What harm could there be? Who would know or care? She craved beauty and wished on stars for it but instead she created it for others using her considerable talents.
There were so many salons, so many stylists with better connections and bigger lines of credit and although her reputation was solid, her income was rather marginal. She depended on tips from satisfied clients who pursed their glossy lips as they handed her a ten dollar bill smugly declaring, “I look amazing!” after she had stood on aching feet while bent in half coloring and styling their lanky heads of hair and applying layers of makeup. She kept their secrets to herself, covered their surgery scars, gluing and adding layers of product spackle as needed while they preened and proclaimed their good fortune at being granted such ravishing “natural” attributes. She was the best in town best at concealing and enhancing after all.
To supplement and make end meet, she worked nights on her “other clients” who never annoyed her with their gossip or insecurities.They graciously responded to her skills without moving a muscle: the dead were simply more grateful it seemed.
Many of them still looked better than she felt she did but at least they didn’t sneer with disdain at her. It was one thing to be able to create the illusion of glamour and another to see herself as attractive and worthy. She wasn’t accustomed to second glances as a plain Jane and no one would suspect that she was responsible for the signature look and stunning appearance of so many who expected them as their due.
She had heard whispers of a clinic where the transformations were so effective that the results guaranteed entry into that gilded-club of rare beauty that was nothing short of a dream. Beauty is power so they say and she had never experienced that feeling as a terminally plain person.There were however conditions to be met before one could be considered…
One snip. One syringe. A few scrapes. A shoebox of still pink smooth flesh. As she worked taking her ingredients from the young and beautiful corpse on the padded table, she whispered her thanks and promised that she’d use her only to improve her own life in a humble way and vowed never to expect more than she deserved if that power was granted. A perfect tooth. A fingernail. No one would notice the missing bits as the overall effect of her work would be such a stunning distraction and anticipation replaced guilt. As a final token of respect, she drew a delicate star on the nape of her neck to insure that this wish would indeed come true! Locking the heavy door to the home well after midnight, she knew this would be her last evening making them look their best for the approval of the living. The cracked styrofoam cooler was heavy with ice and hope as it was placed in her trunk with reverence along with her professional tools of the trade confident that now she had the best quality available in everything she needed.
It was an obscure address in a dreary part of town but she’d made the call, the appointment, and agreed to supply the materials requested along with what amounted to a year’s salary. There were no cancellations or refunds, simply a date and time set along with the location. There was no parking and no next of kin required in case of emergency, the decision was final as the results were assured.
No consultation was granted, no questions answered, all creative control relinquished.It was rumored that they had the vision and resources necessary to see one’s absolute and deepest beauty as well as the skills to make it a reality. She would be cared for as long as required by those who knew how.
The pain came in ripples, small then gaining as her body fought to contain it and oh how it hurt but beauty is pain so they say. Conscious thought became a challenge, movements were choreographed to her needs. She could smell expensive candles burning nearby to mask the smell of drugs or decay and a voice gently declared that her success relied on a certain level of discomfort. After all, each result was unique in its ability to inspire awe based on her sincere desire for change, the quality of the raw materials used, and how one responded to their customized therapies. Such things mattered.These were not your typical cosmetic procedures: they specialized in makeovers of a different kind.
Time meant nothing. Nourishment only a necessity. Pain a gauge of existence. She grew stronger and her mind adapted to fresh thoughts, desires, and needs. Any memory of how she looked before was only dim shadow now. Her trust in the process and new found confidence in her true beauty was absolute now.
She declined their offer of a mirror more than once: there was no need to confirm: she sensed her power in every breath and could feel the stunning features that defined her now. She just knew that others would see her extraordinary beauty in all it’s glory and welcome her into the life reserved for only the most exceptional and exclusive.