Delora began her day by cleansing her mind in meditation, showering herself with positive affirmations and repetitive mantras to encourage beauty. She always made sure to encourage perfection and elegance within herself now. No awkwardness or ugliness would be permitted to take root in her life ever again.
After being continuously bullied by her peers, Delora’s mother had supplied her teenage daughter with expensive new beauty products which were now religiously utilised. First came her bath. The viridian scales of a rare sea serpent scraped from one of the last living specimens of its kind were used as an exfoliating scrub across her youthful flesh, removing dead skin cells, and revealing fresh new life to all those who would witness her. Delora’s long auburn hair was gently washed with a scented oil pressed from rare tubers that had been harvested by weeping children during the new moon. Her hair conditioner was a perpetually warm liquid fat that smelled of cherries. These new products had transformed Delora’s life.
Before her beautification, the girl had been an unattractive, a bullied wallflower, but ever since beginning her new beauty routine, Delora’s life as an average hive world teenager had begun to bloom like the beautiful flower she always knew she had been. All the neighbourhood boys had finally begun to notice her.
Stepping out of the bath and donning a robe of pale soft skin, Delora began her morning makeup routine before her vanity mirror, daintily sitting down and pursing her lips playfully at her reflection. The mirror was decorated with numerous affirmation notes that helped her get into a pretty state of mind. ‘You are beautiful,’ one said. And another, ‘You are perfection incarnate.’
She hummed as she moisturised her skin, pleased with her beautiful new singing voice. Recently, her mother had gifted her a special—and very expensive—beauty cream that promised a look so sublime that no mortal woman could surpass her in perfection. The cream was named Mortalis Nepenthe, and it made Delora feel positively divine.
The girl reached down and retrieved the precious cream from her chest of drawers. When she glanced back up, she noticed something peculiar. Delora had sworn that she only had two affirmation notes pasted to her mirror, but now, there was a third.
It said, ‘They are all jealous!’
How unusual, she thought as a shiver crawled up her spine.
Delora had been experiencing memory problems recently, so maybe she had simply forgotten writing that affirmation. The girl placed the jar of beauty cream on the vanity table before leaning down to retrieve her makeup case. When she went to look in the mirror again, she discovered that another unexpected note had appeared…
‘Mother is a liar!’
‘How strange,’ Delora hummed dreamily. With a shrug, she then went to pick up the jar of Mortalis Nepenthe, but before her fingers touched the container, she heard a knock at her bedroom door.
‘Delora, sweetheart,’ her mother called out to her. ‘May I come in?’
‘Come in,’ the beautiful girl replied. ‘I’m just getting ready.’
Her mother walked in, and right away, Delora could tell she was upset. Mother’s kind face was now drawn with worry, and her eyes immediately went to the vanity table.
‘Darling,’ Mother’s voice was trembling. ‘I-I’ve been worried about you.’
‘I-I want you to know that all this, all these beauty treatments, you actually don’t need them. You’re beautiful just the way you are. I’m sorry I pressured you before.’
‘What is it?’ Delora asked with concern before remembering the note on her mirror. Was Mother lying?
Jealousy… a dark voice purred within the girl’s mind.
Suspicion gripped Delora’s heart, and then, Mother abruptly reached to take the jar of Mortalis Nepenthe.
The girl quickly swatted her rude, jealous mother’s hand away. Delora growled. It was a low, ugly noise, and Delora didn’t like that Mother had caused her to make such an unpleasant sound.
‘You’re just jealous of me,’ the girl hissed.
‘Jealous? No! It’s just-‘
‘You are jealous!’ Delora spat as she noticed that another note had appeared on her mirror. This one said, ‘Put the lotion on your skin.’
‘Sweetheart, please. These products, I-‘ Mother stammered as she glanced at the jar. ‘The beautician, he’s-he’s… Look, you don’t need all this. I think it’s cursed! You’ve changed, and your memory is getting worse too.’
‘Mother, don’t lie.’ Delora rolled her eyes and began to unscrew the jar of beauty cream.
‘If you keep using this cream, you’ll lose yourself. What’s more important, your popularity, or your soul? The beautician’s an evil man. You have to stop this!’ Mother again desperately reached for the jar, only to be quickly grappled by Delora, whose left hand had grown long black claws.
‘Mother, I’m not a loser anymore, alright?’ Delora responded as she casually crushed her mother’s arm. As Mother wailed, the girl then calmly began applying the Mortalis Nepenthe to her face. ‘Can’t you just be happy for me?’ Delora languidly sighed.
Mother collapsed to the floor, spilling pretty red blood everywhere. The girl smiled as she saw her new and improved reflection. Delora’s eyes were now limpid ruby pools of perfection, her lips sculpted obsidian, and her skin shimmered like pale alabaster. But why hadn’t her hair colour also changed? The label on the Mortalis Nepenthe jar had promised a complete transformative makeover!
‘Apply fresh maternal arterial blood to complete your new look!’ the helpful new note on the mirror offered. Ah, of course.
‘No, please, stop!’ Mother pleaded as Delora’s sharp fingernails cleaved her throat, and now, more beautiful red blood was flowing through her hair. The girl took a moment to admire how alluring she had become. A dark, pleasured voice then delightfully informed Delora of her perfection and assured her that she would never be an ugly wallflower, ever again.
About the Author
Keely Dolan is dream-inspired traditional artist working in scratchboard and mixed media out of Seattle, Washington, USA. She enjoys working with surrealistic concepts in both visual and written media.