The Girl with No Face

Submitted into Contest #114 in response to: Write about someone grappling with an insecurity.... view prompt


Asian American Horror Coming of Age

CW: bullying, gore

Jia Si Ya started off with all the facial features a normal human would have. Two years, one mouth, two eyes and a nose. 

She was a normal sort of girl growing up in China. Quiet, artistic, most importantly, her grades are always among the top three in her class. She was left alone to her own devices, because you simply don’t mess with a girl who has good grades in China. The teachers would be on her side. She’s not close to most of her classmates but they look at her with some jealousy, but that was plenty made up by their reverence for her good grades. She had one or two close friends who knew her like they knew themselves. 

Then, one day, her parents set her down and told her they’re getting on an airplane. Their three room apartment is packed into ten plastic boxes. They caught a taxi to the airport. That is how Jia Si Ya ended up in a land where night is day and day is night. 

Jia Si Ya began to lose her body parts the first day of school. 

“Everyone, this is a new student, her name is…”

The teacher’s face scrunched up into a walnut, filled with lines. She looked like she ate something wrong. 

“Jia Si Ya,” Jia Si Ya said sincerely. “It’s Jia-Si-Ya.”

All her new classmates stayed silent. Some of their faces scrunched up like walnuts too. Suddenly, Jia Si Ya is standing in front of a classroom of walnuts. 

“Do you have an English name?” the teacher approached her carefully as if speaking to a sleeping lion rather than a small girl. 

“No,” Jia Si Ya replied. “I’m not English.” 

That made the class laugh. Not the sort of laugh Jia Si Ya is used to from her old classmates. It had a strange tone to it, as if there was poison mixed inside honey. 

The teacher shook her head as if Jia Si Ya just admitted she kicked someone off the cliff. “Well, you’ll need one from now on. You’ll be Jane. A pretty name.”

Jia Si Ya didn’t reply. She wanted to ask the teacher who she was to give her a name when she already had one. The teacher simply threw a name at her, as if she was a stray kitten the teacher just picked up from the streets. 

Jia Si Ya lost an ear on that day, because she didn’t want to hear the name that she did not claim. Everyone called her that one syllable word from then on. Although Jia Si Ya always walked away not answering their words as they screamed at her from down the hall.

Her classmates slowly realized that Jia Si Ya was purposefully ignoring them. They took personal offense with that, like how children always do. They thought that Jia Si Ya was the newcomer, the outsider, the one who doesn’t look like anyone else. 

“Why is that girl not talking to us?” They asked their parents. 

“She probably just doesn’t know how to speak English,” their parents answered patiently. 

The next day when the classmates came back to school, they repeated the exact words their parents told them to Jia Si Ya.

“You cannot speak English, can you?” They said, “That is why you don’t speak so much.”

“What?” Jia Si Ya splattered in indignation. “No, I learned English ever since I was a child. I just don’t like to talk much. I like books.”

“Haha,” the classmates laughed with delight. “She couldn’t speak English.”

“I am literally speaking English with you right now.”

I am literally speaking English with you right now!” The children chanted, with a twisty and shrill voice as if they were singing in the opera. 

Jia Si Ya lost another ear that day. She would not listen to any more of this nonsense, she would not give them any ammunition. So she shreded her ears as if she shred off some bad skin, from then on she has to hear no more. 

Jia Si Ya could no longer hear. She spends all her days in the library reading books. Books about love and death. Books about friendship and happiness. Books about magic. Jia Si Ya thought she must have a certain kind of magic, too. She has never seen anyone else who could shed parts of themselves without it hurting, or anyone noticing. 

The only person who noticed she had no ears was the librarian, a kind older woman with dreadlocks. She never tried to speak to Jia Si Ya because she noticed Jia Si Ya had no ears, so instead the librarian communicated with her with writings. 

The old librarian had the most beautiful handwriting. Her words looked like butterflies that could open their wings and fly away. Jia Si Ya tried to imitate the old librarian’s handwriting at home, but the scribbles that came out from her childish hands are just an ugly turtle. 

The librarian gave books to Jia Si Ya with different kinds of people in them. Some had the librarian’s skin colour, some spoke Jia Si Ya’s language. Some whose brain functions differently, some who lost body parts like Jia Si Ya. Some books with girls kissing girls and boys kissing boys, some with protagonists who don't like kissing at all. 

“It’s important,” the librarian wrote to Jia Si Ya. “Stories are a reflection of the world. Only when our stories rightfully reflect all different kinds of people in the world, then can stories become real.”

Jia Si Ya thought of that often. She thought that her classmates and her teacher possibly have magic, too, since they saw a different world other than the reality the librarian and Jia Si Ya lived in. Her classmates and her teachers only see the world of their own, where every single person is like themselves.

Until one day, the principal came and told the librarian to go home. The librarian had been trying to fill the library with books that reflect the real world. The principal said the parents didn’t like that. He said the parents think the librarian was trying to cause a fracture in their beautiful imaginary world. 

The librarian was gone the next morning. She left behind a note on Jia Si Ya’s locker. “Never forget to keep reading,” it said. 

Jia Si Ya nodded and kept the note inside her pencil case. Her mouth peeled off like a worned sticker. It was useless, anyway. There was no use of a mouth, when no one wanted to hear what you have to say. 

