Home » Prompt » Metamorphosis to a Painted Lady

Metamorphosis to a Painted Lady

Karen, over at Table For One, bless her heart, got all wrapped up in PBS’ “Nature – Sex, Lies, and Butterflies” the other night, and got all excited with ideas for a prompt.  She “promptly” (I’m such a comedienne, aren’t I?) emailed both Marc at Sorryless and me with this challenge.   Now, originally, we, Marc and I, both thought that we could pick and choose between the following ten words:

  • Metamorphosis
  • Virgin
  • Flight
  • Rudder
  • Hover
  • Antenna
  • Clap
  • Control
  • Painted Lady
  • Juvenile

But noooooo… as her post today shows, Karen used all TEN WORDS in one post!  Sneaky one, that Karen is.  Of course, the gauntlet has been not only drawn, but thrown down, so what’s a girl to do?

Her best.  That’s all she can do.  Her best.


Metamorphosis to a Painted Lady

Katie was now a young woman, as far as she was concerned.  She was no longer a juvenile 13-year old. At 14, she was ready to face the world as a woman did.  Her mother would never cease to hover over her and try to control everything she did and everywhere she went and everyone she hung out with, as long as she remained under her roof.  Katie swore that woman had antennae and could sense her every move!  She was done with it.  After all, there were cultures where girls got married at 14, some even younger.  Proof that she was definitely grown up.

At midnight, when the household was asleep, Katie emptied her piggy-bank, packed her backpack and took flight.  She was going to go to the big city and prove she was now a woman, capable of taking care of herself.  She hopped on the bus, chose one of the many empty seats, leaned her head against the window and dreamed of the possibilities awaiting her.

Her stomach fluttering in excitement, she stepped off the bus, right in the centre of town.  She had never been there by herself, and definitely not at one o’clock in the morning!  She felt like spreading her arms wide and turning around à la Mary Tyler Moore.  Her mom loved that show and owned all the DVD’s and made her watch them.  The thought of her mom brought an immediate lump to her throat and a falter to her step.

No!  Stop thinking like that!  You are not a boat without a rudder, you are on a path to womanhood.  Having shaken off the doubt, she lifted her chin, squared her jaw and took a step forward.  The City was not for babies and she was out to prove she wasn’t one.  Katie was awfully glad it was not winter and that her light jacket was warm enough.  She didn’t have to worry about freezing to death.

Ah.  Finally.  The main drag.  People. Lights. Life!  A nice-looking man came up to her, smiling, and asked if she was lost.  She shook her head no and kept walking.  He turned and quickly adjusted his step to hers.  “So, young lady, where are you headed?”

“I’m just walking around, taking in the sights.”

“Mind if I keep you company?”

“Yes, I do mind.  Please leave me alone.”

“I can’t do that.  There are rough people out there just looking for a nice young thing like you.”

“Why is that?”

“Come on now, Sweetie.  Why do you think?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.  No one would come looking for me.”

“I bet you are a virgin, aren’t you?”  Not waiting for her response, he continued, “Do you know how much some men would pay for such a treat?  To be the first one to screw you?”

Hey eyes wide, she looked at him and sputtered, “Wh-wh-wh-at?  Sh-sh-sh-surely not.  Why are you such an awful thing to me?”

“What’s your name, Sweetie?”

“Katie.  Katherine, actually.”

“Katie, my name is Steve.  Walk with me. I want to show you something, okay?”

She knew she shouldn’t follow a stranger, a male one at that, but she nodded her head yes and followed him.  They approached an intersection and he nodded towards a small group.  “See those girls over there?”

“Yes.  They look like young women, to me.”

“Well, they’re not.  They are about your age and have been living on the street for a couple of years already.  We call them the Painted Ladies.”

“Why is that?”

He sighed. “They are hoookers. They sell their bodies for money.  Probably half of them already have the clap.”

“The clap?  What’s that?”

“A venereal disease you, young fool.  One of many you could catch.”

Her mouth formed an O and she looked at him, her lip trembling.  “I’m not going to be one of them.”

“Honey, you stay out here all by yourself, you will become one of them.  I would really hate for you to go through that type of metamorphosis.  I can tell by the look of you that you come a good family.  One that is probably going crazy looking for you right now.”

