Swollen and bruised, scar tissue fever red, her face was gently wrapped in coarse bandage. Emaciated arms and hands wore patches of sickly coloured skin, sewn savagely together, veiled by gauze and greying sheets. She was supported only by technology; her vital signs hummed softly in the hospital silence. Death silence.
The shattered heart in Masumi's chest, somehow still beating despite everything, was like a black hole; it consumed all that entered her universe, but still remained cold and empty as it blistered and scarred. It was her immortal tomb. Her deformity had induced all the abuse that had come to fray and unravel her sanity. Abuse from her peers, her elders… her family. It was early on that she learned to numb herself; the knives discreetly slipped into words didn't hurt as much when you were numb. But that didn't mean they went unfelt.
Vision distorted and nearly died away, all energy a sacrifice to bring Masumi precariously upright. Balance in her twisted, destabilized legs was as fragile as the balance in civilization- a balance which Masumi rudely disrupted by letting her existence coincide with society in a world such as this. Perilous crawling steps drew her closer to the face of reality… unforgiving mirrors, inept to the art of lies. An eternity of silver, unmasked eyes had unveiled the demon: a shell of impurity and flaws.
As her heart was lacerated by the world's cruelty, the insults, embedded in her forever yet indecipherable as they drowned in morphine, became poison that filled her veins and infected her mind. Each night she would lay her twisted thoughts to rest, where dreams would feed them, allowing them to nurture and grow.
'Sticks and stones', full of lies, words can kill, embellish your demise.
Thinning, toxin-filled blood ached, unaccustomed to the rush of adrenaline.
If they had their way, your pyre would burn long and bright, hmm? Build it high, burn it twice to rid them of our disease. Leave their mirrors without your stain; let them admire the perfection for which they feel such love, hmm?
She was no more than that… a stain. Tarnish on a golden medallion. That was what she knew to be true. In the darkened cave of ruthless contemplation that was her mind, tucked gently in the shredded ribbons of coherent thinking, Masumi diligently fought the deadening effects of morphine. The numbing effect for which she had often pleaded was now an enemy, fighting against letting loose her thoughts. With all the sanity she lacked, emotions and ideas against all she knew ran rampant in her sick mentality. These ideas had slept for a small few millennia in the murky past mankind chose to terminate.
A coal gem lay at the center of her thoughts: hope. Such a feeble thing, yet it always seemed to persevere through all else. Through the scars and covers, bruises and wire, Masumi had found her smile, her smirk of insubordination. The melted candle of a person, unable to light up, had clung to hope tighter than to life itself, and now she allowed it to set ablaze her wick in wicked defiance. To all who had treated her with unrelenting malice, this would be her revenge. Were the surgeries to succeed, the pain of knives both literal and metaphorical, the danger of surgeries tested and not, the slips into death and back; these and all else would be but minor issues she overcame to meet and unleash vengeance. A frozen heart and a soul on fire.
A society of mirrors and perfection had engulfed her; she broke the surface and it scabbed around her, allowing the cells to attack the new virus. It was no longer the twenty-first century where physical deformity was received with tender acceptance; in the passing millennia that followed, society had been disinfected, eliminating the physically imperfect. Perfection in appearance, once sickly veiled with lies of its superficiality, had been once again realized as top priority. A golden heart would wilt before it would rise in importance above what was seen at a glance. As the forty-third century was nearing its death day, many eased effortlessly into the mould; a small few found themselves above it, beauties that would be so admired past the time where their life would draw to a close.
Masumi was of a fading percentage of casualties. Genetics had abandoned their post and allowed viruses to whisper into her foetus and style her skin graphs to the dullness of stale dishwater, creating a texture that, to the touch, made one ill. They wore away at her bones, sanded beyond any recognisable shape; her hair was woven with thin threads in colours of badly dyed hair in faded sepia pictures, eyes misshaped and, against the standard, horribly mismatched. Figure horribly twisted and bent, weight an inconceivable number, the mere sight of her glazed onlookers stomachs with a vile layer of repugnance. The sight of her often caused stomachs to coil and bind in repulsion.
Life under threat was where fear was but a waste of breath and tears, she knew so quite clearly; death was such a gracious punishment. Death carried no binds of eternal sufferance, but, instead, was a sign of near forgiveness, softened morals. A chance to taste Happily Ever After. Life was but a temporary phase; being deleted without hesitation from the phase was deletion from hell itself, the burden passed to another unfortunate to play as a pawn for humanity's amusement.
As a whole, humanity now saw those who were deformed to the same severity as Masumi, though few, were the greatest threat to humanity. The downfall of what had become the highest peak of the once failing world.
Masumi saw it differently; the greatest threat to humanity was humanity itself. She and those of her kind were simply a plague, and humanity their host. While the misshapen had the chance to change, the race would fall deeper into the hole, the grave that they refused to stop digging for themselves. The core of reality would eventually be uncovered, and they would smoulder in its wrath until there was nothing left. Those who suffered at the cruel hands of fate for a being born of a slightly different mould may be burned, but would rise again, the phoenix among the ashes.
To wait for their anguish at the hands of another, allowing another to reward their hatred and malice, surely in a lifetime years after her passing… it was too bitter to be sweet, too long for a spirit to linger and watch the tormentors keeping it from rest be rightfully condemned. When Masumi had uncovered a way to twist her fate and have a hand in retaliation, Seduction breathed his toxic perfume into her lungs:
Hearts wilted and made of stone, but faces so much finer then your own. But that can always be changed, hmm? Whispers in the breeze, so sweet, so toxic. Raheem can change that, can't he. Helped little Sachi, yes he did. Quite the transformation, hmm? She was worse than you even. Not anymore, now, is she.
Hesitation was no factor in meeting Raheem. With so many patients like Masumi, his mind, once intact, had unraveled and twisted just like theirs. Bizarre workings led to fantastic, unusual treatments with astonishing ends both fairy-tale and vengeful. Fuel for hope, these stories of wondrous victories and tormentors' demise. A withered, forgotten heart began to slowly pulse. Raheem took to his work with a mind, despite all threads loose and tangled, unwavering.
Two twisted minds cannot intertwine, only tangle. Knots connected his thoughts to theirs, allowed new ideas to send his mind further astray. As with Masumi, this sometimes led to slipping under. Still she held at the surface, where death could not engulf her; only tempt her with the tactics of Seduction. Masumi betrayed Seduction, his new proposals a foreign language to her ears. She lay blindly staring forward to beauty.
The journey was to end this day, the conclusion still unknown. Masumi stood before the liquid silver pool, anticipation flowing through her veins. Coarse bandage and bloodied gauze gently intertwined, tumbling slowly to the marble floor.
" NOOO!!" The scars so firmly closed in her heart were severed open, unleashing all the cries she kept silent within her heart's cement walls. The pure agony of a bleeding soul.
In the sparkling grey reflection was a girl who was misshapen and repulsive. Thin, disgustingly so; not as solid as she should be. Vertebrae and ribs softly pressed out against her skin. Smooth as butter, white as snow, a downy feel that made her skin unbearable to touch. Carved in the shape of almonds, her blue eyes grew bluer with each unshed tear. Silken hair in platinum blond tones tumbled down her back. Cheekbones that stuck out too far, making her face too angular. A streamline nose without character or appeal, rosebud lips ripped around a razorblade whisper. Disgusting.
As they pulled her away, screaming in anguish, I watched in bittersweet victory. Hatred and abuse was now but a memory, a distant past, but at the cost of my sister's life.