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Fantasticoe 1996

The Price of Beauty

by Keri Badding

     Karisa did not notice the dark presence awaiting outside her window. She just lay in her bed daydreaming.

     He had become so familiar to her mind's eye that she scarcely had to think about it to recall every detail of his face. How many times had she studied him from across the room? Admiring his handsome face and wonderful eyes.

     The shadow waited outside, watching...

     She imagined every detail of him: tall, dark, sophisticated, and handsome, just as the novels describe. His faded blue sports jacket accentuated his jet black hair, and did nothing to hide his awesome athletic build. His green eyes sparkled when he talked, and his smile could stop a freight train. From the moment she had spotted him, she had been hooked. She would sometimes sit and stare at him for hours, wishing she had the nerve to talk to him. She was hopelessly attracted to him, even though she knew she would never have a chance.

     "Why do I keep thinking about him anyway?" she wondered to herself. "What would a man like that ever want with a girl like me? Hell, he probably doesn't even know I'm alive. Humph..Not that he's missing much."

     The shadow outside smiled in anticipation.

     She shook her head as she thought about her appearance. Over the years she had grown more homely and unattractive. Her friends never understood why she was so focused on her looks, since she had so much more going for her. Whenever someone had a problem, she was the one they would go to for advice. She was an avid violin player and excelled beyond expectations with her schoolwork. She was to be named the valedictorian of her class. It seemed she had almost everything going for her.

     But she could not bring herself to believe it. She watched as her two older sisters, both beautiful, turned down suitor after suitor, and she began to despair at the thought of never finding love. Without beauty, what did anything else matter? She was too tall, and about twenty pounds overweight. She placed her hand across her face, feeling again that too-big nose; she ran her hand through her thin, limp hair. She didn't even want to think about her ears. What chance did she ever have looking the way she did?

     The shadow tensed in anticipation.

     She thought back to that evening.

... at the club with her father. He had been there, at his barstool, right where he always sat, just as handsome and as unreachable as ever. She just sat there and stared, wishing for the courage to go over and talk to him.

     "There's no way.." she mumbled. "I wish I were beautiful..."

      The shadow smiled in ecstasy and made his move as a deep voice called out to her.

     "My dear, if you so desire beauty, then why don't you simply wish for it?" the voice boomed.

     Horrified she sat up straight and glanced around the room in fear. She pinched herself to make sure she was not dreaming.

     She cautiously spoke out to the voice "Who are you? Why are you coming to me now?"

     "Well my dear what price are you willing to pay for the quality of beauty." the voice snickered.

     She sat up even straighter and thought for a moment about what the voice was saying to her.

     She thought to herself "If this is true, I will awake beautiful. What do I have to lose? Nothing is more important to me than becoming pretty. Then I will be able to get everything I have ever dreamed of. And, I will be able to have the man of my dreams. Yes, the price of beauty will be well worth it."

     "I am willing to give up everything in return for beauty." She spoke enthusiastically.

     The voice cackled and informed her that as she wished, beauty would be hers in the morning, but at a price she'd have to pay. She agreed to whatever he asked and with that the shadow and the voice disappeared.

     She anxiously waited in bed for the morning sunlight to peer through her bedroom window. At the crack of dawn she raced over to her mirror and sure enough just as the voice promised she had acquired beauty. The beauty of an angel, golden curls and big blue eyes, a pixie nose and lips that could do no wrong. She also was given a slender body and flawless features. She had not one complaint as to her new appearance. She could not wait to show off her new image to everyone, especially the man that had caught her eye at the club. "

     "They will all be so jealous of me." she cunningly thought as she made her way down the hall.

     She rushed downstairs to show her sisters and to her surprise the house was empty and the place was silent. The only sound was the grandfather clock ticking in the basement. She searched high and low for her father and her sisters, but they were nowhere to be found. She raced outside only to find that she was alone. She shrugged her shoulders and headed back up to her room to look at her loveliness once again.

     She spent the day admiring herself in the mirror not having a care in the world other than how good she looked. She realized how vain she had become and how uncaring she seemed to be. But she pushed those thoughts away immediately realizing she now had what she had always wanted.

     Little did she know that she had been stripped of the life she had known: her family, friends, talents, her intelligence and her goodness. In return she was left a selfish, vain, unintelligent, lonely, beautiful girl.

     She imagined how her Prince Charming would fall at her feet in total awe of her beauty and she smiled in anticipation of meeting him. She knew it would be just as she had dreamed. They would meet, instantly fall in love, and live happily together in sheer bliss. Karisa believed she would remain beautiful for the rest of her days. She imagined how each day he would assure her of his undying love for her, as she smiled with pleasure.

     Karisa prepared for hours to go out to the club that night to meet her man. She glowed as she admired herself in the mirror.

     As she entered the club, she saw him from afar and slightly tossed her golden curls to the side and puckered her lips as to nonchalantly grasp his attention. Trying to appear casual, she tried not to look in his direction. But finally she couldn't resist sneaking a peek to see how he was reacting. Karisa found, much to her annoyance, that he was only looking her way with a blank stare upon his face.

     "What's with him?" she wondered. "He should be falling all over himself over me now!"

     She then looked right at him, and put on an inviting and slightly sultry smile, and positioned her body to display her physical assets.

     He reached for his drink and his gaze set right upon her.

     Confidently, she sighed "He's mine now. I saw him look at me with a sparkle in his eyes. I'm sure he's planning on how to approach me. I bet he is waiting to finish his drink to get the nerve to come talk to me."

     A few minutes later, after he had finished his drink, he looked in her direction, but seemed to be looking beyond her.

     "What is wrong with him? Does he not see me? I guess I will have to approach him first. I see no harm in that since there will be no way he will be able to resist me."

     At that moment, for the first time, he rose from his regular barstool and wobbled around a bit. He then grabbed hold of a cane that rested alongside him, placed it in front of him swinging the cane side to side leading him out the back door.

     "Oh my god, he's blind..."

     Horror swept over Karisa as she broke out in sudden terror as she realized the man she had been admiring for so long had been blind. She stared blankly at the door that he departed from until a few hours later when the bar closed for the night.

     She rose to leave, and summoned the strength to remember that she at least had her beauty.

     Horrified she remembered that she had given up the life she had known in hopes of finding love in him, and now all her hopes have been abolished. She fell back a step, stricken in grief and bewilderment as the tears stung her eyes. At least I will always have the one thing that will make me happy, my beautiful appearance....

     Karisa, many years later, lives the shallow life of loneliness and despair longing to have the love of family and friends about her. She longed to have the talents and intelligence that she once had. Now all there was to do was to look in the mirror in admiration of her once beautiful face that had now faded into wrinkles and old age. She sits in total depression and sorrow for the remainder of her days as the voice which belonged to the devil cackles over the price Karisa paid for her beauty.

Acknowledgments:

I would personally like to thank Joe White for the incredible dialogue and action he managed to put into my story. With Joe's help this story has come a long way. He should receive credit for the many ideas he gave me.

     Also, Thanks to Dana Voss, Jeremy Pigg, and Tammy Lees for their help in improving many of the grammatical errors with their proofreading.

     Thanks, also, to the entire Creative Writing class for you input and ideas that were used throughout my story. It helped a great deal to hear what you had to say.

     Thanks to Terry Heller, the professor, for the creative writing interest and also for helping to get my creative juices flowing. You were a great help.


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