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Samantha slowly rolled out of bed, slamming her hand down on the alarm to stop its insistent blare. As she reached up one hand to cover a yawn, she reached up with her other to pull her long hair out of its bun. Her hair tumbled down her back to just below her shoulder blades with its uncanny ability to look perfect in any situation, even after a long night’s sleep. She walked sleepily over to her computer, and after turning it on, checked her email. The usual barrage of forwards and junk mail assaulted her, as well as a letter from John, her boyfriend of almost six months. She read the letter with a smile on her face and deleted it, then closed down the window and started to shut down the computer.

Something stopped her though, and she wondered if the letter had said their reservation was on the sixth at seven, or the seventh at six. She was about to open the mail again, but then remembered that she deleted it. I could call him she thought, but then again why bug him when she could hop on under his name and check his outgoing mail. He always told her it was fine as long as she let him know ahead of time, but she was in a rush, so she opened up his account and found the letter, along with something else.

Curious, she clicked on the letter from someone named hairchop101, a letter saying that his package would arrive shortly. Samantha thought that she should stop their, but she was very curious as to what the package was. Following the link, she found the website from where the package was delivered from. and then she reached up and began to stroke her hair protectively at what she saw. Picture after picture of women shaving their heads appeared on her screen, some were laughing, some were crying, but all were bald. She knew that everyone had a fetish, but she never imagined that John’s would be something like this, after all, he loved her long hair, and would play with it for hours on end when he got the chance.

All of this may have scared another woman, but Samantha was no ordinary woman. A small grin began to grow on her face, and turning off the computer, she jumped into the shower, still smiling as she thought back to that night that seemed so long ago.

It had been two years ago, and Samantha had been 22 at the time. She had walked into work with her hair long and loose, swaying and bouncing with each step she took. It had been longer back then, falling to the top of her butt and beautifully layered, but even though it had been in better condition than almost anyone, it was nowhere near as shiny or perfect as her coworker and friend Allison’s hair. While Samantha’s hair was a dark golden blond mane that glistened beautifully, Allison’s was a dark chestnut fall that was far softer and shined more brilliantly than any hair Samantha had seen, including her own. Samantha had the advantage of her hair being longer, but even though Allison’s hair only reached to her waist, it’s condition made it far more desirable than Samantha could have thought possible.

“Hey honey,” Allison called to Samantha as she got settled in at her office, “ready for the weekend?”

“YES!” Samantha all but screamed, “I’m going to relax all night tonight, maybe watch a movie to wind down.”

“Sounds fun,” Allison replied, turning back to her papers. Samantha had been building up her courage to ask Allison about hair advice, and today was as good a day as any to spring the question.

As the day came to a close, Samantha and Allison were enjoying a quiet cup of coffee, being the last two in the office besides the janitors. “Um. Alison,” Samantha asked sheepishly, “how do you get your hair to look like that? And I’m serious, I know you have to have a secret.”

Allison smiled broadly, seeming to expect the question. “I was wondering when you would ask, and yes, I do,” she replied, standing up and tossing out her cup. As Allison walked back to her desk and began to throw her papers into her briefcase, Samantha thought that she had just been shunned by her friend. But then she walked back over and sat straight in front of Samantha, looking into her eyes. “My secret is that I can grow my hair too fast to get damaged at all, plain and simple.”

Samantha sighed loudly, “I’m being serious Allison.” She said with rejection.

“So am I,” Allison grabbed a pair of scissors from a nearby desk and held them in her hands. “Would you like hair like mine?”

“Well that’s why I’m asking, I want mine to look as…”

“Then have some.” Allison interrupted, and before she could react, Allison grabbed a lock of her own glorious brown locks and began to cut it off extremely close to her head.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?” Samantha screamed, but Allison just sat there with a smile as she pulled away a huge mass of her formerly perfect hair. She placed the tress on the table looked at Samantha, her shining brown mane now offset by an ugly patch of short hair right above her forehead, but not for long. Quickly and methodically, Allison severed her hair inch by inch, turning her perfectly silky soft chestnut mane into a harsh, uneven mound of stubble. She looked at Samantha’s gaping mouth and laughed, and then placed the huge mound of hair squarely in Samantha’s hands.

“If you’re shocked now, wait until you see me Monday!” and with that she pulled a worn red beret from her bag and put it on, then began to walk towards the door.

For a second Samantha was unable to speak as she looked down at the huge pile of hair in her hands, amazed by how warm and soft it felt in her hands, why had she done it? Then she managed to cough out “but. what. your hair! It was so beautiful! Why?”

As Allison walked out the front door she called over her shoulder “It still will be on Monday hun!” then walked out to her waiting car, leaving Samantha staring in disbelief.

Samantha smiled to herself as she hopped out of the shower, remembering how shocked she had been that day. As she towel dried her hair and began brushing it out, she thought to herself how much she missed longer hair. After she had finally gotten the hang of her. ability, she had cut her hair back to a more reasonable length, knowing how easy it would be to get it that long again on a whim. Now though, she was missing the satisfaction that long hair gave her. Maybe after her night with John, she would grow her hair out long again, it wouldn’t be too hard. As she picked up a hairdryer and began to blow dry her hair, she thought back again.

