The Wig Doctor | By Lauren Roach
Updated: Mar 27
"I call her the Wig Doctor because she is the absolute best out there. Her work is unmatched. Honestly, the wig feels so real. It's almost scary. People can never tell the difference between my scalp and the wig. What lace? She's professional and efficient, almost clinical and she can rehab even the ugliest of wigs." This was the fourth time I had heard about this girl from my Instagram feed. Apparently she was local, and had been working quietly behind the scenes for some time. She did a few wigs for some A-list celebrity women. All of her reviews that I had seen so far were incredibly positive. I needed a wig for my upcoming wedding and since I had zero experience when it comes to adding hair or anything like that, I relied on word of mouth and social media to point me in the right direction. From what I had gathered, she had a shop that was out in the middle of nowhere where she custom made wigs for her clients. From what the reviews said, her turn around time was not very quick but the quality of her work made up for the long periods of waiting. My wedding was in six months, so I figured that would be plenty of time for her to get everything together and have my wig ready. I dialed the number listed in her bio. She picked up on the 4th ring.
"Hello?" her voice was quiet and soft.
"Hi. My name is Lalima. I was looking to get a wig made for my wedding in 6 months. I got this number from your Instagram. This is Zora, right?" I tried not to speak too quickly. Being on the phone always aggravated my anxiety. I prefer texting. "Yes. Okay. I require all new clients to book a consultation with me before I get started. This is where we'll go over your measurements and talk about what exact style you're looking for. That cool?" She seemed friendly enough. Straight to the point. I liked people who did not beat around the bush. After setting up the consultation for later on that day, since she had someone cancel, we ended the call. As silly as it sounded, I was both excited and a little nervous about getting a wig made. I had never owned one before. Hopefully mine would turn out just as nice as the other ones I had seen made by her. The whole idea seemed so convenient. On days when my hair would not cooperate, I could just braid it down and slap on a wig. Can't go wrong with that. My phone buzzing against my leg snatched me out of my daydream. It was my mom calling.
"Hey ma." I answered. I could hear the tv blaring in the background. It was most likely the news. That's all she watched these days. "Hey. Did you hear the updates from the missing person case? They found her body. They won't release specific details because apparently it's too gruesome, has Julian mentioned anything?" Julian was my fiancé who was also a detective on the case, and yes he had mentioned it. About a week ago while we were getting ready to go to sleep, he had gotten a call. They had found a body behind a dumpster in town with the majority of her scalp missing, and all of her fingertips burned off. Luckily they were able to ID her through her dental records. The whole case was heartbreaking. Julian was actually concerned that it might be connected to a few other bodies in town, but there wasn't enough evidence to support that yet. He had spent almost every night for the past few months obsessing and worrying about this case and the other ones. Whenever he came home, I could tell that the crime scene haunted him. He wouldn't talk too much about it, but I knew it bothered him.
He had even talked with the sheriff about expanding the investigation and adding more officers in order to cover more ground, but apparently that idea was shot down pretty quickly. He and the sheriff kept butting heads on this case. Every time they made some headway, it almost seemed as if the sheriff would purposely ruin it. He and my mother talked about it almost every time they saw each other. She is a huge true crime fan, and Julian takes any opportunity he can to talk about his cases, as much as he can without breaking the rules and sharing confidential information. They talk for hours about it, to the point they pretty much forget I am in the room. I don't mind it though. What person doesn't want their future spouse to get along with their parents? It makes everything so much easier. I turned my attention back to the conversation.
"He mentioned it in passing. We haven't had the chance to really discuss it yet because they have him working around the clock to try and solve this thing." I heard her rustling around in the background. She was probably trying to reach for the remote without getting up from her recliner. Whenever she wasn't at work, that's where you could find her. Parked right there in front of the tv, usually sleeping with the food she was eating before she knocked out, still in her hand or in her lap. We talked for a few more minutes, as I grabbed my favorite Jordans and outfit to get ready for my consultation. I didn't mention to her where I was going because I didn't feel like hearing her mouth.
"You have all this hair on your head yet you want them to sew other people's hair into it!" that was her go to phrase every time I mentioned braids, sew-ins, or any other protective styles. My mom had one go-to style and that was it. When I arrived at the address Zora had given me, I was surprised to find that this was large shop and not a small one. I had assumed that since the address was so far away from everything else, that it would be a smaller building. I opened the front door slowly. Inside, a woman around my age sat at one of the tables in the corner at a sewing machine. Rows and rows of different kinds of wig styles lined the walls.
It looked as if she had a wig for almost every desired hairstyle. I stood, staring at all the different ones, feeling a little overwhelmed by the sight of it all. After a moment, she turned and looked at me. I offered a smile to which she nodded in return. Loud music blasted through speakers in each corner of the room. It was so loud I couldn't hear myself think. She motioned to the empty salon chair to her left.
"Take a seat." I only figured out what she said because I could read her lips. The music was so loud I couldn't hear her voice. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, being in her chair, but this wasn't it. She wasn't very friendly but she was efficient. Something about this entire place seemed a little overstimulating and intense. Not like most salons around here. She took my head measurements silently, not even bothering to make small talk. I didn't necessarily mind it, since I don't like small talk but it was a little off-putting. Once she was done, she lowered the music.
