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Arabella had come to the city not long after her mother’s funeral. Her death from the cancer that had consumed her, had given both mother and daughter a merciful release from the misery that had plagued both their lives. The move to the city had been a decision on her part to get away from the sadness and pitying glances that she received from neighbours and friends around her. She had needed desperately to get away from all that emotional baggage. So, very much on a whim, she had packed a bag and caught a bus and had ended up in high summer in a hot and sticky city by the sea.
After a week of furious job seeking, she had successfully interviewed for a job as a shop assistant at a big CD emporium. The pay was okay and for the first month all she really was required to do was to stack CD’s on the various racks.
Back where she came from, the notion of sub-culture was unheard of. But her new job, as a shelf packer at had begun to expose her to customers from all walks of life. She had come across this strange looking girl with long purple extensions in the alternative music aisle, slipping club flyers in between the CD’s. The flyers had a picture of a green fairy on it and her interest was immediately peaked, she liked fairies. But she was puzzled by the references to Goth, Industrial and EBM, so she had approached the girl. Coolly the black-clad had appraised this slight brunette, looking somewhat awkward in blue jeans, white sneakers and a turquoize “CD-Shrine” T-shirt.
“Wow” the Gothette had exclaimed, “What planet did you just fly in from?”. She seemed amazed that anyone should not know this terminology, and having introduced herself as Dagmar, she volunteered to tell Arabella more at a nearby coffee shop during her break.
When she arrived at the Java Junction, Dagmar was seated at a table waiting for her. She was wearing a high- wasted biker jacket, with a black baby doll T-shirt that said “Darkchilde” and a cute purpley Tartan skirt over fishnet stockings that put her long legs to good use. A pair of black combat ankle boots completed the ensemble. Arabella, in the store T-shirt, felt very underdressed.
“I ordered you a cappuccino, coz every working girl needs her caffeine fix”
“Thanks” said Arabella, sitting down, “what do I owe you?”
“Nothing,” Dagmar smiled her teeth scarily white, between blackened lips “I owed you for not reporting me to your store manager”
“Yeah, well he’s an arsehole anyway.”
“Amen to that sister.”
Dagmar took a sip on her coffee and leaned forward, a tiny bit of foam resting on her upper lip,” So what can I tell you?”
“Gee I don’t know, um I’ve seen the Gothic music section, but I really haven’t had a chance to listen to any of it, its not requested very often”
“Well there’s quite a lot to it, there are different genres of music within the scene. “Some like Darkwave are slow and hauntingly beautiful, whilst others like EBM & Electro-goth are shit-kicking fast.”
Arabella felt confused, “Geez, I wouldn’t know where to start.”
“You know, you’ll really only appreciate the whole scene, if you go clubbing”
“Well I’d like to,” Arabella nodded “But I wouldn’t know what to wear, I’ve never been to a that sort of a club, back where I’m from the church social was a big thing”
” You are new in the city, I tell you what, you be my guest at Absinthe on Friday night, just tell the guy at the door that you’re on the list, okay?
“Wow! Thanks” Arabella said eyes flashing with delight, “That’s really nice of you.”
Ah its nothing really, the club’s owner owes me big time,
“This is going to be so cool,” Arabella, gushed “um, what time should I get there?”
“Hmm,” Dagmar mused , pausing to take a drag from her cigarette, “about ten thirty to elevenish should do, its pretty dead until then. Now as to your wardrobe, what do you own that is black?”
“Oh, um, nothing I don’t think, mostly just normal stuff, you know, with colours, I haven’t really thought about clothes.”
“You’re going to be quite a handful, I can see,” Dagmar grinned, “but no worries, you’re about my size, so scrap the invite and what say you come around to my flat on Friday after work? You can choose some of my clothes, uh, bedava bahis what size shoe do you take?”
“A five, five and a half, I’d really be grateful if I could borrow some of your stuff”
” Hey, Dagmar grinned, “Perfect that’s my size too. What’s more you have to dress the part. I have an image to protect you know, I can’t have my girl going clubbing without the right stuff, that would be tres uncool”
After borrowing a pen from their waitron, Dagmar scrawled down her address on the back of one of the flyers. “Here you go, I’ve put my phone number at the bottom in case you get lost.”
The rest of the week rattled past and Friday came soon enough. Arabella had spent a few of her lunchtimes at the Internet café researching Goths and drooling over some of the clothing sites. From what she had seen, Goth chicks dressed very sexily if not a little scarily, everything from vamp/slut to something resembling a Srar Trek Borg. She had gone home and sorted through her wardrobe in the vain hope of finding anything Gothey that she could take along to Dagmar’s. She had ended up with a small bundle of black, which comprised primarily of a bra and panty set, a silk camisole and a pair of fish-net stockings she had bought for her last boyfriend Tim.
Knowing that she was going to get a serious make over she did not bother to spend any time on her make-up or clothing. She dressed in her usual gear, namely a tight tummy showing lavender Hello-Kitty T –shirt, blue levy’s and sneakers. She got to Dagmar’s apartment building around 6:30 having stopped at a bottle store on the way. The building, named Drakenstein, itself was quite old but in good shape. The entrance was protected by two large stone lions and a staunch wrought iron gate. To the left of which was a brass intercom which had about 20 buttons. She pushed the button one marked 16 and after a few moments, there was a crackle followed by Dagmar’s voice “Hi, just a mo’ I’ll buzz you up.”
