Giant, scary clouds swarm overhead. Everything is shrouded in darkness and shadows. Lightning illuminates the landscape every few seconds. BOOM. Oh my God! What—utter cold and maddening dread consumes me from the outside in. Get away from me! Pink engulfs my vision, strangling my mind, freezing my nerves into numbness yet a mind-splitting bolt of pain sears through the back of my neck and I’m falling…
“AH!” I jolt into a sitting position. Where is that thing! Where is it. Where—”
“Taeyeon. What are you doing?”
“Oh my God! Save me!” I scream when I register Ms Pink’s face. “Save me!”
“Get your clammy hands off.” Ms Pink peels my arms from her shoulders and holds me at arm’s length. “What’s going on, Taeyeon.”
“T-There’s something. S-Scary. I-It—It bit me.”
Ms Pink frowns and pulls me closer to her. “Where?” she asks as her eyes search my face and neck.
“My neck. It bit me on the back of my neck. T-The pain…”
“It bit you? Did you get to see its face?”
“There was lots of pink. In my eyes. In my head. It was all pink.”
“There’s nothing in here. You’re safe. It was a nightmare.”
I sink into the mattress. Grab my head. “It felt so real. The scary sky. The lightning. Like something sinister turned the sky into chaos.” I shake my head. “I swear it’s not just a nightmare.”
Ms Pink studies me for a moment. Then she calls for Executive Secretary Seo who appears beside her in a heartbeat. “Check the perimeter for abnormalities. We’re going into the office for the morning.”
Executive Secretary Seo nods and leaves as quickly as she came and I’m staring at her empty space when I suddenly miss Sunny. “May I go home now?”
“No. We’re going to my office. I have work to do.”
“But I have classes.”
“It’s Wednesday, you don’t.”
“Oh.” Oh great. She not only stalks me by phone, she’s got my class schedule too.
“Get changed. Stupid human or not, I’m not going to be late for work.”
What about breakfast? I turn around to ask but Ms Pink is gone like magic once again…
The fact that the clothes fit me like a glove doesn’t really surprise me. Not when I’m up against a vampire who stalks with the latest technology. The dress is all pink with floral prints though and I’m not such a fan of it. Maybe I should speak up for myself.
“Ms Pink, do you have something else I can wear?”
Said vampire doesn’t take her eyes off the road as she replies, “Don’t like the dress I picked out for you?”
Uh oh. This is a bad idea if Ms Pink is the sensitive type. “Floral isn’t really my thing.”
“You look nice in floral print. Feminine. It suits your soft side.”
Her reply reminds me that I am talking to a top designer whose fashion line has just about taken over the world. Funnily enough, that gives me strength. After all, the power always lies in the consumer. “Given a choice, I wouldn’t buy this dress for myself.”
“You don’t have to pay for the dress. I tore yours so this is a replacement.”
“Shouldn’t I have a say in what I get as a replacement?” Where my guts are coming from, I really don’t know.
“If it’s bothering you this much, I’ll have Seo bring a selection of dresses to my office and you may choose the one you want.”
To say that I am surprised would be an understatement. More like shell-shocked in a really good way. Is Ms Pink actually giving in to me? “That would be great. Thank you.”
Ms Pink merely nods as we pull into the parking lot—which looks more like a garage with a pink sliding metal shutter. We are a distance from the place I entered PINK the last time so this must be her private entrance. And it turns out to be the tower that leads straight to the top of the stiletto heel. Right. Of course. A direct route to her office that bypasses everybody else.
The shutter lowers and darkness falls. I tense for a second but then pink lights in two straight lines illuminate the space around us and the car moves up like a helicopter, rising vertically into the sky. Okay. This isn’t magic. This is a car lift and it’ll probably bring us straight to her office.
The car comes to a stop and a second later, rotates a quarter turn to the right. The shutter slides open and I am proven right. It is her office. I don’t want to look like a country bumpkin who has never seen technology before but the car lift looks like something out of a sci-fi movie and the sleek metallic walls of pink that slide shut behind us look like something straight out of an Ironman or Batman movie. Everything is way too cool! If only it doesn’t involve endangering my life…
I sit on the couch just as someone knocks on the door. It’s Executive Secretary Seo and she’s carrying a bag and something else. That looks awfully familiar…
“Hey, that’s my bag!”
