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“Are there any questions?” I asked, relieved that my long presentation was over. I flipped my hair back over my shoulder with a practiced flick of the neck as I scanned the room for questions and was ecstatic when I saw none. I threw a quick relieved look at my best friend Amy and she smiled back at me with a subtle thumbs up.

“Thank you Holly, please sit down.” Professor Downey said as he stood back up and got in front of the class. I sat down in front of Amy as the room filled with polite clapping.

“How did I do?” I whispered back to Amy.

“Perfect, as always.” Amy reassured me, and I felt a wave of relief. I trusted Amy with my life, and if I had messed up in any way I knew she would have told me. Amy and I had been best friends since childhood, re-uniting in high school and since then we did everything together, and she was the only person in the world outside of my family who knew about my dark secret. I loved her like a sister, and I knew that whether she admitted it or not, she worshipped the ground I walked on.

I didn’t know why she held me in such high regard since she was really such a lovely girl who stood at 5’5″ with a tan, athletic build, beautiful blue eyes, and a mass of naturally wavy strawberry blond locks that tumbled below her shoulder blades. Many a person had commented to her that she bore a striking resemblance to that Jessica girl from True Blood, and I definitely saw the resemblance. But whether through confidence issues or genuine admiration it always felt like she was putting me on a pedestal. When she first developed this habit it was almost annoying, since I didn’t want my best friend to think I was better than her, but as time went on and I realized she wasn’t going to change her opinion of me I simply adapted to take on the role of a bigger sister since I was a grade above her anyways. I always stood up for her when she was in trouble, even if I thought she was in the wrong, and I always made it my purpose to look out for her in high school and college since she was so prone to bouts of self-doubt.

“And that about wraps things up.” The professor announced. “I’ll have your grades posted on the school website within two weeks. If you have any questions you must contact me within two weeks of the posting to debate it. Otherwise, enjoy your winter break, and I will see some of you in the next tier of classes next semester.” 


Holly and I walked towards the parking structure as we talked about what to do for the night now that we had the next six weeks to ourselves. We had the weekend off of work, so we decided that tonight we would go to the mall and get some new outfits for the snowboarding trip we were planning in a few weeks. As we walked towards the car we ran into a group from our last class who wanted to talk about the final presentation. I felt a little out of place talking to them thanks to my mild case of social awkwardness, but Holly just jumped right into the conversation with that beautiful smile of hers and blended in like the social butterfly she was. As I silently watched my friend talk to total strangers so effortlessly I was once again overcome with the deep, deep admiration and love I had for this woman.

Holly had brought up once or twice that she felt I worshipped her, and while I wouldn’t say worship is the right word to use she was definitely onto me. My adoration for Holly was for good reason though, she was everything I wanted to be as a person, sweet, intelligent, funny, social, incredibly protective of me, and of course, impossibly beautiful. Holly was always trying to boost my confidence about my looks, and while I could certainly admit that I was a pretty girl, compared to her I felt like Fairuza Balk trying to hang out with Elizabeth Taylor. I had come up with the nickname “Beauty and the Bimbo” for the two of us, which she disapproved because she tried to convince me I wasn’t a bimbo, but next to her there was no other name I could think of.

To say Holly was a beautiful woman would be like saying chocolate kind of tastes good. Standing at 5’8″ with pale skin as flawless as porcelain, piercing green eyes, and long, thick, luscious brown hair that had the rich color and shine of hot melted liquid chocolate, I have no qualms about saying she is easily the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her remarkable and soft facial features were complemented by a perfect body from years of soccer, and on many occasions she had been told (even by strangers) that she was the spitting image of a young Jane Seymour. She even wore her hair the same way as Jane did in her early films such as Live and Let Die, hip length, poker straight, and shining brilliantly all the time. It was almost irritating how perfect it was at all times, whether she had just finished getting ready for a night out or come back from a long workout at the gym it was always the most amazing hair I had ever seen, and she usually wore it down despite the massive weight it must carry with it.

What made Holly truly amazing to me though was her humility about her looks, flat out refusing to wear anything that may be deemed slutty in favor of a wardrobe that was timeless and sophisticated. Even now she wore a long sleeved red silk blouse tucked into skintight leather trousers and high heeled leather boots. The outfit was provocative and sexy without being revealing or whorish in the least, and brought out Holly’s classical beauty. Somehow, despite her looks though, she was a humble girl with a kind heart, and I was honored to call her my best friend. Sure, when we went out she was always the object of every man’s attention and I was a distant afterthought, but I couldn’t imagine anyone else I would rather want to hang out with on the weekends.

“…mall?” I heard Holly say, then realized she was probably talking to me.


“Uh, sorry, what about the mall?” Amy asked, and I smiled at her. I think she had been lost in her thoughts again.

