Odette stepped out of the shower and tiptoed to the vanity mirror. The gym was empty this time of night and she liked it that way. As an intern in the most prestigious law firm in the city, she often worked late. But she didn’t mind. It was her choice. Being new in town, she has nowhere to be and no social obligations to fulfill. She also wasn’t in a hurry to be home. No one’s waiting for her there but her cactus and a window with an amazing view: the neon lights of the red light district. It was what she can afford and she liked living within her means.
The gym membership came as an office perk. The firm thought that their lawyers had an image to uphold. “Fit and fierce, ladies and gents, fit and fierce. We have to be pleasing to the eyes and sharp as a dagger on the throats of our competitors so the old ladies don’t complain when we hand them the bill.” That’s the daily pep talk over the loud speakers. Uncanny at first, but soon the unethical and sexist flavor of it dulled down and blended in to the rest of the office’s ‘dog-eat-dog’ condiments.
The middle aged girls at work, the secretaries of the secretaries, were kind enough to drag her with them for workout time. But, while their intentions were mildly sinister, she cant seem to swallow the Jane Fonda outfits and the flurry of gossip that made about 99% of their gym time. Imagine ‘Mean Girls’ but instead of casting young beautiful college students, it takes a ‘Tales from the Crypt’ turn and casts unsatisfied middle aged women who have resorted to painting their faces in all the neon colors of the rainbow and eat anyone who’s a little bit more put together than they are for lunch.
“Hey Odette girl! We’re hitting the gym and watching hot man buns baking. Wanna come, baby cakes?” Claudia would call from the hallway. She was the secretary of the General Manager, thus making her in turn the top dog in the group.
“No thanks, Ms Claudia. I got some more paper work to do. But thanks so much for inviting me.” She would holler back most times.
Odette was no gym rat, and she also did not enjoy the judgmental stares at the gym when she went. But all of that quickly sorted itself out when she met Mrs. Wilson. Mrs. Wilson was the night guard, and was solely responsible for driving every one out of the building for lock down every night. She accidentally bumped into her one night pushing a big box of I-dont-know to the warehouse. She was quick on her feet to lend a hand, ruining her brand new suit in the process. After that incident, Mrs. Wilson was quite lenient with Odette’s schedule, allowing her to take her time at night to finish what she got to, and giving her exclusive access to the gym after lock down. Odette appreciated this, and looked forward to it every day.
Odette wiped part of the mirror covered in steam and looked at herself; an average girl of average height, too pale to be attractive, too mousy to stand out. she combed her brown hair while humming to herself. she always wished she was blonde. After all, blondes did have more fun.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall, aint i the plainest of them all. I wish I was someone else. Anyone else but me.” She thought to herself.
“Ms. Odette, are you done here?” Mrs. Williams hollered from the hallway.
“Yes Mrs Williams. ill be right out”
She turned to go head to the lockers, but she didn’t see the small puddle her hair has made on the tiled floor, and she slipped.
Everything went black.
When she came to, she was surrounded by a lot of people. They were all looking at her and talking at the same time. She felt like she was suffocating. And why were they all half dressed (or half naked, for that matter). She tried to speak but couldn’t find the words. Instead she noticed that she seems to be mimicking what they were doing.
“Have you heard about that poor girl yesterday?” One of them said.
“Yeah I did. Something young and pretty like that, she should’ve had a good chance at a good life, I think.” Another said.
“Why was she alone though. I feel kind of guilty we didn’t push her hard enough to join us.”
“Well we cant force anyone. She didn’t want to come. Maybe she thought she was better than all of us after all.”
“Doesn’t matter now though. Besides, no point talking about a dead girl. We’re late!”
‘What dead girl?” Odette wondered.
She tried to move but cant seem to.
One by one the girls left. She can’t understand why they didn’t seem to see her or if they did, didn’t lend her a hand or call someone for surely she was injured. Soon the girls have all gone, and the lights were closing one by one outside the hall. She tried to move her hands at the very least. She reached out but there was something in front of her. She looked around her. Now that there’s no one there, she felt less immobile. She can see the entire locker room. She tried to move her legs and walk towards the door, but what is this? She figured she must have accidentally locked herself in the steam room. She frantically looked for the door handle, but cant seem to find it. She knocked at the glass door, trying to attract attention. Then, she saw Mrs. Wilson walking by outside the locker room.
“Mrs. Wilson!” she called. “A little help, please! I cant seem to find the door to the steam room. Mrs. Wilson!”
The next thing she knew Mrs. Wilson was in front of her. Looking at her.
“Well Ms. Odette, pity to see you here. Thought you had it all in place. Young and pretty girls like you have everything, and yet you come here and look at the mirror and ask for more. Some want to be skinnier, some want smoother skin, plumper lips, bigger butts, the list goes on. The mirror tires of this. I guess when it takes you, you get what you wish for. You can be anyone you want to be. Too bad. I thought you’d be different. Well, goodnight then Odette.” She said.
Odette screamed, banging against the silver surface of the other side.
Mrs. Wilson switched the lights off for lock down, and she was plunged in darkness once again. At least until the next day…
This post is a response to the Daily Post Prompt