The suburbs where Oriana and her friends lived were a relatively new addition to the city. Twenty years ago a change in the tax rate of the neighbouring state created an opportunity for energetic companies to uproot themselves and move across state lines. The city’s population swelled from 50,000 to 100,000 in just five years before the government of this state decided to raise their taxes too and stifle the economic boom taking place.
As a consequence the city has divided into two distinct architectural zones: that of the factories and sprawling suburbs that housed their workers, and those surrounding the hospital and the old city centre. The latter were old high density town houses that while small were aesthetically more pleasing to the discerning eye. The limited size of these residences did not limit the prestige and cost of living in them. It was a status symbol to live in the old suburbs and Syndi, who considered herself an artist, would never allow herself the disgrace of living in a cheaper roomier suburban house.
Syndi was poor, however, and the seemingly perpetual stipend of student allowance she received for never succeeding to complete a degree was insufficient to pay her rent. She had however two additional streams of income, neither of which included selling any of her ‘artworks’.
The first of these was selling drugs. Her membership in the Tyranni allowed her to draw on a limitless supply of various drugs that were provided to her by the Tyranni to sell on the condition that she split her earnings with them 25-75. She had no firm idea how the Tyranni managed to acquire so many cheap drugs, although the fact that she picked up the drugs from a police station 45 minutes drive out of town assured her that the Tyranni’s infiltration of law enforcement was sufficient for her to never fear being threatened by the police.
Selling drugs was more a chore than a hobby to her though, the only part she enjoyed about it was introducing someone new to an addiction. Especially someone healthy and with high aspirations. This was Syndi’s greatest pleasure in life: watching a person’s transformation from relative joy to suffocating misery. Especially those who had potential to be brilliantly successful. Cutting down these tall poppies so that they could never come close to their full potential was a delicacy she relished.
She actually had an ‘artwork’ which perfectly illustrated the way she extracted pleasure from getting a new person to take drugs. The ‘artwork’ was a slice of bread in a glass vessel. Through a physical and chemical process the bread was induced to rot much faster than normal. This accelerated rotting meant that a slice of bread placed in the chamber before dawn was by the end of the day no more than a revolting mess. This visualised for her the process of drug addiction on a person: accelerating rot until all trace of youthful beauty had been blemished out of existence. She felt a sense of kinship for fungus that ate the once wholesome meal.
Her second source of income was prostitution. While some might be surprised that a woman shaped like Syndi is able to make money from such a profession, not all people enjoy the perfume of a fresh rose, others are like Syndi and take pleasure in defilement. Syndi’s overeating and lack of exercise distorted and twisted the naturally beautiful shape of her body and this mutilation of her own beauty excited her as much as encouraging others to mutilate theirs. Syndi was in the flower of her youth a pretty girl, yet she had my deliberate intentions removed all trace of her natural wholesome beauty. Something that excited some men want to be beaten and humiliated by her.
Indeed the exploration of bodily and sexual defilement so inspired Syndi that she often daydreamed of one day opening her own whore house where she could lure young greedy women to spoil themselves for sub par men. From the moment she laid eyes on Kelly with her fit athletic body and striking blonde hair she imagined ensnaring her inside her imaginary whore house. She would forge her chains initially from drug addiction, but later make chains out of her shame for allowing her to be degraded into a fuck toy for creepy sex obsessed men. Such shame can trap a woman into a dishonourable lifestyle because she dare not admit to her friends and family of the gravity of her mistake for fear of the embarrassment. So she would cut herself off from her friends and family so she can marry the devils that have taken residence up inside her heart. She would even call her shame pride and say she lives a life she wanted. Syndi licked her licks at the image of Kelly so committed to self-degradation that when criticised for it she would declare she didn’t even care.
Syndi went to university and technical colleges for no other reason than to find new clients for her two additional sources of income. There she found no shortage of men convinced that all sex was rape, and so they were willing to pay her top dollar to be humiliated by her. This is how she funded her lifestyle, and the more people she degraded and mutilated the more pleased the Tyranni with her. Syndi mused that if the Tyranni had a motto it ought to be “there is something beautiful in ugliness”.
When Kelly called her that afternoon she had been busy humiliating one of her clients. She hesitated before answering out of a brief concern for her professionalism, then commanding her victim to shut up she answered Kelly.
“Syndi, I just got a text from my bestie, she spent over an hour alone with Kent and now she’s going on about how smart he is and that she’s planning to see him more often!”
“Oh sweetie,” started Syndi drawing on a cigarette and speaking in a sympathetic voice, “first that bimbo gets herself stuck in the mud but forgets to drown herself, now your bestie is trying to claim your man.”
“I know, I can’t believe this is happening, I usually have guys lining up for my number, but Kent doesn’t seem to notice me at all.”
“Honey, in all honesty, men are pigs. They are attracted to the worse women. They would sleep with anyone they can, except for a woman of your quality.”
Kelly’s ego leaped at the flattery while failing to notice that if men do line up for her number, they can’t all have low standards. This failure on Kelly’s part was not because she was slow witted, far from it. Kelly’s academic performance had always been first class. Her father was a mathematics professor and her mother a piano teacher. However, just as two athletic parents sometimes produces a reserved bookish child, Kelly’s reserved and well educated parents had produced one of the most outgoing and energetic children in the neighbourhood.
Kelly’s parents loved her dearly but could not keep up with her energy and enthusiasm for new activities. Kelly learned new things with astonishing speed, however, she seldom took the time to dwell and reflect upon the things she learned. She feared that if she ever did this then she’d miss out on the next exciting thing.
She wasn’t interested in a common boy, and being a daughter to an academic she found herself attracted by intellectualism in a man. Yet at no point did she stop to ask herself if it was prudent to follow the yearnings of her biology over the common sense advice that she should find more comfort in a relationship with a man who reflected her personality. Still she wanted to have a boyfriend that stood out, and Kent’s oddness did just that.
Kent was novel and intellectual, the fact that he had no interest in her romantically was only a third motive now for her investing in the dream of being pursued by him. If she had noticed her vanity in this manner she would have been disgusted with herself, but not one to listen to any criticism readily, she pursued her vain quests to the disappointment of decent men she never even noticed existed. Instead, she liked to get obsessed with men she wasn’t suited to, because they seemed far more exciting than any others.
Syndi was still young, but she had already learned to recognise a personality like that of Kelly’s as something profitable. Kelly’s distress at failing to get Kent’s attention was the lever Syndi needed to lure Kelly into her trap.
“Kellidoll,” she said in a voice sweet with compassion, “come out with me tonight, let’s hit the clubs, do some dancing and forget this silly Kent who can’t see what he’s missing out on.”
Syndi didn’t even need to read the next message, she knew what it would be: “where and when can I meet you?”
Salivating with joy at the possibilities for mutilating a young woman like so many of her artworks, Syndi sniggered as she replied.
Her client reminded her of his existence and so she kicked him in the chest and told him to put his clothes on and get out. She needed time to prepare. It isn’t every day that an ‘artist’ gets an opportunity to mutilate so pretty a flower.