She Studied her Face in the Mirror

She Studied her Face in the Mirror

Who should I be tonight?

The bright light stung her eyes as she settled in front of the vanity mirror. Pale blue eyes stared back at her. They would glitter gold when she finished inserting the contacts that concealed their true color. The key was how she chose to decorate her eyelids. Did she want to look serious tonight or, perhaps, sassy? An extra flair at the edge of her eye would give her an exotic look. Or she could tone it all down with soft colors, adopting a homey or innocent appearance.

Last night she had been wild. An uncontained fire, too fierce to be held in the palm of a hand. She had used all of her wiles to lure, all of her charm to enchant and all of her spirit to taunt and challenge. It had been a good night, both for her and for business. A few more nights like that and she might not need to undergo the transformation. She just needed enough for the security deposit and a couple months groceries.

What then?

She peered at her face again. The almost absent strokes of her makeup brush had already formed the picture that would shape her evening. Demure. Serene. So she would be the dancer tonight. Formfitting dress. Slow, deliberate movements. Otherworldly grace. A role she fit well.

She ran a brush through the tangled blue curls tumbling over her shoulders, trying to tame them. An impossible task. A ponytail would suffice for tonight. She wouldn’t be on stage; no need to waste time on something fancy. A bun would be too much. She didn’t want to look strict or severe. Creativity came with chaos.

It took longer than anyone would imagine to make the ponytail look like casual indifference. Just enough of her hair tumbled free to make her look careless, but in all the right places to highlight and accent her face.

Almost finished.

A silver necklace to highlight her long neck. A pair of bracelets on each wrist so that a soft click would accompany each movement. She looked whimsical enough already. Her milky pale skin ensured that. The blue hair dye and gold contacts enhanced the eccentricity as well as providing the illusion of control. As if she could do anything about the genetics that set her apart at birth, caused her family to reject her, doctors and scientists to leer at her and men on the street to covet her attention.

“Caz!” a familiar voice drifted down the hallway accompanied by the hurried patter of footsteps. She turned as the door creaked open. “The Madam is waiting for you.”

“Of course she is,” Cazella murmured, not bothering to glance over her shoulder. “I’ll be along in a moment.”

A sharp intake of breath suggested the younger girl was about to say more but, a moment later, the door creaked closed.

With a sigh, Cazella selected her preferred shade of lipstick. A coat of gloss completed the mask.

A familiar stranger peered out of the mirror. One of many protective shells she used to shelter her soul from harsh reality. It had been a few more good nights for two years now. There was always something else. Another debt. A stupid mistake. A reason to run. And if she ever did find a way to escape the street, would it let her go?

“Caz-“

“Coming!” she interrupted the harsher cry as she slid to her feet, abandoning the tools that transformed her. She slid into the role as she went, on her toes, crisp movements, trying to glide. Whatever happened tonight, the dancer guise would be forgotten by morning.

Tomorrow, she would wear another.

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If you’d like to participate, leave a link to your response in the comments and I’ll feature it next week.

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