“I said, are you ready to head to the mall?” Amy simply nodded and began to trot back to the parking garage. I chuckled and followed her, using both my hands to quickly toss my long, silky brown hair behind me and reveling in the feeling of it softly swishing and bouncing behind me.  My hair was my pride and joy, and my affection for it was amplified by the fact that at any given moment, a spot of bad luck could cause me to lose it all in the blink of an eye.  It had taken a lot of hard work to grow it out to this length, and I’m not talking about its condition, or the hassle of growing it out, there was much more to my hair than met the eye. It was because of Amy that I had been able to grow my hair to this length, and for that I would be eternally grateful for her friendship.

When I was 10 I had lovely long hair down to my shoulder blades, and my mother doted on my hair because she always believed that nice hair was a sign of great health. When I was baby she had shaved my head several times to have it grow in thicker, and it had worked because even at that young age my hair was thicker and more luxurious than any other child in my class. I remember the nights that my mother would spend brushing out my hair and how much I loved the feeling of the brush whispering through my silken locks, a duty which Amy has now taken over in college and which she claimed to love doing as much as I loved the feeling.

As we climbed into Amy’s Mustang I pulled my hair from behind my back and draped it over my shoulders, then peeked into the back seat to make sure the box I had brought into the car was safe, which it was.

“What’s in that box anyways?” Amy asked.

“Just a jacket I’m returning, it won’t take long.”
I replied, smiling to myself. It was only half true, but I couldn’t tell Amy what my true intentions were with that box. As I fastened my seat belt in front of my silken locks which now draped over my shoulders I reflected on how much I owed Amy for allowing me to have this hair in the first place, and hopefully the gift I had gotten her would continue to show my gratitude for her help.

The day after my eleventh birthday I had hit my head on a curb while playing outside and knocked myself out for almost ten minutes. When I came to I felt OK save for the mild concussion, but a week later when I went to the salon I was getting caped when I looked next to me and saw a young boy having his hair trimmed. I don’t know what it was, but as I saw the scissors clipping away at the boy’s hair I felt something horrible and animal like well up inside of me. A sort of rage fell over me, and within minutes I was screaming at the top of my lungs unable to contain myself. I was screaming for them to cut my hair off, all of it, and as much as my mother tried to contain me I wouldn’t relent until finally she began cutting it off to the root. I remember that strange feeling, losing control of myself and blacking out as seemingly some other person took over me. When I came to my hair was all gone, and my strange rage with it.

When I got home that day I felt horrible, not only because my beautiful long hair was gone, but because my parents thought I was going through a rebellious phase just to piss them off. I loved my parents and wanted nothing more than to make them happy, and I had no idea what had come over me. Skip forward six months and my hair was now down to my chin, but in desperate need of a trim. When we got to the salon though and I saw two older ladies trimming the hair of two younger girls I felt that familiar rage welling up inside of me again.

Whatever that bump on my head had done to my brain had unintended consequences, and from that day on whenever I saw somebody getting their hair cut I went into what I called my “Hair Frenzy”. That same red haze would fall over my eyes and I would slowly lose control of myself to that other person until every hair on my head was shorn to the scalp. Only then would I regain control, and feel horrible over the loss of my once treasured locks.

The cycle continued until my sophomore year of high school, when I was reunited with my old childhood friend Amy. We instantly reconnected, with each of us treasuring the other’s kind nature. It was during this year that one day she saw me fly off the handle in my frenzy, and that night as she rubbed my bald head as I confessed my problem she vowed that she would help me however she could. I had told her how much I loved her hair, which at the time fell to her waist, and how I had always wanted to grow mine long despite my curse. That was when Amy did something I never would have expected, she accomplished the impossible.


As we drove to the mall I rolled down the window to dump the contents of my soda cup onto the road, and as the wind whipped through my car I saw Holly’s hair fly around her face in a tsunami of living satin. I was the only non-family member Holly trusted her hair with since it was so precious to her and at the same time so fragile. She constantly told me how much she loved when I would play with it, but to be honest just being allowed to touch it was an honor unto itself. Her hair was so unnaturally soft and silky that it was eerie, almost supernatural, always shimmering beautifully and glistening with a life of its own as it danced about her head. Best of all, I loved knowing that I was the reason that hair existed in the first place.

As we pulled up to the mall Holly reached into the back seat of the car and picked up the box from the back seat, and then we walked into the mall. As we walked through the entrance Holly shielded her eyes and let me walk to the front of the salon that was near the entrance of the mall. I watched her nervously chew on a strand of  her hair as she covered her eyes with her hand like she had a migraine, then I looked inside of the salon to make sure there was no haircutting in plain sight of her. I felt relieved when I saw that the salon had in fact closed, so Holly was in the clear. It looked like it had been closed for a while, but since Holly and I hadn’t been here in a few months we had no idea.

“You’re clear Holly, the store closed down.” I called to her, and Holly tossed her hair back over her shoulders with a smile as she walked up to me. “Well that was lucky. Ready to head to the snowboarding shop?”