"I have three orders ahead of you so it should take me about 5 months to complete. Do you have any questions?" I had a million questions, but I honestly did not feel comfortable asking. She stared at me, almost daring me to ask her something. "Um...where is your bathroom?"
"It's down the hallway to your left but do NOT go near the red door at the end of the hall. The door should be closed and locked but if it's not, do NOT go in there. Are we clear?" the sudden intensity in her tone threw me off a little. I had no intentions of snooping in her business, but what could be in that room that made her act like that? I slid out of the chair and entered the hallway. That intense feeling from the front part of the shop was nothing compared to the creepy feeling I got being back here. The hairs on my arms stood straight up. The thick scent of copper smacked against my nose. I didn't want to be here.
When I reached the bathroom, I looked to my right to see the door that Zora was intent upon warning me about. It looked like a normal red door, but if Spidey senses were a thing, they were screaming at the sight of this door. It was randomly painted red, unlike the rest of the doors in this hallway. She had made no mention of those other doors. So what was it about this one? I shook my head and went in the bathroom, grabbing my phone out of my back pocket to make sure it didn't fall in the toilet. I had just gotten this phone. Didn't need anything happening to it. I sat it next to a pretty elephant figurine that matched the décor of the bathroom. I was just finishing up in the bathroom, drying my hands and closing the door behind me when I heard it.
"Help me." The voice was faint, almost inaudible over the music, but I heard it. It was coming from the other side of the creepy red door. Was someone in there? Maybe someone had hurt themselves and needed my help? I took a step toward the door and then another. I reached my hand out, inches away from the door knob.
"What are you doing?" The sound of Zora's voice so close to my ear made me jump. I had been so focused on the door I didn't hear or see her come up behind me. She was pissed. I could see it all over her face. I was caught in the act. Deliberately defying her wishes. I could feel shame creeping up my neck and warming my cheeks.
"I thought I heard someone. Someone said help me." her eyes narrowed slightly and she shook her head. "It must have been the music. Are you done back here? You're my last client for the evening." She walked me back to the front of the shop. The creepy feeling still settled in my stomach making me more than ready to get out of here. Hopefully her work made up for the cold and uninviting feeling of her shop. I hurried home, determined to beat Julian there. He had a night off for the first time in a while and I didn't want to waste a minute of it. I had been home and just gotten dinner started when Julian walked in the front door.
"Hey babe. How was work?" I saw the stress in his expression before he even responded. He sighed heavily and dropped his badge on the counter. I watched as he ran a hand over his face and forced a tired smile. "Another girl has been reported missing. She's a beautiful girl from the pictures I've seen. Got a really distinct scar on her left cheek" I felt bad for him. I knew how rough this job was, no matter how much he loved it, it still weighed on him most days. "I'm sorry. What can I do to take your mind off of it?" I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel and gave him a hug.
"Show me the invitations you've picked for the wedding." I reached in my back pocket for my phone to show him the pictures, but it wasn't there. I looked around the kitchen. Julian offered to go check in the bedroom for me. No sign of it.
I had forgotten I had left my phone on the counter in the bathroom at her shop. My new phone. There was no way I was leaving it there overnight. I cursed under my breath and grabbed my keys.
"I left my phone. I'm going to go grab it really quick. Dinner should be almost done. I set the timer. Grab it out of the oven when it dings. I'll be back soon!" I called as I scribbled a quick note for Julian. I was out the door and in the car before he had a chance to respond. It would be a quick trip. Just had to grab my phone. Hopefully her shop was still open. I couldn't call her to tell her I was coming, I could only hope she wouldn't be irritated.
By the time I made it back to her shop, it was dark outside. I parked and then ran up to the door. It was open, thankfully. The shop itself was dark in the front but I could see the lights on in the hallway. Looked like she was in the process of closing up but hadn't finished
"Hello?" I felt weird barging in her shop without her knowing, but no one responded to me. I stepped in and flipped on the lights. I really shouldn't be here. Maybe I can slip in and out without her even knowing. I made my way back to the hallway, determined to grab my phone and go. I had just stepped into the bathroom when the creepy red door crashed open and a young girl came running out. I spotted a scar on her left cheek as she turned and rushed towards me. She was disoriented and covered in red paint. Most of it seemed to be coming from the funny shaped cap on her head. I felt like I had seen a wig on the shelf that looked similar to the bits of hair I could see from under the cap. She saw me and began to scream.
"Run! You have to run! She's going to kill us both!" she was flailing her arms and panting. That same smell of copper hit my nose again but much stronger this time. Almost as if it was coming from the girl. The exertion and the excitement seemed to tire her out. She doubled over, struggling to catch her breath. Red paint spilled from the cap onto the floor. She looked at it, almost as if she were surprised to see it. What was happening?! Another crash from the room made us both jump. There stood Zora with an apron on that was covered in the same red paint. Paint dripped from her hands onto the floor. It dripped from an instrument between her finger and her thumb. She looked startled to see me but recovered quickly.
