A Short Story

@irishidid (8119)
United States
February 8, 2016 7:36pm CST
This is from my upcoming short story book Grue Tales. Unedited. PULCHRITUDE INC. The man knocked on the door not sure anyone was home. The windows were all covered with dark curtains, pulled tightly shut to block out the sun. “Who is it?” A timid female voice asked. “My name is Grayson Childs.” The man answered. “I have an appointment with Rebecca Barnes. Are you Rebecca?” The door opened and Grayson walked inside. The house was as dark as the curtains. He could barely make out Rebecca's face as she led him through the house. “I know it is bold of me to ask, but is there a chance you could turn on some lights?” Grayson asked. “I must be able to see you for the analysis.” “I do not keep lights but I will light some candles.” Rebecca replied. “Candles will do quite nicely, thank you.” “Ah yes, that's perfect.” Grayson said after the candles were lit. “If you would be so kind as to sit directly in front of me.” Rebecca got a chair and sat in it. She lowered her head and would not look Grayson in the eyes. “I must see your whole face.” “I'm sorry.” Rebecca apologized, lifting her head. “Quite all right. Now just sit still while I examine your face.” “Should I tell you what I want?” Rebecca asked. “Not necessary. I can see it.” They sat quietly and the only sound was the light scratchings of Grayson's pencil as he took notes. Rebecca held her head up although she wanted nothing more than to hide away. “That should do it.” He said. “It will take approximately two weeks to develop your personal profile and make the right formula for your needs.” “Do I pay you now?” Rebecca asked. “We insist on full satisfaction before accepting any payments.” Grayson said. “Our products are guaranteed.” “And how many have not had to pay?” “Everyone pays.” Grayson said, smiling. “Now don't worry, you are getting the best through us.” “Is there anything I should do while I wait?” “Yes, there is. Every morning look in the mirror and say 'I have pulchritude' three times.” Grayson answered. “And you must mean it.” Rebecca bid him a good day and shut the door. She thought of the word pulchritude and thought it quite an ugly word, but she was determined to do as Grayson told her. As promised a small box was delivered in two weeks. Rebecca looked at it and then at the delivery man. “Is this all?” She asked. “Yes, ma'am, this completes the order.” Rebecca thanked him and shut the door. She thought there had to be more to the order as she opened the box and pulled out a vial of blue liquid with a small slip of paper wrapped around it Rebecca opened the vial and sniffed. It had a light, pleasant odor. “To apply put one drop into the palm of hand, rub hands together lightly and smooth on face using upward strokes. Use right before bedtime for best results.” At bedtime Rebecca carefully poured one drop into the palm of her hand and applied it to her face. She stood in front of the mirror and said “I have pulchritude. I have pulchritude. I have pulchritude.” She expected to feel something. Perhaps a tingly feeling, but she felt nothing. In the morning Rebecca looked in the mirror. Her skin was smoother and the splotches that she hated so much had faded. The fat chin and her cheekbones both looked more defined. She felt happy with the results and was sure by the end of her treatment she would look even better. All day she went with the curtains pulled back to let in the sunshine and held her head up high, smiling with happiness. The next day she went outside, sat on the porch and sipped her tea as people walked by. Rebecca returned their smiles and waved back when they said hello. Each morning as she looked in the mirror, Rebecca saw improvements in her appearance. She went out shopping and bought herself new clothes, some makeup and even began to frequent a small cafe where she met the most wonderful people. One night she used the last drop from the vial. She set the bottle on her vanity and went to bed. The next day the bell rang and Rebecca was sure it was going to be another delivery, instead it was Grayson. “Oh I see you have been using the product!” Grayson said happily. “And it has really worked for you.” “Yes, I'm so happy!” Rebecca gushed. “I thought for sure it was another delivery when you knocked.” “I'm afraid only one to a customer, but don't worry the results are guaranteed to last for years.” Grayson promised. “Now that you are satisfied with the result, I think it is time to talk about the cost.” “Do you take checks?” Rebecca asked. “Or I could go get you cash if you prefer.” “We don't accept money of any kind.” Grayson said. “I don't understand.” “We cannot charge for what you have done for yourself. The vial contained nothing more than a bit of azulene and while it is good for the skin, the real magic has come from inside of you.” In a small apartment building a shy young man opens the door to find a beautiful young woman smiling at him. “Hello, I'm Rebecca Barnes with Pulchritude Incorporated. I believe we have an appointment.”
2 people like this
2 responses
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10 Feb 16
Bravo! Whistles and applause!!
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
10 Feb 16
Thank you
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
9 Feb 16
This reminds me of a Twilight Zone style tale, very well done!
1 person likes this
@irishidid (8119)
• United States
9 Feb 16
Thanks. Funny you should mention Twilight Zone because people are always saying my short stories have a Twilight Zone vibe to them.