Copyright©2006; by Carl Cox
Sometimes is much better to listen than just hearing.
“The mask seems to be attached to your face.”
“That’s impossible. It probably just got stuck with sweat or something.”
Marcus poked a tentative finger at the flesh of his friend’s cheek. The flesh was soft and warm to the touch.
“Oh, man, this is bad,” he said.
“What am I going to do?” David said, fighting back his rising panic.
“I think we better just get back to the shop. Maybe the guy there will know what to do.”
They made the walk to the costume shop in a few minutes. Almost before they banged on the door, it flew open to reveal the proprietor, staring at them wildly, his hair sticking up in an even more hectic way.
“I told you to have that mask back here before midnight!” he thundered.
“I know,” David said, embarrassed. “But I can’t get it off!”
The man looked up and down the street, then whispered harshly, “Don’t stand out here where everyone can see you. Get inside, quickly!”
The boys hastened to obey. The man closed and locked the door behind them.
“Listen,” David began, “the mask is stuck to my face. I’m going to need some help to get it off.”
“Of course it’s stuck to your face!” the man replied. “That’s why I told you to have it back before midnight.”
“I don’t understand,” Marcus said.
“You don’t have to understand it,” the man said. “Whoever wears the mask as the clock strikes twelve will have the mask become a part of their face, permanently!”
“Permanently”? David cried. “You mean I’m going to stay like this?”
“I’m afrais so,” the man said.
“Gee,” Marcus said, “maybe if you had told us about that whole ‘permanently stuck to the face’ thing, we might have been taken your instrucctions a little more seriously!”
“It wouldn’t have made any difference,” the man said. “You wouldn’t have believed me, anyway. No one believes it, until it happens to them.”
“You mean this has happened before?” David said.
The man nodded. “That thing has been in my family for years.”
“But then, that means that there must be some way to remove it!”
The man smiled grimly. “Oh, there is. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to do it after the person dies.”
“You’ve got to be kidding!” Marcus said. “There has to be a way to get it off.”
“Well, the man said, “I remember my grandfather saying that the only way to remove the mask is to kiss someone us ugly as you. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people as unattractive as that mask.”
The two boys looked at each other, then spoke simultaneously.
The man raised his eyebrows. “you know someone, then?”
David nodded. “She lives near here. Come on, Marcus, let’s go.”
The boys started towards Sara’s house. Marcus spoke first.
“You know, girls don’t kiss just anyone. Especially not when they look as bad as you do. No offense.”
Is that true? If it is what do you think will happen next?