“One second,” Holly said as she walked towards the window, “I haven’t seen the inside of a salon since I was fifteen.” I watched Holly stand on her tiptoes as she peered into the storefront, and I forgot that in order for her hair to be as long and as beautiful as it was now poor Holly wasn’t able to enjoy so many things we took for granted. Personally there were few things in life I loved more than a salon, something about the sterile walls mixed with the faintly sweet smell of disinfectant always made me feel comfortable, but it was a sight that poor Holly could never again enjoy. After a few seconds I watched as she protectively ran her fingers through her glorious mane and walked back to me. “OK, ready.” As we walked to the store I reflected on our long partnership that had created and preserved her beautiful hair.

After Holly told me her crazy story I promised her that I would get her hair as long as mine no matter what, so we worked out a deal where I would act as a sort of scout and protect Holly from and accidental exposure. We had a few slips that first year, but after a while we fell into a groove. I spent days learning the location of every barbershop, salon, and beauty shop in our area, and every time we were near one I would go out of my way to avoid any possible exposure to the cutting action, or in cases like the mall, guide Holly by them as she closed her eyes. For days when she needed a maintenance trim I bought Holly a pair of completely blacked out pair of glasses and a walking cane, then took her to my stylist and told her she was blind.

This had all begun five years ago, and since then Holly and I had had several close calls where she had almost seen haircutting action and I had saved her at the last second. Once during her senior year and my junior year while she was ecstatic over how her hair finally reached her shoulder blades we had come thisclose to walking around the corner and right into a St. Baldricks head shave event. And once last year when we were hanging out in her dorm room her sophomore year of college year of college, just days after her hair had finally reached her hips, she was sitting on the bed brushing her beautiful hair as I flipped through the channels for something to watch.

As we were talking I came across Empire Records, right at my favorite point, Robin Tunney’s head shave. I kept it on that channel for a split second, distracted, until I heard a pained gasp behind me and turned to see the color draining from a wide eyed Holly, her brush halfway through her glorious locks, which were now probably moments from hitting the floor.

But we had been lucky, and it turned out that the frenzy only truly gripped her when she was exposed to haircuts in real life. If she saw something like that on TV she would get flustered, but it was never uncontrollable, just a tiny taste of the frenzy would take hold of her, and even then it passed rather quickly.

We headed into the snowboarding shop and browsed for a while, but nothing really caught our attention so we decided to go to another local place.

“You forgot to return your jacket.” I told Holly, who was still carrying her box under her right arm.

“Oh, yeah
, that’s actually from a different… um…” Holly trailer off.

“What?” I asked, without a response from her. “Holly, what?” I repeated, turning around, but there stood Holly completely motionless and looking through a storefront window into an electronics shop. I walked over to her, already knowing what I would see. As I approached her I looked through the window to see several big screen TVs, and I was right, they were showing Demi Moore’s famous head shave scene from G.I. Jane.

“Holly? You OK?” I asked, touching her arm. The color had drained from her face and her breath was coming in rapid short breaths, but after a few seconds she just shook her head and smiled, her long mane rustling softly with the movement.

“Sorry, worlds away Amy.” She replied, flashing me that beautiful smile.

“Still happening when you see it on TV?” I asked, reaching out and tucking her hair behind her ear.

“Yeah, but it’s actually getting better.” She replied as she started walking again. “Who knows, someday it may just be gone all together. Maybe.” I could tell in her voice that she knew this idea was a pipe dream, but I knew she wished it was true nonetheless.

We walked into a pizza joint and had a few slices, and that was when Holly placed the box on the table and pushed it towards me. “Here, for you.” she said, flashing me one of her all American smiles.

“What? What for?” I asked with genuine surprise, sliding it towards me.

“For everything, for being such a good friend.” she replied.

I opened the box and shifted through the tissue paper, then let out a massive gasp and covered my mouth with my hands. I looked up at Holly with eyes that must have been the size of saucers because she laughed out loud. “Holly! How… thank you!” I looked down at the beautiful gift, a shining and glossy black Moncler ski jacket. Holly had one and I was always doting over it and asking to borrow it, and whenever I got to wear it I was in heaven. I had always wanted one, but with price tags starting at around 900 dollars they were out of my price range. As much as I loved it though I couldn’t keep it, there was no way I could keep it knowing how much she spent on it.

“You’re welcome dear, now you have one of your own for our trip. And don’t even think about returning it because I got it at an amazing price.” I didn’t know if she was telling the truth or not, but I certainly wasn’t going to push the topic if it meant I got to keep the coat. “Try it on! I want to see how it fits.”

I pulled off my sweater, then picked the coat up from the box and slipped into it, and it felt just as warm and soft as Holly’s. Despite the nipping cold this jacket made me feel as warm as a marshmallow instantly, and it was so puffy and soft that it felt like I was wearing a cloud, but slimming at the same time. “Oh my God Holly, it’s a dream!”

