A good day of the week to upload the next piece of my story, that is.
So every Monday, you now have something to look forward to! Yay Mondays!
Anyways, enough chit chat. Here is part two of my short story!
Charlie was in love. He had seen a girl who looked so innocent, her face was like the face of an angel. She had passed by him on the other side of the street, but her countenance had caught his glance. So pure; so unlike the rest of the world. That was the kind of girl he wanted to marry. So Charlie set out to discover who she was.
He began watching for the girl near the place where he had spotted her. She had been walking near a dark alley, in what Charlie considered to be the more intimidating area of the city. But the thought that an innocent young woman did not belong in intimidating places did not occur to him.
The sun began to sink low one evening as Charlie was hanging around, hoping to spot the girl. The sound of children shrieking caught his ear, and he followed the noise into a small alleyway.
Three little children played in the street. Collin had an old expensive watch on his wrist that he had pulled out of a dumpster. The hands on it no longer moved. Polly cradled a small antique doll with dirt-encrusted hair and a chipped face. Lucas was the “keeper of the torch”, and their self-appointed leader. He kept a small flashlight in his jacket pocket, to guide them home after dark.
They belonged to Mrs. Peers, who kept them in an orphanage, one block past Doppler Street. Mrs. Peers didn’t like them coming home after dark, so every night when they returned, she scolded them. The children did not like Mrs. Peers, so every night until dark, they stayed outside.
They played in the alleyway, screaming and chasing after one another. Collin tripped in the dim light and landed on his bottom.
“Oww!” he squealed.” “It’s too late to be playing outside! Look! The sky is dark, that means it’s time to go back.”
Lucas shone his flashlight in the chubbier boy’s face.
“Ow! Hey!” Collin complained to his lanky companion.
“We’ll be fine, Worrywart,” Lucas assured him. “I have a light.”
“Bu, bu but…Mrs. Peers will be angry!” Collin very wisely pointed out.
“Oh she always is,” Polly piped up. “That old grouch will be fine.”
“Wait! What’s that?” Collin jumped at the sound of approaching footsteps. They were playing in an alleyway near the darker side of the city. Generally, no adults bothered them over here, but the encroaching steps sounded heavy.
“Shh!” Lucas whispered. The steps drew closer, followed by a kindly looking young man with dark locks of hair. His expression was open and friendly. Collin and Polly jumped at his appearance, but Lucas thought he looked trustworthy.
“Who are you, sir?” he asked the young adult. The man was surprised to find the three children, but his curiosity nudged him to learn more about them.
“My name’s Charlie,” he smiled. “What game are you guys playing?”
“Don’t talk to strangers!” Collin immediately blurted out. But Lucas ignored him.
“We are hunters, going off to fight the beast and protect the fair maiden!” he admitted.
“And are you the fair maiden?” Charlie raised Polly’s hand and kissed it. She blushed. He turned toward the boys. “I see two strapping young warriors here, but where is this beast of which you speak?” he asked them.
Lucas and Collin looked at each other and shrugged.
“I suppose he’s just imaginary,” Lucas said.
“Just imaginary!” Charlie balked. “There is no such thing as just imaginary. Anything that you can imagine can become real.”
He crouched down and began hobbling toward them. “If you imagine that you are a beast, with fangs dripping with venomous saliva,” he snarled and looked up at them. “If you imagine that you have the strength to take whatever you want,” he raised himself to his full height. “If you imagine that you can catch two little boys who think they can outrun you,” he jumped at them and started playfully chasing. Lucas and Collin shrieked and ran to the corner. Polly giggled.
“Then you can.” Charlie smiled. “You can be anything you imagine.”
He began hobbling around the alleyway, pretending to hunt the boys. They grabbed sticks and fought back, while Polly watched amusedly from the sidelines, cradling her chipped doll.
Some may have thought the scene strange. Some may have judged the grown man for acting like a child. But the children did not. The children accepted him as one of their own.
Rebekah slipped inside, hoping her mother would not see her.
“It’s about time you came home,” her mother called from the living room. Rebekah cringed. “Where were you?” her mother asked.
“I just had to take care of something,” Rebekah answered, and headed toward her room. Her mother came out into the hall; Rebekah lowered her face.
“I don’t like it when you stay out all night,” her mother said.
“Mother, it’s ten o’clock. I’d hardly call that all night,” she replied.
“Yes, well something might happen! And how would I know?”
“I’m sure you’d find some way to know.” Rebekah did not like talking to her mother. She always felt that her mom did not approve of anything she did. She had hoped the mask would free her from judgments, but with her mother staring at her, she felt even more trapped. Whoever Rebekah wanted to be was hidden inside, not wanting to reveal herself for disapproval. But her mother wouldn’t fall for the façade. All Rebekah foresaw was a fresh batch of judgments for the phony flesh.
“I’m going to bed, mom,” Rebekah ducked past her into the bedroom.
That night, Rebekah couldn’t sleep. Her body thrashed about on the bed, trying to procure a comfortable position, but none was to be found. Rebekah had used to lull herself to sleep by dreaming of roses dancing on hillsides. But the skin pulling against her face was so stiff that her thoughts could not escape from her mind. They remained stifled inside, unable to form into images and dreams.
The mask pulled so tightly, her skin started burning. Her hands clenched subconsciously and her fingers clawed at the skin. She lay in a dreamlike state, clawing and clawing at the mask that would not come off.
“Take it off!” she desperately yelled to the painted man the next morning. He looked at her, amused.
“Take it off! Please, please take it off!” She was screaming so passionately her voice cracked and sounded inhuman.
“The masks don’t come off.” He sat calmly, explaining the process to her. “You knew this when you ordered it.”
She clambered across the room and fell at his feet. His countenance remained unmoved.
“Please,” she whispered. Her large, sad eyes tried unsuccessfully to peer out from the mask into his own. All he saw was prosthetics.
“Look sweetheart,” he leaned down and spoke over the figure on the floor. “This mask is who you are now. This is how people are going to view you. Use that.”
She tilted her head in a quizzical manner.
“You have a power over people now. As long as nobody knows who you really are, you can manipulate them to believe you’re somebody else. They will be jealous of your life; they will envy you. People will flock to you to learn your secrets; they may even pay you for those secrets.”
Rebekah began to smile, as her restricted mind grasped the possibilities.
“As long as nobody sees who you are,” he reiterated. “As long as they never see your weaknesses.”
“Have you ever let anybody see your weaknesses?” Rebekah asked him.
He smiled smugly and leaned over into her ear. “I don’t have any weaknesses,” he whispered. Rebekah’s heart skipped a beat as the strong man’s breath fell over her face.