Nichole has added another story to our Flash Challenge. Today's prompt was ‘Ugly Beauty.' The rules of the challenge are simple: respond to the prompt, no editing, and try to keep it under 1000 words….


Ugly Beauty


Reaching into my messenger bag I felt around until my fingers ran along the leather roll. Pulling it out I undid the snap and unrolled the pencils inside, the smell of charcoal hitting my senses. Placing my ear buds in I flipped to my favorite Playlist.  Closing my eyes I took a few deep calming breaths. When I opened them I picked up one of the pencils and began to create letting my mind get lost in the music.


As I started my rough sketch the image on the paper began to talk to me. Starting with her face I noticed her delicate features. I also saw the dark circles under her eyes. How they appeared to be void of life missing the sparkle. I continued filling in the details. When my pencil began to shade her lips I noticed how she nibbled on her lower lip. Was she nervous or scared someone would find a flaw only she could see. A flaw she saw when her reflection stared back at her maybe because of something someone said. Was she worried her breasts weren't the right size not big enough or too large? Maybe she worried that her stomach wasn't flat enough?


As my hand continued to move along the paper the questions continued to play in my mind like my Playlist on repeat. I directed my attention to the fact her hair was cut and styled perfectly. Not a hair out of its proper placement.  Her nails were manicured and painted to perfection.


When I placed my pencil down I looked at the image before me. Staring back at me was the beautiful flawless woman seated on the stool in the front of the class. The worries that had been running wild in my head weren't hers they were mine. The ones placed there by others that lurked in the shadows hidden under the mask I wore.

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