Did your father ever give you a nickname? Mine did, but there was no love behind the name, only hate. I wasn’t his princess, his sweetie or his pumpkin. No, I was his King Kong.
He always enjoyed telling me the story of my birth. Apparently, the mere sight of my face killed my mother when she gave birth to me, and I would have killed everyone else if he hadn’t of thrown a blanket over my head.
His spiteful words would confuse me because people often told me I looked like my father — so wouldn’t that make him a gorilla too? Sadly, he never noticed that little issue when he proceeded to hurl gut-wrenching insults my way.
Even though the name-calling hurt me, I could bear it, until my foolish father broadcasted my pet name to everyone in my primary school playground.
‘Come on, King Kong, I don’t have all day,’ he yelled, holding onto the gate for support.
Not looking up from the ground, I stomped over to my drunken father wishing for death to steal what pathetic life he had left.
After that day, no one called me Leah. And no matter what the teachers said, I was the school’s King Kong.
I thought starting high school would change my life. That somehow I would leave my ugly phase behind, and become one of the other girls. Not necessarily beautiful but at least cute. However, that didn’t happen to me. I didn’t even develop breasts at the same rate as the other girls, which of course — thanks to Victoria Longwood — started the Leah-is-a-boy rumour. I’m not. I can assure you, but that didn’t stop the teasing and taunting.
At night, I would cut out the faces of models in the magazines, remove the eyes, and hold the shiny picture up against my face, so I could admire myself in the mirror. I was beautiful. I finally fitted in, but I knew I couldn’t hold the photos to my face forever. So every night, I curled up in a foetal position and cried myself to sleep. No matter how much I wanted it, I would never be like everyone else. I would always be … that ugly girl.
I remember reading an article about plastic surgery. It felt like the solution to my problems. But I had no money, even after I started working — I barely had enough money for food thanks to my dad wasting it on beer.
So I had to accept that no matter how much I hoped and wished, I would never look like Beyoncé. I would always remain outside the world of what people considered to be beautiful. I was ugly, hideous to some, and that was how it was going to stay.
However, even though I accepted this fact, I couldn’t stop hating myself, and my father made sure I didn’t.
‘You know, I don’t think I’m ever gonna get rid of you. Who’s gonna wanna marry a chimp like you, hey, King Kong?’ my father said, chuckling to himself as he staggered towards the stairs.
I was eighteen at the time, eighteen and tired of the repetitive shit that left his mouth. So I rushed over to my father and shoved him. He yelled and tumbled down the stairs.
I stared at my father’s body on the floor with his neck broken and beer spilling onto the carpet and laughed. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t stop. I was free. At last, I would never have to hear his poisonous words again.
However, even after my freedom from my father, I still detested my reflection. But, my life improved when I bumped into Victoria Longwood.
While heading to my bus stop after an unsuccessful shopping trip — I wanted a new jumper dress for winter — I spotted a woman with her long raven hair swishing behind her like one of those women from a L’Oréal hair advert: it was Victoria. She had been the most popular girl at my school and the biggest bitch. She loved herself. I suppose she had good reason to. She wasn’t an outsider like me. No, she held a high position on the beauty scale. Our eyes met as she approached me.
‘Hello,’ I said.
‘Um … do I know you?’ asked Victoria, eyebrows raised.
I was surprised she had forgotten me. My dearly departed father always said my face was like a recurring nightmare, not easily forgotten.
It wasn’t until I reminded Victoria of the song she and her posse used to sing to me that she finally remembered me: it was that lovely song called ‘U.G.L.Y’ by Daphne and Celeste. Yes, that was the song that followed me throughout high school, fond memories.
‘Oh, yeah, I remember you now.’ She studied my face. ‘You haven’t changed much.’
I stood waiting for her to refer to the ugly duck that transformed into an ugly swan, but she smiled at me.
‘Wow, you know school feels like centuries ago, so what are you doing now?’ she asked.
‘I work in Asda.’ Victoria smirked. ‘How about you?’
She flicked back her hair. ‘I’m a model. I’ve been trying my hand at acting too. I’ve been told I’m a natural.’
Natural porn star more like it, I thought, but I said, ‘That’s great.’
A loud, mechanical kiss sound interrupted our cosy chat. I scanned the area to see where the noise had come from. I couldn’t find the source, so I turned back to Victoria, whose attention was fixed on the phone in her hand. She glanced up at me. ‘Oh, I’ve gotta go. It was nice seeing you again, bye.’ Victoria hurried down a quiet street.
I’m not even sure why I followed her down the alleyway, or why I picked up an empty wine bottle from the bins, but I did. I then smashed the bottle over Victoria’s head, and she crashed to the ground. I rolled her onto her back. She resembled sleeping beauty, with her eyes closed and her hair framing her face. The only difference was the blood seeping from the back of her head.
I picked up the broken top part of the wine bottle and cut a line on her cheek. Blood oozed from the cut. The excitement I felt when I helped my dad down the stairs returned to me, so I cut her again, this time along the forehead and deeper. I then sliced her again, and again, and again, until her face was nothing but shredded skin and blood.
While admiring Victoria’s mangled face, I finally understood what I needed to do. No more did I need to fight to fit in. Instead, I could change what the world considered to be beautiful. With all the beauties disfigured, I — and every unfortunate soul like me — would be the pretty girl. However, I knew I wouldn’t be able to start my mission if I was caught. So I shoved the broken wine bottle piece into my handbag, and after checking for any prying eyes (or cameras), I left Victoria lying in a pool of her own blood.
So that’s why you’re here. You’re number ten. I suppose you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this, but I needed to tell someone about my quest. Sadly, that means I can’t allow you to live, but after what I plan to do to your face, I doubt you’d want to live anyway.
Now … let’s begin.
Copyright © 2020 Nicole J. Simms. All Rights Reserved.
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