top of page


Updated: Jul 19, 2020

Jennifer stared angrily at the reflection in the mirror, at the crude dark stain that interrupted the smooth honey blonde of her cascading hair. Skank roots, is what she and her sister called them, something she had never let occur in the twenty-some odd years that she had been bleaching her hair the perfect shade of blonde. This was getting ridiculous - she actually had skank roots.

Of course when news broke about the mysterious new virus spreading its way across the world, she’d taken it seriously. Who hadn’t? She made sure to stock up on extra canned veggies and toilet paper, just like everyone else, content to hang out at home, catch up on the laundry, paint her room a new color. She’d adjusted, donning one of her cute baseball caps when her boyfriend called to FaceTime, a skully when her other boyfriend called. But somewhere around the third or fourth week, when the ugly brown roots began to expand way beyond the acceptable limits, she’d hit her breaking point. This quarantine was bullshit.

“You really should stay inside,” her boyfriend told her in his airy condescending tone. He no longer worked in a hospital, he just owned them, and spent most of his days golfing and drinking Bud Light. “I hear they are really taking a hit with the amount of new cases. You don’t want to catch this thing. I’ll see you when they let us fly back from Jamaica.”

“It’s all bullshit, man,” her other boyfriend told her, scowling under his fringe of multi-colored hair. “We can’t let the government control us. We’re all going to turn into a bunch of commies.”

Regardless of opinions, enough was enough. She needed out of this house and she was getting her damn hair done. She had a right to leave, she was an American. Who was to say when she could or couldn’t get her hair done?

She logged onto her computer, searching to see who was taking house appointments. She shuddered to think what kind of process they used, but it was better than trying to put some store bought junk on her precious locks. Finally, she found a lady, not far from where she lived who was taking appointments in her basement. She sounded normal enough when she called, and within ten minutes she was dressed, baseball cap on, and out the door.

The world was quiet, for the weather was a bit too chilly for people to be outside, though she noticed a few brave souls walking down the street wearing masks. The city looked like a ghost town, stores closed and boarded up to prevent theft, gas stations only opened at their windows, the fast food drive-thrus packed. She couldn’t believe that only a month ago, everything had been fine; it was warm enough that she could drive with the top down on the convertible Boyfriend #1 lent her while he was out of town (again), the radio up loud, and the wind whipping through her perfect hair.

She pulled into the driveway, a nondescript bungalow with shutters that needed replacing. A wave of nervousness hit her, but she thought about Boyfriend #1 discovering her skank roots and she threw open the door, double checking to make sure she’d locked the door behind her. She walked down the driveway, following the directions the woman had given her on the phone, to the garage door. She took a deep breath and gave it a knock.

The woman who greeted her was wearing an apron, her gloved hands covered in dye. “Oh, hey, sugar, it’s going to be a minute, do you mind waiting on the porch?”

Jennifer was so relieved to see she was a normal person, that she didn’t complain about having to wait outside. She hadn’t eaten a carb in five years, it didn’t take much to make her shiver. “Sure thing,” she replied, heading back to the porch.

She took a seat, grateful the sun peeked out from the clouds. She closed her eyes, pretending she was somewhere other than trying to get her roots done at some stranger’s house during a pandemic.

“Hey sorry, I was running a little late,” a woman’s voice interrupted her.

“It’s no -” she began with a smile, before she dropped her purse. Every hair on her skin lifted as she saw the woman - the thing - come into view, shaped like a woman, with long black hair like a woman, but without a nose, her mouth a Cheshire cat grin of razor sharp teeth.

Jennifer screamed, racing to her car as fast as she could, shaking like they do in the movies as she tried to grab her keys.

The thing was joined by the hair stylist she met before, looking at her bewildered, apparently oblivious to the creature's face. “Ma’am, are you alright?” she called, but Jennifer already had the car in motion. She didn’t exhale until she reached her house, running inside and locking the door.

“What, the literal fuck, was that,” she whispered, staring out her window.

She picked up the phone with shaking hands, calling Boyfriend #1. He was preoccupied, big surprise there. She dialed Boyfriend #2 who had just woken up even though it was two in the afternoon. “You are not going to believe what I just saw.”

“Don’t tell me you’re seeing the monster people, too.”

“Don’t tease me, this virus is real.”

Her boyfriend groaned, lighting up a cigarette. “Babe, you were probably just freaking out. There are no such thing as monsters, this whole thing is a bunch of bullshit.”