The entire weekend she had been worried and confused about what Allison would say to her Monday morning. Now that it was here, she sat at her desk nervously, watching for her friend to come in, curious about what she had done to cover the damage. Surely the only thing she could do was clip the rest of her hair short and to the scalp to even it out, but what had possessed that girl to do that to her amazing hair in the first place?

Finally she saw Allison walk in, wearing a sundress and a ridiculous looking 10 gallon hat. She couldn’t help but smile, she had to hand it to the girl when it came to choosing an appropriate hat.

“Have a fun weekend hun?” Allison said as she set her purse down on her desk, making her way over to Samantha’s.

“Um. yeah.” Samantha replied uncertainly, “how about you? You have any luck finding someone to. do something with your hair?”

“Oh yeah, I think I fixed it the best I could, tell me what you think.” And with a flick of the wrist, she grabbed the hat off her head. and shook out her shining brown mane with a laugh as it tumbled down her back.

“What?” was all Samantha could squeeze out as she looked at the silken locks. Not only did they look more beautiful than ever, but Samantha swore they had gotten longer than before she had cut it! Where on Friday they had only reached her waist, they now hung loosely to the middle of her butt, just longer than her own lovely mane. “How did you.”

“I told you,” Allison interrupted, “I can grow it out too fast to get damaged.

Samantha was confused, so Allison told her all about her s
ecret later at lunch.

“.so my hair was lying in ruins after that perm, and I needed a way to fix it FAST! My friend Jenny had hair like mine is now, so I asked her about her secret, at which point she gave me this.” She reached into her purse and handed Samantha a shiny business card with only an address on it.

“What is it?” Samantha asked, turning the card over in her hand.

“It’s your ticket in,” Allison simply stated, “and make sure you don’t lose it, it’s by referral only. I made an appointment and spent the weirdest afternoon of my life with that lady, but since that appointment, I can grow my hair as fast or as slow as I want! Well, as long as I take the medicine.”

“Medicine?” Samantha asked.

“Yeah. you’ll see when you go.”

“I don’t know Al, I think you’re just playing a prank on me. You could have been wearing a wig!” Samantha sounded skeptical.

“Oh? And how did I grow my hair out five more inches in three days?” Allison took a sip of coffee, then seemed to remember something, “speaking of wigs though, you might want to buy one before you go.”

“Why? What’s wrong?” Samantha asked nervously.

“It’s hard to explain, but in a nutshell. well. you’re going to go bald for a month.”

“WHAT?!?” Samantha reached up and ran her fingers through her hair.

“Shhhhh. keep it down.” Allison looked around to a nest of confused faces all turning to face her.

“Al, I love my hair, I don’t want to have my head shaved by a whacko!” Samantha sounded close to panic as she plunged her hands through her treasured locks.

“No no, it’s not like that hun, it just does it automatically.” Allison looked like she immediately regretted what she just said.

“OK, this is too weird for me.” Samantha began to walk away, but Allison grabbed her arm and sat her back down.

“Look hun, I know this is weird, in fact maybe that’s why Jen didn’t tell me about the whole bald part, but you have to trust me. If you want hair like mine, you gotta give yours up, and then you can have it as long or as short as you want within a month, and it’ll never get damaged because it grows too fast. And even if something bad happens to it, you saw what I can do, you just chop it off and start over in a few days.” Samantha seemed to be coming around. “Listen, you can either try this, or not, and let’s face it, hair grows back.”

Looking back on it Samantha smiled inwardly at how scared she had been, but she had a right to be. After all, her hair had been her favorite feature, and she felt like her heart was going to stop the day she went out and bought the wig, and then set up an appointment at the address on the card.

She finished drying her hair and brushed it out again, taking in how soft and silky it was compared to how it had been before. She knew that if all went well with John it would be gone by the end of the night, but unlike most girls she wasn’t afraid. With a smile on her face, she walked out of her home and got into her car. If she was going to make John’s dream come true, then she needed some things. She got off work at five, maybe she could stop by the hair supply store afterwards. As she pulled onto the street, she thought back once again to that fateful and terrifying day of the appointment.

She arrived at the address on the card, and the sheer spookiness of the house by itself had almost made her chicken out. Weeds overran the front porch, and the house was made of a foreboding red and black brick assembly. She was struggling with herself on whether she should go in or not, whether she sacrifice her hair for something that sounded like voodoo, or leave with it intact. That day she had worn it in a simple and thick ponytail which she couldn’t stop playing with nervously, knowing that this may be her last chance to do so. Finally, taking a deep breath and tossing her ponytail over her shoulder, she knocked on the door of the house.

A few seconds later a tall thin lady answered. “May I help you?” she asked.

“Um. hi, I’m Samantha, Allison sent me here.” Samantha looked around nervously.

“Oh yes,” the lady said absently, “come on in. By the way, my name is Lady Jane.” She opened the door and allowed Samantha to step in. The house smelled surprisingly good from all of the incense, but the creepy voodoo atmosphere threw her off a bit. “Just make yourself comfortable at that table, I’ll be right back.” With that, Lady Jane walked off into another room.