"What are you doing here, Lalima?" she asked, not taking her eyes off of the other girl. I stared at the tool in her hand. It was something sharp. Like a box cutter or...
Was that a scalpel?
My brain struggled to connect the dots of what I was looking at. The young girl lay crumpled on the floor in a ball, staining the floor with that paint that was-
This wasn't paint. It was blood. This poor girl wasn't wearing a cap. The odd shape I saw hanging from the top of her head and dripping with red liquid was her scalp. I was looking at the top part of her scalp that had been pulled back from her skull. My stomach lurched.
"Zora what- ?" I couldn't even get the words out. She grabbed the young girl by the ankles and dragged her in the direction she came. I watch, too frozen and terrified to move. The girl screamed and grabbed for the door frame, but could not hold on tight enough to keep Zora from dragging her away. There was pure terror in her eyes. I wanted to scream but my lungs had dried up. I wanted to run but my feet felt glued to the floor. I heard a small thwack and then gurgling sounds. As if someone was struggling to breath underwater. I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to wish my way out of here.
"I'll ask you again, what are you doing here?" Zora had come back. She was looking at me with purpose. I was almost scared to wonder what that purpose was.
"I-I left my phone." I pointed to where it still rested on the counter. She looked at the phone and then back at me. I could tell she was contemplating her next move. As we stood there, it started to ring.
He was probably wondering where I was. I had been gone for a while. The ringing temporarily distracted Zola. She glanced over at the screen, at the smiling picture of my husband. A look of recognition flashed in her eyes and the color drained from her face. Did she know him?
"Zola, come on. You need to finish with her scalp so we can dump the body." A set of heavy footsteps heading towards us made my heart jump in my throat. A man appeared next to her, his face covered by the shadows. But I had heard that voice before. I knew that voice. Zola turned to face him, a smile on her lips. Now was my only chance to run if I was going to make it out alive. I bolted for the door, but it was too late. It was two against one. The man grabbed me and held me still as Zora picked up that elephant figurine I had been admiring earlier and smashed it against my head with a surprising amount of force. The edges of my vision blurred as I collapsed to my knees with a grunt. In the distance, I heard my phone ringing again.
I never did grab my phone.
6 Months Later
"Detective Reed, I'm sorry to wake you. We need you down here. We found a body." I squinted at the clock on the nightstand
3:48am. I had just gotten to sleep. With a sigh, I pulled myself out of bed. and grabbed my clothes. This job was wearing on me. Even more so now after everything had happened. "Text me the address. I'm coming." I hung up the phone and glanced behind me at the empty bed. My heart still ached at the sight.
6 months ago, my fiancé Lalima disappeared. She literally grabbed her keys and left in the middle of cooking dinner. She never told me an address. I never knew what happened. That night after she hadn't come home, I started calling her phone trying to see where she was. I felt in my gut that something was wrong and I just wanted to make sure she was okay. She never answered. The only thing she left was a note on the counter in the kitchen that says:
I had no idea what that even meant. I never mentioned it during the investigation because I wasn't sure it was even relevant. So far, there were no clues, no leads. Nothing. I was going crazy wondering what happened to my fiancé. When I arrived at the scene, there were cop cars everywhere with the usual caution tape around the scene to block everything off. We were at a dumpster on the outskirts of town. I stepped out of my car and headed towards the crime scene. The Sheriff stopped me on my way over, grabbing my shoulder tightly. I turned to look at him, wondering what his problem was.
"Reed...Julian...we should talk before you go over there." He looked upset. I shrugged him off. What ever he needed to say could wait. I just wanted to get this done so I could go back home and get back in my empty bed. So I could go back to feeling sorry for myself. "Detective!" he called after me again but I kept walking until I got close enough to see what was going on, getting a bad feeling about why he wanted me to wait.
I spotted the shoes first.
Those familiar red and white Jordans she just had to run out and get even though I told her we needed to save money. She called them her lucky shoes because she managed to snag them before they went off market completely. The very last pair.
My blood ran cold. Laying crumpled next to the dumpster was the body of my fiancé. My Lalima. My world. Dead. Her body stiff and lifeless after laying out here for God knows how long. I felt my knees buckle under me. I could hear someone screaming, but it sounded far away.
"NONONONONONONONO!!!!!" I realized the screaming was coming from my own throat. Someone grabbed me and pulled me up into a hug. I realized it was my partner. Through everything that was happening, I hadn't realized they called him as well. I leaned into him, feeling like everything around me was crashing and breaking. I felt like I was underwater. Drowning. All of the voices around me blending and garbling together. As I stood there, staring at the corpse of the love of my life, I vaguely heard a conversation going on behind me.
"They were due to be married next week. I couldn't imagine what I would do if something happened to my wife." that was the Sheriff's voice.
"Oh, I didn't realize you were married Sherriff."
"Yeah. We had a quiet ceremony a few years back. She is a local hairstylist. Wigs actually."
"Wigs?" I heard the sheriff chuckle as the pieces started to click together in my mind.
"Yeah. She's been doing it for a while. She's traveled over a few different states making wigs for celebrities and other clients. They call her The Wig Doctor."
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