Swivel.

Awkward, I turn to pick at the flesh adorning my wardrobes, and sigh. The dance has left me ragged; exhausted from the relentless flamenco. Elegant feet I had chosen especially, bleed in stinging shreds. I have worn them to calluses. Yeast stinks between the slender toes.

A fine week’s work.

Ruining beautiful things is part of the pleasure.

Yesterday’s body was squat and dark, an aged gypsy. I slough off the old man’s skin, marvelling at the bruises incurred from seven solid days of stamping and click, click, clicking of heels. Yellowed stains litter the shins and I poke them hard, revelling in the pain before grasping the blackened feet that I pull off like old shoes; the toes broken and seeping with infection.

Spin.

Today I am a ballerina, wanting the fairy tale. In a drawer there are pink-ribboned slippers, full of meat. I stole the pretty shoes from a libidinous girl I found larding on chocolate at the back of a theatre in a bulimic frenzy. Before she could plunge two fingers down her throat to vomit up the sugared treat, I declared myself. She thought me a film star, the pirate of her dreams. I let her fantasize whilst I ravaged her. My hand was already over her mouth when I revealed myself. Oh, the joy! I ate her face, tearing out sinew and muscle as I gorged. I left the playhouse staff to pick up the girl’s dregs but not before pocketing the eyeballs and stringing the shoes around my neck.

I finger my ragged stumps. The nerve-endings are raw. I twist and spasm with exquisite agony and begin the work of building myself a new pair of legs.

I want to be a woman. I want to leap across a stage with flat breasts, wearing a tutu of my own design. I force curves in at this female waist of mine and reach up, stretching tall, taller until I am long and lithe. I hear the bones creak as I bend to screw the fat girl’s feet to my ankles, flooding them with blood until they are sealed in place. You can’t see the join, however hard you search.

I am perfection.

I preen, twirling this way and that. It is a glorious creation and I am right to be proud. I run tapered fingers over pale epidermis, probing new holes. I must clothe this corpse. It will hurt. I can’t wait.

Pinches raise the first blemish. I punch and punch until colors burst to the surface. Flailing, I throw myself at walls, storm clouds surface on my torso with every beating. With painted fingernails I slice upward Vs into my chest, defining the outline of my corset tattoo.

Coiled intestines loop from a coat rack. I pull at a thin piece some ten feet long and turn to a sewing basket replete with tools of my unique trade, prising a pair of knitting needles from their resting place.

My shoulders click as they dislocate. My head turns, inch by slow inch until I am staring down at my spine. Despite the stricture I am able to force the needles in, piercing at regular intervals. I thread and weave the pale green strips of offal until the bodice is laced, and I can face the front again.

I am so beautiful.

I love the woman I have become.

Quickly I grab the swollen organs that decorate my dressing table. I claw them until they hang in shreds. With a handful of drawing pins I stud the pieces into my hips and groin. The tutu flutters, clinging to the soft pink of my thighs.

Divine.

I sit before the looking-glass. This old demon’s face will not do. I dig under the scales to lift out each one, sequins of iridescence peel away leaving tiny, bleeding red roses upon the bare canvas.

Squeezing and straining I pound my skull. Thick hair bursts through my scalp. It pours down my head and frames my visage in ebony waves. I flip it into a Fonteyn knot, tied up with fine strings of gut.

Forming and stuffing it with gristle I kneed the facial tissue. I want to be sophisticated – aristocratic in countenance. I sculpt it into a near-point, massaging either side of the nose to raise the sharpest of cheekbones.

Here’s a dilemma. If I take my eye out and put it in a pickle jar whilst I mould a pair of sockets I’ll only be able to see what I’m doing at an angle. Deliberation rankles; I have no choice. I pop it out and drop it into the container, relishing the nausea it provokes as it rolls about the convex base. I have to shake the jar to truly see me at my best.

A glob of marrow plugs the gap. I force knuckles in deep making two pits that beg to be filled. My eyeball collection is in a goldfish bowl - I plunge my hand in, feeling the soft marbles slip and slide between my fingers. I want blue. It takes a moment to find a matching pair. I slot them in and adjust my vision.

So close now, so close.

I have the most carnal of mouths, ripe and red, forever tasting and kissing, sucking the life out of lovers. I make it smile, licking the rows of teeth with my black tongue. It needs no changes.

I am done.

Standing alone in the dressing room, the fabric of living costumes and masks hang around me. I drop to the ground and worship the God that made me. He grants my wish for the usual price of a dozen fresh souls – I can keep their flesh, he tells me.

The curtains rise. The audience applauds my beauty as I scour the enraptured faces for this week’s victims. Applause fades to silence, turning to screams as they realise what I am.

The doors are locked.
They can’t get out.
The dance begins.


"Dressing-Up Box"
Copyright: © 2010 Lily Childs
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Lily Childs is a writer of dark fiction, horror and chilling mysteries. Published in anthologies such as Static Movement’s Caught By Darkness, many more of her short gothic horrors, ghost stories and nerve-janglers are currently touring the blogosphere. Lily is the author of forthcoming urban series ‘Magenta Shaman’ and has a novel or three on the way - all set in the south of England where she lives, a stone’s throw from the sea. She blogs at http://lilychildsfeardom.blogspot.com where you can read some of her work, reviews and interviews.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderfully descriptive, amazingly surreal, you edge this into horror and beyond with a deft touch.

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  2. Deliciously disgusting descriptions there, Lily! Both horrible and horrific. Excellent work!

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  3. That was fantastic, Lily. Gross, disgusting and horrific. Perfect ingredients for a horror story.

    Well done, girl!

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  4. Thanks everyone. I enjoyed writing it FAR too much.

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  5. Totally nasty, in a brilliant way. Your macabre sense of fun makes this a great, oozy treat.

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  6. I found this sick, distasteful, horrid, upsetting, tremendous Lil. Great piece!

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  7. The dance begins indeed. What an explosion of talent here!

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  8. For the first time in my horror reading life I have found someone who equals Richard Matheson Jnr. (read 'Red' if you can find it.)
    Brilliant. Totally brilliant.

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  9. Chris, Mark, Lee and Antonia - thanks so much for your comments, very much appreciated.

    'Red' will go on my reading list. :)

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  10. You do have an amazing way with words, visceral and raw, but always undercoated with beauty and the promises we desire.
    Perfect penning!

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  11. This is quite a striking piece of literary horror. Well done. Good luck with the contest.
    --Mike Kechula

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  12. Man oh man. So sublimely, brilliantly grotesque. Fantastic job, Lily.

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  13. Erin, Mike, Stephen - thank you so much for your comments.

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  14. I didn't know horror writing was allowed to be so disgusting - ly imaginative. Yeucky-yuck, Lily.

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  15. Eww, beautifully crafted Lily. Loved it.

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  16. Dark horror indeed. Well done.

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  17. Dwight, you sensitive soul you. :)

    Thanks Cat; fancy painting its picture?

    Thank you Ian. I'm just off to read For Murder, Just Add Water

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