The Eye of the Beholder
by Dana C. Kabel
Gloria Stevens stepped out of the black stretch limo and onto the red carpet to the cheers of her adoring fans. She was thin. Beautiful. Glamorous. Cameras flashed at her every move.
She smiled and blew a kiss. The fans roared.
"I love you!"
Her lithe fingers tickled the air in a half hearted wave.
"I LOVE YOU!"
She walked like high born royalty in the procession of elite that had been invited to the award show of the year. Her breathing was as easy as her unfocused gaze. Valium and vodka in the back of the limo helped.
"Gloria...I LOVE YOU!" The voice was ugly. Grating. And louder than all others.
The crowd used to frighten her so badly that she could barely get out of the car. The ugly voice would have sent her running for cover. That was before she found the right combination of drugs and alcohol to give her courage.
"I LOVE YOU!"
Christ, she was going to need another drink just as soon as she got in her seat. And she had better fucking well get the treatment she deserved. Last year she had to remind the help that Gloria Stevens is an Award Winning Actress. She didn't buy her fucking ticket on eBay.
Gloria stepped a little faster to get the hell away from that voice. Suddenly she was confronted by its startling source as he appeared at the front of the crowd. He was hideous beyond belief and the only thing between them was a red velvet rope.
Disfigured was an understatement. He looked like someone had cut his face apart and set the pieces on fire and then sewed them back together again.
Gloria Stevens, Award Winning Actress, vomited in her mouth.
"Get that...fucking thing away from me," she whispered harshly to her bodyguard, who looked like he wanted to slap her.
One thing that was not damaged on the disfigured man was his hearing. He cringed from her words and dropped his head in shame.
Gloria fought back the strong urge to spit on him.
The man turned and pushed through the crowd to get away from the woman that he tried to profess his love to moments ago.
Gloria managed to pace herself with the booze until the best actress award came up. She didn't want to watch herself on the news the next day, stumbling up to the podium and slurring the words of her acceptance speech.
When they opened the envelope and announced the winner, Gloria tried to stand up until her manager, Paul put a firm hand on her arm and pulled her back into her seat.
"Sorry darling. You can't win them all."
"Fucking hell," she said. Reality dawned. "Vivian Hadley?"
"Vivian is seventy-eight and has never won before. You are twenty-eight and already have three gold statues on your mantle. Look at it from the academy's point of view."
"They're fucking imbeciles."
The stops were pulled from her drinking.
After the fifth glass of Stoli she went to the bathroom. The bodyguard followed. She tried her best to walk a straight line until she got past the cameras.
Then she lost her balance trying to open the bathroom door and fell backwards. The bodyguard caught her and steadied her on her feet.
Gloria jerked her arm away.
"Get your filthy hands off from me! Do you know who the fuck I am?"
Having had his fill of Gloria and the rest of Hollywood, he yanked his earpiece out and threw it on the floor.
"Fuck you, bitch," he said.
She tried to slap him and missed. The bodyguard walked away. Gloria spit at his back and went into the bathroom.
When she came out, a new bodyguard was there putting the earpiece in place.
"I hope you're better than the last shit-head." Gloria breathed into her open palm and sniffed it.
The new bodyguard turned around and smiled. The grin did nothing to improve his burned and lacerated face.
Gloria gasped and cringed.
He clamped a scaly hand over her perfect mouth and pushed her back into the bathroom. She tried to scream, but the rough mitt muffled her cries.
His other hand locked the door. Then he took her to the ground.
Gloria's struggles were useless. He fell on top of her, pinning her arms down with his big legs.
Tears streamed down her cheeks as she struggled.
Gloria was certain that she was going to be raped by the repulsive creature, but she was suddenly faced with a new terror when she saw the glint of the razor blade.
Cold steel. So close that it made her eyes cross. A sharp prick on her cheek made her wince.
He let his paw up just a little so he could hear her beg.
"Please...not my face."
He bent and brushed her soft skin with his scabbed cheek. His tongue flicked in and out of her ear like a serpent's tongue.
"Don't worry about your face. I really don't mind the scars," he whispered as the blade dug deeper into her flesh.