Flash Friday 01/05/2015: Skin Deep
Isabella never assumed that she would be next on the victim list of the infamous London Flayer. Murders were, after all, something that happened to other people she never met before. She never assumed she would be a victim today. It’s when she opened the closet to change into her casual clothes and found the two people hidden within — the London Flayer wearing a mask of human skin, and her male assistant beside her — that she realised that it was wishful thinking.
Isabella knew how to exit her apartment. Unfortunately, so did the London Flayer. Before Isabella could turn and flee, she felt a metal blade graze the back of her left calf, causing her to spill out of the bedroom. Before she could stand again, the London Flayer’s assistant had overtaken her, blocking her from the hallway to the front door. Isabella ran further into the apartment; there were no exits she could think of being eight storeys up, but there were no other options at this point. Catching her leg on a coffee table as she ran into the lounge, she spilled against the wall-sized window looking over the city with a crash.
She tried to think of something to do, but nothing came to mind; the London Flayer, wearing her stitched skin mask like a grotesque paper bag over her head and her wide eyes peering through holes, drew an oversized skinning knife from a sheath on her side.
“Ooh.” The London Flayer made a sound like a child finding a shiny bug. “What lovely skin you have. I don’t think I’ve managed to find someone with such soft and supple skin such as yours. Let’s see how well you’ve been treating yourself, shall we?”
The Flayer raised Isabella’s chin with her free hand, catching Isabella’s skin in the light coming through the window.
Then, she sighed.
“Martin,” the Flayer growled, letting go of Isabella’s chin. “What did I tell you to find me?”
Martin seemed taken aback at the Flayer’s sudden change. “You asked me to find a new victim for you.”
“Yes, and what kind?”
“Well…you said you wanted someone with Caucasian skin colour, right?”
The Flayer squeezed Isabella’s cheeks together. “And what do you call this?”
The Flayer sighed. “Martin, this lady is very clearly Hispanic.”
Martin blinked. “Is she?”
“Yes, of course she is! Can’t you tell by the tones of her skin?”
The Flayer shook her head to herself.
“But it’s fine, right?” Martin said, verbally trying to rearrange the smashed pieces of the Flayer’s plan. “Don’t you have a dress back home that suits that sort of skin tone?”
“I used to, but you made me throw it out for the other dress that I wanted. You said I had ‘too many’ of them, and that we needed a ‘one in, one out’ policy. We have an entire wardrobe to fill, Martin! We don’t need to start cutting down on the clothes we buy!”
“Or in your case, make.”
“It does when I have to place my office shirts right next to a dress made up entirely of dead person. Have you heard some of the comments I get from around the office? I’ve been having to apply deodorant like I’m spray-painting myself.”
The Flayer stood up. “Oh, so it’s my fault, is it? It’s my fault that you decided we ‘only needed the one wardrobe’. I could have had a place all for myself, somewhere to place my bone-sculpted shoes and eyeball jewellery. But no, someone wanted to ‘save money’.”
“But you said you wouldn’t–”
“Look, we’ll sort this when we get home. For now, we’re keeping this lady waiting. If you could just go outside for a moment?”
Martin went to object. The Flayer held up her skinning knife. Martin closed his mouth and walked out.
“Listen,” the Flayer said, crouching beside Isabella and digging into a pocket. “I’m really sorry about all this. It was supposed to be a lovely event, but unfortunately I can’t find the assistants to help me. Ooh.” The Flayer raised the cut calf Isabella had been clutching throughout the conversation. “Oh, don’t worry about it, it’s just a nick. I think I have a spare strip of skin we can use as a bandage, if you like.”
Isabella swallowed. “I have a first aid kit. Somewhere.”
“Good, good. Always nice to have medical supplies on hand. You never know when you’re going to trip, or burn yourself, or find someone hiding in your closet. This would have all been avoided if Martin had a head on his shoulders.” She drew out a small catalogue, fanning through it. “Men. If there weren’t women to look up at the sky for them, they probably couldn’t tell you what colour it was. But look, listen.”
The Flayer stopped flicking at a page, turning the magazine around for Isabella. It was a range of different kinds of clothing and accessories. Isabella couldn’t help but notice that all of them were made from leather.
“You have a look at these,” the Flayer said. “Go through it in your own time. I’ll be back again when I have a slot open in my busy schedule, and we can discuss what kind of clothing I’ll make out of you. Look, see this handbag, here? I bet your face would look absolutely to die for stretched across that sort of design. Your type of smooth skin really is a blessing, don’t you know?”
Isabella nodded, even though she currently didn’t feel as if it was.
“Well, I’ll be back later then.” The Flayer stood. “Oh, and if you’re looking for some cream, I highly suggest Synadyne skin moisturiser. It makes your skin, uh…” she made a motion like playing an accordion. “More stretchy.”
“I’ll, uh…look into it,” Isabella lied.
Isabella slowly recovered by herself as the Flayer let herself out. Now would be a fantastic moment to move out into the countryside.