Excerpt: Dora Wishes to Be Pretty

Here is a short excerpt from Dora’s Box. In this scene, Dora is feeling insecure and unattractive because she was just ignored by her crush. At the same time her roommate, Julia, has admirers coming out of the woodwork. Dora decides to use her magic wishing box to level the playing field. In what turns out to be a trend in this story, the wish doesn’t turn out quite like she expects…

“Okay, okay,” she tried to collect herself. This wish could change everything. “I wish I could be pretty,” she told the box in a clear, steady voice.

The lid snapped shut. Dora smiled and set the box back on the nightstand. She walked to the mirror on the back of her door with knees feeling a bit unsteady. What would she look like? Would she be more beautiful than Julia? Would she even recognize herself? She took the last few steps with her eyes shut tight. She could feel her heart pounding in her ears. She took a deep breath and opened her eyes.

And saw the same face she had seen her whole life. The same long, angular nose. The same narrow, thin lips. The same scraggly, brown hair. She hadn’t changed at all.

“Oh, damn,” she sighed. She leaned forward against the betraying mirror and pressed her forehead against the cool, smooth surface.

A quiet knock on her door made Dora jump back. “Dora? Can we talk?” a hesitant voice called out from the other side. She pulled open the door and saw Julia standing in the hall. Her roommate’s eyes were red and gleaming, as though she had been crying too.

“I’m so sorry,” Julia pleaded. “I shouldn’t have left you alone last night. I knew you were upset about that jerk Kyle.”

“It’s okay,” Dora replied softly. She let the door swing open and turned back to her bed. “You didn’t do anything. You’re just … gorgeous. And I’m just … blah. Of course all the boys want you and not me.”

“You’re not blah, sweetie.” Julia sat on the bed beside Dora and put a hand on the taller girl’s knee. “You have your own unique allure. Maybe he can’t see it but that’s his loss.”

“If you start talking about inner beauty I’m going to barf,” Dora grumbled.

“It’s true though,” Julia giggled. “I have an idea! Do you know what I do when I feel insecure about myself?”

“You? Feel insecure? In what galaxy do you ever feel insecure?”

“Everybody feels insecure sometimes, Dora. But it helps if I do something to feel good about myself.”

“I’m not going for a run,” Dora insisted immediately.

“No, silly! I’m talking about a makeover!” Julia exclaimed. “I get out all my makeup and just go to town. I mean like totally glammed-up stripper-style!”

“Oh, God,” Dora groaned. “I think I’d rather go run.”

“Come on!” Julia hopped up off the bed and pulled at Dora’s arm. “It’ll do you some good to feel pretty for a while.”

Dora rolled her eyes. She did wish to be pretty. That box had a pretty sick sense of humor. She suspected she would regret it, but allowed herself to be dragged along.

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