“The Masks” Dark, Modernist Horror by Kimberley Luxton

masks, “The Masks” Dark, Modernist Horror by Kimberley Luxton

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Onto the porcelain surface.

White knuckles gripped the sides.

I don’t want to wear it today.

Raw skin itched around my face, I bit my lip to quell the urge to scratch. There already starting to scar. A chime. My alarm. If I don’t leave no i’ll be late. Hands shaking I raise the binding prison to my face. Like a leech it attached itself, sharp pinpricks sealing it around my face. I let out a hiss. No matter how many times I do this it still causes discomfort.

The pain left.

It is done.

I am no longer my true self.

Forced to cover up blemishes and emotions.

Emotions are weakness. If you are caught without your mask, your extermination is slow and bloody. This is what I grew up with, and what I will continue to endure. Forced to allow this cover up to rule my life. The chime echoed again. I need to get going. Shouldering a well worn satchel the tears continued to fall, but no one will see. Emotions are weak, we cant show them In public. The porcelain hung heavy on my soul and face. It is a reminder of how weak humans are. The door clicks behind me. I don’t need to lock it.

Click. Click. Click.

Heels on the stairs.

It’s loud.

Piercing through the mask straight to my brain.

Doors open. The sun glares at me, tanning my exposed skin, but never my face.

Taking the route to work my mind wandered.

To the tales my mother told me as a babe.

Of a world with no masks, you wore your emotions on your sleeve.

To my young brain that sounded like heaven.

Tales poison my brain. Make believe stories from a woman so disillusioned she’ll risk her only child for a sense of freedom. My face itched, I resisted temptation. Blank faces passed by me, I wonder if anyone has the same thoughts as I do. The bubbling feeling under the skin to rip this prison off and show the world who I truly am. I pass a clean up crew, the crimson liquid dry on the sidewalk. Those thoughts leave my head. Silly delusions of a child, keep my head down and continue on. Unless I want to be another tally on the wall. The blood sticks to my shoe, I’m queasy.

But I continue on to work, ignoring the relentless itch I can’t scratch.

I felt it before I saw it

Cracks

My mask was cracking

This wasn’t good. Not at all. A cracked mask shows incompetence, that you haven’t cared for it. If someone found out I was cracking I would be another smear on the pavement. I need to fix this and quickly. Work is in an hour. Scrambling, cupboards open with echoing bangs. I need to fix this. Glue. I need glue.

Glue will fix it

I need to pretend

Everything is okay

The glue is nearly empty, I’m sure there’s enough to fix this. I dropped it, tremors ran up and down my hands. Why is my face wet? I’m scared, I cant be caught with it cracked. The glue goes all over he mask, it continues to smile at me. Mocking me. Short gasps escaped my lips, the glue ran out. I’m not finished! People will know!

I fall apart

Knees trembling

I fall down

As I sat on the hard floor of my apartment I realised I’m done for. I can see the cracks, they are spreading like a disease. I feel it crawling up my arm. Dropping the mask it continues to stare at me. A beep. My work alarm. I cant go, I’m scared. They’ll see.

A debate

Shall I go

Shall I stay

I put on my mask, covering my tears. The pain is nothing to my fear. With a deep breath I step out of my apartment and pray no one notices my cracks.


Kim Luxton is an emerging online horror fiction writer with a Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing. They specialise in modernist horror, focusing heavily on the online culture that has been cultivated from the fast evolving online community. Kim is working towards a Masters in Creative Writing.


If you like this story, you may also like “The Broken Doll” by Kate Bergquist.


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