Vain Attempts

May 25, 2009
By Kyle Kehrwald BRONZE, El Paso, Texas
Kyle Kehrwald BRONZE, El Paso, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Narcissa deVillier strutted down the shiny hallway. It was a small wonder that the heels of her
fragile, six-inch stilettos didn’t snap under her pin-thin frame. The shiny black heels dug into the
fresh layer of wax, leaving small indentations trailing behind her. Narcissa tossed her dyed
platinum-blonde mane to reveal her ornate chandelier earrings, and her arm was about to snap under
the weight of her several matching “trendy” bangles. Her clique moved slowly; her friends thought it
was so they could be dramatic and model-esque, but in reality it was because Narcissa’s suction-cup
jeans severely restricted her movement. Today had been a decent day. Narcissa had gotten the
attention she so craved; boys had gawked at her, girls whispered about her behind cupped hands. It
was better than yesterday, where she had been able to pay for her typical lunch, three meat patties,
using the change that had been thrown down her shirt. She sighed, said goodbye to her friends, and
walked to her car. As she was unlocking her hot pink Volkswagen, she caught a jerky shadow out of
the corner of her eye. She turned her head quickly, her earrings smacking her face. She ignored the
soft, tingling pain, opting instead to look for the strange Shadow. Narcissa could only make out the
conventional shapes of a parking lot. She took a deep breath, and got into her car as fast as her
toddling steps could take her. Never before had it occurred to her that maybe she wasn’t dressed
completely appropriately considering her proximity to Juarez. Narcissa drove home, mindlessly
blasting rap from the speakers. Maybe she was a little too white for this music, but everyone’s
allowed their guilty pleasures. Rap was just one of the many indulgences she let herself have; her
trick was to let a few people see a few different pleasures. That way, no one would ever have to
know just how many she had. Once again the strange Shadow jutted out of nowhere. Narcissa turned her
head so sharply, her car nearly swerved into her neighbor’s lamppost. She slammed the breaks and
stopped the car a mere few inches from the lamp. She breathed hard for a few moments, hands gripped
tightly to the wheel and the pedal pressed against the floor. Narcissa cut the engine and collapsed
into the seat. She massaged her temples and let out a shaky breath. After she collected herself, she
turned on her car, and calmly drove home. As far as Narcissa was concerned, there was no Shadow, no
near crash, and no reason to think there might be something wrong with her. She walked into her
house and was greeted by her parents arguing again. It must have been one heck of an argument
because they did not stop their fighting for a moment to give her a strained smile with anger still
seething out of their eyes. The deVilliers were proud people and kept their arguments within the
people involved; otherwise that would show weakness, and that was simply unacceptable. Narcissa
sighed and went up to her bedroom. It was perfectly in order, and freshly vacuumed. She could never
stand a mess, not when she could control the order. There was too much chaos in her life without a
messy room to be added to it. She set her huge binder on her desk, the mountain of homework could go
away and crawl under a rock for all she cared. She was Narcissa deVillier, and her teachers
would be darned if they failed her. She belonged to an expensive prep-school (her parent’s idea of
course), and was the best darn singer that school had ever seen. She landed the lead in the musical
on the whim that she had to try out. Narcissa had never seriously considered committing, until she
saw her teachers cutting her slack on her grades and punctuality. Her school was very fine arts
oriented, and would not risk losing her so close to the show. She found she could walk to a class
half an hour late with a Venti Starbucks cup in hand, and would have been given a 100 on that
morning’s quiz. At first she felt a little guilty showing up late and had a dozen excuses on hand
for her teachers. “Sorry, Mrs. Gilbert, but my throat hurts from practice and I needed some hot tea
to sooth it,” was a favorite. “My car wouldn’t start and I had to walk to school, but I couldn’t get
my tennis shoes because my house was locked, so it took me a while,” she would say while pointing at
her heels. Eventually she stopped caring, as did her teachers, and she just wandered into
class whenever she felt like it. It gave her a little joy seeing the looks she would get from the
“dedicated” students who got passed up for the part she got. She casually flirted with the director,
sometimes by running her tongue slowly over her teeth, other times by swaying her hips a little more
when she walked, and all would be forgotten by those who actually mattered. Narcissa plopped onto
her bed and bent over to take off her shoes. The waistline of her double zero jeans (she was envied
by all of her friends) cut into her stomach sharply. She ripped off her shoes, unbuttoned her jeans
and angrily made her way to the bathroom. It had taken her too long to get into these darn jeans,
and she would rather die skinny and envied than live being fat. Narcissa had pretty much kicked the
habit of regurgitating her lunch, but once in a while she figured she might as well get it out of
her system. Once she was through vomiting bile (she had waited too long since lunch to throw up
actual food) she swished with mouthwash so her parents wouldn’t get tipped off. They were so
consumed with fighting now they probably wouldn’t notice, but she still didn’t want to take the
risk. After she spit out the minty liquid she stared at herself in the mirror. “…I will give out
divers/ schedules of my beauty. It shall be inventoried, and every/ particle and utensil labeled to
my will: as, item, two lips/ indifferent red; item, two grey eyes, with lids to them; item,/ one
neck, one chin, and so forth.” She smirked at her reflection. This was the only line she could
remember from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. It didn’t describe her much; she had honey-brown eyes
that had little expression in them with the exception of a vague condescending look that shot out at
anybody that considered themselves her equal. Narcissa always had her exclusive mink eyelashes to
frame her eyes, and they were always coated with liquid liner and mascara. She had a wide smile that
had been treated with braces and professional teeth whitening. A bright, red always framed her
mouth. I think Victoria’s Secret calls it Quickie? She also had an entire compact pressed into her
face to cover up the ugly crescent-shaped scar she had gotten when she was little. Narcissa slammed
her hand against the mirror. She would not think about that day. Ever. She walked back into her
room, grazing her fingers lightly on her pageant awards. Narcissa laughed, the snobby sound
reverberated off of her walls. Narcissa always wins. Narcissa changed into her silk pajamas, and sat
down at her computer to surf the Internet. She ignored the maid when she told Narcissa dinner was
ready, and later stretched out like a cat on her bed. She hadn’t slept well the past couple of
nights, and she was ready to sink deep into her Tempur-Pedic mattress and Egyptian cotton sheets for
the night. She was running frantically away from something; she didn’t know what and she didn’t know
why. All Narcissa could think about was running as fast as her curve-less legs would carry her. She
found herself in a dank room, cornered by a shadow. The same shadow that had been following her
earlier. It was ominous and evil and slowly approaching her. Narcissa woke in a cold sweat, a gasp
on her lips. She looked at the vanity mirror next to her bed and saw the Shadow in the corner, and
the scar on her cheek. She screamed and froze with fear. After her heart began pumping warm blood
throughout her body again, and she left her eyes open long enough to make everything blur together,
Narcissa stuck out a trembling hand to turn on the light. She stared at the popcorn ceiling until
dawn broke the sky, sending its veins of color throughout the gray sky. Narcissa got out of her bed,
and placed herself at her vanity mirror to begin pressing foundation into her pores, and more
importantly, her scar.