She smiled and leaned back in her seat. “After all you’ve done for me, it’s the least I could do for you. Especially for giving me this.” She dug her hands into her hair and began fluffing her magnificent mane.

As she fluffed her gorgeous locks I decided to take this moment to ask Holly something I had never asked before. “Holly, we’re like sisters right?”

“Of course!” she said instantly.

“Mind if I ask you something… maybe a little personal? What’s it…”


“…like?” Amy asked me.

“What’s what like?” I replied, but I already knew the answer.

“When the frenzy takes over, what’s it like?” she asked, still running her hands over the silky texture of her new jacket.

I had never shared this with anyone, and it was a touchy subject for me, but I trusted Amy with my life and more so I figured it might be good to get it off my chest to my wonderful friend.

“It’s like… um…” I started, trying to put it into words, but I couldn’t. How could I put into words what it was like? The heart palpitations, the shortness of breath, that sinister and horrible animal feeling taking you over? “Well, you know that little voice in the back of your head that tells you to do bad things?” Amy nodded. “Imagine that it just keeps getting louder and louder, fighting the logical and sensible part of your brain harder and harder until eventually it just beats it into submission and takes over.”

“Wow.” Amy said.

“It’s like a monster is pushing its way out of your chest. It’s really awful, it’s like slowly losing control of yourself and there’s nothing you can do. And once it’s all over, my hair is all lying on the floor.” I shuddered and ran my fingers through my hair protectively just thinking about it. “If I had to make an analogy for it, if werewolves were real, it’s what I imagine turning into one would feel like.”


“Wow… just… wow.” I said, I had no idea this thing was so hard on her, and my amazing new jacket was just a distant memory. “It sounds like a nightmare.” 

“It is, and thanks to you I haven’t had to go through it for six years.” Holly smiled politely, then stood up. “Ready to go?”

We left the pizza place and walked through the mall a little more. We looked damn good, Holly looking as elegant and beautiful as a goddess with her typically regal stride and me sporting an amazing new glossy coat. It was pretty warm hot for this weather, but I possessed no desire to take it off.

We took a detour to go to one of our favorite pet stores to look at puppies, but as we got close my purse strap broke and spilled the contents onto the floor.

“Oh dammit.” I said as I stooped to pick everything up, Holly helped pick up the majority of it, then as I started reorganizing the contents she smiled as she stood up and practically skipped towards the pet store, happy to see puppies. I laughed at her as I saw her magnificent mane bouncing and swishing with the motion, shining beautifully with her steps. I was so happy to know that head of hair existed because of me, but as I looked up to the storefront window I saw something that made my heart sink.

I remember when we walked into the mall that I found it strange how the salon had gone out of business since it was always bustling with business. Now as Holly trotted towards a shop that she thought was full of puppies she had no idea what she was mere feet away from, because the salon hadn’t closed at all, it had moved to a larger location.

“Holly wait!” I shouted, but it was already too late.


I heard Amy say something that I didn’t quite catch as I turned towards the pet store, but instead of being met by the sight of rabbits and kittens I saw something altogether different. At first I didn’t know what I was looking at because it had been so long since I had seen one in action, but as I came to my senses with growing horror I realized that I was looking into a salon! I tried to turn my head quickly to avoid seeing anything, but before my body could process my brain’s order I saw a young woman snipping the bottom two inches of an older ladies hair. Just cutting away at her hair…

Cutting away at her hair…


Almost immediately I could feel my pulse pounding harder and harder until I could feel it in my temples. I felt something like a brick form into my stomach and slowly make its way up into my chest, making my breath quicken into short raspy breaths. I felt like I was hyperventilating, but as I felt the beast begin welling up inside of
me I would have easily preferred passing out over what I knew was coming.


“HOLLY!” I screamed as I rushed to my friend’s side. She was slowly backing away from the salon with her eyes closed, her face rapidly draining of color and her trembling hand pressed over her mouth like she had just witnessed a murder. She stumbled backwards just as I showed up in time to steady her.

She slowly opened her eyes with a little noise that sounded like “Nnnnngh!” as I put my arm around her and began escorting her out of the mall, people looking at us like weirdos, but I didn’t care.

“It’s OK Holly, you didn’t see anything, let’s just get back to the car.” I tried to reassure her as we walked through the parking lot. She was stumbling and tripping over her feet like she was drunk as she walked, her breath coming out of her in whimpers, and as much as I tried to reassure her that things would be alright I knew this was a lie. I could feel her body trembling with increasing intensity. I got my visibly troubled friend into the passenger side and walked over to the driver side, quickly starting the car and pulling out of the parking lot as tears began to form at the corners of her eyes. I wasn’t sure how long Holly was going to last, but whatever happened I didn’t want it happening in front of others.

I hated myself in that moment, her hair had been my responsibility and I had let her down. Of course the salon had moved, how could I have thought it had shut down with the amount of business I had always seen inside? I should have checked the directory when we first walked in, then my friend and I would be laughing and talking and holding puppies right now instead of trying to find a way to save her gorgeous locks. I thought I had a solution to the problem, but I had to get her to my place in order for it to work. I had no desire to go through with this radical theory, but it was the only way to save those godly tresses.

“Amy, I saw it… I feel it… it’s… Oh God no!” Holly cried out as she bowed her head down and dug her hands deep into her dark silken lengths of hair, almost as if she was trying to get one last feel of her treasured hair before the inevitable.


I dug my hands deep into my locks, trying to get one last feel of my treasured hair before the inevitable. It was coming, I knew it, but as I felt the incredible softness of my silken lengths I was overcome with a profound sorrow of impending loss.

“I DON’T WANT TO LOSE MY HAIR AMY!” I cried out in anguish, “I love my hair, why does this have to happen? Oh God…” I felt pathetic, and I was sure I looked pathetic, but sometimes pathetic was the only way to truly express your anguish.

“Stupid! Stupid!” I heard Amy say over the pounding of my heartbeat in my head. “I’m so sorry Holly, all of this is my fault.”

“Stop it Amy.” I managed to croak out, this was going to be hard enough on me without the thought of my best friend beating herself up over it. “This isn’t your fault, you’re the reason I was able to get my hair like this in the first place and you know it. It was a miracle it lasted this long, but…” I felt my voice die in my throat as I felt that horrible monster finally grip me tight, pushing away all desire to love and cherish my gorgeous long locks. Suddenly my hair felt itchy and hot, like acid on my head, and with one final shuddering breath I finally lost control.


I felt more than saw Holly go rigid in the seat next to me, her back arching so hard and so quickly that I was afraid she was going to break it. I heard a muffled and terrified moan come out of her, and then I saw the tension in her body ease as I heard her breath come out in deep draws. As soon as I heard those dangerous breaths coming out I knew that Holly was gone.

I looked over at the woman sitting next to me, and was a little scared to see that she was looking back at me with a predatory look of impatience, like I had just told a horribly offensive joke. Holly was still just as beautiful as she had been, but her beauty had taken on a dangerous and feral look to it, like a trapped animal. Her body was relaxed, but somehow still fiercely coiled, and her gorgeous shining locks now hung in her face, obscuring one eye in a ravishing display of model-like beauty. Dark beauty.

“Let… me… go.” The Holly thing said, and before I could answer I saw her undo her seatbelt and reach for her door. I clicked on the child proof locks and “Holly” whipped her head back to me, her tresses flying around her head in a storm and a look of pure fury crossing her face. “Your keys, give them to me NOW!” it shouted.

I knew if I did not only would she run out of the car, but I would get a call on my cellphone from a crying Holly shortly after, her hair having been recently hacked to the scalp by a set of car keys.  Holly had once told me that when she was like this she was scary, but had never hurt anyone, probably the last traces of Holly’s sweet nature holding this savage beast back subconsciously. That was my only saving grace.

“No, we’re going to my place, and then I will give you a pair of clippers I have saved just for this occasion. You’re not going to endanger yourself in the middle of nowhere just so you can chop off your hair. Do you understand me?” I definitely sounded braver than I felt, but the thing breathed steadily as it considered my offer.

“Fine!” it shouted, “but if you’re lying I will seriously hurt you!”

A few minutes later we pulled up to my house, and before I could properly turn off my car “Holly” had grabbed my arm with a claw like hand and yanked me from my seat. “NOW!” It shouted. It shoved me towards the door, and with shaking hands I opened the front door as she brushed past me angrily.

As I walked towards the bathroom where I kept the clippers for this occasion I reflected how I hadn’t properly paid any attention to my hair for the last few minutes. So I ran my fingers through my own soft and wavy locks as I pulled the clippers from the drawer and looked at them in fear. I came out to the living room where “Holly” was standing, and for the first time ever I noticed that this was the only time in my life I had ever seen Holly disheveled looking. I had seen her after long soccer matches, fresh from breakups, and even first thing in the morning after long nights of drinking, but she had always looked perfect and kept. Sweaty sometimes, but always perfect.  The thing that had been my friend abruptly walked towards me and snatched the clippers out of my hand, and as she tried to furiously plug them in to a wall socket I calmly slipped out of my Moncler jacket and laid it on the couch.

I heard the snap pop of the clipper come on, followed by an insect like buzzing, but as the thing cried out in triumph and pulled her hair out of her face for the shave I made my final play.

“WAIT!” The thing looked at me in confusion. “You’re going to clip my hair.” I walked over to her and kneeled, my blond hair spilling over my shoulders and into my face. It wasn’t nearly as amazing as Holly’s mane, but it was still beautiful, and God would I miss it. It looked at me a while longer confused, then at the clippers, and back at me, and in an instant I saw the eyes soften and change. In that instant I saw my friend Holly again.


