Below The Mask

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Three astronauts go to Mars to search for a valuable substance that could change their lives. All goes well until they find what they were looking for in the most unexpected of ways. It reveals a terrible truth long hidden, which shows the real face of one of them.

"It is of key importance that this mission is successful. Keep digging."

These words were spoken by a middle-aged man who looked fairly young for his age. His sharp brown eyes cut through the gentle blue ones of the blond woman next to him. She was the one digging the hole, albeit at a surprisingly slow pace for someone who seemed full of energy. He assumed that she must have been really tired on the inside and that she was just pretending to be alright for the task. But he had no time for such unimportant concerns.

While watching her do her thing, he sighed in annoyance. Although he wasn't much irritated by her behaviour, he couldn't help but do it. After some time, he wasn't willing to let the process go on like this. He walked and walked until he reached the two remaining shovels he had left with him and had to do the same to return to his former position. He clutched onto one of them and threw the other one to his other companion. That person was a woman as well, but she hadn't dressed very conventionally for Mars. 

Just like them, she was an astronaut, and like all astronauts, she wore a suit and helmet. However, she had a black dress on herself. The patterns on that dress could only be described as a tunnel leading to madness - a grey swirl that represented the neverending circle of hope and despair. Its shape made no sense. One could make out neither the beginning nor the end of it, yet it still managed to be captivating and beautiful. Even stranger was the mask that she had on her face. The fact that she never took it off was weird enough, which of course wasn't all there was to its story. The man thought it came from the same place the dress did, for they were so similar. The mask may have been white, but it had the identical grey pattern the dress had. 

Then, a drop of a silver substance fell from the sky and onto her face. 

"Johanna, watch out for the silver water-"

The man was cut off by the speed of the drop. Johanna was aghast, even though this was what they had been searching for. It was the cause of her doom. Holding back a sob as what had been below the mask for so many years of her life has finally started to reveal itself, she took a deep breath. 

The slowness of the wind that was blowing through the dunes of Mars did not help at all in this situation. It would have been the perfect addition for a book reading night near a fireplace on Earth, which was now only a faraway dream living in the shadows of every one of these astronauts' memory. Travelling and desperately seeking something they were lucky to even find a drop of was their only cause since silver water had been discovered. It was their only reason to live.

The man glared at Johanna. This definitely wasn't a part of his plan. They haven't forgotten what it's like to enjoy the warmth of the gentle rays of the sun, to walk through the sand with the ability to be calm, to hang out in their free time, and, most importantly, to have control of their lives for her folly.

Her face was disgusting to the point of being purely contemptible, something that could be found only in the darkest depths of the human heart. He would have been horrified if he didn't have so much experience. Scars covered every inch of her facial skin, and green ooze had been flowing through them for such a long time that it became stuck to them. Her eyes were so invasively red that she might as well have not slept for a dozen years. Transparent and almost popped bubbles were everywhere around the scars, frozen in time and space. They were so vicious and despicable that, even though they had no smell, he could feel it. He could even imagine them crawling all over Johanna's face and laughing with their vile mouths. They looked like someone had enlarged Johanna's zits and dipped them in grey paint.

Grey. Just like the mask.

"Explain yourself, please," he demanded in a harsh voice, making her stand there in horror. 


Submitted: March 10, 2021

© Copyright 2021 hopefuldreamer. All rights reserved.

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