Samantha sat down in one of the seats at the table, feeling her ponytail bounce and sway softly behind her with every movement. The room was very dark, and lit only with candles, giving it a red hue. In the center of the table were a few jars, and a small bowl that seemed to be made of rock. Within a matter of seconds Samantha had draped her ponytail back over her shoulder and began playing with it again. After almost five minutes, she was just about ready to leave on her own when Lady Jane walked back into the room in an all white gown carrying a cup of something steaming. She looked to be in her late fifties, but still had a strange elegance about her. She sat down in the chair across from Samantha and handed her the cup.

“Drink up dear, this is something to prepare you for the ritual.” As Samantha sniffed at the drink, Jane began to tinker with some of the bottles on the table.

“This isn’t what’s going to make me go. you know.” Samantha reached up with a shaking hand and ran it flatly over her silken locks.

“Bald? Oh, no, this is just to prepare your body for the spell. THAT step comes later, I’ll warn you about it so you can make a final decision before we go through with it.”

“Alright.” She sipped at the concoction, and found it to be sour and bitter. She set down the cup and sat up straight. “I don’t suppose there’s some way to get around that small problem is there?”

“I’m afraid not. Sadly it’s a side effect of the ritual, in order for new life, there must be sacrifice, but it should last no more than 31 days.” Jane seemed to have found what she was looking for and poured several bottle’s contents into the bowl, then began to mash it up. “I’d have release forms for that nasty bit, but what judge in the world would believe that I had made someone go bald?” she cackled out a laugh and Sam smiled a forced smile.

“How will you know if you did it right?” Sam asked nervously.

“You will be marked.” was the only reply she gave. Samantha wondered what that meant exactly, but obviously it must have meant that she would be bald, baldness was a mark if she’s ever seen one. “The way you’re stroking your hair I should have guessed she told you. I should also mention that you need to take monthly pills to maintain the spell, or the spell will be broken and your hair will vanish for another 30 days. Do you have any problems with that?” Samantha shook her head, feeling her ponytail swish softly with the movement. She added what looked like a strange root into the concoction and then poured some kind of liquid into the mix. An acrid and sour smelling black smoke began to rise from the bowl. “Lean forward please dear.”

Samantha leaned forward over the table, and Jane took a hold of her long silky ponytail. With a tug she pulled the elastic bad out, letting her hair spill down onto the table and down her back. Jane grabbed a straight razor from the table and with a quick swipe, cut off a thin lock of Sam’s hair about three inches long. Samantha inhaled deeply as she watched her cut off a piece of her hair, but then realized that this was only the beginning of what was to come. As if reading her mind Lady Jane smiled at her.

“Sorry Samantha, but there’s going to be a lot more where this came from.” She laughed as she dropped the lock into her bowl, and a bluish green flame went up as it burned. The smoke turned a light white, and the smell was suddenly much more gentle and sweet. Lady Jane picked up the bowl and began to hand it to Samantha, but stopped halfway.

“Now dear, this is the tough part. This is your last chance to back out, because once you breathe this
in three times, there’s no turning back, it’s pills monthly and baldness for a month, can you deal with that?”

Samantha stared down at the bowl for a few seconds. Part of her was screaming to walk out, this was madness, and why would she ever want to sacrifice something she had put so much time and effort into? But another part of her wanted hair even better than what she had now, and she nodded silently, watching her long soft locks swing slowly into her vision as if begging her not to do it.

“OK, now hold this up to your nose and breathe deeply three times, and it will be done.” She handed the bowl to Samantha, and Sam took it, slowly bringing it up to her face. The smoke tickled her nose as she took her first breath.

“Breathe.” Jane said as she inhaled the smoke deeply, letting it fill her lungs. She felt lightheaded, but peaceful. Her eyes seemed to water, but most peculiar of all, her scalp began to tingle.

“Breathe again.” Jane encouraged her as she let out her first breath and took a second. The world rushed at her, and instead of tingling, her scalp began to itch. badly.

“One more time.” she inhaled for the last time, and the itching on her scalp turned to burning. She felt like her head was being bitten by red fire ants, and she knew it was the feeling of this strange poison burning away her hair at the roots. Then. blackness.

“The small ones please.” Samantha told the shopkeeper, and he obediently picked up a pair of scissors and dropped them into the bag along with the electric razor. “That’s all.”

The clerk rang up the total on the cash register. “That will be $32.50 ma’am.” Samantha handed him her credit card and watched him look quizzically at her. “You aren’t planning on doing anything crazy to your hair are you? Because it would be a shame to waste it.”

Samantha just smiled at him as she signed the receipt and picked up her bag. “Trust me,” she said as she walked out the door, “I’ve done a lot crazier.” She walked out to her car and looked at her watch. It was 6:56 PM, she had better start working on her hair now so it would be ready for tomorrow night. Closing her eyes, she concentrated hard on the task. After a minute or so of concentrating, she thought she had enough of a start to put the task on auto-pilot, so she opened her eyes, starting up her car and remembering what had happened after she passed out.
________________________________________________________________________

She awoke a few minutes later with Jane staring nervously into her face. “Are you alright dear?” she asked, concern showing in her voice.

