Bestest Most Prettiest
by Matt Athanasiou

As I raised thread and needle, lightning webbed the witching hour, briefly illumed the corridor of misshapen windows. Darkness rushed into my chambers once again. A crescent of candlelight cupped in a shot glass wavered near me in the corner; tawny wax oozed onto the dresser.

Final stitch taut, I snipped the thread and set the scissors aside. I stared into an inky mirror, tilted my head first to the right, then, following a momentary pause, left. I titled it back to the right. Something was amiss. Deformed. I pushed in my cheek. Fleshy. Baggy. Deplorably saggy. Hands fisted, I shook my head, this pudgy face. A bulldog’s, it was.

I pounded the dresser, and the scissors flipped to the hardwood floor. The storm roared alongside my ire. Branches rapped against the windows like metal fingernails. I spun from my reflection, kicked the dresser with my heel. The mirror toppled, crashed in a brassy jangle.

I had believed my quandary solved, thought the night young, mine to claim—but I could not go out like this and mingle in the candor of lights. Not as a bulldog! I stomped a shard reflecting the candlelight, and then another, another, another. For the past twenty-three of the twenty-four winding hours on my timepiece, I had prudently pondered which was the bestest most prettiest and had reached a consensus with myself. There had been copious choices, all with their perks: a stout nose here, noble brow there, defined jaw on another. Yes, I had believed my predicament over, but seeing that, that fat floppy cheeked grotesquery upon my shoulders, I realized the bestest most prettiest had yet to be found.

Lightning burst, glared off the straight razor clenched at my waist. Shadows, melded together by the fleeting light, spread across tenebrous walls. Thunder bellowed shortly thereafter.

Then I was no longer in the room. Fog veiled me as I made haste through the woods, headed for dim alleyways. Tonight I would find the bestest most prettiest visage to claim as my own.


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