Anke (ankewehner) wrote,

Mind-Ful of Make-Up

Originally published at You can comment here or there.

Setting: ?
Genre: Magical Realism
Summary: The right makeup can have a profound effect on the wearer - but it needs great care.
Notes/warnings: less than perfect mother-daughter relationship. Based on the prompts "being right" from my origfic bingo card, and the prompt "make up your mind" from dailyprompt
Words: 420

When Jessie wanted to find her mother, she just had to follow the trail of cigarette smoke. The closer to the master bedroom, the more obvious became the odor of freshly applied perfume, too. The latter hit Jessie like a bus when she opened the door of the room.

Her mother sat at the make-up table in a copper-coloured evening dress, applying makeup.

“Hi Mum. Have you signed—”


“The slip for the school trip next month.”

“I think, it should be on the kitchen table.” She did not even look at Jessie’s reflection in the mirror, but kept drawing the elaborate linework of her “warpaint” on her temples and sides of her forehead.

Fascinated by her sure strokes, Jessie came closer to watch. She recognised the rhythm of the pattern having to do with perception, and the gold-ochre shimmer of kerolia pollen. Her mother wanted to be sharp tonight, not only sharply dressed.

The girl leaned forward to peer at the little alchemy lab where her mother worked magic. Next to the small bowl with fresh makeup being used was indeed a jar with kerolia, a bottle of almond oil, and one of alcohol.

“Mum, I thought you weren’t supposed to mix—”

“Honey, not now. I’ve got a very important function tonight.”


“We can talk about makeup this weekend, all right?”

“All right.” Anything else would lead to trouble, if she was in that kind of mood. Jessie went to check if her mother had actually signed the slip, and left her alone for the evening.

The next morning, Jessie was already at the breakfast table with a bowl of cornflakes when her mother came down the stairs, slowly, gripping the rail for support like a woman twice her age.

“I’ll make coffee, OK?”

The girl got only a faint groan in reply, which she interpreted as “yes”.

It took her mother a mug of coffee, two painkillers, and quite a while before she spoke. “I don’t understand. I had half a glass of wine, and I made a complete fool of myself, clinging to the Director like some…” She waved a hand and made a retching noise.

“Mum? Did you mix the makeup with alcohol yesterday?”


“The kerolia. You told me in mixtures it amplified the effect of mind-altering substances.”

Her mother groaned. “Why didn’t you—”

“I tried to tell you.” Jessie glared at her mother, who soon lowered her eyes, then her head.

Jessie had never actually seen someone headdesk before.

This entry was also posted at You can comment wherever you prefer.
Tags: contemporary fantasy, dailyprompt, flash fiction, origfic_bingo, third person
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