“My hair! Is it gone?” Samantha reached up to her head, expecting to feel a smooth scalp, but instead her hands felt the silky softness of her locks. She let out a sigh of relief. “I’m not bald!” Samantha exclaimed excitedly, then felt her heart sink as Jane spoke.

“No, not yet, but on the last night of the month the concoction will work it’s spell and begin destroying your hair strand by strand after exactly ten o’clock, leaving no trace of it behind.” Jane reached out and ran her fingers through Samantha’s hair. “It’s a shame dear, you really have lovely hair, but imagine how nice your new hair will look once it grows back in! Even your friend Allison’s hair wasn’t this nice when she first came in.”

“Really? What day is it now? The 23rd?” Samantha asked.

“Yes,” Jane replied, “Seven days from now.”

“Are you sure it worked? I mean, maybe something went wrong and it won’t happen at all.” Samantha exclaimed nervously. In the last few minute she had become more attached to her hair than usual now that it seemed likely to disappear. She held out some hope that she was right, but Jane merely looked at the top of her head and frowned.

“It looks like it has worked dear, I’m sorry to say.” She responded, still looking at something on the top of her head. Samantha felt her hair, but it felt no different.

“How can you tell?” she asked.

“You’ll see soon enough dear.” Jane replied. Samantha nodded sadly as she continued to run her own fingers through her doomed mane. She listened half heartedly as Lady Jane handed her a dozen pills and explained that she must take one the first of every month before midnight, or she would be bald again for another whole month. When she ran out, she could call Jane for more. or simply buy the ingredients at an herbal remedy store and mix them herself since it was so simple.

Samantha paid Jane, left the house and walked back to her car, as she pulled the door shut, she looked at herself in the rearview mirror. and let out a small gasp of surprise at what she saw. After rubbing her cheek, still stinging from the fall, she looked at her soft golden locks, or rather, her mostly golden locks. They looked as wonderful and healthy as ever, but now there were thin streaks of pure white running down from the top of her head to the tips, almost like highlights if she hadn’t known better. She felt one of the white strands, but it felt just as soft and silky as the rest of her mane. She turned to look at them a little closer and noticed that there were only six of them, three on each side of her head and each no thicker than her pinky.

Her hair had a small kink from the elastic band Jane had pulled out, so she reached into her purse and pulled out a small brush, running it through her hair. She closed her eyes and took in the wonderful feel of the brush sliding smoothly through her locks, she knew that it would be a month for her hair just to start growing again, but how long before her hair was long enough to brush again? Another month? Two? She didn’t know. The only thing she did know was that now she had a constant reminder of what was to come, but not if she could help it.

She called up her friend Diana at her salon and asked if she could come in for a quick color. She drove to the salon, and as soon as she entered Diana complimented her on her new look.

“I LOVE your streaks! Who did them for you?” Diana asked.

“Oh, just a friend on a bet,” she replied, “I was hoping you could actually get rid of them?”

“Um. sure.” Diana said, and then pulled out all the color.

She went to work on the locks, dying them to match the rest of her mane. An hour later she was done, and she looked in the mirror to see the effect. Sure enough the streaks were gone, but since she had never treated her hair before the strands felt a little more raspy and rough than the rest of her mane, but unless she felt them she would never have known a difference. She paid and began to walk out to her car, but a few steps into it she felt a familiar burning in her head. She ran the rest of the way to the car and looked in the mirror, and sure enough, her streaks had returned. Somehow though, the strands felt as soft and silky as before, as if they somehow reversed the damage of the dye job.

The rest of the week went by uneventfully leading up to the 30th, but the first day back at work she got many compliments from her co-workers on her streaks. With every new compliment Samantha regretted what she did a little more, but it was too late to back out now. Indeed, as she walked by windows and mirrors the white streaks kept catching her attention, and after a while she found herself smiling at her reflection, enjoying the new look, but her smile would vanish when she remembered what the streaks were really a sign of.

As the week passed however she grew more and more anxious about Friday night. She had come to love her hair more and more each day, and now that she was losing it she felt like she was losing a close friend. Had she really thought so much of her hair? Had it really been a type of security blanket for her all those years? It was certainly thick enough to be a blanket, security or regular. She had already decided that when her hair did fall out she was going to keep it for memory sake, maybe fasten it into a braid and hide it somewhere.

Friday night finally rolled around, and she had just gotten home from work at about 8:37, less than an hour and a half to enjoy
her hair. There wasn’t much on TV as she waited for the inevitable, but she settled on a movie for a while when suddenly the phone rang, she reached over to pick it up. “Hello?” she said.

“Hey hun!” Allison said on the other line, “Are you ready?”

“I guess.” Samantha glanced at the clock. 9:48.

“Ech, me too, can’t wait to see you Monday. So, how do you feel?”

“OK I guess, but.”

“You have the streaks?” Allison finished for her.

“Yeah,” Samantha reached up and scratched her scalp, the itching had returned, but it wasn’t bad. “My head is itching again, did that happen to you?”

