Lavender felt an affection for the cool insinuation of the needles; they brought back dim, degenerating memories of her infancy in the examination room, when love came in a syringe, when the world held no lies. Quietly she regressed, her head bobbing slightly with the motion of the limousine. The assistant on her left mopped her brow with a dark paisley handkerchief; the purplish blur registered as a kidney in the man's hand. She imagined she was undergoing organ transplant before the show, felt phantom hands stirring her guts, and was not distressed by the idea.
Increasingly they seemed like parasites upon the dead-white skin of a prematurely-aged, lethargic shark. When she was tired, they fed her laudanum and chocolates to keep her moving, whispered sweet words into her shell-perfect ears of how she was brilliant, of how she had never been loved more than she was now. They had mothered her through her needy, irate development until they could find some way to keep her under control, and now they could switch Lavender on and off at will, rolling her out and revving her up with speed and diluted opiates, sometimes injecting a fractional dose of absinthe into her strawberry blood to keep her perky and verdant, thrusting her into the concert or chat-show engagement, letting her cut loose in a most amusing manner, then winding her down with a parade of barbiturates, streamers of sodium pentothol, a frappe of Nytol and NyQuil for her to cuddle in bed, until she was needed for the next engagement.
There were moments, still, when she'd emerged from the limousine, stepping carefully down the unenviable red carpet, her alabaster countenance going blow-for-blow with the relentlessly flashing paparazzi bulbs, there were moments before the poison found its home when she was still herself; if they'd known, they would consider this her reward for suffering their ministrations, but in fact, in these brief moments when she broke the hot, agitated miasmic surface, she was horrified. She was born anew each time, her two halves, naked and aflame. They had only moments to understand what they were before the medicinal undertow clutched at them, sucking them under with teasing languor.
Two thoughts danced erratically in her mind. One was that she was under the strict control of her handlers, her every move orchestrated by them. The other was that they were in her employ, acting upon her behest, their every action answering her desire. They were tossed randomly like bubbles agitated by molecular vibration in sludge, certain never to meet.
But they had. She'd somehow risen from a drugged sleep at four in the morning, darkness her only friend waving its goodbyes, arching from the sheets as though a wire had been tied about her throat and pulled backwards. She'd clutched herself and wept until she was ugly with snot and grief, until the sun needled faintly from unknown dimensions to prick at her vampire eyes. As a rule Lavender was disallowed sharp objects-- except on stage --but she had simply wrenched the metal fitting from her nightstand drawer and slashed her wrists, xing them with a desperate, silent ferocity, consumed by her need to escape another go-round.
Her handlers had found her slouched in a bed soaked slimy pink with doll blood, a festive party cake for Lavender's wake. She clutched the drawer handle as though someone was going to take it from her. There was little panic, rather a clucking, rueful admonishment of the dead girl, as she was carted off, her split limbs refused and resurfaced, a tube in her carotid to fuel her with new circulatory fluid, a tube in her jugular to let out the blood-scented air. She woke just in time to be primped and dressed for the evening's concert.
Designer methamphetamine seeped into the girl's system, time-released to hit her as she hit the stage; timed, that is, for a doll ordinarily overburdened with depressants. Lavender floated, heard flywheels singing behind her temples. Her body rang. She let out a nervous, wired chuckle. Then the interior of the limousine, superheavy with lucidity, collapsed in upon her. The thoughts collided again, clacked like gravity weights against each other. She drew a little breath, her head bending back and to the left, lashes flickering.
"Lavender?" The brow-mopper was anxious, but only for his job.
"Ahhh--" Lavender breathed in reply, her limbs coiling in a blur, enveloping the man, the interior of the limousine ringing with sounds it had never heard and had never been meant to hear; when they had fallen Lavender regarded with dumb surprise the twisted bloody spider she held in her right hand, a thing which a moment before had done an unimpeachable job of keeping the handler's internal organs internal. His head hung like a tassel from the snapped neck, in repose to convey Lavender's delicate hand. Her courtiers were equally speechless, filled to bursting with an amazement still too dense for fear to permeate.
Lavender glanced about, blinking, as though seeking counsel from her remaining attendants. They felt her eyes upon them, knew fear now, would worry about cause and effect later, or wouldn't. She flew at them, her accursed unkillable body betraying someone else for the first time since she could not remember. She tore their bodies to junk, the vehicle a blender, the driver insulated and unaware by two inches of silent glass, Lavender's white robes a ghastly, choppy scarlet, her jewels with gleam upon their gleaming. And she arrived.
Lavender cast open the door of her carriage, the howl of her followers spilling in. She flung herself out of the car, spills and pieces of her retinue leading her way. And still her fans screamed. Wired on speed and murder she stood grinning and soaking up the deafening adulation, and cast her hands outward in salute, flicking the crowd with blood, bits of flesh, glassy stars of light reflecting, spheres of gore held still in thin air by the strobe of power flashes. The roar seemed to increase as they caught the smell. "Yes?" she asked, plaintively at first, but with increasing bravado. "Yes? Is this what you'll have?" She bent over into the limousine, grabbed whoever came to hand, rose and shook it with splashy, barbaric triumph; she tossed a foot to the left, an arm's length to the right. The crowd killed, died to get closer to her, Lavender's ears ringing out, going numb from affirmation. Glassy eyes dilated with lust and need and envy buried her. She gasped the air as though it were leaden, a sob of unworthy joy struggling for release. She distributed the remnants of her sacrament to the surging waves of her fans, red roostertails trailing, and when she'd passed out the crowns there rose such a commotion that she thought she might die right there. As they bathed themselves in the offering they chanted her name, the crowd beast supplicating her, and with a sneer of told-you-so, Lavender sauntered through the arena gate, only a wall of human bricks keeping her fans from pouring down upon her and devouring her.