I recently wrote a short story for a contest, which is a pretty good motivator to actually FINISH a story! At one point, I considered posting weekly parts of a story on this blog as a motivator to actually write it, but thought better of the idea.
However, since I have this story already written, I CAN post it on here, a little bit each week, and the only ones who will be in avid anticipation of how it ends are YOU! Ha!
Ok, well, the point is, I really like this story. It was not chosen as a winner for the contest, but I was informed that it was a finalist. :) Plus, it will give me something consistent to post, now that I have like 3 freelance jobs, a part time job, and am posting all my new crazy recipes here: http://juliaeppehimer.hubpages.com/
This story is a retelling of sorts of "Beauty and the Beast."
Are you intrigued?
“I’ve lost my dreams.”
The thought shrouded her mind as the fabric advanced toward her face.
“I’ve lost my dreams.”
She cringed as the cloth was pulled tightly across her face, cutting off her breath.
“I’ve lost my…”
Her thoughts slipped away as the fabric pulled tighter and tighter. She felt the flesh of her neck shrinking in on itself, the life about to be cut out of it.
She gasped a deep breath as she jerked awake in her bed. If only she could lose these dreams.
Rebekah was tired of people staring at her. Tired of them judging her for the imperfections they thought they saw. Everyone with their perfect lives walking around as if they had never felt pain, had never struggled for something they could not obtain. As a child she had believed that her life would resemble theirs; that her life would be full of fulfilling dreams. But for some reason, her life wasn’t turning out like her dreams.
“What kind of mask do you want?” the painted man asked the young woman. They were in the back alley of a dark street, the place where this man kept shop. He specialized in forming masks to faces; with the right tools and just a little bit of magic (if one believed in such things), no one would be able to tell they were not real. He didn’t wear any himself. He preferred to hide his flesh in pictures.
Rebekah thought about how she needed to present herself to the world. She thought about her mother, and how constrained she felt living with her. And she decided on what she wanted.
“I want to look like a child.”
“A child?” He coughed. “I mean, some people ask for eternal youth, but…everyone who comes here is already grown up, darling. Nobody wants to be a child again. Nobody is going to believe you are a child again. How about I give you something like a sweet, motherly look? How about that?”
“No sir, I want to have the innocence of a child. I don’t want anybody to believe that I have ever done anything wrong. That I am even capable of thinking anything wrong. I want the look of innocence.”
“How about naivety?”
“That will do.”
The man said nothing more as he measured her face and took pigment samples from her skin. She sat quietly while he carefully washed the synthetic skin with her pigment and cut it to fit the dimensions of her face. He brought it over for her approval.
The face that stared back at her looked hauntingly real. Rebekah felt her heart sink.
“Who is that?” she asked.
“That, my dear, is you.” He started to bring it toward her face.
“I’ve lost my dreams,” her thoughts pounded into her head. Subconsciously she leaned back. The mask continued to advance.
“I’ve lost my dreams!” the voice screamed. Rebekah closed her eyes.
Her whole body screamed out in pain as the mask was applied. The skin was pulled as tightly as possible so that nobody would see where the real ended and the imposter began. Once a mask went on, it could never come off again. She could put another mask over top of this one, but her true self would remain hidden for the rest of her life.
“I’ve lost my…” the little voice couldn’t finish the sentence. Rebekah stifled it down inside. The painted man began putting away his tools.