The Cupcakes (3)

Not a single tear escapes my eyes as I sit back up and slowly gain footing. “Is that all you need for now Madame Clarisse?” I ask, the pain becoming a cold and unwavering part of my voice.

Madame Clarisse’s lips curl into a snarl, her eyes glowing with disgust at the fact that I have the strength left in me to stand up. At this point, Magnum Damarion’s resolve against killing the rabbit has completely fled, he has given into society’s cruelness.

Photo Credit: New Mark Hotels

I suppose it is easier that way, is it not Magnum? I think bitterly. I stand there, my heart beating faster as he gets closer. I know that if I move to defend myself nothing good will come of it, so I stand there and take it as he slowly moves toward me. I refuse to let myself shake, the only evidence of my pain and panic is my unsteady breathing.

Once he is within breathing distance, he stops and Madame Clarisse makes a repulsed noise in the back of her throat at the thought of someone of his status being this close to a servi. He looks back at her with ice in his eyes. One look from the mighty lion and the hyena is silenced, humiliated, unable to finish off one pitiful rabbit.

“Tell me, are you so daftly-idiotic as to mess up one small order?” He asks plaintively, as if this is not a kill shot.

Defiance rears its ugly head inside me. My mouth moves to say no and that I meant every gram of sugar I put in there, but my mind slams my lips shut and reworks them, “Yes, I am.”

He nods as if feigning understanding. His feet make little noise as he steps back, dragging his feet over the carpet, and as swift as a bullet he drives his steel-toed boot into my side exactly where Madame Clarisse’s heel push through my skin. I do not hear the impact but I sure as hell feel it. A cry escapes my lips as my head hits the side table, splitting the skin near my eyebrow. I hold my breath and let myself sag. I have failed myself more than once tonight, and I do not have the strength to face anymore failure.

I pull myself up and support myself on the side table slouched over, “Is there anything else you will be needing, Magnum, Madame?”

Clarisse takes a deep breathe, the hyena is too proud to let the lion have the final blow. Her fist zeros in on my nose, and with blinding pain her fist connects to the bridge of my nose, sending me careening out of control and into the side-table I was previously in alliance with.

I open my eyes a few seconds after the waves of nauseating pain pass. I can feel the blood on my mouth and dripping down my chin, creating rivers of deep red on my blouse. I look down at myself. This is what I would be in for, if I escape, if I make it to the next future, the next fate – one hell of a beating.

I crack my neck and swing my gaze between the Magnum and my Madame, “Is there anything else you will be needing? Madame, Magnum?”

I can see the vein in Madame Clarisse’s forehead pop out like a river in a smooth desert. I glance over at Magnum Damarion, he is looking mildly horrified at what he has helped do. His eyes linger on the blood stains dripping from my eyebrow and nose. Too late asshole. His eyes then stray to blossom of blood that is forming on my side as well.

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This will go well tomorrow: Female Runaway Servi Found: Beaten Badly, To Be Executed. What a nice headline, yeah? But somehow I still cannot bring myself to stay here in this damned house.

“No I’m no longer in need your services.” I am surprised Madame Clarisse managed to grind even that out.

I bow my head a sign of respect, but in truth I can barely keep myself upright. I take a shallow breath as I prepare to attempt to walk. I slowly tell my legs to move, and as if by some sort of disconnect they start moving moments after I tell them to. I can feel the heel of my shoes catch in the threading of the carpet, and the other foot continues to shuffle forward, missing its ever-important counterpart. I can feel my mind slowly winding down to a complete standstill, like eyes that are slowly closing for longer than the last time. I hear, more than feel myself falling. The air creates a tunnel and everything sounds like static.

All of a sudden the sound stops. I let my knees buckle and I hear a thud as another pair of knees hit the ground with mine. The Magnum.

The Cupcakes (2)

My knees sting. And my face feels as if it is about to burst.

“Get up you worthless, idiotic oaf.” Now Clarisse is shouting, but it only registers as a faint ringing.

I slowly get to my feet. Biting back a snide retort, I grit my teeth again, ignoring the pain that shoots through my jaw. Survive this and you will not suffer the noose unless you are found out to be a runaway. Snap now and you will be sent to the noose with no chance to live. I play this on repeat in my head knowing in my heart that I cannot crack.

“Does it taste like a sugar-free cupcake?” She shouts, causing my head to ring even more.

Well seeing as it hit my face I did not really get to taste it, now did I?

“Does it?” Mangum Damarion’s deep cold voice rings in for the first time.

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I can feel him slowly creeping closer like a dangerous and powerful dark lion. His money-bred arrogance and inhuman power is painted across his face in wide bloody slashes. He does not dare getting close enough to touch me, for even a jealous hyena can take down an ignoble lion.

He throws his cupcake and it hits me just below the collarbone with enough force to push me back a bit. The pastel frosting flies up hitting my neck and chin, but also outward hitting him, and an already frosting-splattered Magnus Madame Clarisse. I clench my teeth harder, knowing it will be hell for whatever servi is tasked with getting the purple color out of the expensive fabric, and even worse to get it out of the priceless rugs and tapestries in the private dining room. I send a silent apology like a prayer to that servi.

Magnus Madame Clarisse’s eyes show with livid blood-lust. “Is. That. Sugar. Free?” She asks quietly, a stark change to the headache inducing shriek from a few moments ago.

She raises her hand to strike me again and I cannot help but cower, my body telling me my head cannot take more abuse.

“No – they are not.” I whisper, my throat rasping. I clumsily try to push my dark hair out of my eyes.

“They are not.” I repeat, knowing that I have cracked and with that realization I stop trying to stay standing, I let myself fall to my knees. I take a rattling breath, knowing that I failed myself.

