Hiding Behind A Mask | MASKLESS TRILOGY BOOK 1

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Becca sits in her bed, staring at the ceiling. Her eyes find a crack and follow it down the pale wall in the darkness of the night.

She can’t sleep. Today’s events have pulled her back to the memory of when she was a child.

The moonlight streams past a building and into her tall window, creating an eerie shadow on the floor of her bedroom. Every now and then, she shifts her eyes from the window to the shadow, as if she was waiting for it to move.

She adjusts her mask. It doesn’t sit right in her face just yet, but it will soon, once her face has lost its chub.

Her eyes grow heavy with sleep, although she doesn’t want to close her eyes. Her brain still prickles with the thought of the man in the black.

Becca loses the fight to stay awake, and she begins to dream.

She stands in a garden, green surrounding her. Trees stretch far above her and sunlight streams down onto her face. Flowers of yellows and reds and purples dance in the gentle wind as birds chirp and fly overhead, the beating of their wings adding to the symphony of sounds around her.

Becca is not alone in the garden.

There are many people around, white masks and black masks seeming to almost dance as they walk through the dirt walkways, laughing with each other in pure happiness.

Becca starts to walk down the path as well, in the opposite direction of everyone else. No one notices her.

She comes across two trees, both of them standing straight up. They are the exact same tree, as if they are a reflection of each other. Each leaf is in the same spot and each branch hanging below the greenery on top are exactly the same.

She makes her way over to them curiously, wondering if she’s seeing things.

Two birds fly from the trees. They appear from the same spot and fly the same path over Becca’s head.

“Hm...” She thinks aloud.

As she passes between the trees she looks up to see the sun splotching through the trees and trickling down onto her skin.

She looks straight ahead and sees a mirror. It’s about as tall as she is and only about as wide. The image of her reflection is blurry, as if she’s staring past something.

With each step, the picture is clearer, each fold in her colorful fabric that she wears for pajamas clarifying and each crease in her skin becoming visible. She looks at her face and her heart starts to race.

The reflection doesn’t have a mask on.

She reaches up to touch her face. The mask is there, but why is it not in the mirror?

Her reflection smiles wickedly at her and reaches forward, her hands stretching the mirror as they begin to protrude from the glass.

Becca backs away as the fingers push through the glass, making it bend like melting metal. It makes them begin to bleed, and the reflection keeps the painted on smile as her eyes radiate with fury.

Becca runs into something behind her.

A man in a white mask with a golden pattern that reminds Becca of a vine, and dark leather clothes that cover his body stares down at her. On his mask is a sinister smile and the eyeholes are pitch black.

She starts to shake and she takes a few steps away from him, almost forgetting about the mirror behind her.

The man starts to laugh as if someone had told a funny joke. Other people with white masks appear around them in a wide circle, all closing in and laughing as if they had seen something funny.

Becca feels the cold hands on her shoulders from the mirror and she squeals as her mask falls from her face. The laughing stops immediately and the man with the white mask charges forward.

But the hands from the mirror are too fast, too strong. They drag Becca through the mirrors surface.

She stands looking at the crowd of people, as if it were a window, the hairs on her neck standing up and goose bumps covering her skin. She can feel eyes on her. She doesn’t want to turn around.

The crowd of people disintegrates in swells of laughter and the man in the white mask stares at her for a moment before tuning as well.

“Becca…” Something whispers by her ear.

She turns and sees nothing.

Her heart pounds in her chest like a drum and she looks around the room. It’s dark and all of the walls are black. A single light shines down from the ceiling, but strangely there is nothing there to give off that light. There are no doors, no windows… the only thing that suggests this place is even remotely real is the mirror-window… if only that seemed real.

The room is empty but she hears voices. Her name swirls around her in whispers that slice through the air like knives, making Becca’s insides feel gnarled and tangled, and her blood run as cold as ice. She can feel that something isn’t right about this place.

And then the masks appear.

Black masks floating off of the ground begin to come from the walls, hundreds of them. Their faces are all different, most sad and most terrifying. Transparent black-cloaked bodies appear underneath them, and the holes where the eyes go turn black as night. They continue to creep toward Becca, who feels tears start to fall from her eyes.

“Becca,” She hears.

She jumps and a small guttural noise escapes her mouth as she falls to the floor, pressing her back against the wall that holds the mirror.

The man with the white mask stands above her.

“Becca Reed,” He hisses, his voice indistinct. “You are no good. You will be bad.”

Becca stares at him, a new sense of fear washing over her.

“You will mess up,” He goes on. “You are not perfect.”

“I—I chose the white mask,” She says, her voice a higher pitch than normal. “I can do it.”

The man chuckles. “No you can’t.”

“I can!” She shouts.

The mirror shatters behind her, glass pieces falling into her hair and onto her shoulders. The room begins to shake as the masks start to grow. They grow and grow and the room stretches taller. Becca feels so small… she’s like an ant…

The man stands in front of her now, instead of by her side. His hands are on his hips and he shakes his head, his laughter distorted by the mask.

“You will fail,” He says. “And they will get you.”

The masks dive forward and slam into her.

Becca jerks awake, sweat pooling on her forehead and her heart beating in her ears. The blankets are twisted around her like a cocoon and the room is still dark with nighttime. The shadow still lingers on the floor, still and silent as a shadow is supposed to be.

And then it moves.

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