After a shaky elevator ride up to the 3rd floor, Arabella stepped out into small passage way, she was carrying a small backpack as an overnight bag and a carrier bag containing the bottles she’d just purchased. No 16 was right at the end of the passage, even without the number it was easy to distinguish as it had been painted a glossy black. Nervously she raised the silver gargoyle knocker and let it fall. Dagmar’s voice answered, “Its open come on in”
The door opened onto deep red-carpeted hallway, doors opened from it, two to the right and 2 to the left. The end of the hall way was occupied by a huge 5 foot high plaster angel, Arabella walked to it in amazement. Just then Dagmar emerged from the last room to the left “Hi Arabella, I’m so glad you made it” She was barefoot, her long pale legs ended beneath a large black cut- off t-shirt with a faded slogan that read “667, Neighbour of the Beast” Arabella noticed that both the biceps on her arms were covered in a Celtic interlace tattoo. Her toes were painted with a dark purple nail polish.
“Hello Dagmar”, Arabella said turning with a shy smile, “I really like your angel”
” Yeah isn’t he gorgeous? I swiped him from the old cemetery, just before they turned it into a shopping mall”
Arabella looked at the statue uncertainly, ‘It’s, um, he’s massive, how did you get him here?”
” Hah that’s a whole fucking big tale of woe, which can only be told when I’m a hellova lot drunker than I am now. Come through to the lounge and get comfortable.”
Her lounge turned out to be small but really cosy, a large 3 seater couch dominated, there was a book shelf piled high with books, some small side tables there was also a big black stereo system with two CD towers arranged on either side. Some sort of ethereal music was playing it involved soft tones, chimes and a lilting female voice. The soft light in the room came from a black candelabrum on which five red candles were burning. A strong smell of incense filled the air.. “Just dump you stuff over there,” she pointed to an available corner, ” Arabella relieved herself of her baggage, and extracted the two bottles she had bought. ” I didn’t know what you drank, so I got some red wine and this vodka” “Wow” Dagmar enthused, “its like you read bedava bonus my mind, I just today bought loads of cranberry juice, which is brilliant with vodka” ” Just sit down and I’ll go get it.” Dagmar disappeared down the passage Arabella could hear glasses clinking. She took in her surroundings, on the coffee table in front of her were a couple of CD’s, a pack of Death Cigarettes, a silver skull lighter, a black marble ash tray, a pack of Rizla papers and a small wooden cigar box, closed with a brass clasp. She curiously picked up one of the CD’s entitled ‘Diary of Dreams’ and began to read the insert.
A wee while later Dagmar returned with a tray containing a box of juice, glasses and an ice bucket. After pouring them both stiff drinks bloodied with cranberry juice, she collapsed onto the couch tucking one foot under her. ” So I was thinking,” she said as she fixed drinks for both of them. That we hang out here until about 10’ish, and then go to a bar I know before moving on to the club.”
“That’d be cool,” Arabella ventured. Thinking that a bar would be great, as she could load up some serious Dutch courage before setting foot in a strange new environment.
Sitting down next to her on the couch, Dagmar took a long sip of her bloodied cocktail, “Yum, this is the dog’s bollocks”
” Yes,” Arabella agreed, ” It’s a very nice drink” She fell silent, suddenly feeling out of her depth. An uncomfortable silence followed between them. She was aware of Dagmar’s attention she had tucked one long pale leg beneath her. Arabella panned the other long pale leg that stretched towards her. Starting at the long purpley painted toes, on beautiful feet, narrow ankles and then the long subtle curve of calf knee and thigh. The long black T-shirt rode up where the other leg tucked under, she got a brief glimpse of tight black shorts.
“Uh this music is unusual, what is it?”
“It’s “Canatara by a band called Dead Can Dance”
” Wow could you get a more Gothic name?”
Dagmar smiled, “actually as they’re Neo Folk cum World Music you probably could.”
“Oh,” Arabella groaned. “Well the name sounded Gothic.”
“I tell you what, I’ll lend a couple of compilation albums of definitive Goth and you can make up your own mind after listening to them, deal?”
“Deal,” Arabella agreed, feeling less of a prat.
Dagmar got up and went to one of the CD racks and started rifling through her collection. Arabella followed and knelt down on the carpet alongside her.
The CD’s piled up quickly and before long Arabella had a good cross section of music to listen to. Names that hinted of darkness and strangeness; Bauhaus, Lacuna Coil, Cruxshadows, Diva Destruction, Miranda Sex Garden, Mors Syphylitica, Skeletal family, Virgin Prunes, Diamanda Galas. “Do yourself a favour, put them on when you’re alone at night. Light a candle and maybe some incense and just listen”
“I’ll do that,” Arabella agreed stuffing the pile of discs into her backpack with a clatter.
