Wyld FLASH November 19th 2021
Each Face represents; thus, representation is necessary.
This was her job. Being the representative or, for short—the Rep. And she was pretty darn good at it, if she said so herself. Preparing each Face for their journey meant she played the part of teacher, provider, and a single mother who tried their very best to raise her children.
The job wasn’t exactly hard—wasn’t the easiest thing on the planet either—but it was something. Something the Rep had been doing for decades, taught the ways by the Rep before her. The Gods send a Face, the Rep prepares the representation.
Sometimes she felt like a professional and, in a way, she was. She knew expressions like the back of her hand. Or the side of a cheek. Expressions was the key to raise a Face. If a Face did not learn to have the correct expression, well, the Rep would fail at her job.
The lineup of her Faces went as follows: the one that smiled; the one that laughed; the one that giggled, blew raspberries, and cooed at the world in wonder and intrigue; the one that frowned; the one that was always surprised, bright as a kid on St. Nick’s Day in December; and the one that was always sad, more times than it should, would burst in tears.
The Rep always had to pay extra attention to this one, cradling the Face in her arms, soothing it with her voice.
Another Face puckered up for a kiss; another Face would be in fear of everything and anything that moved. The drop of a spoon. A fork. A knife. The scurry of little feet carrying a short-haired ball running across the floor to snatch a cheese crumb.
Another Face would be the face one would find lurking inside a young child’s closet, only active at night, waiting patiently as the parent shut the door, wishing their child a goodnight which, never, ever came.
Even though the Faces had no arms and legs they moved by floating off the floor. Each had the ability to zip from one corner of the room to the next. The one that giggled and blew raspberries and cooed at the world loved doing this. Absolutely loved it. A couple of other Faces loved chasing each other around the room, too. The one you’d find in a child’s closet wanted no part of a game.
This Face was a non-social.
Sometimes she took them all on long walks through the forest and, because of the crows, she would need to cast a protective spell. Crows had a tendency to swoop down and snatch a Face and take it back to their nest. It had happened more than once, back when the Rep first started her job.
The Rep smiled whenever she saw her Faces light up, witnessing the outside world, rather than be cooped up inside the cabin all the time. Keeping them inside was for their own safety and for the safety of others. It was far too dangerous to allow a Face roam the countryside on its own. That was a proven fact when one escaped during the night not long ago. This escapee Face attached itself to the face of a wild horse. Not only did the face become confused on what it was supposed to do, so did the horse, scaring the poor animal. After a two-day search the Rep found the masked horse and found that the poor creature near death of shock and fatigue.
Unfortunately any spell she cast did not help the horse and, sadly, it died.
From then on she always made sure the cabin window was locked.
Sometimes the Rep would cast a spell and design a hairless body and allow each Face to attach to it and practice moving hands, arms, legs and feet. Even flex a muscle or two. Even do a jig or a hop on one foot.
The Faces really enjoyed this.
One day, there was a knock on the door.
The big day had come; same time of the year; same month out of the twelve.
The Rep unbolted the wooden door and swung it wide. The visitor stood there. Tall, full of energy, a perfect match for a perfect Face. The Rep welcomed the visitor inside. Now a new presence in the cabin, the Faces all gathered around the visitor as if they were children awaiting story time. The Rep knew they were all excited for this moment.
After the choice was made, a Face settled itself over the front of the skull of the visitor, securing itself, which was a sure fit.
It was always a sure fit.
The Face molded itself, connecting to cheek and bone and eye brows and nose and lips. A smile appeared with eyes as bright as the sun.
Another job complete.
The visitor decided a celebration was in order. The Rep agreed, already a few steps ahead, having food and drink on hand. They both sat at a small wooden table for two and ate dinner, afterwards drinking coffee, while they conversed until the sun made its nightly disappearance.
Then the time came. The visitor with the new Face stood up, thanked the Rep by shaking her hand, checked the knife in the sheath, and slipped into the night while all the other Faces still floated around inside the cabin, still learning their designated expressions, except for that one Face, the Face that loved hiding in the child’s closet, the Face that was off on its new adventure.
Author Bio: Brick Marlin is a dark fiction writer who is the author of twelve novels and a small number of short stories published in different magazines. He’s a 33 year employee at UPS and writes in the early mornings. You can find his work on Goodreads and on his blog
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