She met up with her clique under the large cedar tree in front of school. She stuck her chest out,
and pulled her shirt to make her cleavage more alluring. Narcissa walked at the head of the group,
her intense gladiator heels setting the pace for her friends to follow. They passed a group of
seniors, and one of the girls sneezed. “I think I’m allergic to tramp,” she made no attempt at
whispering. Narcissa turned around. “Actually,” she began sweetly, “you must be allergic to that
collagen you just had stuffed into your lips.” “Can you do me a favor? My brother’s getting married
and he needs a stripper at his bachelor party.” the senior said,
unfazed. “Well considering your entire family has reproduced through incest, I think you would be
much more comfortable being the at your brother’s party,” Narcissa smirked, and then spun
around to lead her clique away. She brushed off the entire conversation, and forgot the fact that
about fifteen people outside of her clique had been able to spot her blue thong from where her skirt
flew up. Her friends knew better than to ask if she were okay; after all, she was Narcissa
deVillier. Narcissa seemed to grow into more of a cuss every day. She was taking nicely after her
mother apparently. Everyone at the school seemed to hate her right now, and her frequent run-ins
with trouble were not helping her. Narcissa appeared to notice the cold glances she was receiving,
but tossed her hair and forgot the whole thing. The girls walked along the school and passed River
and his brother. What does that make him? Stream? Tree? Whatever. All River did was vow he wasn’t
into labels, and he was a hippie/yuppie. He was just aggravating to be around, and most people
avoided him, and as a side effect his brother was unpopular too. As long as that didn’t happen to
Narcissa, she didn’t care what people did to her. She led the girls to Starbucks and vaguely
listened to the bell ringing, and smirked at the kids running to their classes. The world stopped
and revolved at Narcissa’s will. No one would mess with that.