There was a birthday party coming up for one of the most popular girls of their year. She came up to a mouthless and earless Jia Si Ya one day, handing her an invitation to the party. Jia Si Ya stood there, not understanding at first, since she had no ears or a mouth, she couldn’t understand what they were saying to her, nor could she give a reply. 

However, at the end of the day Jia Si Ya went home and read the letter. She wanted to scream in joy at seeing the words on the invitation. This was the first time she was welcomed to a party, she was ready to be fully prepared.

She even asked her mother how to do eye makeup. Her mother, who was a model when they were back in China, happily obliged. Her mother was always busy keeping the family afloat in this foreign country, as the dream they were promised was not nearly as good as they were told. She noticed her daughter gradually losing facial features, but the mom just assumed her daughter had misplaced them. 

“They’ll come back,” the mother told herself. “Once Si Ya is a little older, they'll grow back.”

Jia Si Ya went to the party, with a heart filled with hope. She couldn’t hear the music blasting, but she could smell the stench of alcohol. It made her throat perk up, unlike the cool kids in school. She has never tried alcohol yet. 

The girl who this party was for led Jia Si Ya into a different room away from everyone. She whispered something to Jia Si Ya that Jia Si Ya didn’t understand. But Jia Si Ya wasn’t stupid, from the body language of the girl, Jia Si Ya understood that she wanted Jia Si Ya to stay in this room because there was a surprise for her.

Jia Si Ya was thinking how kind this all was. It was the girl’s birthday, but she was making a surprise for Jia Si Ya? That was so thoughtful and sweet. 

She waited. The girl came back and led Jia Si Ya back into the room where everyone was. 

Jia Si Ya blinked. All the students that were there had their eyes taped into a line. She could see vines popping up from where the tape stretched skin into the corner. You could barely see their eyeballs, all you can see is a thin line of red tissue. 

Jia Si Ya didn’t say a thing as the entire room of students stared at her down as if they were expecting her to laugh. 

Her eyes peeled away from her face. One by one. The second eye to drop on the ground still had a single drop of tear leaking out of it as it evaporated.

All Jia Si Ya left was her nose. 

Her nose was great. Despite not having any other facial features anymore, Jia Si Ya cherished her nose as if it was a piece of treasure. She loved all the smells of the world. The grass after a rainy day. An old book with pages turning yellow. Pu’er tea that was her mom’s favorite. 

Most importantly, the lunch filled with Jing Cai (Cuisine of Beijing) her parents always pack for her. Eggplant sauce noodles, Beijing barbeque, beef dipped in a special sauce for days on end just for that particular flavor. One time after her parents had a gathering dinner with all their Chinese friends, her mom even took some leftover Beijing roast duck with her to school.

That was the day her classmate took her lunch box. They had always been holding their fingers on their nose whenever Jia Si Ya opened her lunch box or made sputtering sounds. But that day, they went a little bit further. 

They snatched the lunch box from Jia Si Ya’s grip. Because she had no eyes or ears, Jia Si Ya didn’t see or hear them coming. Because she had no mouth, Jia Si Ya couldn’t scream or tell them to stop. 

The only sensation left was a tingling sense in her nostril. As the rich smell of the roast duck ready for consumption mixed up with the odor of overday trash. The rotten banana skin, the scrunched up tissue papers filled with someone’s coughed up saliva, the stench of chewed up gum. All of that turned into a gigantic monster and swallowed up the delicious roasted duck. 

Jia Si Ya’s nose slipped away like the last feather of a bird. It dropped on the ground, leaving raw pink skin and flat surface behind. 

Her classmates stopped laughing. They only now noticed that Jia Si Ya has no features left on her face. 

The screams filled with the school. No one came out of there when school ended that day. Not the next day or the day after. 

Rumor has it, even now when you step onto the haunted grounds of that school, you can still possibly encounter a girl with no face. 

If you ever do see her, you better bet that you are not the kind of person who took away other people’s faces. Or she will take yours, because you made her insecure about hers. 

October 05, 2021 08:40

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Tommy Goround
05:06 Aug 12, 2022

This looks like a winner. Nice unraveling. Theme: “It’s important,” the librarian wrote to Jia Si Ya. “Stories are a reflection of the world. Only when our stories rightfully reflect all different kinds of people in the world, then can stories become real.” She has a nose. Does she smell their fear?


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Priyanka Chaya
12:28 May 02, 2022

Wow, what a great concept! I really enjoyed reading your story.


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Alexandria Cross
11:38 Feb 15, 2022

This is great! Is it available in Chinese?


Chenchen Du
19:35 Feb 15, 2022

It's not available in Chinese. I wrote it as a one shot story. But if people want I can translate it into Chinese but then I will put it on a Chinese website.


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Delia Tomkus
19:42 Nov 10, 2021

I'm trying to come up with a good comment for this story and all I can come up with is umm, wow! This is SO GOOD


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Annalisa D.
13:42 Oct 14, 2021

This was a very well written and interesting story. I liked the message behind it and the creative, visual way you created that. Excellent job!


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Marina Savva
03:22 Oct 14, 2021

I loved how emotive this piece of writing was. The removal of the ears and other parts was very interesting and unique; I quite enjoyed the concept. Keep up the good work!


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Lily Rama
19:36 Oct 10, 2021

I love this story. It was beautifully written and very emotional. I love the name of the story too! I wish I could write like this! Keep writing!


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