Ms Pink frowns. “I told her to get your belongings.”
“I asked your friend to give me what you need for the day. She seemed all too happy to help me once I told her you’ll be spending time with Ms Pink here.”
The human ability to groan was designed for moments like this one. Sunny…I am going to strangle you when I get back. If I ever get back.
Meanwhile, I should be polite. She did go to the trouble of helping me after all. “Thank you,” I say as I take my bag and sketchbook from Executive Secretary Seo. At least I can try to finish up my logo design for class so my time here isn’t a complete waste.
“Seo, bring Taeyeon a selection of our summer dresses. She’s not happy with the dress I picked out.”
I sneak a sly glance at Ms Pink. Her tone is clipped and she’s frowning. Do I sense a tinge of…verbal pouting in Ms Pink’s words? Or am I reading too much into it…
Executive Secretary Seo nods and walks out of the office, actually taking more than one second to disappear out the door. Wow. That’s a first.
“We don’t risk showing our talents out in the open,” Ms Pink answers the unasked question in my head. “And don’t forget the NDC you signed. Your life is at stake.”
“I can’t believe your NDC has such dire consequences written in.”
“I believe we have already established that I am inhumane and my contracts naturally follow suit.”
I can only sigh. But that would be bootless. “So what am I doing here, exactly? And why did you have your secretary bring my stuff here? Am I never to go home again?”
“You ask too many questions. Do your work and stop being a nuisance.”
Executive Secretary Seo returns with a rack of clothes which brings our little exchange to an end. I am glad to have something to distract myself with so I spend the next ten minutes choosing a dress for myself. It’s a pale pink sleeveless piece with mini skulls embossed all over that I end up liking. Good thing I put my consumer foot down, or I would be stuck in that floral piece. Eww. Speaking of which, I think I’ve just found my one little foothold in the scary world of PINK.
“Have you made your choice.”
“I need shoes to match.”
Ms Pink frowns but nods at her secretary. “Take her. Let her take whatever she needs.”
“Follow me, Ms Kim.”
Executive Secretary Seo leads me out of the room and across the corridor to the walk-in wardrobe. I’m not sure if this place can even be called a walk-in wardrobe. A fashion vault fit for a shopaholic queen, maybe? Shelves and racks line the walls from the ceiling high enough to fit something like two elephants, to the floor. Jackets, shirts, blouses, skirts, pants, dresses…you name it, PINK’s got it. It’s accessories galore too, as I walk deeper into the vault. And everything has some kind of pink on it, if it isn’t already entirely pink. My head hurts simply from looking around. Help.
“This pair will match well,” says the secretary, holding up a pair of black heels that sports a pale pink lining all around the edges.
“Thank you, Ms Seo.”
“You may call me Seo.”
“Yes, Ms Kim.”
Now that Ms Pink isn’t around, it’s a great chance for me to ask some questions. And Seo seems to be less domineering than Ms Pink so there’s some hope…maybe. “Seo, you’re a vampire, huh.”
Her answering gaze is tinged with a ring of green so faint that I’m not sure if I’m imagining it or not. But it glows brighter and I have my answer. “Why don’t your eyes glow pink too?” I ask without thinking. Oh my God. Is that question too personal? Too rude? “I’m sorry. You don’t have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable.”
“I am younger than and not as powerful as Ms Pink. Most vampires have green or blue eyes. Pink is the colour of royalty.”
“Royalty?” I am in shock. Is this what she meant by calibre? The ‘Princess’ in her business title is beginning to make a lot more sense now. Holy shit. Is she a real princess or something?
“Royalty.” Seo picks up a pair of earrings that will probably turn me from vampire bait to armed robbery bait, and ushers me back to Ms Pink’s office. She sets the earrings and heels on the side trays of the dress rack and leaves the room without another word. How curious. Seo barely says anything in the presence of Ms Pink but doesn’t appear to have any trouble talking to me when she isn’t around.
“Are you satisfied with your outfit now?”
I am really not used to Ms Pink being subservient but I could get used to it. Three cheers for consumer rights! “I need to try on the dress first,” I say, thrilling at the thought of Ms Pink bowing to my request yet again.
