Chapter 1: Dreaming of Masks Edit
The same dream again. Night after night, the dream never changes. My brothers were foolish, always risking their lives for fun. I missed them oh so much, even though I should have gotten over their deaths earlier.
I find myself at a town, residents chatting, sun shining, the colours of the buildings and stalls blending into each other! It was a beautiful rainbow of business. And yet, there always stands a closed shop, dull brown bricks clashing horribly. It was a dream, I know, but I swear I always heard my brothers, calling to me from the building. Normally, before I can open the doors to reveal the mystery, I wake up.
But not this time.
I opened the door at last, after so many weeks. And what I saw was terrible. A spiked mask hung on the wall opposite the door. Pink and orange light shone on the walls, leaving the floor to be enveloped in darkness. This mask... Its eyes seemed to pierce my mind, forever holding me in its gaze. The whispering of my brothers seemed to come from it, I realized.
That seemed splendid for the first few seconds. The lights shone on the floor, revealing such horrible things! The wooden floor was in fact a pit, covered in nothing but wooden stakes. On most stakes were the bodies of those in my dream, their chests holding wooden points that drew innocent blood. Amongst those people, though, were my dear brothers. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was ready to leave!
And yet...I wanted the mask.
Those foolish people, they wanted the mask as well. They weren't worthy of getting it, no no no! It called to me. I want it, I need it!
Before I could attempt to reach it, I awoke. This was unfair! I was close to touching such a magnificently crafted mask! But I swear, no matter how long it takes, I will find the precious mask!
So I set off on a journey. I borrowed some carpenter tools from a town below me, strapped them to my waist and immediately set off into the unknown.
Chapter 2: Torment Edit
A few days had passed since I left my home, in search of the treasure. So far, I had not been attacked by foul creatures of the night. A kind traveller has offered to let me stay with him until we get to the next town, which sounded like ‘Eyke-anna’. I couldn’t understand much, with my guide muttering dark things to himself, followed by a chuckle. One of the first things he said was ‘If I had a face like yours, I could be running a different kind of business. Heh heh heh…’ Odd character.
Even though I was in an entirely new world, my nightmares have refused to leave me. I have a feeling it’s to do with the beautiful mask I crave. But surely not! How could a mask that is most likely fictional exist?
I found myself back in the building, the mangled corpses now wearing horrible masks. I wanted to look away, I did! But something about them…attracted me. A whispery voice echoed. “Kill the creatures…claim their faces…release the spirits…”
I think I knew what the voice meant: to put the people’s souls to rest, I had to kill the things that took their lives. On top of that, cut off their faces and make masks out of them. The thought of it repulsed me! And yet, it seemed like the right thing to do. I’m not sure why, but it appealed to me.
I awoke. We were being attacked! My companion called it a Garo, emptiness cloaked in darkness. I readied my knife, hoping it would protect me from the assailant. It lunged. I swung my weapon in frenzy, hoping to kill it. When I opened my eyes, I saw what I had done: somehow, I had managed to slice the Garo’s throat.
The dream mask’s voice filled my mind. “Excellent. You have many more masks to make until you may reap your reward.”
Time became a blur. The next thing I knew, I was holding a well-crafted mask in my hands. It took only a few seconds for me to realise: I had turned the Garo’s head into a mask. The moisture and warmth was gone. The fleshy inside was now replaced by smooth velvet.
Masks were now my life, my future, my desire…
Chapter 3: Merry PartEdit
“Must we part ways now?”
“Yes, my old friend. Whenever there’s a meeting, there is a parting. But I promise you this: one day we will meet again. And only then will our lives be better than they are now.”
Five months since the first mask. Five months since my quest had begun.
My companion and I were a great team. We killed rare beasts and claimed what was ours. He took their spirits, while I took their faces. While I did grow towards his company, we both had different dreams, different places to be.
This was why I alone had to accomplish my goal alone.
Upon returning to where we first met, I had felt something beckon me towards ruins. The carvings on stones were the exact same as the mask of my dreams. This place of death had the feeling of a tragic past, one that could never go away, even if one was to bury the whole place into the ground.
I ventured into the dungeon. The dead took refuge in the shade, the valley’s winds whistled through every crack, corner and hole. After wandering for an hour, I came across a peculiar anomaly: a pool of water, laying still. How was this an anomaly? Well, the pool was mounted on a wall, as if it was a wall decoration.
A feeling of nausea washed over me. Shrugging it off, I pulled my hand into the water. Strangely, I could feel no water. It was as if my hand was grabbing the air. My hand made contact with something. I pulled it out.
Oh gods, it was one of my brothers! His face…shredded and both eyes missing. His body was mangled and bloody. I screamed.
I blinked. My brother’s corpse was nowhere to be seen. The wall-pool lay motionless. Was it…a dream?
I decided to take a different approach. Instead of putting my hand in first, I poked my head in. I could see nothing but darkness. Many feet away, I could see that the wall on the other side was constantly changing colour. I only leaned forward a tiny bit, but something pulled me in, into an ever-changing nightmare.
The mask I desired… It was right before me! I ran towards it, but no matter how far I ran, I stayed exactly where I was. I could go back, but couldn’t go forward…
That was the solution! If I couldn’t get to the mask by walking towards it, I had to walk away facing the wall I was facing. This was an interesting puzzle, yet it was quite tedious to someone of my intellect.
That was the end of happiness.
As I turned to meet the mask of my dreams, I instead met eyes with a dead brother of mine. He wore the same clothes I last saw him wear, and a bizarre mask: some sort of wooden tribal mask. Before I could kill him, he spoke.
“The forest child shall free them. Guide him.”
And with that, the phrase echoed until it was unbearable.
Chapter 4: A Long WaitEdit
I was outside. It was late at night, and I found myself lying against the wall of an old building. Why did it look familiar?
Of course! This was the one. The dream shop.
A note was nailed to the door. It read:
“Consider this a gift from one friend to another.”
I recognised the handwriting and the smell which came off the note. My old friend bought this place for me. All I could do now was enter.
Purple lights, shelves, a counter and sign…
This is a great place to work until I can return to the other land. As I finished repairing the new Mask Shop, a customer entered. A boy in green.
I heard about people dressed in green. They were known as the Kokiri, or Forest Children. Wait, so this means-
He is the one. He can make things better.
“Welcome to the Happy Mask Shop!”