“Amy no!” I said, and then a look of pain crossed my face as I felt my dark side try to take back over. “You can’t!”

“I can!” she returned, “Holly, you have to, it’s the only way you can save your hair. I am NOT going to watch you destroy that mane, so just hurry up
and do it!”

I felt that horrible presence returning, and as I saw my beautiful, wonderful hair hanging in my peripheral I was overcome with a deep love and desire to keep it. I felt like a horrible person, but it was Amy’s wish, so I turned the clippers back and slowly brought them to her forehead. I moved them back, closer and closer to her hairline, but at the last second I stopped, my hands shaking and the hungry teeth of the clippers shaking dangerously close to her heavy blond waves.

“No,” I whispered to myself, willing away that horrible dark monster with the last of my strength, and saying a fond farewell to the beautiful, shining locks that now hung in my eyes.


“No,” I heard Holly whisper again as the clippers vibrated on my forehead. “NO!” she shouted,  then I watched in disbelief as she yanked the clippers out of the wall socket and high tailed it into my bathroom, her gorgeous shining mane shimmering and flying around her in one final act of beauty as the door slammed shut.

I shot up and followed her, banging on the door and worried about the silence on the other end. “Holly don’t! Don’t do it!” But as I heard the pop buzz on the other end of the door I knew it was already too late.


I held the humming clippers up in front of my face as I looked at myself in the mirror, my hair frazzled and disheveled and tossed about my head in a massive halo of shining silk. I could feel the monster urging me to finish it, but I fought it off to buy a few minutes… just a few minutes to make my hair look beautiful one last time before its end.

I snapped off the clippers and placed them down with a shaking hand, then picked up Amy’s brush and began running it through my locks for what I knew would be the final time. Even in its final moments my hair fell back into a perfect straight fall after just a few strokes, so I pulled it forward and draped it over just my right shoulder. What a cute look I thought to myself, I’ll have to wear it like this if I ever get it back to this length.

LET ME OUT! I felt my monster coming back with a surge as I lurched forward, steadying myself on the edge of the sink with one hand.

“Holly STOP! NO!” I heard Amy screaming on the other side of the door, and her voice gave me one last push of strength to do something I never had before.

NO! I shouted back, picking up the clippers and snapping them on with a grim determination, If I’m going to lose my hair tonight, then I’m going to be the one to do it!  It had always been the same, I would let the monster take over, and when I came to I would be looking at myself with nothing but stubble on my head, wondering what had happened. But that was not going to happen this time, and with that I brought the clippers back up to my forehead.

STOP THIS! LET ME OUT! I felt my legs go weak and I almost fell, the clippers faltering and clipping off the very edge of my right eyebrow. I stood back up, refusing to go down, then took one last look at my gorgeous gleaming mane, pulled the hair in the middle of my forehead back with my left hand, and plunged the clippers into the lush, shining jungle with my right.

NOOOOOOOoooooooooo! I heard the voice cry, but it trailed off as the pitch of the clippers deepened, then stopped altogether as the mass of my hair stopped the clippers dead in their tracks. For a second I thought that maybe I had killed the clippers, but with a slow whirring that sounded like a wounded car starting up the clippers roared back to life and plunged deeper into my hair.

There was a terrible feeling as I felt my hair separating from my head, and an even worse feeling as I felt the silken lengths sliding away in my fingers as I pulled my hand taut. As the clippers pushed further and further into my lush mane I brought them away and took a look at the damage as a mass of chocolate shining silk slid out of my hand and flopped onto the floor. Even though I easily had at least ninety to ninety-five percent of my hair I was shocked how such a small loss of it in just the right area could ruin such a beautiful head of hair so irrevocably.

Long gone was my trademark “Jane Seymour” haircut, my center parting now replaced by an ugly and pale white strip right down the center of my head. My hair still spilled beautifully over my shoulder, but I knew that shortly this mass would soon be resting on the floor along with the first strip. I wanted to cry, but I fought off the urge as I moved the clippers to the right and pushed them right back into my luscious mane.

Strip after strip of gorgeous hair was slowly peeled away, revealing my head which now felt cold against the bare cool air of the bathroom. I felt lighter as my hair slowly vanished away, but with each pass I would have gladly traded this lighter feeling for the heavy silken mass that had covered that area mere moments ago.

Before long there wasn’t much left, just a few dark wispy strands on an otherwise pale head. Strangely I didn’t hear Amy anymore, and realized she must have accepted the inevitable as I began to clean up the last few strands of my hair that clung for dear life to me head.

AMY (3 minutes earlier)

I heard the pitch of the clippers change and I knew that Holly had started shaving off her amazing beautiful hair, but why? Why had she chosen to destroy her model quality hip length hair instead of taking me up on my proposition to shave my head instead? Sure I had great hair, but compared to Holly’s locks my shoulder length strawberry blonde locks looked like rubbish.