“Yup, oh yeah! It’s about 9:50 huh? It’s gonna itch all the way up til’ 10, and then. well. you know the rest.”

“Yeah, anything else I should know?” Samantha began brushing though her hair again, it wasn’t long now.

“Um. she told you about the pills right?”

“Yup.” Sam said plainly.

“OK, um. that’s about it, remember your wig, and after a week I’ll teach you how to control the growing part.”

“Thanks,” Samantha continued to brush her hair as she talked to Allison for a few more minutes, watching her hair glisten and shine with each stroke. “I’m going to miss it soooo much Al.” she said sadly.

“I know hun, but your hair is way prettier than mine ever was before the whole ordeal, so I can only imagine how beautiful it will be afterwards. And besides, it’s only for a month.”

“You know,” Samantha said, taking another look at her hair, “I kinda like these streaks.”

“So did I hun, but I didn’t really get a chance to enjoy them before. well, you know. When your hair grows back in, maybe there’s a way she can make them permanent.”

“Yeah, maybe,” Samantha glanced again at the clock. 9:59. “Well I better get going Al, it’s going to start soon.”

“OK hun, see you tomorrow.” She hung up and watched the clock, the second hand ticking away the time until her hair vanished. She looked up again at the mirror and played with her hair one last time, why had she done it? It was so beautiful!

5 seconds left. Samantha closed her eyes, and suddenly, the itching stopped instantly. Almost a minute passed by before she opened them again. and she was greeted by the same image as she last saw, her hair still intact, the shock white streaks shimmering in the light. She blinked a few times in disbelief, was her clock wrong? She waited almost fifteen minutes. nothing. She tugged at her hair, expecting it to fall out in clumps, but nothing happened, and then it hit her. She burst into laughter, it was all a prank, of course, she was going to have to ask Allison about how she pulled that trick off with her hair.

She was still laughing as she got ready for bed, feeling as though a huge weight had been lifted off of her chest. Before she slipped into bed, she turned back to the clock, 10:22, and her hair still hadn’t fallen out. She grabbed her brush again and began to once again run it through her locks, happy that she wouldn’t be missing this at all.

“I can’t believe I was so stupid, I can’t believe that I fell for.” she stopped talking dead in her tracks and her huge smile slid off of her face. She looked at herself closer in the mirror, looking hard. Something hadn’t felt right as she had brushed her hair, something about her hair felt. wrong, even though it still looked beautiful in the mirror. She set down her brush and began fluffing her hair as she looked intently at herself, and she swore that her hair looked different, but how? She continued lifting and dropping her hair, it seemed to be alright, but it looked. sick. Where before it had always shined and bounced with a life of its own, it now looked flatter, almost lifeless as it framed her face. It also looked darker somehow, as if the white streaks on top were.

“No.” Sam mouthed as she turned away towards the bed. It was a trick, she had been thinking this would happen all day that now it was happening in her mind, like a self fulfilling prophecy. She slipped under the sheets and tossed for a few minutes, pulling her hair up onto her chest as she began to doze off and stroking it absentmindedly.

“It’s just a trick.” she yawned as her eyes closed. She finally drifted off to sleep, her hair covering her like a warm thick blanket of the softest silk.

* * *

Her eyes slowly opened in the middle of the night, and she glanced at her clock to see what time it was. The clock read 2:24 AM, and she rolled out of bed. Her hair tickled her neck as she walked into the bathroom, but something felt off. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it at first, but then she flicked on the light to the bathroom.

And screamed as she looked into the mirror. At first she thought she was looking at someone else, but then her mind caught up and remembered the events from the day before. She let out a sob as she leaned in at looked at her hair. or rather. what was left of it. What looked like more than half of formerly glorious mane of thick golden hair had been eaten away, and her scalp was showing through a ridiculously thin layer of her hair. Her new streaks were no longer cute and unique, but had been reduced to sporadic white strands of hair mixed in with her dying locks.

I look like someone going through chemo she thought, as looked at her reflection with tears in her eyes. She reached up and felt the tattered remains, which were still soft and silky, but even as she watched she could see stray strands thin and then vanish before her very eyes like a parlor trick. Then she remembered Lady Jane’s words, the concoction will work its spell and begin destroying your hair strand by strand after exactly ten o’clock, leaving no trace of it behind. Her hair wasn’t falling out, it was literally disappearing, fading away to nothing right in front of her eyes. She hung her head dejectedly and headed back to bed, crying to herself as the remains of her hair continued to melt away through the night.

* * *

The next morning the alarm went off, and Samantha got up, feeling deeply saddened at her loss. All that remained of her luxurious mane was a few dozen strands, but even those disappeared as she showered for the day. She got out of the shower and dried herself off, amazed at how quick it took without hair. She was about to put on her wig and get ready for work, but decided that if she ever deserved a sick day, it was today.

“Hey babe,” Samantha smiled as she heard John greet her over the phone. He couldn’t see it, but in the two hours she had gotten the supplies, her hair had grown almost three inches, and now hung down to the middle of her back.