With that, Katie felt her whole body deflate.  She knew he was right.  She was so not an adult yet and now was regretting her rash decision.

Steve took out his cellphone and handed it to Katie.  “How about we call your folks, have them pick you up?  I’ll wait right here with you till they show up.”



42 thoughts on “Metamorphosis to a Painted Lady

    • I was planning on him totally NOT being a hero but he wouldn’t let me! I guess it’s the mom in me that allowed him to take over 😉
      Glad you did love it, Karen.
      Boy, between you and Marc I’m really being challenged. I love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Q,

    Some nobility in the big, bad city . . I like it!

    It’s HOW you got there that I really dig most of all. To lead us on, by showing this young, vulnerable girl in a place where she would really have no chance at all . . if not for the grace and kindness of a strange man. Who understood all too well the torturous road many of those ‘Painted Ladies’ took once upon a time, and how it was a one way street for most of them.

    So really, not ONLY do you blend all the prompt words into your story- seamlessly- but you give us a tale of fate and destiny and kindness, found in the unlikeliest of places.

    So well done, you clever girl!


    Liked by 1 person

    • B,

      I like to believe here is some nobility in the big city. It can’t just filled with evil!

      I am quite chuffed that you like the HOW I got there. Like I told Karen, I wasn’t going to make him such a nice guy but he wouldn’t let me! I love when characters take over, don’t you?

      So very glad you felt it was seamless. I won’t lie. I had trouble getting the friggen “metamorphosis” in there and not sound forced, ya know?

      So thank you, for your oh-so-kind words!


      Liked by 1 person

      • The characters in any story are really living, breathing things. Their life, it may have been created by us, but once it has been created, they have a way of doing what they feel like doing . . . which, makes a writer an awful lot like a parent, huh?
        But seriously, it’s true. And you felt that joy with this writing. It’s a great feeling.
        I really, really love the how . . and I love how you crafted this into being.

        Liked by 1 person

        • They truly are. I never understood that whole “feeling like a parent” thing about writing until the last year or so. And especially with this one. No matter how I tried to go with my original thought, Steven wouldn’t let me!
          Too cool that you could feel that.
          And really, really love that you love the how!
          Blush, blush… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. So many young girls and boys make this trip for different reasons, so few ever get the chance to return unharmed… Some just disappear found later in some squat or alley.
    I love that you point out that there are good people out there… maybe not as many as we would like but they are out there. A happy ending let’s hope mum and daughter can bend their expectations toward eachother, so Katie can blossom and mum can help.
    I wrote a poem / story last year, a similar story but with a totally different ending. Life is hard and often disappoints. That’s why your tale is a real lift. 💜💜


  3. Ah yes, I remember those days,,.we thought we could do anything. Now that I think back..wow..I’m glad I took the path that I did to where I am today! Very captivating Dale and really makes you think 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The essence of enduring……………… sigh………..’na na na na na, na na na, na na na na na’………………

    Well, my friends are gone and my hair is grey
    I ache in the places where I used to play
    And I’m crazy for love but I’m not comin’ on.
    I’m just payin’ my rent every day in the Tower of Song

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not only was that well done, to include the prompt words, but a poignant story too. I could identify with Kate, though my one episode of running away was during the day, and on my bike, and I was heading for the coast, some25 miles away. but took a wrong turning and circled around, and went home. No one was any the wiser. But I think Kate’s story is a better lesson learned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Crispina. I think we’ve all had some experience of wanting to “Run away from home”. Not all of us actually attempt it, though.
      Funny how that worked out for you… Hmmm… stronger forces at work?
      So very glad you enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Dale,

    I gotta level with you. Most of the time I detest stories that take certain words and shoehorn them into a story. You, my dear, might be able to change my mind with stories like this. Brilliant. And thank God for the Steves of the world. Need I say more?

    Shalom from New Mexico,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rochelle,

      I swear to you I thought of you the whole time I was doing this challenge. Wondering if you would forever put me into “that” pile…
      Phew! Thank you for not hating it and for taking the time to read it.
      Yes, thank God for the Steve’s of this world. I know there are more like him out there…

      Lots love and sunshine!



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