this post has been written as a part of the IndiFiction Workshop Edition 6. The basic idea of the story has been taken up from the old fairy tale “THE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”. The credit for the plot line goes to Prasanna Rao. The story can also be found on the IndiFicion Workshop’s official blog. The link is here.
Those were the days. When I was the centre of attraction in the Montgomery High. Every girl in the school wanted to date me, be with me, and love me. I was good at sports. Be it basketball or baseball. I lived in the upper west area. The poshest location in the city. Dad drove a Bentley, I drove an Audi and mom drove a BMW. I had servants who took care of everything. From my breakfast to my dinner. I was living the life every teenager once dreamed of in his life. I knew exactly what to do and when to do. I was the one worshipped by all. The one who would have the most beautiful woman of the world as his wife and together we would live in each other’s arms forever. Those were the days. Those were the dreams and those were the realities. But as they say, nothing stays forever, be it good or be it bad. The sun always has to set and rise again. And so in one flick I lost my strength, I lost my physical beauty, lost all of my so called friends. And why did that happen?
It was a beautiful Saturday night. The young, vain and naive me threw one of the biggest parties of the town. I was walking around the mansion, proud of the party, proud at being the one. People kept coming to me saying: “AWESOME PARTY MAAAANNNN.” Suddenly seeing a strange light in my dad’s study, I went over to find out the cause. Entering, I saw a creepy looking psychic with her bowl pouring over it like the Professor Trelawney from Harry Potter. A long purple cape draped over her body, a hat covered her hat. Multiple rings adorned her fingers. In font of her there was a huge crystal bowl with all kinds of electric sparks inside.
“Welcome John. I have been expecting you.”
“Wait. Who the hell are you and what are doing inside my mansion? How did you even get in?”
“Relax John. None of that is of concern here my child. I am here to tell you about you, your future.”
“How do I know you aren’t some con trying to dupe me of my money?”
“Child. If I had to take away your money, I’d have already done that and you wouldn’t even have a clue.”
Seeing no other option. I relentlessly agreed to hear what my future exactly held for me.
“You have a lot of baggage from your past, don’t you son? Your parents death when you were 12 caused a lot of grief to you hasn’t it?”
“Hey Woman. I thought you were going to tell me about my future, not my past.”
“I am. But you hold a lot of baggage from your past. The way you reacted after your parent’s death. The booze, the drugs, hanging out with the group downtown. I know the grief takes a hold on you, but if you don’t mend your ways my son, I’ll be forced to paint your future dark.”
“What are you even talking about? I am leading the perfect life I can. I have all the pretty friends, the money and power. Why should my future be dark?”
“Because where you stand right now. You have already turned into a beast. It is not visible outside, but soon it will explode from every inch of your body.”
Disgusted. I stood up to leave. Bloody lunatic she was. Pretending to be some kind of psychic and shit. I’ll show her who she was dealing with.
Oh how low can this gender even fall? These chauvinistic sexist pigs, boring and arrogant to the brim, think that without them the world cannot even survive. Who the hell do they think they are? Every single on them I meet is a lowlife character, flaunting his dad’s riches and not giving a damn to the other. Oh how much I hate them. I prefer dying an old main in a nunnery than even thinking of marrying such men. And pffft, who even needs men. They aren’t that essential to live. And why does the school even think that I am the weird one. Because I’d rather prefer reading my books rather than ogling at the catalogue of boys like the rest of the girls in the school.
I wish these people behaved a bit more like those from my village in Tennessee. How lovely and compassionate they were.
“Do you like it Hailey?”
“Like it Dad? I love it. It is beautiful.”
“Want to see it from inside?”
“Duh. Obviously dad. Sheesh, what kind of questions you ask?”
I had lived most of my life in Tennessee. Dad owned a ranch and we lead a happy life. Me my dad and my mother. The three of us were content with each other. But fate did not like us being happy. God loved my mother more and took her away along with our barn and ranch with a fire. I was six. Too young to acknowledge. Too completely sink in the fact that my mom had left me forever.
Slowly as the years panned out. My father started having problems. Fate was again playing it’s cruel role and my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For better treatment we had to move to the city and hence the new house.
“What the hell are you doing here? Who let you in?”
“I am Hailey Bennett. I am here to meet you.”
“Go away you stupid scum. I don’t want to meet anybody. Who the hell even told you about me?”
“Your English teacher who is now mine gave me these writings you wrote. I needed to tell you how beautiful each of them was and how much I loved them.”
“Go away please. I beg you. I cannot be seen like this.”
“Why? Because you are disfigured. Because you do not like the way you used to? Why do you think people only care about your looks?”
“Because that is what the world cares. The bling. The looks. That is what only the world looks for. Not who you are inside or how you are as a person. That doesn’t matter to them. They see my disfigured face and they have a topic to gossip about. That is why I have stopped meeting people and that is why I don’t want to meet you. “
What did that stupid girl think she was. Some mother Teresa. Oh poor John. I must go to help him since he is disfigured and then I will take in the accolades. If only I hadn’t woken up that morning. That stupid morning.
