Brenda really liked Stanley, even when she killed him. Her hands, sometimes quite unwilling instruments, snapped his neck in seconds after his hands came to rest on what she herself called "the line". No one passed that line, and no one found it and lived, even though she might like them both before and after doing what she had to do.
Stanley fell to the ground like a ragdoll and she passed his sprawled dead body in one step. Something which only very long legs make possible and thus something that came natural to her, being tall and statuesque. After passing his body she simply went home and started her night ceremony, even before eating. Actually, she didn't feel like eating anything this evening and she really felt bereaved by the death of poor Stanley whom she had come to like over the past two weeks. She felt that for once she understood a man - and then he had to go like that.
Heaving a deep sigh she started the intricate process of removing her day face. She knew that having done so she would feel a little better without all the make-up that she felt obliged to use. Not that she liked it, but what has to be done has to be done and the make-up was a must ...
Working on her face one more sigh escaped her when she came to think of the others who had been too close to that special line. Some were just brushed off before anything happened and others had ended up like poor Stanley.
One of them had been Rick who thought that she had been playful when she pulled back from him. He too had had his hands on that special line while tracing her amazing beauty. "Aha," he said, "so you had one of those, those what do you call them, beauty surgeries ..." He laughed out loudly and then kissed her forehead lovingly. "Well, the result is stunning, darling, and you don't have to tell me about it. I love you as you are, scars and all."
She knew he did and so did Peter, the first of her admirers who definitely had had to go. In his case there was absolutely no other solution as he not only found the line, but crossed it. Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly on her part as she had been assured over and over again that it couldn't happen, what was hidden was revealed. He had started to scream and that was when she learnt the use of the technique of snapping necks in seconds.
Now, this evening, she felt sad at thinking of those who had died, but being practical she sent the message of Stanley's death to Emperor. His face at once appeared on the screen that was conceiled in her mirror. She just said one word and he nodded: "Dead."
Once more he nodded and then he opened his mouth as if he wanted to tell her something, but she brushed him off. "Not to-night, Emperor. I'm tired and want to go to sleep."
"OK," he said, "I shall see to everything. Sleep tight and don't worry about this." His handsome and familiar face dissolved into fragments of green and he was gone.
At the same time Brenda's hands went to the line. One forefinger hooked on the loop, she pulled it and in second her mirror showed her the image she liked the best: The green lizard-face of the so-called alien from her far-away home-planet.
Happy once again she traced her features and felt reassured at finding herself once again now that her artificial, human day-face was off. Now that it stared back at her from its box she felt a deep relief that it wasn't hers ....
© Else Cederborg