Ten girls won a place in Madame’s famous finishing school. There was talk of these same ten girls having won a beauty competition, and people began to say that they would become models.
On the first night the girls were given a straw mat to sleep on and an unusual cup of gritty, bitter tea that tasted of ash. Not wanting to appear ungrateful, nine of the girls drank every drop. The tenth girl, realizing that while pretty, she could probably never become a model, left almost immediately.
It was on the third day of finishing school that some of the girls began to vomit and feel weak and tired. Some of the girls noticed new, fine hairs sprouting from the space between their eyes like a unibrow. These new hairs trembled and were sensitive and responsive. They grew up and around like antenna. Madame served a clear broth, leafy dark greens and the bitter tea three times daily. In the morning a saucer of warm honey waited beside the straw mats. For a while everyone missed their families and pets, but most of the girls struggled to stop eating the greens long enough to phone home. The captivity suited them.
After a while the tea started to be the only thing anyone wanted to drink. It was the only thing they could think about. It only seemed natural to spit. And spit.
Some of the girls cried when they began spitting up threads. Some spewed then spun the fibers. It was raw silk and madame began to spin.