Slowly, lock by tumbling lock, she let her hair glide down her shoulders. Rich, black, mane-like, it snuck its snarly bristles into her bare chest and into the raw shin of her back.
Inside the locked, shuttered, mirrorless store-room, with shrouded caskets on every side of her, she shrank still, shrank instinctively within herself as she stepped out of the black frock with its one white frill on the collar.
She knelt upon the faded black cotton, the razor blade a silver glimmer in her pudgy fingers. There ought to have been some pathos to this moment, she thought desperately, some thrill, some deep overwhelming emotion …
When Slumber took the first few strands of hair and yanked them until her head throbbed right down to her left temple and she could feel the pores of her skin ready to pop. She laid the razor against the root of the pain and struck it away. And the cool hardness of the metal was a balm to her keening new-shorn flesh.
She watched the first few strands slide off her thighs and coil up on the black cotton frock with one end swathing the white frill … And then her shingled hair began to fall around her thick and fast, like a cloud reminded of its destiny by the first plopping drop of rain.
Now she was panting a little with the pain, and her eyes glittered cruelly, feverishly. With every strand of hair she hacked off, the desperate triumph in her eyes was stoked to a blaze again.
Until there was nothing left to cut. The hair down her neck was not hers any longer: merely an irritant to be jerked off. The rush of about her weightless head, bobbing on her neck like a child’s balloon at the end of a thread made her look down suddenly at the sliver of steel in her bloodless fingers; and as the pain in her sore skin subsided, she began for the first time to survey the dark maelstrom about and upon her with the beginnings of panic.