Keighlin’s stomach rumbled painfully as the hunger twisted her abdomen in knots. She sat at the dressing table in a dingy corner of the bauble house waiting for her turn with the makeup artist. The jars around her contained an endless array of cosmetics. She sat wondering how they would make her up today. A pretty doll, a cozy bear, or some mythical creature. It didn’t matter as long as it pleased the Masters. She peered at herself in the brightly lit mirror. The effects of the endless stream of rich foods was beginning to show. Her lips were plump and pink and her hair was thick and shiny. But her eyes were yellowed by the high cholesterol and her face had grown jowls.
“Mistress Laciu will have you now,” the makeup artist said as she approached Keighlin.
“Oh!” Keighlin’s panic momentarily replaced hunger as the thing twisting her gut. “Like this?”
“Yes,” the woman’s face was neutral, but Keighlin sensed something was amiss.
“Maybe a bit of lipstick?” She asked, knowing the woman was notoriously tight-fisted with her supplies.
“You won’t need it ,” the woman snapped.
A cry of despair escaped Keighlin’s mouth as she bolted from the room into the labyrinthine lower levels of the bauble house. She hadn’t expected to be killed so soon.
She ran here and there, trying to avoid the skeevy customers and often doubling back on herself. She wasn’t sure what she expected. Even if she made it to an exit, the guards would drag her back to Mistress Laciu. In no time she was winded by her new hefty girth. When she slowed to a jog, Mistress Laciu’s attendants closed in on her.
“Please,” she begged, trying to catch her breath. The men ignored her shuddering pleas and quietly herded her into the rear elevator.
Mistress Laciu’s quarters were golden and prissy like their owner. The slender woman lounged on a wide chaise. Before her, spread out in a long low table, was more food than Keighlin’s whole family had eaten in the past year.
“Please,” Keighlin sobbed. “Please, no.”
Mistress Laciu reached out and gracefully scooped a lump of butter from a pink bowl. She gave Keighlin a cruel smile and commanded: