“Tell me again, why do you shave your head?” Greg asks, hardly trying to not sound rude, “You used to have such luscious, flowing, hair! The ladies definitely liked it!”
“It’s just so much easier short, you know? A hell of a lot less maintenance.” I shrug as I try to make a clean cut from the topic.
“I guess. It’s weird to see you without it. They were iconic; totally you. I guess what they say about 'doing time' changing you is true,” Greg sighs as he shrugs, and begins to shut the door. “...bye D.”
“See ya Greg.” I walk down the driveway, releasing the tension in my shoulders, and letting loose a shiver, in an attempt to reassure myself. “Shake it off Des, it’s all in the past.”
I get asked about it a lot. Everyone who knew me back then wants to know what happened to my 'trademark long hair'. Strangely, it’s as if no one even remembers who I was before it, or cares, for that matter..
About 11 years ago, I wanted to dedicate myself to growing out my hair as long as I could. My family and friends always told me how nice my hair was, but I’d never really paid it much mind. It was so much upkeep to have it long, but I decided I mind as well try it out.
At the time my hair was around my ears. The longest I’d let it get. I was previously concerned about it getting in the way, especially when eating. I also had a strange concern that someone would try to grab me by the hair if it was long.
For the first few months, nothing seemed different. It grew quickly. My mother would always say how astounded she was at how fast it grew.
After about a year, I started noticing strange habitual changes in myself. I don’t know how long they’d gone on before I’d taken notice, but most were pretty small. I first recognized it when I ordered guacamole as a side with my nachos, at a bar. It may sound trivial, (as apparently it did to everyone else), but I hate avocados. To me, they taste like light, squishy clumps of grass, or malnourished vegetation. Guac was no different.
As I sat, staring at my nachos, confronted with my thoughtless choice of wasting a whole dollar to add a single ounce of guacamole, I figured “Why not? Go ahead. Try it.”
It wasn’t bad. Not as bad as I remember, anyhow. I still didn’t really like it that much, but I felt compelled to eat it, and not just because I’d paid for it.
I know, that little anecdote may seem contrived, but it was just the first of many instances where I’d felt myself strangely compelled to do unusual, uncharacteristic things.
I started buying expensive conditioners. Only shampooing once, maybe twice, a week. Eating a high fat, moderate protein, super low carb diet (it started gradually, until I realized due to a friend’s comment, I’d been basically eating a ketogenic diet). I couldn’t put on a hat. I simply found myself unable to do it. I’d never been a hat person, but the thought of wearing one now made me physically ill.
My vanity blinded me of my concerns for these strange habitual changes. Every time I’d leave the house, absolute strangers complimented my hair. I’d see heads turn. Jealous girls, children who just wanted to feel how soft it was. I was content enough with all the changes in my lifestyle. They weren’t causing me any harm, really. Or so I thought.
I’d gone to my doctor’s for an annual check-up. As thorough as he is, we did some routine blood tests. He called me about a week later with the results.
“Your Biotin, Vitamin E, and Vitamin D levels are low. Supremely low. These aren’t the levels I’d expect to see in someone your age, eating a balanced diet.”
“Do you think I oughta take supplements?” I asked, worried what the impact could be on my long term health.
“Supplements can help, but it’s more important that you get these sources from your food. Supplementation is okay, but in the long run, it can cause other vitamin or mineral imbalances. For now, see if you can get a hold of some, but try to make a conscious effort toward making things like dairy, mushrooms, avocados, and nuts regular parts of your diet.”
I scratched my head, considering exactly how to respond. “You basically highlighted my entire diet in four words.”
“Hmm, that’s peculiar to say the least. Try the supplementation then. We’ll do more blood tests in two weeks. If the results don’t improve, we’ll see about putting you on a specialized diet, or consider medication.”
I woke up that night with a terrible headache. It felt like my brain had thousands of tiny needles stabbing into it. I went to the bathroom, turned on the light, and opened the medicine cabinet. Holding the weak, over-the-counter painkillers in my hand, I noticed something peculiar. I froze.
I was standing completely still, but through my peripherals, I could see my hair moving. Not a gentle swaying, or a lift caught by a draft. Actual movement, as if it was wriggling. I closed the cabinet, and stared into the mirror. The hair was visibly growing, both in thickness and length!
I started to stagger backwards, afraid to even touch the hair. A small voice in my head said “Calm down, it’s just a bad dream, lay back down.”
I did. As soon as I laid down, the headache began to soothe, and my eyelids felt heavy. Just before passing out, I thought I saw a lock of my hair creeping toward the multi-vitamin bottle on the nightstand.
When I woke in the morning, I wasn’t sure if last night's event was a nightmare or reality. I was desperate to shrug it off. But the luxury of ignorance didn’t last long. Seeing the overturned multivitamin bottle, its contents spilled on my nightstand, was the first indication something was wrong.
I walked to the bathroom once more, and looked at my reflection. No wriggling, no spontaneous spurts of hair growth. Although it did look longer than I remembered. I reached for a pair of scissors to trim a bit. As I reached for a lock of my hair and held it taut, my body froze up. I could feel the hair begin to wrap around my fingers.
“Stop,” the voice in my head began, “that’s not yours to cull.” I felt powerless, paralyzed.
Fear cascaded over me, from my head, to my shoulders, down to my toes. Was this the hair? Was it somehow able to stop me?
I fought against the paralysis with all the strength I could muster. Edging the scissors slowly towards my hair, seeing the peculiar scene of a man struggling against himself, in the mirror. Then I felt it creeping. Before I noticed it in the mirror, a large python of hair snaked its way around my neck, forming a firm collar.
“Do not struggle, let it be.”
I forced the scissors open with what control I had left. The cord of hair around my neck began to constrict. The voice in my head grew louder.
“This body is ours now, but we may share it for a time. If you fight, you will suffer.”
I tried to scream, but with my throat bound, a raspy squeal was all that I could muster. I dropped the scissors, and fell to my knees, the loud thump of knees against the floor was muffled. I hardly noticed it. My vision began to darken, muscles relaxed, as I let the lightheadedness grow into unconsciousness.
I regained my awareness some time later. I was standing upright, in a park, halfway across town. I wondered how long I had been there. Reaching for the phone in my pocket, I felt it was damaged. I slowly removed the useless brick of heavily smashed technology, and attempted to rationalize an explanation out loud.
"Is this from drugs? Alcohol? I don't touch that kind of stuff normally, only on special occasions. Maybe the effects of the vitamin deficiencies-"
"Listen to me now, my puppet," the familiar voice of the hair interrupted, "You have proven an apt host, and for that you are in our graces. Do not forget, it is we who pull the strings now."
I could feel a disgusting wriggling all over my head and down my back. The hair seemed as though it was relishing the moment, laughing even. “I’m insane,” I thought, “I’ve lost my mind. I need to be institutionalized!”
I began to walk. Only I wasn’t doing it. My legs moved, my feet carried, but I had little choice in the matter. Then, I blacked out again.
That was my life for about 2 months. I’d gain consciousness for small snippets of my life. Sometimes in the middle of conversations with people I knew (in which, the moment I tried to talk about the hair, I’d choke up and eventually lose consciousness once more). I felt as though I was little more than a husk, a vessel for whatever strange creature my hair had evolved into. I began to feel so hopeless. It didn’t appear as though anyone took notice, or knew what was going on with me. Somehow the hair was living my life.
The day I finally broke free was bittersweet.
Again, I regained consciousness. This time, I found myself in the middle of... Intimate relations. I knew the girl, but not well. I think I went to high school with her many years ago, Blonde Stacy, everyone called her (due to there being two Stacys). We weren’t in contact, so I have no idea how any of it happened. I stopped thrusting, and hastily withdrew from the bed we were on. I didn’t know this room. I had no idea where I was.
“Whoa whoa, what’s wrong?” she asked me, genuine confusion in her eyes.
“Where am I, how the hell did I get here? Why am I with you?” I clamored for answers, not wanting to waste a moment, for fear of the hair taking control again.
“Wow… Here’s a question for you: Why are you being such a dick?” she exclaimed as she pulled the bedding up to her neck, covering her naked body.
“No, I’m sorry. You don’t understand. I’m not in control of my life-”
I was cut short. My tongue stopped wagging.
I’m still surprised it let me get that far. Was it toying with me?
I began to hear soothing words, apologies, spew from my mouth like spoiled honey. I returned to the bed, peeled back the blanket revealing her bare form, and proceeded to mount her once more. I kept fighting, but was powerless.
I saw from the corner of my eye, a thick lock of hair extending down toward her, mingling my auburn locks with her blonde curls. Then another, and another. Her head was curtained by my long hair. She grabbed a handful, in a lover’s passion and began to pull. The remaining hair quickly wrapped itself around her neck, and began to tighten. She smiled at first, and pulled harder. So too, did the hair squeeze more intensely. She began to panic as she realized it was the hair itself doing the choking. More strands appeared, erect in front of her face, slowly piercing down, as if to penetrate her facial orifices. She began to kick, and struggle. Finally, the hair withdrew me from the coitus. My body had finished, much to my disgust. The hair seemed solely focused on whatever it was trying to do to her.
I could feel her panic, I wanted to help her. I fought for control as hard as I could, until finally, I regained some semblance of power.
She had ripped a clump of hair out of my head. Strangely, it was painless. It must have somehow weakened the hair’s hold on me, but it hadn’t stopped strangling her. I saw a picture frame on the nightstand. I reached out and smashed it against the smooth, wooden frame of the bed. Grabbing a piece of glass tightly in my hand, I began to hack and slash at the hair. Blood streamed down my hand from where I gripped the raw, jagged chunk.
With every single strand I sliced through, I began to feel more and more in control, until I finally cleaved all of the hair connecting my head to her neck.
I fell back on the bed, relief began to tingle through every inch of the body I fought so hard to reclaim. I felt whole again.
I sat forward, grinning. I must have been a twisted, bloody visage.
My meager moment of glee was cut short the second I looked back at Stacy. The hair was still firmly wrapped around her neck, some strands slowly wriggling toward her nostrils. Her thrashes and struggles became little more than pathetic convulsions. I could see how powerless she must have felt. I knew it all too well.
I leapt forward, grasping at the hair and trying to tug it loose. It was compact and wound thickly, like a hemp rope. I struggled for an idea. Once again, I grasped the blood drenched piece of glass, and began to cut at the hair. I tried to wedge between the soft, pale skin of her neck and the auburn leash that bound her. I cut desperately, trying not to harm her. My attempts grew more reckless and aggressive, until I finally split the choking leash. She laid unconscious, neck covered in small lacerations and a thick ribbon of bruising.
I wish I could say everything was okay from there, but it wasn’t. I didn’t know it then, but Stacy would never open her eyes again.
I spent almost a decade in prison. Stacy suffered severe brain damage, and last I heard, was in a coma. I’m prohibited from looking more into her fate, though. It was hard to argue against the charges when she’d suffered such severe asphyxiation, and cuts all around her throat. In combination with the evidence of a sexual encounter, it painted a pretty vile scene.
I wish she hadn’t been the cost of my freedom. Even if I hardly knew her.
I’ve been out for the better part of 2 years now. Trying to adjust to normal life. At least in prison they obliged my need to keep my hair as short as possible. I’ve not had thoughts, commands, or any sign of whatever was on, or in my head since. But I’m always wary it could be there. Sometimes I see my arm hair move, although I feel the wind blowing against it, I shave it down anyways. Can never be too sure.
Now that I’m out, I’ve been in contact with a lot of my old friends. I’m still learning about stuff I did when the hair was in control. Apparently, I was very socially outgoing, and spent time with a lot of different ladies... I almost wish I could remember it.
As I finally arrive home from my visit to Greg’s (my first time seeing him since I got out), I see a curious envelope has come through my mail slot. No return address.
I open the package, and the first thing I see is what looks like a small clipping from some magazine article, titled: “7 Things to eat for healthy, luscious hair…”
The article has a picture of a woman with shiny auburn locks, reminiscent of mine. My heart sinks. Is this a cruel joke? I tear open the rest of the small envelope, a thick lock of hair falls to the floor. I’m petrified. If someone was trying to scare me, they’re succeeding. I stare at the clump for what feels like an eternity. Waiting for it to move. I swear I see it twitch.
I begin to fill with dread. Not because of the movement, but because it isn’t auburn. It has a familiar curl to it, and it’s blonde. Just like Stacy's.
About the Creator
"Tewahway? How do you even say that?" Honestly, so long as you try, you're doin' it right!
I mainly write horror fiction, but I'm here to spread my wings and soar like a literary baby bird.
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