This is the prompt from Magpie Tales this week. Mmmm, luscious lipstick.
Here is my story…..
Roxy bought the lipstick from a street vendor. A slight man with eyes the colour of the emerald necklace she admired every day in the window of the antique store.
It was fancy lipstick, not the usual Maybelline or Rimmel she always bought at the discount store. It was French. The gold tubes in the man’s velvet lined tray shouted luxury.
This is your colour, the man said proferring a tube.
Oh no, said Roxy. It’s much too dark. I never wear lipstick that dark, it makes me look washed-out.
It’s your colour, said the man. Half price just for you.
Roxy bought the lipstick. A glimmering tube of Yves Saint Laurent Pure Lipstick No. 62 Deepstar Agate. For five dollars. She suspected it was much less than half price.
It was almost the same colour as her hair, her eyes. When she put it on it brought a striking symmetry to her face.
Roxy was nervous walking out the door. She thought she looked like a bit of a tart. There was a wildness in her eyes that hadn’t been there before, her cheekbones looked angular as if she had lost weight, as if she was hungering for something.
The streets were empty. She walked, liking the rhythm of her heels on the pavement. If she had been filming herself walking along and had watched it back later she would have seen that she appeared confident. Jaunty.
The bar was full. There was a live band. The music pulsed right into Roxy’s soul. The lead singer caught her eye and wouldn’t look away. He sang right to her. Songs of love and disenchantment. It was as if he knew her secret thoughts and dreams.
When the set was finished he jumped off the stage and sat beside her, taking her hand.
You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, he said.
Roxy smiled. She knew it was true. She was surprised at her own conceit.
The singer’s name was Rick. He had an apartment by the river. It had a cane chair by the window in the living room that reminded Roxy of the one her grandmother had kept on her porch. It made her pause, wondering what she was doing there. It was not her style to go home with a guy she had just met. Rick was fixing coffee in the kitchen. Roxy began to edge towards the door. She caught sight of herself in a little rustic-framed mirror in the hallway. She was sinewy, seductive.
Where do you think you’re going? It was Rick holding out coffee, steaming, matte brown, the same colour as her lipstick. She took the coffee but her hands were shaking and it spilled, falling like a length of fabric across the floor.
I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, she said, getting to her knees, trying to wipe it up with her bare hands.
Stop, said Rick, also on his knees. Leave it. It doesn’t matter.
He kissed her, deeply, passionately, as if it was all he ever wanted.
Roxy kissed him back, surprised at the depth of her longing for him, trying to ignore the hot coffee soaking into her skirt.
Soon they were lying in the coffee, rolling in it. The scent of it permeated the room, rich and dense. Roxy felt an urgency rise in her. Something grew closer, a kind of darkness. Unstoppable. Overflowing into nothingness.
She wanted Rick to be hers. For every day thereafter. She wanted to kiss him forever.
The morning light was pale orange, turning the cane chair russet. Roxy’s neck was stiff from lying on the floor. Rick was lying on his side, sleeping. His skin had a mahogany hue. Roxy nudged him.
I’d better go, she said. I’ll be late for work.
When Rick didn’t respond she nudged him again. He fell onto his back, eyes open.
The morning light, clearer now, fell on his body. His skin had changed colour overnight. At first Roxy thought it was the coffee, staining, soaking in. She touched his arm. It was moist, slightly sticky. It coated her fingers, a hue she recognised with disbelief, with horror – deepstar agate.
She took a closer look at Rick. Every inch of his body was coated with the same stuff on her fingers. His arms, his stomach, his feet. Roxy felt like screaming. He was covered, completely covered, with kisses. Her kisses.
Rick, she said, shaking him. Rick.
She felt for a pulse. At his throat, at his wrist. She prodded him, poked him, listened at his chest for a heartbeat. There was nothing. Rick was dead, lying in a pool of coffee, covered with Roxy’s lipstick kisses.
Roxy ran, her clothes on backwards, carrying her shoes, stumbling down and out to the street.
She must have killed him. She must have killed him.
She ran home. She had to be dreaming. She had to have lost her mind. It couldn’t be true. It couldn’t be real.
She opened her front door and collapsed into the hallway, dropping her shoes, dropping her bag. The contents spilled onto the floor, the golden tube of lipstick rolling against the skirting board.
The lipstick. It must be poisoned. She would take it to the police. Tell them about the man with the emerald eyes. He was a killer. He had killed Rick.
Roxy took the lid off the lipstick. Rolled up the tube. It was completely empty, devoid of any trace of deepstar agate. The lipstick was gone, covering Rick, killing him.
Roxy sat on the floor, inert. The tube of lipstick was a knife in her hands, brazenly catching the light, an evil spirit, empty as her heart. Denying her the taste of tomorrow.
Oooo, I like this one. Wonderfully crafted…beguiling and sinister all in one. Well done, Sel.
Omgosh, this was so creepy I was expecting something sexual and sensuous… very cleverly written. It kept me gripped to the end and then I was so surprised!
A very good tale.
Okay, I am NEVER wearing Lipstick EVER again!
