“Indulge your grandmother,” Mom said as I stared at her skeptically. “We don’t know how much time we have left with her.”
So I drove, grandma directing me the entire time. Her brown eyes were clear and discerning despite the deeply etched wrinkles surrounding them. Our destination was a rambling house at the edge of town, surrounded by acres and acres of long-neglected land overrun by thick brambles.
When we reached the front door, she raised her gnarled hand overhead and touched the red lantern that hung in the open doorway, closing her eyes, wrapping her other arm around me. A powerful wind whipped around us, knocking me to my knees.
That’s when I looked up at her. She was changed. Vibrant and youthful,skin glowing, jet-black hair spilling over her shoulders. I looked down at my hands, which were now gray, shriveled. Frantic, I touched my face, my skin rippling under my fingers.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, though her eyes told a different story, as I crumpled to the ground, choking for breath.
For Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
Every woman deserved to feel beautiful, that was Henry’s strong belief. For too long, the world of plastic surgery and artificial enhancements had only been the realm of the wealthy and elite. Why should they be the only ones to be ageless and stunning? All of those trophy wives and socialites, with their huge baubles gracing their gnarled fingers and droopy necks, desperate to look 25 again. What about the rest of the population? The working-class women. Women who were customer service reps and secretaries and retail managers and harried stay-at-home moms? He saw these women all the time in his old life. Women who were self-conscious about the fact that their looks (and certain body parts) had gone south, deluding themselves into thinking drugstore creams and elixirs would do anything to change it. He was always noticed them, but back then they would have never been able to afford him. Now they could.
These women crowded the dilapidated waiting room of his new office on the wrong side of town, where he worked nearly around the clock. These women didn’t balk when his assistant told them that all payments had to made upfront and in cash. They didn’t ask questions. They didn’t dig. If they had they would have learned that he left Miami in disgrace after losing his medical license, barely escaping prosecution, broke from paying restitution and legal fees. They would have learned that there were women in southern Florida, hiding behind walls and dark curtains, whose faces would never quite look human again. And that they blamed him. All because he’d decided to switch out the usual brand of Botox he kept stocked in his office for what a salesman claimed was a much cheaper, and very effective, substitute. He’d planned to hike up his prices and buy a beachfront property he’d been eyeing on Star Island. How was he to know about the side effects?
None of that mattered anymore. He stared out at the dark waiting room, all of those desperate women looking back at him, praying that they would be called next. Some had been there for hours, waiting for him to make them beautiful. He was their savior.
For the Story A Day prompt – Inspired By Real Events.
This news story was one of my inspirations, but there are many others.