“You. Brainless. Disgusting. Impudent. Daft. Worthless. Servi.” Her voice gains momentum and crescendos, “Can. You. Not. Follow. Simple. Orders?”

I can feel it. The lion is staring from his throne and his eyes. It feels like I am in the roman coliseum, thumbs are pointing down, but there is a small glimmer of possible guilt and shame in what he is doing in his eyes. But before that glimmer of guilt can take over, his eyes are back to guiling the hyena: impress me, hyena, and you will be a lion; and then there is the hyena, all too ready to comply. The white rabbit has been stained red and the hyena is ready to rip its heart out to give, still beating faintly, to the lion.

Photo Credit: Oriental Rug Bazaar

I feel the pointy stiletto drive itself into my side before my brain registers that she even moved to kick me. Her stiletto breaks through my uniform and my skin, sending searing pain between my ribs. I topple from my kneeling position to curl up in a fetal position looking at the fine threads, red threads, of the ungodly expensive Persian rugs.

The Cupcakes (1)

“Is there anything else I can get you Madame Clarisse, Magnum Damarion?” I curtsey as she stares critically at the cupcakes.

She frowns down at the cupcakes and asks in an eerily silent voice, “Are they the sugar-free, I asked for –”

Panic and terror settle in my gut, I had not remembered that, I had been distracted all day wondering if I should escape or not.  

“– well they don’t seem like it. Are they?” She demands after a bite.

I can feel myself ripping in half, if I do not say anything who will get hurt? If I say yes who will get hurt? I lock my jaw and refuse to even breathe.

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“Well are they?” She asks in a voice that promises blood.

My blood begins to heat as I go numb with panic. I wince. Confirmation enough.

This is not about the cupcakes. This is a show of power from the hyena to impress the lion, and I am the rabbit about to get its throat ripped out.

She hands a cupcake to the Magnum, giving the lion a taste of the prize that could come of this. A fleeting look of conflict crosses his face but just as soon as it is gone he takes a bite and the haze of bloodlust crosses his face.

“No, they don’t taste sugar-free now do they.” He chuckles at me, and frost shoots through my veins. The noble lion has joined the ignoble hyena to tear apart the rabbit.

He asks, his honey-like voice becoming the steel of a Magnum blade, “Are they the sugar-free she ordered?”

He asks, the shadows on his face becoming darker and sharper. The laughing purple in his eyes turns to a dark hardened grey. I stare at the candles on the table knowing that the two of them will not be nice enough to go straight for the throat. They will take their time, they will start with small bites and continue until I bleed dry.

I know that if I were to open my mouth to confess now it would only make it worse.

“Do you want to try one? Maybe you could really tell us if the baker of these followed my instructions.” Magnus Madame Clarisse says with venom boiling through her words.

I struggle for breath. She knows it was me, and now she is going to humiliate me. I suppose the hyena and rabbit scenario is not uncommon, seeing the number of servi suicides there are.

She picks up a cupcake and saunters toward me, but instead of handing me the cupcake she daintily unwraps it. “Open up,” she says in a cloyingly syrupy voice. “Come on, it’s not like it’s a command.”

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I clench my jaw trying to keep my pride, but I know that I will be put to death if I do not obey. I rigidly unhinge my jaw.

Her perfectly sculpted pink lips pout in a demeaning manner, “Oh come on, don’t be so stiff.”

The words drip from her mouth like the blood of some other poor rabbit she already killed. The lion remains stoic in the corner, his eyes glazed over, unfeeling. The arrogant-rich-boy is back.

“Well loosen up!” She shrieks.

Magnus Madame Clarisse shoves the cupcake into my already bruised cheek with the force of a punch. I watch as purple and white frosting mars my vision and sticks to my eyelashes. I am struck by how much the frosting looks like thick fat snowflakes.

Ha how different the situations are.

New Year, New Teen Vogue

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In an interview done by Fox News, Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca’s authorial legitimacy was questioned. She was asked to be interviewed after writing a piece on Donald Trump back in December 2016. So, as one would assume, she thought they would ask her about the article. Instead, they went on for ten minutes about how, as a fashion writer, she was unable to accurately write about politics.

This kind of blatant sexism is found in many places in journalism and is becoming commonplace with female journalists. The fact that a respected news organization like Fox News could let an interview like that air is beyond me. This incident didn’t just spark unrest for Miss Duca, but for journalists like her. Why is it that because a woman writes about fashion, makeup, or hair, she is incapable of writing about more serious things like politics or other current events?

This false predisposition is just what Teen Vogue sought to disprove in the newest edition of their magazine. Wrapped in a tall collectible format, hundreds of ideas were displayed to their many, avid readers. From the profound significance of the Academy-Award winning movie, Moonlight, to one man’s relationship with makeup, this magazine tackles a wide variety of ideas.

After reading this volume on my flight back to Los Angeles, I was blown away by the passion some of these authors wrote with in their articles and the stereotypes of a “teen magazine” that were totally disregarded. I read interviews of celebrities, such as Troye Sivan and Lena Dunham, done by people close to them. They were laced with a feeling of comfort, something you couldn’t find with a typical interview. I learned of the uplifting story of a Syrian girl finding a new life and love after fleeing her war-stricken country. I read stories of all different kinds of love: sisterly love, pet-owner love, love of fashion, and self-love. This volume talked about consent, masturbation, sexuality, and other essential lessons not always found in the sex-ed taught in high schools. The photoshoots showed candid smiles, unique fashion, and people of all races and sexualities.

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In the future, it is my hope that more magazines will follow suit. Continuing to write about fashion and makeup, but also about things that matter outside of that realm, will further enrich the knowledge of many. It is important to hear voices from many walks of life, as representation is the first step to feeling empowered.