My skin crawled off me onto the washing room’s tile floor, then skittered up the wall.
“Get back here!” I hissed out from my face of mere muscle and bone. The other models for Appealing Skin watched from their respective washing tubs.
On the wall, my skin shook its hollow head, unable to speak. I gritted my teeth and strode over towards it, reaching. It clambered further up, digging folded skin into the cracks in the brick for handholds.
“You’re going to tear if you’re not careful—!”
“Need help?” One of the other models glided up next to me. Meera. She, as well, had her skin off, but hers soaked in her tub obediently.
I flushed, and blood seeped from my cheek muscles. This is so embarrassing. “Um, no, I can handle it!”
“Don’t worry. They’re all like that at first. They’re afraid of the idea, just like you.”
I blushed more, and more blood leaked down my cheeks. “I’m not afraid!”
“Then why did your skin crawl away?”
I raised my head, staring at the covering of my body, shivering above me like some cold blanket.
“It’s just . . . it’s strange,” I said. “Washing my skin.”
“Weren’t people afraid of the Internet when it first started?” Meera shifted her weight to her left hip with a slow grace. Blood did not leak from her when she moved. “People were scared that strangers would find out where they lived. Then, later, they realized that it was actually great. They told strangers their home address just so they could get groceries delivered.” She shrugged. “We’re doing the same thing. We’re showing people they don’t have to use expensive medications for their acne or eczema.”
My skin had stopped shivering as it listened to Meera’s voice.
“Did you have…” I paused.
“I have a mole that started to change its shape, you know? And my family has a history of skin cancer. Washing it helps keep it benign.”
My skin crept back down the wall, inch by inch, folding its fingers and toes into the cracks in the brick. The rosacea on the back of its neck looked especially bad today.
“Are you ready, then?” I asked it.
My skin shivered, but took my hand, and I led it over to the washing bin. I was an Appealing Skin marketing model. I needed to wash it for the photoshoot later that day.
Meera was right. Strange didn’t have to be scary.
September 8th, 2023
more stories here
Nine great new short stories and two drabbles in a fine new collection from Wyldblood. These stories cover death (and its aftermath), identity (and its pitfalls) choices (and their consequences) and much more. We have aliens with time travel machines and buildings that want you to stay just a little bit longer – like, forever. Thought provoking fantasy and science fiction available in print and digital formats.
From the Depths
Our latest anthology is packed with tales of the murky deep. We’ve got fifteen stories stuffed with selkies and sea monsters, pirates and meremaids, intrigue, adventure and more. Available in print and digitally.
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