Liza twisted the tube until the last bit of paste fell on to her finger. She quickly applied it to her nose and across her brow.
A WEB Medical Drone circled her, running scans and tests seamlessly. The little bot was circular and perfectly smooth except for a little LED light that shown from the top.
“How we lookin’ MD?” She asked. Her reflection crossed her arms.
“Moderate burns. Healing cream should clear it up.” The drone responded.
The scans continued until the little ball of metal stopped in its tracks. The scanning light went back and focused in on something near the back of her head.
Her reflection smirked.
The drone scanned her again. “Brain anomaly detected.”
Liza blinked. “What’s up?”
“Lovely.” She deadpanned and continued applying her medicine.
“See medical attention immediately.”
She turned to the medical drone. “Isn’t that what you’re for?” She shook her head and went back to the mirror.
Despite having semi-dark skin, she’d applied so much paste that she could easily be mistaken for an Anglo. The thought made giggle. Her reflection did not laugh.
“You probably should have thought about using that sooner, no?” It scowled at Liza, watching her with disdain.
Liza huffed and rolled her eyes. “I suppose, but I can’t worry about that now.” She went back to rubbing the paste on her face. It soothed the burning, but the color of her skin continued to lighten.
“Careful now,” her reflection said. “You keep doing that and you’ll dye your skin all Anglo-like.”
“That wouldn’t be the worst thing,” Liza commented, continuing to relieve her pain.
“Oh, but what would mother say?” Her words were filled with sarcasm. “How aghast she would be!”
Liza half shut her eyes and raised an eyebrow. She finished up and washed her hands as quickly as possible. Out of the room and away from the mirror, Liza let out a sigh of relief. The uneasy sensation left her stomach…
…Only to return immediately as she entered the kitchen. Her mother let out a gasp and dropped the iron on the table.
“What happened to your face?” She cried.
Liza let out a breath of exasperation. “It’s just some face cream, mom.”
She threw a rag at Liza’s face. “Clean it off, you look like a filthy Anglo.”
“So what?” Liza threw the rag on the table.
“What if the neighbors see?” Her mother rushed to close the drapes in the room.
“Mom they know who we are.” Liza rolled her eyes.
“We don’t need anyone spreading rumors!” Her face glowed red and her chest heaved with heavy breathes.
“Mom, please. There’s nothing wrong with them.” Liza winced. That was the wrong thing to say and definitely the wrong moment to say it in.
“What did you say?” Her mother asked between grinding teeth.
Liza’s mind fumbled for a solution. “Look at Shinji and Amelia. Everyone likes them.”
Her mother huffed, but her color stayed the same. “Shinji is related to the Emperorate and Amelia is ember-haired. You know those are completely different things. Now hush and clean your face already.”
The rag hit Liza in the nose again. “Mom, you don’t happen to have healing cream that isn’t white, do you?”
Her mother turned around, pretending to only half pay attention. “No, that must be your father’s.”
“Then you’re just going to have to deal with it. I’m not going to clean this off because you think the neighbors are going to stop inviting you to parties.”
“Young lady, you will clean your face now!” She’d turned back around, beat red once more.
Liza didn’t care this time. She laid a hand on her head. It was on fire.
“Mother, my face is in pain. I need this!” There really wasn’t any simpler way to explain it.
“I will not have my daughter parading around my house look like a fucking pink-skin!” Liza was sure that her mother was about to burst some blood vessels.
“It’s only sunburn, it’s harmless.” Liza could feel her face heating up with anger.
“Harmless?” The blood vessels across her mother’s forehead were throbbing. “Would it still be harmless when the neighbors report us and you get kicked out of school. Or worse, we get deported!”
Her mother reached for the rag and took a step towards Liza. “Now be a good girl and get over here.”
Liza stood still. Her head throbbed. Why wouldn’t the pain go away?
Her mother grabbed her wrist and tried pull her forward. Liza reached out with her spare hand to grab the iron melting the table cloth.
Swinging with all her might, she crashed the iron into the side of her mother’s skull. Bone cracked and splintered. Blood splattered over Liza and the ground around her.
With a squishy thud her mother hit the floor.
Liza’s head hurt. Her eyes filled with red. She bent over her mother’s corpse and continued to hammer the iron through to the ground.
The air smelled of burnt hair and blood.
Finally, when Liza’s arms ached, she stood.
Her reflection stood next to her and brushed a stray hair away.
“What do you think?” it asked.
Liza shrugged. “I think mom tripped.”
Her head still hurt.