Wow! I get the feeling of an old fashioned morality tale – I have felt that feeling of confidence, feeling jaunty. This is what happens when you surrender to the temptation! Good job Selma – great pacing.
Wow! What more can I say?
Excellent story Selma !
Finally… I decide how I want to die. Yes, covered in lipstick kisses. Not a bad way to go.
Splendid story telling, very gripping, and intriguing. What a seductive picture you portray.
Ohmigod! What an absolutely fascinating tale – well woven!
Yes, there’s a delicious Roald Dahl feel to this.
What a way to go…
Super tale!! I love your use of color and the wonderful deadly twist.
This one gave me the shivers. Very dark and well written.
This is brilliant! Must be the week for speculative fiction (contagious). You’ll definitely find a home for this one – Short and Twisted etc.,
Oooooooooooooooooooo! Goosebumps!!!! That is scary!
This one gave me the goosebumps Selma! I loved it- I think this is my favorite one so far… I loved the ending, definitely caught me by surprise 🙂 great story!
I am really glad you liked it. I was after both beguiling and sinister, so if I achieved that then that is awesome. Thanks, hon!
I am delighted you found that because I wanted there to be a suggestion of a sexual encounter. Thank you so much!
Neither am I. Especially if the colour is deepstar agate. Yikes!
Thanks for mentioning the pacing because I do always wonder how I go with that. Cheers, hon.
That is so kind of you. Thank you!!!
Hahaha. It would certainly beat other ways to go. LOL.
Hi SUN DANCE HILL:
Thank you for your very encouraging comment. I really appreciate it!
I am thrilled it provoked such a reaction in you. YAY!
What a compliment. WOW. Thank you so much 😀
The colour just jumped out at me for this one. Thank you for a very inspiring prompt!
I am such a fan of the dark tales. It is where I feel most at home. I hope that doesn’t say something bad about my personality!
Speculative fiction rules. It provides so much scope. I just love it!
Glad I could give you some goosebumps. Awesome!
You are so kind to say that. Thank you for your constant support. I really appreciate it 😀
Great great story… love the lipstick as the unknown weapon.
I like a good sting in the tale. After reading all these ‘lipstick’ stories it is possible to see how important the humble lipstick in our bag is to we women. Quite frightening really. I found myself reading faster and faster as I went through your piece.
There are kisses and then there are KISSES. There are kisses, yes there are, that can alter the trajectory of a life. Kisses that can kill. If truth be told, those are the best (however short-lived).
As for the former? They’re rather nice.
I am so glad you liked it. That means a lot to me!
The power of lipstick is indeed amazing. I was reading that during times of recession lipstick sales always go up. I suppose it’s a relatively cheap way to boost your mood. I really appreciate you stopping by!
I agree about the former. You have got me thinking about the power of the kiss and how often it appears in literature. Sleeping beauty and the sleep for hundred years, Snow white and the apple, the princess and the frog. The impact of the kiss is astounding.
NEVER trust the guy who says, “Half-price, just for you!” ha ha. Fun, dark stuff.
WOW! Awesome — I could picture the entire scene. Perfect ending although scary!
Oh, absolutely. There are usually strings attached when things are half-price. Great to see you!
Hi MARY ELLEN:
If you could picture it, that makes me feel great because it means I am doing something right. Lovely to hear from you!
A disturbing and vivid take on the prompt!
It was a little disturbing. I really enjoyed writing it, I must admit. Thanks so much for stopping by!
Film noir style story with a hint of sexual intrigue – awesome story Selma!
I will, however, be asking any woman I meet in a bar if she is wearing or has ever worn “Yves Saint Laurent Pure Lipstick No. 62 Deepstar Agate.”
An positive answer will have me running for the hills!!!
Aggh Selma, I hate when that happens.
So …. I discovered your story after coming home the next day from an enchanting evening that involved lipstick and am spending just a few moments to read something and, choosing your blog today, find myself tantalized not so much by the delicious story itself but rather the question of what she does next…. I shall take that with me as I pour a beer and get to the task of cleaning up my own writing space and beginning a long-awaited spell of delicious writing … here’s to the craft (raising glass) …
It may surprise you to know that I am all about the noir. Love it. Give me a bit of the dark side and I am happy as Larry. And yes, you have to watch out for that lipstick 😮
Great to hear from you. How have you been?
As to what she does next – that is the great thing about stories. When they end the reader can do with them what they will…
Glad to hear you’re about to start a spell of writing. I look forward to hearing about what you create!
A very good story, I could not wait to see the ending!
Interesting that you picked YSL instead of Dior or Chanel?
Any special reason?
Selma, I am doing well enough, thank you for asking. My writing has been interrupted by, of all things, a job. But then a little income is welcome until I can manage to build enough reserve to go back to freelancin’. But I wrote for a few hours yesterday and results will be posted soon… Be well, write well, live well. –J
I picked YSL because after seeing it in a catalogue it was the closest in shape and style to the one in the photo prompt. Come to think of it I wish I’d chosen Chanel instead because Coco Chanel is one of my idols. I’m glad you liked the story!
Aaaah – the bane of the writer’s existence; having to earn our daily bread. LOL. Glad you managed to set up a bit of a reserve. Look after yourself!