At lunch, Narcissa wandered randomly into a bathroom. She hadn’t eaten, but she actually didn’t have
anything better to do. The restrooms were equipped with two walls made up entirely of full-length
mirrors. She fluffed up her hair and spun around. She saw the Shadow that had been haunting her, and
It now seemed to be more of an inky dark cloud. After a second, It vanished. Narcissa blinked and
whipped out her lipstick. She had to make it look as if she were in there for a reason. She didn’t
know why, but she did. Narcissa walked out of the bathroom in search of her friends. She was left
alone when she was around them, and that’s exactly what she needed. To be left alone from the mind
she feared was going insane.

Narcissa could finally zone out at theater rehearsal. She had gotten into three spats since lunch,
one of them with her friends. She knew that right now they were on the phone cussing about her, but
they would be the ones to apologize. She gave them too much that they could not live without. They
mindlessly went through the beats of the music. Her hands created a steady metronome, trained from
years of piano. Even when she was barely into the songs, she was still better than the rest of these
hopeless “actors.” The director finally released them; reminding them to look over their lines,
listen to the copy of the CD with the music, blah, blah, blah. Narcissa stepped out into the chilly
night; the crisp spring air slapped her face. Suddenly the Shadow thing formed in front of her. It
pressed against her, until she stumbled back, accidentally snapping one of the heels of her shoes
off; she absently grabbed the heel in hopes of using it as a weapon. The Shadow was herding her into
the school. She tottered backwards, her body bobbing sideways from the difference of height her
shoes created. Narcissa’s eyes locked onto the Shadow; she didn’t want it to randomly appear in
front of her anymore. Her heart seized up, and forced ice into every crevice of her body. It hurdled
toward her, sweeping her up into its black mass. She was sealed in the womb of the Shadow. Narcissa
could not see anywhere around her, and she had no indication of her bearings. Tears started
streaking out of her eyes and were being consumed by It. Eventually, It spit her out, and she landed
onto cold, gritty tile. Narcissa tentatively pulled her head up and met the mirror. She screamed
when she saw the thing staring back at her. She couldn’t even call it a face. A huge crescent scar
on the left half disfigured it. On the right side it was sagging. But it had the same honey eyes,
with a condescending mixed with terror filled expression in them. Narcissa forced herself backwards
and brought her knees to her chest. The Shadow passed over the mirror and showed a little girl. That
little girl was laughing at someone. The first of many cruel things she did in her life. “No,”
Narcissa whispered. It was at a beauty pageant. She was laughing at the girl whose voice cracked on
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” If that girl hadn’t messed up, it would have been the end of a long
winning streak, Narcissa remembered. The mirror showed after the pageant a witch-like woman going up
to the younger Narcissa, and curling her left thumbnail into Narcissa’s cheek, leaving a searing
crescent scar permanently etched into her face. She then walked away to comfort her daughter, the
girl Narcissa laughed at. Then the mirror showed that the girl got very sick, and her cheek very
inflamed. Narcissa could feel her cheek burning, as if the inferno of heck were living within her
face. It had taken weeks for the scar to subside, and it no aspect of her life fully healed after
that. She blamed that woman for all of her problems, for her family’s problems. The Shadow started
to swirl and shift around Narcissa. She started sobbing harder. The next scene was projected onto
the mirrors, and she was forced to watch. There was another woman, this one Narcissa did not
recognize. She was wandering, lonely and forgotten, again a crescent moon on her cheek. Narcissa
cried at the melancholy scene, and wondered why she had to watch it. The Shadow veiled the mirrors
once more, and then dissolved into the next scene. Monsters stared at Narcissa, all with crescent
scars melded into their faces. She screamed again, and this time hurled the stiletto heel of her
broken shoe into the mirror. The mirror cracked into an intricate network of veins and silhouettes.
Her eyes stared at her from every splintered piece of glass. Narcissa’s knees buckled under her, and
her head dropped onto the floor. Tears were bleeding profusely from her eyes. With black streaking
down her face, she pulled her bloodshot eyes to the gritty mirror. Yet another horribly disfigured
face stared back at her, not even the broken mirror could stop it from gazing into her depths.
Narcissa screamed and shoved herself backward, collapsing into a resigned rag doll. She sobbed and
the Shadow swirled over her head, as if to tell her it was her fault. Every horrible thing was her
fault. Narcissa curled into a crescent moon, and cried out of distress. She kept her eyes clamped
together in a vain attempt to shield her from the mirror, the Shadow, and the monsters that were the
true Narcissa deVillier.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

on Aug. 23 2009 at 6:48 pm
Hope_Princess BRONZE, Hebron, New Hampshire
4 articles 4 photos 377 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible."

Behind all of that makeup and vain beauty there certainly was a nasty person. You did a great job at writing this story and I felt like I was watching the whole thing happen right before my eyes, that's how real you made it sound. Keep writing!

Parkland Book

Parkland Speaks

Smith Summer