boston, ma • october 14th, 2016
Francesca had not been feeling that great the last couple of days. Not even days, weeks had been building up where she could not quite explain what the hell had been happening around her. It was like her mind was on overload, trying to weed out the good from the bad, and everything felt like it was too much.

The business, at least, was good. A nice, solid distraction that she could throw herself into. She had activities and events planned to fill her hours with children's giggling and princess chatter instead of wondering what the best place to carry pepper spray was. Her newest Ariel costume had come in, a slip-on "fin" that looked like the real deal once she was sitting, and of course the perfectionist (read: little kid) in her had to try it on while she did a little decorating for Halloween. Happy faced jack o lanterns and cobwebs hung between the cheery pastel colored walls, keeping things a spooky but not scary for the little ones.

The unexplained destruction of her home was a stress Frankie couldn't ignore. It was not okay, despite her best efforts to convince herself otherwise, it was not okay. Her father had offered to pay to fix the damages but there was no way he could repair the ones that were left; someone had done this, sometime during that lost week someone had come into their home and destroyed their peace of mind. And that was the worst part of it all.

Frankie's internet searches had been full of "home security services" and "self defense classes near me" and then finally: "how to buy a gun" and "how to shoot a gun safely". She was definitely not okay.

Pair that with the fact that all of a sudden she had been hearing voices that were most definitely not her own, Francesca Snow was unravelling faster than even she knew. Her grip on reality seemed to be slipping, if only she had an explanation for any of it, there could be some kind of sleep in her future. But no, she heard waitresses' thoughts about how her lips had to be fake and guys' thoughts as they passed down the street about her body, the look on their faces alone told Frankie they had to be others' thoughts. It was impossible to shut off and impossible to control so for the last week or so, Frankie had been living in a perpetual migraine just waiting for the next thought to pop into her mind. Maybe she had gone swimming in some nuclear waste or something. That was a thing that happened to normal people, right?

There was a looming sense of dread in the neighborhood, it seemed. Frankie couldn't figure out if it was blamed on the Red Sox losing in the playoffs and a crowd full of drunk pissed off people could be the culprit, their anger radiating off like steam. Baseball was a intregal part of the community and without a chance of advancing, the assholes of Boston were here and loud in case no one had heard them.

The sound of a crash filled the air, a loud unexpected noise she had never heard in the area before.. it seemed like it was right next door. The limited window space gave her absolutely no view to the direction of the noise, her heartbeat pounding loud enough that she could no longer hear the music streaming through the seashell shaped speakers that were littered throughout the studio. Marina and the Diamonds could not get any louder, but the sound of breaking glass downstairs did.

Frankie ceased up, tensing because her mind told her that if she stood perfectly still, no one would notice her. Later, she would realize that she wasn't up against a creature from Jurassic Park but the mind is not a rational thing when met with fear. There was a shout of "hey, get back here!" and footsteps that got further away. Turning, Frankie caught a glimpse of some kind of intense dazzling in the mirror built into the tower display and it took her longer than possible to realize just what she was seeing reflected back to herself. It was herself but there was no possible way it was herself.

Glittering like diamonds, Francesca was covered head to toe in diamonds, only her eyes distinguishable past the mermaid costume. She started gaping at her reflection, touching the mirror in a moment of complete disbelief. Quicker than she could move, Frankie was shimmying out of the mermaid fin and trying not to trip over herself but really she needed to check if this stroke was affecting every inch of her body. It was the only logical explanation, really. Covered head to toe, Frankie was a walking diamond and she shook her head, running out of the store with only her keys in her hand. She'd worn body paint before but this was hardly a paint, this was her skin and no one would believe her. Maybe if she could get home and show someone, anyone.

The footsteps from earlier had gotten closer, and a gruff looking man in a dark blue jumpsuit with trouble written all over his face closed in. The sidewalk was empty and lit by overhead lights, but the sky was dark and Frankie's diamond coated skin glittered as she ran out of the building. "The fuck?" She heard before colliding with the man, sending him flying to the concrete. Sure, Frankie took kickboxing, but there's no reason their positions shouldn't be switched. He was groaning like she had actually hurt him. Testing her theory and the fact that she had this sinking feeling he was the source of the breaking glass, Frankie gave him a solid kick and her bare foot didn't hurt at all. Neither did the next one.

"Don't come around this neighborhood again, or I'll next time make sure you can't get up." She spat, the adrenaline coursing through her body and her skin was shimmering underneath the street lamps. Never in her life had she felt this freaked out or this empowered. Maybe there was something to being a walking Tiffany's advertisement.