“Master John, wake up now. Otherwise you’ll be late for school.”
“Aaahh. 5 more minutes Mrs Morgan” I said turning my face up rubbing my eyes. Suddenly hearing a gasp escape out of her. I asked what happened.
“What did you do last night Master John? Where did those scars come from?”
“What scars? What are you talking about?” Panicked me ran for the closet mirror and freaked out. Scars etched across my body I watched myself in horror. My body was marked in the most gruesome way ever. Near to the mirror I saw the psychic sitting, watching over what was happening around.
“What the hell did you do to me?”
“I did warn you John, didn’t I?
What did you do to me? What did you do?” I yelled, running up to her and shaking her by the arm. “What the, flipping hell, did you do?!”
With a wave of her hand, she sent me flying across the room. Some of the servants who were loyal to me including Mrs Morgan, my legal guardian, rushed over to my side. As I looked up, the psychic transformed into a beautiful young woman who was floating in the air.
“My name is Estrella, and I am an enchantress. You have done nothing but been cruel to the people who’ve taken care of you and have been nothing but selfish and cold-hearted. You are now cursed to look as ugly on the outside as your heart is on the inside.”
I knelt and begged, “Please, change me back. I’m sorry for what I’ve said, I didn’t mean to. Please, I’m begging you. Please, turn me back to the way I was.”
“I’m sorry, Matthew.” She replied, “It is already done. The spell will continue until your twenty-first birthday. If you are able to find someone to love you as you are, without her knowing of the spell, you will be freed. If you don’t, you will remain this way forever.”
With that, she disappeared, leaving me alone with my servants in despair.
“Why wouldn’t he let me help him? Why wouldn’t he let me take care of him? He deserves all that?” These thoughts kept running in my mind. These writings are so beautiful. The emotions, the words are panned out so beautifully. Why do sometimes people think that only the physical beauty matters to the world and not their inner beauty.
“You know I will keep running behind you no matter what happens. I’ll keep following you until you start talking to me.”
“Look Haley. You cannot be around me.”
“Give me one good reason why?”
Answering through a choked up throat the poor guy could only let out a few words: “Because I am dangerous and don’t want to hurt you.”
“Dangerous? What are you even talking about? I don’t even care how you look, I just want to be friends with you. Know you on the inside. I want you to confine in me. Make me your friend and I won’t let you down.
Should I trust her? Should I not? Is she really genuine? Does she really not care two hoots about my scars? Sensing the turmoil in me. Mrs Morgan spoke:” I think you should give her a chance Master John. It wouldn’t hurt. And if she really cares you will finally have a friend you can understand you and talk to apart from us oldies.” And then she smiled. She displayed one of those heart-warming smiles and somehow I felt confident again.
“Hey Haley, this is John.” Said a meek voice from the other side on the phone. My heart jumped with joy. Finally the boy had started to open up. Yay.
“Hii John. How are you?”
“Alive, I guess.”
“Ohh stop it you. Be positive and the world will be positive to you.”
“Yeah right. Tell me one thing. How come you are so positive about everything? I see you smiling every now and then. How come you are so happy everytime?”
“I don’t know. It’s just something I have. Why can’t you smile more often? I bet it would make you feel good?”
“There should be something to smile about.”
“Yeah well. I bet I am going to make you smile soon. Very soon.”
Today I called Haley. It felt pretty good I guess. It was one of the longest talks I have had with someone since a long period of time. We talked about school; we talked about her life in Texas, her transition towards the city life, things about her dad. Oh how lovely did it feel. To open up to someone. To let go of the emotions you have been holding in for long. At least she seems genuine and not fake like all those friends I had. What if she turns out to be the one who ends breaking my curse? After 3 years of surviving through torture and pain and the agony of seeing myself in the mirror I will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief.
I think I am falling for John. Despite his scars, he is a very genuine person at heart. The way he looks at me in the eyes, our long walks, long phone conversations, his poems describing me, the way he genuinely sometimes cares for me. Would it be wise to wise to tell him about my feelings? I pondered over the poor petals of a rose.
I am going to tell her about my curse and the old psychic on our next walk and then tell her about my feelings towards her. I really hope she has the same feelings I have for her. On our next walk I hope things change for us
I saw something amazing happen today. John confessed his feelings for me and I said yes and we leaned in to kiss each other. As soon as my lips touched his, suddenly a transformation out of the blue occurred and he suddenly became the guy from the school pictures. The old John Smith. The handsome loving John Smith. Confused me, I asked him the reason and then he confessed everything to me. How he was so greedy in the past and how the psychic cursed him until he found true love of his own or he would remain disfigured for ever. No matter what happens I still love him and will always do so.
I am back to my old self. Thank lord for that. Though I promise I will change myself now and that I will hang out with the right crowd and try to make things happy with Haley. People aren’t so bad in this world after all.