Aurelia thumped down onto the toilet seat, lid down, and perched on it staring into space for what felt like fifteen minutes but might as well have been fifteen seconds.
She ran her fingers as far through her tangled hair as she could, not wanting to see the gaunt face that would gaze back at her if she looked in the mirror.
She could hear the breathing machine from here; it almost sounded like the sea; great lungs opening and closing; the benediction of water.
She heaved herself to her feet, resolving to be stronger, to take this better; to turn her focus again away from herself and on to what was needed.
She hesitated in front of her mother’s bedroom door which was slightly ajar. The light was crystalline. She peered in at her mother. The light was crystalline. All there was in the air was the breathing machine. Aurelia exhaled, and knew it was over.
I wrote this for Angela Goff’s VisDare: she posts up a picture, you write something in response. You can check it out here if you want. Highly recommended for you visual thinkers!
I hope you enjoyed this piece. If you participate in VisDare yourself, leave a link in the comments! 🙂
It’s been a while since I’ve joined in with the weekly Visual Dare writing prompt, but the image below arrested me and I found that the story I wrote in response to it took me down a different road to where I thought I’d go. I didn’t feel like writing any uncanny valley stories, so here we are with animal testing instead. You can read my other VisDare entries here.
It’s a horrible fact that many high-end cosmetics companies around the world – such as Clarins, Dior and others – still test on animals. Thankfully here in the EU (and Israel) there’s a total ban on animal testing for cosmetics but these are the only safe places in the world for animals unfortunately. You can find links and resources about the facts of animal testing down below after the Alice Cooper video.
— or — Animals Don’t Feel Pain
(word count: 133)
As a child, my youngest daughter loved that Alice Cooper song Poison. She called it ‘the witchy song’ and demanded we play it on loop whenever we were in the car. It should’ve made sense to us that she’d go into cosmetic science after all those years of university, but honestly, it was a bit of a shock.
She’d never been into makeup, we kept saying. Dark horse, we’d agree. The neighbours would nod into their teacups.
A few weeks later I learned that there’s fish scales in cosmetics. And chicken bone marrow. I started reading up, doing my research. Phrases like eye corrosion, lethal dosages, shaved skin. More and more words. More practices. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that my Poison-loving daughter went into cosmetics testing. It shouldn’t have been.
Graphic scenes of a performance artist undergoing animal laboratory tests in the window of Lush Regent Street London, to raise awareness of our worldwide Fighting Animal Testing campaign and EU petition.
Two of my friends lost their virginity to Camilla, but I was the one who got her in the end, so to speak. It’s not that the place we lived in was known for sexual promiscuity, and I’m not saying Camilla is a slut at all, because that’d be slut-shaming. It’s just that she really liked my friends. I’m the only one who never slept with her. Continue reading “Short Fiction – You Can’t Pixelate Paint”→
Tommy eyed his reflection without trying to look like he was doing it.
“Would you look at the state of yer man,” N34 muttered, “thinkin’ no-one’s lookin’.”
“Shuddup man,” C12 mumbled.
“I’m just sayin’. I’d luv ta film dem and put it on the YouTube.”
There was a sigh from K90, a female mannequin with plastic bags wound around her to preserve her plastic modesty.
“You’re only talking about YouTube because of that billboard,” she pointed out, “you don’t even know what ‘film’ is.”
“I do so, it’s where you keep your memories and YouTube.”
Tommy’s hair was gelled it moved in one piece, like a Legoman’s.
“Dude is this too much?” he said to his friend.
A strangled glut of rage from C12. Another sigh from K90.
“I can’t wait to move over to Prada,” she drawled, her eyes glittering over at the flagship store across the street.
This is a visual creative writing dare, called VisDare for short. Created by the super Angela Goff, you can read more about it here.
They say that when you reach 50, you have the face you deserve. There are sly words for wrinkles – laughter lines, crows’ feet, smile lines, frown lines.
Society abors them. It wants the rose always, never the winter, or the regeneration.
The world never wants the end.
Franny, however, really didn’t care about her face. The grey in her hair didn’t bother her. Franny knew that the appearance of the body was the very last thing that was important – in such a vast span of life that we all have, she watched the clouds, the stars, the street lights, animals, children, ladybugs…everything. She did not want to be impervious to the world but to join in with this pageant of scenes and tastes and moments.
She threw down her smartphone, turned off the TV, and left the house.