I once knew a girl who had an obsession with wigs. No one knew what her real hair color was because she was always wearing one. No one would really say anything about it, because it was just normal to her and apparently everyone else. She sat by herself at lunch, and anytime I would ask why, people would just shrug. I didn't really like the fact that she was by herself. It just seemed a bit lonely. So, one day I decided to go sit by her.
It was a Tuesday and there she was, sitting at a table all by herself. I grabbed my tray and began to walk up to her. I paused when I saw the look on her face. She looked like she was scouting people out. Her glasses were a bit smudgy, so I guess she was probably just thinking. The girl didn't even seem to notice me until I was already sitting down. She jumped a bit at my sudden movement, eyes widening as she looked at me. She had brown eyes, and, that day, dirty blonde hair. The bangs covered most of her forehead, but I could see her eyebrows falling as she smiled. She put a hand on her heart as she greeted me.
"Good God, you scared me! Lemme guess, you're curious..." She tapped on her head. I assumed she meant why she wore wigs, like it was a normal question. Hesitantly, I nodded. She gave a big smile, though only her top row of teeth were showing. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary, just a small quirk I seemed to notice. She looked at her tray and picked at the plate, which had no food on it.
"I wear them because they're beautiful. Unlike my real hair...." She trailed off, but shrugged, then held out a hand to me. She told me she had many nicknames, but she decided to tell me her real name: Bailey. Pretty normal name, right? I asked her what the other names were, and she laughed.
"Only my online friends know that."
I nodded slowly. She seemed normal enough. I assumed she was just some otaku who liked that whole cosplay thing, so I stopped asking questions... even though I never started to... The bell rang, and she looked at me.
"Hey, we should hang out more. I like you," she stated, standing up and dumping her tray before walking off, curly hair bouncing behind her.
And I did hang out with her more. We ended up walking together after school, since her home was on the way. Months went by, and we became pretty good friends. She came over a few times (which confused my parents because she had a new wig every time), and we watched movies and played games. In all of these months, though, I never went inside her house. We'd stop by it when she needed something, but I always waited outside. I never asked why. It never seemed necessary. She always told me something like, "The place is a mess," or, "My parents are asleep." It made sense, you know? So I just sat outside. There was one thing about the house: it had a weird smell. Of course, I passed it off as the trash, as it was close to where I stood.
One day, I remember it was Friday, Bailey came up to me. She had her usual smile, and fiery red hair today. For the first time ever, she asked me a question.
"Do you want to sleep over? My parents are going to be gone, and they wouldn't mind if I had one person over!" Having been friends for months, I decided it would be a good idea. I made a joke about her house being a mess, and she laughed, skipping off to class.
We walked home after school like we always did, but this time she got to her door, letting me in first. I walked in, looking around. The living room was nice, a few couches, a TV, even a coffee table. She told me to sit down, and she'd put a movie on. I complied without hesitation. She went back to her kitchen, and I could hear popcorn popping. The movie was one of those cheesy old Disney films, but I wasn't complaining. It was nice. But there was that smell again. It smelled like meat. I sniffed around, assuming it must have come from the kitchen. Turns out, it was coming from the exact opposite way. It was weird, and, to be honest, a little scary. She came back with a bowl of popcorn, which overpowered the distant smell. We sat and watched movies, joking and laughing like teens usually do. It wasn't until later that the smell came back. I looked over to see Bailey yawn.
"Tired?" She stretched and shook her head.
"No... But damn this wig is itchy... Be right back." She got up and ventured up the stairs, leaving me in the dark room with only the songs of Mulan to accompany me. The smell got worse for a second, until I heard a door, and my friend came down the stairs with a short black wig, a sleepy smile on her face. "All better..." she said with a yawn before plopping back into the couch. Soon enough, she was passed out. I would have snapped a picture of how peaceful she looked, but that would be creeperish. The movie had ended, but I just wasn't tired. I looked at the clock. It was 11:48 PM.
The smell still hadn't gone away. If the kitchen was behind me, why did the cooking meat smell come from upstairs? As they say, curiosity killed the cat, in this case; the teen. Making sure Bailey was asleep, I slowly stood up, making my way upstairs. I went down a hall, which was darker than the rest of the house, except for a room at the end. I know, that sounds really cliche, but that's where the room was. The door was white, and decorated with glitter and the name "The FAB-ULOUS Bai" in rainbow markers.