“Of course you’re going to hear a lot of fast dark stuff at the club tonight.”
“Yeah I’m really looking forward to it.”
“Good did you bring any clothes?”
“Um I really don’t own anything black,” she confessed nervously, “I did bring some black underwear”
“Well that’s a start, I’ll show you my wardrobe and we can choose you an outfit. It’s going to be fun dressing you up”
Dagmar’s hand reached out to brush a strand of hair away from Arabella’s face. She felt the finger trace lightly across her forehead, then just touching her right ear as it pushed the strand back into place. Arabella closed her eyes with the sensation “Mmm, nice” she murmured.
“You know, you’ve got really lovely hair,” Dagmar said fondling the strand, “You should let me colour it”
Arabella started, “What?”
“Colour it , you’ve got admit although its in good condition, it is kind of boring”
“Oh” Arabella’s heart sank, that was it, she was boring, mousey and boring. Her clothes sucked she had no subculture and to top it all, this heavenly creature thought she was dull.
“But,” Dagmar continued unabashed, ” There’s nothing a make-over can’t fix. I’ve got these really cool hair colours, come and deneme bonusu see.
The next thing Arabella was being dragged through to the small blue and white tiled bathroom. Pulling out a large white plastic box, Dagmar opened it’s lid with a flourish, to reveal a kaleidoscope of hair dyes. “Tah dah!”
“I got them all from a hair show I did last month,” Dagmar continued, “Those hair product salesmen just dump this stuff on you. Also, my friend Bianca, she’s a stylist, gave me all her samples as well “
Rifling through the boxes and bottles, Dagmar extracted some colours “So go on be daring, choose a really cool one.”
Arabella shrugged, “Gee, I don’t know Dagmar, I mean I’ve got to go to work, and I don’t know what they’d say”
“Bullshit, you work with CD’s the weirder you are the better. Take my word for it, this will probably get you a promotion.”
“Well, if you say so…”
After some debate Arabella settled on a Firebird Red, mostly due to the packaging, which had Mila Jovavich, sporting a shocking red bob. She followed Dagmar into the bathroom, it was small and cosy, with blue and white tiles, a toilet, a basin and a shower cubicle.
“Okay, we’ll have to bleach your hair before we add the colour. Oh and you might want to lose that t-shirt unless you want it getting bleach all over it”
Arabella took off her t-shirt, inhaling sharply as the cool bathroom air raised Goosebumps across her exposed flesh. She suddenly felt very conscious of her breasts, visions of Dagmar touching them flashed before her eyes. She thought she had a good enough body; previous boyfriends had never had cause for complaint. She was not overweight although she did no exercise and had never dieted. On a whim she reached behind her and unclasped her bra strap. “Don’t want to get bleach on this either” she muttered, aware of Dagmar’s cool stare.
Throwing her bra and T-shirt into a pile in the corner of the bathroom, she turned and sat down on the toilet seat. Dagmar cast an appraising eye over her while she collected some items from her bathroom chest. She could feel the cold of the porcelain rim against her thighs. Her nipples puckered at the sudden chill and she could feel gooseflesh rising. Dagmar smiled and reached to extract a faded blue towel from a shelf above her. “Here, wear this over your shoulders, I’ll get you something to pin it with.” Thus saying, she exited the bathroom, returning a moment later with a big silver kilt pin, with which she securely pinned the towel at Arabella’s throat. The warmth and a return to a modicum of modesty were welcome. Arabella basked in the sudden warmth of Dagmar’s fingers as the trailed across her neck
Dagmar dropped a white tablet into a small plastic mixing bowl. Then the sharp sting of bleach filled the air as she poured some from a brown glass bottle, into the bowl. “Pee yoo!” she exclaimed, “This is the worst smell ever.” Pulling out an old toothbrush she rapidly began to stir the mixture in the bowl. “Okay we’re ready,”, she finally uttered, “Close your eyes, please.”
Dagmar opened something, she heard a metal lid drop onto the side of the basin, then cold clammy greasy stuff was being applied to her neck. “Relax baby, its only Vaseline,” Dagmar’s reassuring voice breathed near her ear, “This will protect your skin from the bleach” She then applied more of the gloop to her temples across her
and into her hairline. More got rubbed over her ears, she felt Dagmar’s competent fingers on her delicate lobes and a thrill shot through her, she had always had really sensitive ears.
This was followed by a grievous chemical assault on her hair. With much combing of the toothbrush through her locks, as the bleach got applied. The smell of the stuff made her eyes water. After what seemed like ages Dagmar turned on the taps in the basin and said, “Okay that’s done now we’ll wash it out.”
She got up and leaned over the bowl, warm water engulfed her head. Her scalp felt very sensitive and tingled as Dagmar’s strong fingers ran through her hair.Shefelt the warmth of Dagmars chest against her back. Dagmar took time to ensure that all the bleach was washed out before draining the water.
After a quick towel dry, the second stage of the operation was relatively simple, and soon a dark red paste had covered her entire head. Twisting her hair up into a bun on top of her head, Dagmar stretched a plastic cap over her head. “Right that’s pretty much it, now we just have to give it time to take.”
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