Skin Deep

He works quickly, his deft hands flitting over the instruments with a skill that comes from a vast history of experience. He talks while he works.

“You are my failure,” he says. “I blame only myself.”

He sets one tool down on the tray, picking up the next.

“I raised you better,” he sighs. There is melancholy in his voice. “But alas, the damage is done.”

He pauses for several long moments, intent on his work. Large beads of sweat stand out on his brow. He pays them no notice. He grunts with the exertion of one particularly difficult area, and after a moment he resumes his narrative.

“Do you know,” he asks, “that vanity is considered a deadly sin? Well, it goes with pride, at any rate.” His chuckle is raw and coarse. “I tried to break you of it, but of all my daughters, you were always the one most taken with her looks.”

He makes one final cut and the last of the girl’s skin springs free, stretched taught on the frame above her.

He gestures. “And you see? I warned you. Beauty really is only skin deep.”

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

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