Simon ran his hands over his face, feeling every bump and crevice. He felt around his throat and the back of his head for the edges of the mask, there was nothing, it had fused with his own face. How could that be possible? He remembered taking off a mask, rolling it up and throwing it into a rubbish bin. He had to get it, had to find it. He turned and ran, heedless of the comments and curses of the people around him. He found the rubbish bin and to his horror there was an old woman rummaging through it. She actually had the mask in her hands. She had unrolled it and even from where he was standing he could see that it was his face. He ran at the old woman, who, seeing this face dropped the mask and ran for her life.
Simon picked up the mask and smoothed it out. It was his face. Heedless of the people around him he pushed it over his head and once again looked at the screen of his phone. He was back, but the mask was wrinkled and didn’t fit properly. He had to get away, to think and figure out how this had happened. He put his hand in his pocket and pressed the frog.
Simon had no idea of what transpired over the next few hours. The next time he looked at his watch it was late afternoon. He went into a public toilet, made sure that sure that no one was there and pressed the frog. The relief he felt almost weakened his knees. He was back. He felt around the edge of his face and the back of his head. It was not a mask, it was his face. He was back.
Simon went to the nearest convenience store and bought himself two cans of beer and went to a nearby park. Sitting underneath a tree he took out his mobile phone and once again checked his face in the screen. The reflection was his own. It was then that he noticed all the missed calls, seven from Lily, several from his colleagues.
He opened the first can and drank deeply and it was not until he had drunk half of the can that he looked up to find the old woman looking down at him.
“Yes, you’re back,” she said. “How do you feel now.” She asked.
“What have you done to me,” he asked weakly. “The mask, the horror is still beneath my face.”
“Yes, because you used the gift for evil. Now that evil is part of you.”
“How can I remove it, get rid of it,” he asked.
“I think you know.” She said. “You have done evil, now you must undo it.”
“How?” He asked, even as the answer became clear to him.
The old woman smiled and held out her hand. Simon felt in his pocket and, careful not to squeeze the accursed frog, handed it to her.
He didn’t notice her walking away. He picked up his mobile phone from where it lay in the grass beside him and dialed emergency services. He heard the voice ask him if he wanted the police, ambulance or fire services. And then, as if from a million miles away, he heard his own voice say,
“Police…I want to report a murder.”
(c) Copyright John Stewart Sloan – 2017 – Not for Distribution