“Hi,” she said quietly, “we still on for tomorrow?”

“Yeah, you bet, I gotta get back to work, but I’ll see you then.”

“OK, bye.” She hung up and walked over to the mirror. By this time tomorrow, her hair should be down to her butt, about as long as it was the day of that ritual so long ago. She had gotten quite adept at growing her hair without even thinking about it, and it showed after years of practice. Of course, that was all thanks to Allison, and she remembered the day her friend taught her to use that amazing ability.
________________________________________________________________________

The rest of the month went by slowly, but exactly 30 days later, Samantha looked into the mirror and was greeted by the sight of tiny stubble spread over her head. She squealed in joy and called Allison over, and that Sunday, she spent the entire day learning to grow it out rapidly. At first it was hard, because she had to concentrate the entire time she grew it out, but as the day went on, she got better and better, using less of her attention to grow it. By the end of the day her hair hung down to her thighs, and she got up excitedly to play with it.

“Hun, if I were you, I’d shower first,” Allison advised, reading a magazine in the living room, “something about when it first comes out, it feels. slick, and slimy, something to do with it just coming out of your head I guess.”

“OK.” Samantha called back, and looked at herself in the
mirror. Sure enough her hair did look oily and wet, and she decided that if she could wait a month for her new and improved mane, she could wait a little longer to really play with it. She took a long hot shower, conditioning and shampooing her hair several times since it had been so long. She hopped out when she was done and began to blow dry and brush out her hair. It was much longer than she had been used to, but about two hours later it was mostly dry, and that’s when Samantha first noticed how gorgeous it was now.

“Oh my God!” she heard Allison say as Samantha moved her head like a trained model, “I’ve never seen any hair like that before in my life, even mine doesn’t look that good.” But Samantha was barely listening.

Her hair hung in the most beautiful fall of golden silk she had ever seen, no shampoo ad, or commercial, or even Allison could come close to how thick and shiny and soft her mane was. It was so thick that as she turned to look at it, she could see no hint of her back underneath the shimmering blanket of soft golden silk. When hair was as long as hers, it usually began to split and get damaged, but Allison had been right, since it never had time to get damaged, it hung in a perfect fall only a few inches above her knees, without the slightest sign of wear or tear. It felt a lot heavier than she remembered, but if that was the price she had to pay for amazing hair like this, then so be it.

“Want me to cut some off?” Allison offered, “that’s kinda long, even for you.”

“Are you insane? I just got my hair back! I’m not cutting it for at least a week! And even then, maybe just a few inches. Samantha squealed in delight as she ran her fingers through her new locks, amazed how silky and thick they now were compared to before.

“Alright then, so what’s the plan for tonight?” Allison asked, sitting back down.

“Tonight,” Samantha turned with a smile, her hair flying out behind her as she twirled and looked at her friend, “we party.”

***

That night Samantha and Allison went out to a nearby club and danced the night away, and Sam was shocked how many guys lined up to dance with her, all of them eyeballing her new and improved mane and trying to touch it when they got a chance. She didn’t mind though, in fact she loved the attention that her hair called to her, and the for the next few days, everyone she saw would ask about her hair, but little did she know that her pride would cost her her hair for another month.

“Hey you,” John hugged Samantha and a look of surprise crossed his face at the new length of his girlfriend’s hair, “did you get extensions?” he asked as he ran his fingers through her silky locks.

“Kind of.” Sam replied simply, slipping out of her coat and handing it to a waiter.

“Well they feel so real, kudos to whoever did them.” They sat down and talked for about an hour. As they were finishing up the fancy meal, Samantha dropped the A-bomb.

“John, I saw your websites.” Sam said simply.

“What websites?” he asked, either he was truly oblivious, or he was a great actor.

“Your hair websites.”

John dropped his fork and looked up at her with wide eyes. “Honey, I can. I just.”

But Samantha stopped him with a smile and a wave. “It’s alright John, we all have little. secrets of our own, and you’ve never tried to force me into yours, so it’s harmless. Just know that I’ll still love you no matter what.”

John smiled nervously. “Really? Wow, you’re taking this well, I’m amazed that you’re not more upset.”

“Upset about what? It’s really nothing.” Just then their desert arrived, “Let’s just eat and enjoy.

***

After desert, they exchanged presents, and after he had opened her traditional present, she handed him another small box containing the clippers. “One more surprise.”

She watched with delight as he curiously unwrapped the package, then looked up at her with surprise. “Honey, I couldn’t, I know I have a weird secret going on, but I love your hair too much to ruin it, especially after you got those new extensions put in.”

Samantha leaned forward and whispered into his ear. “Well I have a few secrets for you too, and one of them is that I’ve gone bald more than once before.”

Thirty days after her glorious new locks had grown back in, Samantha was sitting at her vanity brushing out her silken tresses. The last month had been bliss, and everyone in the world was fascinated and drawn to her glorious mane. She had been playing with it endlessly, going to salons just to hear them gloat over it since she had been deprived of it for so long. She had even spent 200 dollars to get dark streaks put into it, and it looked phenomenal. While before she had never dished out that much money at once in fear of not liking it, but since that spell her fear of ruining her mane had all but vanished. As she closed her eyes and felt the brush sliding effortlessly through her soft and fluffy mane, she thought about how she was going to wear it for the next day.

