Masks (flash fiction)

Everyone wore masks this particular day, some sparkled, and some were dull and gray. But there was one man who went maskless – this man I saw on the street corner. His face was normal as could be: a thin nose, bushy eyebrows, full lips, and ruddy, plump cheeks.

He stood there, beckoning me to come forward amid the masked people walking to and fro. “Did you know,” he started, “that I wear a mask, as well?”

“But that can’t be so!” I exclaimed. “Your face is humanoid, appearing like any other.”

“Oh, brother,” he replied. “Don’t be so naïve. Some of us wear masks, and you cannot tell.”

I touched his face, and it was so – it felt hard and cold like plastic. He gently moved my hand away and began peeling his face (or mask) off. Underneath appeared the blood, ligament, and muscle. So, was it really a mask? Or had this man just removed his fleshy face?

His eyeballs jutted from his skull, and now his nose was just a bump and two tiny holes. “I’ve removed my mask, mister,” he proclaimed. “See, we all wear ‘em.”

Horrified, I stepped back. He approached slowly, his bare face dripping blood. “Now,” he said, “it’s time to remove yours!”

(Photo by Adam Fossier on Unsplash)


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