Renee feels a pang of embarrassment in her stomach or maybe it was hunger. “You don’t want him anyway,” she tells herself. “Focus on your weight loss goals before starting it up with any guys.”
At home, she tosses another empty glass encrusted with leafy green bits into the growing mountain of dishes in her sink.
“I’ll do them tomorrow,” she says to herself as her stomach churns from the green juice she just consumed.
Exhausted from the photoshoot, she rolls herself under the covers of her soft lilac bed and drifts to sleep.
Shortly, she finds herself in the bathroom, washing her hands in the sink. The water is cold and it makes her bones ache. “How did I get here?” she wonders.
She is about to reach for a towel when she sees a figure standing behind her in the mirror. She snaps her head around but no one else is in her bathroom. But in the mirror, the figure still stands. She can’t make out any eyes from its body of complete blackness but she knows it’s looking at her.
“I know what you want,” a voice says. It’s a dry raspy voice that speaks in the strange area of pitch that sounds neither completely male or female.
“What?” she replies, her arms bursting with goosebumps from the cold air.
The mirror turns into a screen. She sees herself at a photoshoot. A red lace dress clings to her perfect physique. She knows she must be under 100 pounds for sure. A wind machine blows her tousled blonde hair. A snapshot is taken and it freezes. The words “Vogue” in deep pink appear above her head. “I’m going to be on the cover,” she exclaims.
Then, she sees herself on the runway proudly sporting the latest design from Chanel: a black dress with a large white collar. As she walks to close out the show, people stand up and cheer. She leaves the runway to find Twiggy backstage waiting.
With big eye lashes and pulled-back hair, Twiggy says, “Not too shabby, my dear,” and opens her arms for an embrace.
A scale appears in the screen and the red line hits right at 100 over and over until the mirror fades to black.
Renee looks around her bathroom but can’t see anything other than the sink in front of her. The entity from the mirror is filling the entire room, its darkness blacking out the light above them. She can feel it touching her like strong gust of freezing air pounding at her back and pouring over her shoulders.
“Do you want all of that?” it whispers in her ear.
“You can make that happen? You can get me to my goal weight?” Renee asks in a small voice.
“Of course, I’ll give you what you want as long as you give me what I want.”
The entity’s weight was now pushing down on her. “What is that?”
The entity laughed. A giggle at first then it grew and grew until the laugh echoed and vibrated off the tiles in the bathroom.
Renee is in her bed shivering. She is at the foot of her bed curled up into a little ball with no covers on her.
“It must have been another nightmare,” she said as she crawled back under the duvet.
As she lays down, she feels three sharp pinches across her back.
With wide eyes, she reaches under her shirt. Her hand slides over three slippery lumps. One on her ribcage, two on her lower back. She tears them off her skin, and throws them to the ground. Each one hits the floor and bounces under her bed.
She pokes her head under her bed frame but the parasites are nowhere to be found.
“What the hell?” she whispers to herself. She hears a laugh, a single syllable “ha” in ear. The same laugh as the entity.
She leaps out of bed and turns on all the lights in her apartment. She wades through her piles of sweaters and shoes at the bottom of her closet just to check if anyone has been hiding there. She finds nothing.
She drifts in and out of a light sleep until her alarm clock announces it’s time to wake up.
Renee crawls naked onto the scale. It reads 100.
“Yes. I did it. I made it to my goal weight!” Renee exclaims.
In the kitchen, she is just about to ingest another juice when her phone rings. It’s her agent, Michele.
“Renee, honey, I’ve got fantastic news,” she says in her New Jersey accent.
“I know what you want,”
“I’ve got news for you too, but you go first,” Renee says.
Michele continues, “I got you a swimsuit ad for this hot new start-up company. It’s like Toms’ shoes but with everything—hats, bras, shirts, jeans, swimsuits—the whole gamut. Anything you buy, they give another to a poor kid in Africa.”
“Do kids in Africa need bikinis?” asks Renee.
“Sure, they do. It’s hot there,” Michele quips.
“Well, I’ll take it.”
“It’s only you and one other girl and I’m sure you’ll steal the show. But honey, tell me your news.”
“You can officially list me as 100 pounds,” Renee said, bursting with excitement.
“Oh, my god, good for you, doll. That’ll help out a lot.”
“Thank you, thank you.”
“Anyway, I’ve got another call coming in. I’ll email you the details for the swimsuits shoot and we’ll talk after that.”
Renee tucked her phone back into her jean pocket. For once, things are going her way.
Renee awoke early to get to her photoshoot on time, and to her relief no nightmares or leeches visited her in her sleep. Not wanting to interrupt the shoot with too many bathroom breaks, Renee skips her breakfast juice and heads straight for the shoot.
It’s set on top of a brownstone overlooking lower Manhattan. Renee hustles up the five story walk up and opens the door to the roof to see Sienna standing in front of her.
She lets out a casual, “Hey,” and adds “they’ve been waiting for you in hair and make-up.”
Renee dashes to the hair and make-up booth at the other side of the roof. A short bald man calls Sienna over and holds up various bikinis.
He hands her a red strappy two-piece and tells her to get changes. In front of everyone, she steps out of her dress and checks to see if Renee is looking.
Renee feels jealous rage inside her chest. “I wish my hip bones popped out like hers did. I wish my collarbone could hold a roll of dimes like hers can,” she thinks as she stares down at her own body, rolls of fat seem manifest themselves before her eyes.
Sienna bends over to pull up her swimsuit bottom and Renee sees a tiny red bite mark at the base of her spine.