Hmmm. she thought to herself as she ran the brush through her living silk, maybe I’ll put it in a braid, NO! Twin braids! That would be so cute. OH! Maybe half up and half down, or maybe just a ponytail, something simple.

She could still smell the new shampoo her stylist had recommended after her streaks had been put in, and she loved the scent. Maybe simple would be best, I mean it’s not like tomorrow is going to be special, well then again it’s October.

Her eyes snapped open, she just remembered that today was the 30th of September! She glanced over at her clock, and with a cry she watched the numbers go from 11:56 to 11:57. “No no NO!!!” she screamed as she jumped up and ran to the medicine cabinet, tossing it for the life of her as she desperately looked for her pills. They weren’t here, where were they? And then suddenly she remembered, they were still in her car! She grabbed her keys and ran out, finding them in the backseat. She tried to tear the packaging open, but she needed scissors, so she ran back into the house and grabbed some. Finally she popped one out and dry swallowed it just as the clock flipped over to midnight.

Had she made it? Or was she going to lose her hair again for the second time. She looked at herself in the mirror, but then remembered that it had taken nearly half an hour before she had noticed any sort of change the first time. So she turned on the TV and tried to keep her mind off of the subject for half an hour, but it was useless, her hands plunged through her golden mane nervously as the time ticked by, but ten minutes late, she walked back over to the mirror. Slowly, deliberately, she looked up.

And screamed in surprise. Her hair was just as gorgeous as it was before, but the white streaks had returned. The black streaks were entirely gone and replaced by white, and she knew instantly that she hadn’t made it in time. Even worse, she noticed something that made her heart sink. As she turned to walk away from the mirror, she happened to glance in it and saw that even though her hair looked as healthy as ever, it seemed a little bit shorter than she remembered. She thought it might be a trick of the light, but as she got closer to the mirror, she noticed that it was no mistake.

While before her hair had fallen long enough to just cover a birthmark on the back of her left thigh, now it looked like a few millimeters of the birthmark were peeking out from underneath it. Sam was frustrated, had she grown out her hair this long and beautiful just so she would lose it again for another month? She wasn’t sure if she was angrier over the loss of her hair again, or the loss of 200 dollars over her wonderful new streaks that were just going to disappear again, money well spent. She wanted to scream, but instead, tears began to well up as she climbed into bed. She picked at her hair again nervously, trying to get to sleep, but unable to since her new fumble. Finally, after almost twenty minutes of tossing in her bed, Samantha finally got up and looked in the mirror.

A small moan escaped her lip
s as she looked at her hair, the birthmark was now almost completely visible from under her thick soft curtain, which meant only one thing, her hair was somehow retracting back into her head. The tears started welling up again as she thought of how arrogant she had been with her hair lately, served her right that she lose it for another 30 days.

How long do I have? She wondered to herself as she desperately tossed her hair from side to side. Sure, her hair still fell to a few inches above her knees, but she had seen it retract almost three inches in thirty minutes. In maybe an hour it will be just below my butt. another hour and maybe the middle of my back, by three it will be to just below my shoulder blades maybe, so by the time I wake up. she didn’t want to think about the rest.

Finally, she conceded defeat, and for the last time that month, she sat at her vanity and worked her hair into a long braid that she knew would disappear before she woke up. She faltered a few times as she felt the tears come again, but after a few minutes she had worked her rapidly vanishing mane into a long, shining braid that looked like a thick piece of silken golden rope.

She climbed back into bed and turned off the lights, her warm and soft braid pressing against her back as she drifted off to sleep.

***

As the morning came around and Samantha glanced up to see her clock shining 7:38, she reached behind her head to feel for her hair. Unfortunately, her perfect braid had all but vanished. The elastic band that had held it in place overnight lay uselessly on her pillow, and while she still had hair on her head, it was barely long enough to comb, and fading fast. Her new streaks which had made her hair look so chic and gorgeous a mere 7 hours ago didn’t look quite as good with her short hair, making her look more like a white and yellow leopard than anything else. Luckily, it didn’t look like that was for long, and by the time Sam got ready for the day and finished showering, the last remaining traces of her once magnificent mane had finished receding back into her head, and for the second time in almost a month, Samantha used a sick day.

“I don’t know,” John said as they walked through the door to his house, “it all sounds so. weird!”

“I know it does baby, it sounded weird to me when Allison first told me.” Samantha replied as she dropped a bag by his sofa and sat down next to him on one of him. He reached up and ran his fingers through her long silky locks again, on the ride home he couldn’t keep his hands off it. Samantha didn’t know if it was because he felt more comfortable now that she knew his secret, or if it was because he knew that soon it may be gone, but she loved the attention. She felt him kiss her neck, and she turned to face him, slipping her top over her head as she did so.

He took off his shirt and continued to kiss her, not seeing as she reached into the bag and pulled out his gift. With two hands he reached behind her head and plunged his hands into her thick mane, taking in how soft and thick it was now that there was so much more of it.