It looked more like a twelve year old lived here, not a highschooler... But that was Bailey for you. Quietly, I pushed the door open, and was met by an assortment of wigs. There weren't many on the wall, as most of them were in a bin labeled "wash and dye". She made her own wigs, I thought. How cool. I took out my phone, snapping a quick pic. I don't know why, I guess I just thought it was interesting at the time. But I furrowed my brows as I turned to the closet. There was that smell again! I shoved my phone in my pocket before walking over, sliding the door. It looked normal. Just a few jackets on hangers, shoes on the ground. Then I looked to the side. There was a door, kind of like a secret room you'd see in the movies.
If you think about it, in the movies, if you see a secret door, odds are, it's supposed to stay a secret. That's the exact opposite of what I was thinking about. My mind, as stupid as it sounds, was like "let's go in the room that smells like burning meat. What a GREAT IDEA." Pausing to make sure there was no noise, I tried to open the door. To my surprise, it opened. I peeked in, and saw a furnace, along with some wig stands, wigs on them and all. But there was something odd about these wigs. They were turned to face the wall, but there were red streaks in every wig. They were all blonde, some shorter than others. That's when the smell hit me again. Not only did it smell like cooking meat, it smelled like rotting meat as well.
I almost gagged, but I just had to know. I crawled through the door, standing up when I was fully in. The furnace wasn't even going, but that smell lingered there, but now it was overpowered by rotting. I walked silently over to the wigs, reaching to touch one. It was so smooth, but kind of wet. As I pulled my hand away, I was completely repulsed by what I saw. It wasn't a wig. It was hair. It was real human freaking hair! To make things worse, it was still attached to a head. I wanted to scream, but no words came out. I looked at my hand and saw the red, and I knew automatically. Blood.
It was whoever this woman was, it was her blood. I started to wipe it off frantically onto my jeans, scrambling to get out of this horror show of a room. I kicked the door shut behind me, frozen in the closet. There was so much blood, and the bodies, where were the bodies? Then, it hit me. The burning meat. They were thrown in the furnace. Without another word, I ran downstairs, only to see my "friend" still asleep. My heart was pounding. There was no way she could have done this. There were no missing people, no recent deaths on the news. This had to be a dream. Suddenly, she yawned , and I quickly sat back down, throwing the blanket over me and closing my eyes. I felt movement on the couch, then a hand on my head, petting it. I wanted to scream, cry even. I heard her hum a bit, that light tone in her voice.
"You have such beautiful hair, hun.." I felt a chill run down my spine. I was next, I just knew it. "But you need your head.. because you're my best friend. I can't lose another one..." She let out a giggle, laying back down. Soon enough, she was snoring. I wouldn't move. I couldn't. Somehow, I managed to fall asleep.
That morning I woke up on the floor. My pants weren't the ones I fell asleep in, but the pajama pants I had packed. I groaned a bit, then froze, remembering the previous night. Sitting up quickly, I looked around. Bailey wasn't anywhere. Panicking, I scrambled up to the couch... Then I stopped. What if it was all a dream... Or nightmare, I guess? I heard footsteps come from the kitchen, and the same giggle from last night. I looked over with wide eyes at the smiley girl.
"Morning sunshine! Your mum said she'd pick you up am in an hour, so I was just about to wake you! Want some pancakes?" I gave a sigh. I was obviously being silly. That smell of flesh wasn't even there. I must have had too much sugar before bed. That's just how I wrote it off. We ate pancakes, watched a few Saturday morning cartoons, which seemed childish, but whatever. Then, my mom finally came to get me. Right as I grabbed my bag, a hand grabbed my shoulder, nails digging in.
"I know you went in my room. I had to burn the pants. If you ever tell anybody, especially the cops, I'll make sure you're my prettiest wig yet." She let me go, giggling. I don't think I've ever left a house that fast.
I watched her wave as the car drove off, a menacing smile plastered on her face. Mom asked me how it went... I honestly couldn't answer.
Bailey and I never spoke after that, and she moved after half a year. It's been years since I've heard anything from her. Just the other day, I got a package in the mail. I wasn't expecting anything, so I examined the box. It had no return address. Weird. I took it in and set in on the table. Grabbing a pair of scissors, I opened it, then a bloodcurdling scream left my mouth. It was a brown wig, it was still connected to the head, which was face down. Taking in a gulp, I turned the head, falling back.
It was Bailey's head, that sick smile still on her face.