Today I have three stories about masks and the secrets they hide…
The Crow Doctor
Sputtering gaslamps cast orange light and charcoal shadows over the darkened streets, shuttered windows and closed doors. A figure cloaked in black walked the cobblestones, his face hidden behind a long-beaked bird mask, a leather satchel clutched in a gloved hand.
Beneath the disguise of cloth and bone stretched a thin grimace of joy, as the creature knocked on the closest door, a booming noise that shattered the silence.
His raspy voice hissed, “The Doctor is here.”
Inside, the frightened people shuddered and a lone child whimpered. They knew someone would die tonight.
For the Doctor always collected his payment…
She fingered the mask, its once white surface dirty and cracked. But she knew its power all too intimately. Had she made the wrong choice, all those years ago? Not for who she had been, too afraid, too moral. Yet, the years had changed her.
For a while, she had a successful career, a happy marriage, but age is not kind to performers and husbands die.
She still had the mask, though, her one salvation. She knew the magic it gave him, and now it would be hers. She slipped it on, knowing…
He would want this for his Christine.
“Can you believe we found the Lost Tomb of Xyanas?”
“Stop chattering and help me loot this sarcophagus.”
“I want to translate this wall inscription first. You might be here just for the treasure, but I want the ancient secrets.”
The other man grunted, pocketing gold trinkets and filling his satchel with jewelled adornments, until his fingers brushed the mummy’s mask. A simple white death mask, yet something compelled the man to remove it.
“I finished translating this inscription.”
“What does it say?”
“Never remove the Death Mask.”
A small groan escaped the mummified corpse and its eyes flickered open.
Three excellent drabbles as usual. The last line of the third one made me say, “Ohhh!”:-)
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