“John?” she said as he continued to kiss her and squeeze her hair in his hands.

“Hmmm?” he asked, still holding her luscious golden mane. She held up the clippers in front of his face as he stared at her, her long hair held behind her head and some falling delicately into her face.

“Do it.” She said.

* * *

The pitch of the clippers changed dramatically as they bit into Samantha’s hairline, but John kept going, knowing that it was now too late for anyone to change their mind. Whether she was telling the truth or not was unclear at the point, but one thing that was clear was that Samantha’s right temple was now devoid of her luscious golden hair. They both watched the hair as it floated down to the floor, fascinated by it’s descent. Samantha looked in the mirror as her hair fell over the area that had just been sheared, and she found it funny that for a second it looked like nothing had changed at all. But as John reached down and lifted her locks over her ear to continue the cut, she could now see the damage that had certainly been done. A bare patch of scalp lay above her ear, shadowed by light blond stubble. Samantha thought it funny that something she loved so much was going to disappear so easily yet again, and this tiny missing portion was only the beginning of her mane’s destruction.

As the clippers roared over her ear and sent another luscious tress of her hair floating down to the ground, Samantha found herself smiling as her hair was disappearing from her head for the third time in a year. She smiled because she knew that unlike the last two times, her hair would be back in a matter of hours tomorrow, even though it was being reduced to stubble right now. John finished up shaving the hair on her left side and turned the chair, giving Samantha a view of her hair’s destruction. She had never seen her hair like this before, the hair on the left side of her hair was thick and shiny while the hair on her right was nothing but stubble, but she didn’t have a chance to enjoy the sight for long. Working with purpose, John began to shred away at her hair still attached to the left side. Samantha watched with growing fascination as her hair dropped in huge clusters to the ground, and with one last swipe of the wrist he slipped away the last strand on her head.

The next morning John had been worried that Samantha had been lying, so when he opened his eyes he was excited and terrified beyond words. But as he slowly peeked at his still sleeping love, he saw her face obscured by a curtain of golden blond satin. For a few minutes he just lay there, watching her sleep and seeing her hair flutter with each breath, and then slowly, he reached out a hand and gently brushed the hair out of her face. She slowly opened her eyes and smiled back at him.

“Hi,” she said, “enjoy the present?”

* * *

From that day forward the 7th of every month was Samantha and John’s special day. Every time Samantha would walk through the door with her hair long and beautiful and waiting for the clippers, John would sit her down in the chair and shear her of her magnificent golden locks. But Samantha never worried, because by 10 o’clock the next day her hair would once again hang down to her waist.

One strange thing that never changed however was the disappearance of her shorn hair after it had been shaved. The first night John shaved Samantha they had planned to fasten the remains of her hair into a braid to keep as a souvenir from their first night, but the next morning the hair had disappeared from the ground. Thinking it was a fluke, they had immediately created a braid the next time he sheared her, but even as they were heading to bed that night John could feel the thick braid becoming lighter as the hair began to slowly fade away unseen, and by the next morning only the two bands they had used to tie it were left. They figured it was a side effect of the voodoo, but it still seemed strange when so much hair would disappear in no time flat.

Every month Samantha would do something new with her hair, dye it, curl it, or try different lengths the day it was sheared. One day she had even spent an entire night growing out her silky blond blanket to her ankles only to watch as John clipped it all away in a matter of minutes. By the end of that cut there had been so much hair that the floor looked like it had been covered in a shining satin carpet, which had thinned noticeably in less than an hour and had almost disappeared entirely in two. But the gift had been wonderful, and John had never been happier, not to mention the fact that it was free, and the occasional cuts always turned Samantha on a bit as she watched her pride and joy fall to the blades.

One day Samantha was walking up to her apartment, her hip length hair swaying behind her and shimmering beautifully in the sun. Even though she had worn her hair to her shoulders when she first met John, every new cut was an opportunity to try out a new length. Just
last month she had worn her hair down to her thighs for the first time since she had first gained her new ability, but as beautiful as it was at that length she decided that she might cut back a few inches for convenience sake. She had always done a good job of hiding her length from her coworkers by putting it into buns, balls, or just piling it behind her head. As long as she wore it down to her waist once in a while no one knew the better, but every time she walked by Allison they would both wink at each other as an inside joke.

As she opened the door, she was greeted by John holding the clippers at the ready with a small grin on his face. She laughed as she sat down in the chair as usual and without a word, held up her hair as John caped her, then released it and let it spill down her back one last time as he prepared for the cut. She knew that John had been looking forward to this for the last three days, and she hadn’t helped much with all the teasing she’d done. Just yesterday she had tickled him with her long locks, telling him that he had to wait a whole day before he could chop them off. That hadn’t stopped him from touching it non-stop for the rest of the day, he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off of it, and now he was going to enjoy shearing it clean. Still smiling at John in the mirror, Samantha thought how lucky they both were to find each other as he flicked the clippers into life and pulled them closer to her silken mane. She kept smiling even as the first long shining strand floated down past her eyes, already disappearing before it even touched the floor.

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