar Scott and Lydia Baker had been questioned. Both of them had cast-iron alibis. The public prosecutor said that no one could be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone. Witnesses had to come forward to testify and no one had, up to this point. The case had turned cold and was eventually forgotten.

By everyone, but me. I knew I could never enjoy a good night’s sleep until Rebecca’s murderer was caught and punished.

In the hustle-bustle of life, my resolve to find Rebecca’s murderer had weakened. However, a recent occurrence has rekindled the fire of revenge within me. Last Thursday, I received a note: a neatly folded anonymous one written on cream-colored paper. The elegant scrawl on it said that I’d find a cue to Rebecca’s murderer in Dartmoor.

Should I follow the directions of the note to relieve the agony I’ve suffered for eleven whole years?

I stay sleepless the whole night as my mind goes into the retrospective mode. I think of my early life, of theatre and of….Rebecca.

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