Monday, August 12, 2013

Prompt: Does she wear the mask, or does the mask wear her?

Simon leaned against the doorframe and nursed his drink. It was soda water with a splash of ginger ale—but the partiers didn’t need to know that. He wondered how soon he could leave. He figured as long as William saw him a couple more times, he could slip away unnoticed. Drunken revelry at a masquerade—how he had ever been part of this scene?

Resisting the urge to glance at his watch again—it couldn’t be more than five minutes since he’d last checked anyway—Simon pushed away from the study door and walked around the crowd dancing and laughing throughout William’s “great room”, as he jokingly called it. He had almost reached the kitchen when he saw her and froze, almost in mid-step.

She wore a simple dark green dress with thin straps over her shoulders and crossing her back. Her hair was dyed in the new ombre style he didn’t understand until now, fading from white on top to lavender and dark purple at the tips. It fell in a shimmering straight curtain around her face and shoulders, and he wanted to reach out and pull it away to better see her face.

But her face was concealed by her Venetian golden mask and a crown of large tropical flowers. Simon watched her walk through the chaotic dancers, who made way for her as if they were all part of a dance. As she drew closer, his attention was captured by her bright red, glistening lips, and the four delicate chains from the piercings on her lower lip to the mask above her nose. He blinked in surprise and looked more closely. Four more chains from each side of the mask draped along her high cheekbones to the piercings that lined her ears.

How does she eat? His lips twitched at the absurd thought. And then her eyes caught his. He might have dropped his drink, or set it on a table. He might have pushed past someone he knew, even William. It didn’t matter. He moved toward her, eyes locked with hers, and the rest of the room seemed to disappear.

He blinked again. The rest of the room had disappeared. They stood in the deep gloom of a forest glen. He stared, turning in a slow circle, then returning to face her. She watched him silently, a ghost of a smile on her own lips now.

“Where—” he started. And stopped when she raised her hand, two fingers up, and shook her head.

No. That’s not the right question, he thought.

“Why—” he began again.

“Yes,” she said, her voice a whisper in his mind. “That’s the right question, Simon.”

Dogs in house
The syncopated percussion of a dog chewing a bone
Time writing:
25 minutes
August word count:

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