Of course I knew the answer, Holly’s selflessness had overridden that strange desire inside of her, and she had conquered it long enough to save my hair in exchange for her own. She had done it for me, but I was sick of her sacrifices. While I was flattered that someone would do the things she did for me, I wanted her to see me as someone on her level, not someone she felt indebted to. I wanted her to see I would do anything to be like her.

I looked down at the expensive jacket she had bought for me, and great price or not I knew that she had spent at least four or five hundred dollars on it. She was just that kind of person, caring, giving, and as I mentioned selfless. I knew in my heart that if I wanted to show her what she meant to me it was time to act like her, not just admire her. I ran my fingers through my hair, taking a deep gulp at what I knew I had to do, then walked into my guest bedroom and pulled a brand new second set of Oster clippers out from under the sink.

Always be prepared, that was my motto, and I had bought backup in case this day had arrived and my main clippers had broken, I was that desperate to save my friend’s hair. I took a long look in the mirror, at the pretty but terrified young woman with a lovely and shining mass of wavy strawberry blonde locks.

“Time to be like Holly.” I told myself, then snapped on the clippers…


With one last sweep I cleared the last few strands that had been clinging to my head, and then turned off the clippers to survey the damage. I looked at myself in the mirror, really looked at myself, and despite the fact that my pride and joy laid in a massive pile at my feet I had to admit things could have been worse. My face was no longer framed by a gorgeous fall of thick, luscious hair, but without it my facial features really popped and stood out, and while I tried my hardest to be humble about my looks, I did certainly agree that my likeness to Jane Seymour was like a mirror. And now here I was, no longer hiding behind a blanket of hair to really accentuate my looks, t
his wasn’t bad, and without the hair I actually looked pretty darn…

But as my lip quivered and a tear began to trace down my face I knew it wasn’t true. I did indeed still look pretty enough, but the gorgeous shining mane I had sported mere minutes ago had only accented my beauty, not detracted from it. Not only that, but it had been my trophy, something to call my own after years of fighting against the odds to grow it, and now it was all gone, lying in a pile around me like discarded tissue papers.

It had been a miracle that I had been able to grow it that long, a five year miracle, and now that mysterious bubble that had protected my beautiful hair for so long had burst in an instant and claimed my glorious mane as its victim. As much as I hated it, I had to admit it, my miracle mane was gone.

After I was done weeping I collected myself and walked to the bathroom door… pausing long enough to reflect how Amy was going to handle this. She had always loved my hair, going out of her way to play with it and brush it when we were watching TV. She had become incredibly protective of it, and for good reason since it was because of her in the first place that I had been able to grow it out. All I hoped was that she would understand that I didn’t have a choice in the matter.

I opened the door and for a second I thought that Amy had pulled her hair back into a very tight ponytail, but as I did a double take I saw that my friend had followed suit while I had been feeling sorrow for myself and shaved her head as well.


My best friend stood there, with even less hair than the last time I had seen the frenzy grip her, but still beautiful and looking at me with the same caring blue eyes as always. Her hand covered her mouth when she saw my own hairless head, my shining waves now a memory and laying on my bathroom floor, and then I saw tears appear in her eyes as she wept and hugged me. I hugged her back, knowing instantly I had done the right thing. She may chastise me or lecture me about how I didn’t need to do it, or even worse she may bring up that she had shed her own locks to prevent me from doing it, but what mattered was that even though my friend would be going through grieving process with the death of her treasured locks, I had just ensured she wouldn’t be going through it alone.



“Come ON Amy! I want to get to that store before it closes!” Holly banged on the bathroom door. If she had one fault it was a slight case of impatience.

“Almost done!” I called back, pulling the curling iron out of the last batch of my hair and brushing it out to add volume. “We don’t all have hair that falls perfectly like yours dear!” I took a glimpse at myself in the mirror and decided that my new blouse and jeans had been worth the high price tag, because I was looking damn good! My hair was looking mighty fine too, having finally fallen to the small of my back in voluminous waves that had been five years of work in the making. I was going to need all the help I could get to look good too, because now since Holly’s hair had grown back to her hips she looked just as much like a young Jane Seymour now at twenty-six as she did five years ago at twenty-one.

The days and weeks following our shave had been…  strange. We had told people we had done it in solidarity for a friend suffering from cancer, but it still didn’t help us with that feeling that we stuck out in a crowd with our newly shaved heads. Whether it was because she was used to this look from before or because she was just that adaptable, Holly had gotten over the loss of her tresses pretty quickly and worn her shaved head proudly. I on the other hand, had a harder time, feeling self-conscious everywhere I went until my hair grew out to a more reasonable pixie style. I promised myself that in the future I would cherish my long hair once I had it back, maybe even wear it down to the middle of my back instead of my shoulder blades, or maybe even longer.