“Go ahead. Nobody’s stopping you.”
“Where is the changing room?” I ask. There doesn’t seem to be one in her office.
“This is the changing room.”
Ms Pink simply glares at me.
“I-I can’t try on the dress in front of you. I need my privacy.”
“Taeyeon.” Ms Pink is wearing a mildly constipated look, as though she’s trying to restrain herself from causing me bodily harm. “If you wish to try on the dress, you will try it on right here.”
Holy creeps. I’ve dug myself into a hole so deep that I can almost see the lava flowing down below. My hands are trembling as I remove the pink floral dress that Ms Pink picked out for me and I make sure my back is to her when I step out of the dress. I can’t tell if her eyes are burning into my back but it certainly feels like it so I hasten to put on the dress I chose. Only, it has to be buttoned up behind and I can’t reach the buttons…
“What now, stupid human.”
“Uh…well…you see…I kinda need some help with the buttons…”
Ms Pink looks up from her computer screen. Her eyes glow a curious shade of pink as she walks to me. It’s not as intense as before. Neither is it as pale as I’ve seen it. This shade of pink is in between everything I’ve ever seen and I’m not sure what it means.
I obey and her fingers brush against my bare skin as the buttons are done up. Each brush raises a cluster of goose pimples on my arms and by the time she’s done, I’m certain I look like a well plucked goose, what with the bumps on my skin. But if she notices it, she isn’t commenting on it because she’s back at her desk when I turn back around.
“Thank you, Ms Pink,” I say, as I do a self-assessment of my appearance in the mirrored wall that is the entrance to her garage car lift.
“Shut up and complete your assignment.”
I am about to ask how she knows about my assignment when I think the better of it. Better to maintain the peace than to stir trouble. For now.
A few hours later, my assignment is almost completed and my stomach is growling like an angry bear.
“Humans. Nothing but trouble.” Ms Pink’s husky voice sails through the air, grabbing my attention. I look up in time to see her pressing a button on her phone.
“Yes, Ms Pink?”
“Seo, my stupid human needs to be fed.” Ms Pink tosses a glance at me. “Make it rich in carbo and protein. She looks weak.”
“Yes, Ms Pink.”
I look weak? Who does she think she is, saying I look weak. Even if it’s true. I mean, this isn’t the kind of thing you say to a person’s face! But who am I kidding…this is Ms Pink, the royal vampire of pink…
I drop my eyes back to the elegant floral logo I’m designing and pick up a colour pencil. This is what I do best. I should focus on the good and try to block out all the rest.
Something like twenty minutes later, I am adding the finishing touches to my design when I hear a muffled bang. Alarmed, I begin to stand, by Ms Pink is already dashing past the door. Despite the little voice telling me to stay put where it’s safer, I run to the door to see what happened. Holy shit.
Seo’s eyes are gleaming emerald green as she crouches on the floor, backed up against the wall near the tongue couch that I sat on when I visited PINK the first time. But her eyes aren’t the only things that have my attention in an iron clad grip. Fangs. Sharp, pointed fangs hanging out her wide open mouth. What about Ms Pi—
My jaw drops in horror when I follow Seo’s line of vision. What is that black furry mess tangled with shreds of pink? The snarls and growls I’m witnessing are terrifying. And it paralyzes me. I cannot tell arm from leg, hair from fur. I cannot think. I cannot even scream. So there I stand, like the stupid human that Ms Pink thinks I am and watch.
The growls stop abruptly. And nothing moves. The breath that I didn’t realize I was holding is finally released and the dam breaks.
“Ms Pink!” I scream and scramble across the space between us to the unmoving pile of pink and black. But just before I get to her, I am pulled back.
“Stop,” Seo instructs. She bends and extends a hand towards the pile and a bloody hand reaches out.
A groan. “Shut up.”
“Ms Pink, should we?”
“Yes. Call them now.”
“Yes, Ms Pink.”
I stand by the side as Ms Pink straightens her back and stretches her body. Then her eyes meet mine and I can’t breathe again. She stops in front of me and stares. Leans close.
I don’t think I can ever forget the rancid blood trickling down her lips as she says, “I must claim you. Tonight.”
a/n: a shoutout to @SNSData for this lovely piece of fanedit for FSoP! The PINK approves. :))