My hair grew quickly, but as usual Holly had me beat in the department of growing speed. By the time I was stubbly she was already sporting a pixie, when my hair reached my chin in a bob hers had hung down to her shoulders, and by the time mine had reached my old length of my shoulder blades hers had grown down to the middle of her back. As soon as I had grown my hair to my newly desired length at the small of my back she had managed to get hers down to her original length of her hips, and it had lost none of its beauty, thickness, or shine.

It had been almost a year now since we had reached our desired lengths, and even though Holly’s hair still trumped mine far and away I couldn’t help but think that my hair was no slouch either as I took a long last look at it in the mirror. We had decided to go out tonight for dinner and drinks for the first time in quite a while, right after Holly returned something at some store, and she had shown up straight from work looking classy and elegant in her form fitting black pantsuit. Her hair was as immaculate as always, and worn in a loose ponytail draped over her right shoulder and tied low at the base of her neck with a red satin ribbon (a style she had become quite fond of for some reason), but she had rushed off to my other bathroom to change clothes for tonight as I finished up my hair.

I opened up my bathroom door to the sight of my friend waiting for me… and stopped dead in my tracks, my breath catching in my throat.

“There you are.” Holly said, walking towards me in her newly changed outfit… THAT outfit, the same one she had been wearing that same day five years ago when she had last seen hair getting cut. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but as I did a double take I realized that there was no mistake, the same red silk blouse, the same form fitting leather pants, the same high heeled black boots, the same silver necklace, in fact if it weren’t for her over-the-shoulder-ponytail hairstyle she would have been the spitting image she had been those five years ago. She clearly saw the shock in my face, since she asked me “Amy, are you OK?”

“Oh,” I managed to respond, “yeah, it’s just that… that outfit…” she looked down at herself, “don’t you think it’s a little… I don’t know… foreboding?”

“What? No, why?” she replied quickly.

“Well, it’s just the same outfit you were wearing last time you… you know…” I made a gesture of running clippers over my head.

She laughed quickly, “Oh, that, I didn’t even remember what I was wearing, but you can’t be scared of a wardrobe can you?” but even as she said these brave words I saw her unconsciously run her fingers through her loose, shining ponytail. “Come on, I want to get to the store before it closes.” She said, tossing me the jacket I had laid out for tonight, my black Moncler jacket, the exact same one I had been wearing that fateful night. I snuck a quick glance at my phone and wasn’t surprised to see that tonight was the same night five years ago we had gone on our doomed trip to the mall, and now things were lining up all over again.

“Hey Holly, one sec, lemme brush out your hair, it looks little frazzled.” I offered.

Holly took a quick peek at her watch, a small look of debate crossing her face, but I knew she would never turn down a free brushing. “Alright, I guess we have a minute or two.”

She sat down in front of me and pulled out her elastic band, her hair spilling down her back without even a kink from the band. I ran the brush through it slowly and smoothly, taking in the wonderful feeling of those tresses because a worrisome feeling was beginning to build in my stomach.
Something strange was at work tonight, and all the events from the last time Holly had lost her locks were lining up once again… like tumblers in a lock.

“Ow!” Holly cried as I hit a snag, then she reached into her locks and smoothed them with her fingers. A snag? In Holly’s locks? That was almost unheard of, I couldn’t remember the last time I had ever encountered a snag in Holly’s perpetually perfect locks, not a good sign. Holly finished smoothing out her silky locks and began tying it at the base of her nape with the satin ribbon for her over the shoulder look, draping it over the front of her shirt in a fall of dark shining silk.

As Holly finished tying her ribbon into a bow I could only watch her dark hair shimmering with the movement, a feeling of impending dread refusing to leave my stomach over the uncertain fate of her hair. As I watched a lock of my own long and soft strawberry blonde hair fell into my eyes. I scooped it back and tucked it behind my ear as a horrible question popped into my head.

If… no… WHEN Holly loses control, am I going to follow suit again?

I was shocked at the simple obviousness of the question, of course I couldn’t! Not now, not when it looked so much better than it had! But then again… the thought of a poor bald Holly crying in a sea of her shed locks all alone was too much to bare, and I think in that situation I would have to.

Holly finished up and asked with a smile “Shall we?”

“Sure.” I replied with some uncertainty as my mind continued its silent debate, but Holly was in too good of a mood to notice. I slipped into my foreboding jacket as we walked out the front door and towards my car. I ran my fingers through my own soft hair, taking in the wonderful smell of my newly cherished locks and knowing there was a very good possibility I may not be able to smell that wonderful scent in mere hours. But as I looked at Holly’s own glistening mane one horrible certainty was becoming more and more clear.

The fate of my own silky locks may still be up for grabs, but deep in my heart I knew that Holly’s beautiful dark tresses would be nothing but a memory by the end of the night.

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