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Mystery

The day had been the same as always, a suit and tie kind of day where the shirt didn’t quite fit and the tie was way too tight. I’d survived though and chalked that up as a victory of sorts. I shielded my face as I watched the sun vanish from the sky. Like the click of my fingers or the snap of a bone breaking suddenly I found that my world was both bland and cold. It was like the very moment the orb of day had hit the horizon I was attacked by the night, a bitter and cold darkness. It made the world outside feel like it was reflecting my very soul. I could have caught the 540 bus straight home but it was Friday. Instead of the bus stop my feet dragged me to the Three Aces. It was a bar downtown, about half an hour walk. It was a hell hole of a place, my Friday night regular hangout. Everyone there knew my personality better than I knew it myself. It was here that I first saw it, out of the corner of my eye, a ghost amongst the black and white, the grey of my world enhanced by the surprising addition of color. It was orange, it was odd, and it seemed to me to be completely out of place. It stood out exactly like that moldy pumpkin you spy at the very back of the fridge and you stop for a second and wonder when it was that you last bought anything fresh, least of all a pumpkin. As affronting as this image was to me I noticed nobody else seemed to see it. This blot of yuck on an otherwise dreary landscape made me feel sick but the drinkers beside me kept drinking. The musicians kept wailing. The bored bar staff just kept on taking the cash and pouring a splash. I finished my scotch and left as swiftly as I could, the girl behind the bar with the off putting hair style raised one pierced eyebrow as she noticed me leaving. I mumbled an excuse but it rang hollow. She knew I'd never turn my back on another drink.

"Hot date?" she laughed.

I flicked my thumb over my shoulder to where I had last seen Orange Face but there was nothing left to see, the face was gone.

"Never mind..." I murmured before taking my leave.

 

The pitter patter of a downpour met me as I exited the flea pit of a bar and hit the streets. More grey in a dark and depressing world of dreariness. I heard a laugh, a sick and twisted thing; it was just like the sound of clowns after they had shared a hit of ice. My feet drew me toward the noise but somehow it was always just that moment too far away. Stumbling along I wondered why it was that the sound drew me ever closer. I should have been running away, like I always did; running from love, family, life. I stopped, turned and brushed the drizzle from my face before I began to trudge back towards home. As I walked away I was almost sad to hear the laughter fade.

 

One street blurred into another and I found myself lost. I was confused by the rain and the dark and the deepness of my despair. I thrust out my hands like a blind beggar and touched the rough surface of the building before me. A car rounded the bend behind me and lit up my world in harsh high beam. In that moment it was revealed to me the name I required, Dan’s Convenience, the store before which I currently stood. As my sullen eyes opened in joyous surprise I caught sight of a vision that pained me and created new fear. It was Orange Face! Somehow the face was there, coming around the corner, coming straight for me. I couldn't get away. I lashed out, desperately attempting to create some distance, some safe space between me and that complete and utter ugliness. As my clenched fists shattered the glass I felt all the pain of shallow cuts and slashes. It felt as though little slithers of agony were sliding into me to sit just below my skin. As the shop window busted open I was attacked again. This time my ears were bombarded by the nagging continual piercing squeal of alarms. I limped away, a leaper in search of a hole to hide in. I sought out a safe haven where I could lick my wounds and my soul clean, clear and pure again. The shadows of the alleyway became my friend again, a place to hide, to flee under cover. More alarming, sharp sounds filled the air. It was the wail of sirens. The hunt was on and I was to be the prey. But what of Orange Face? Did not that brute better deserve the attentions and intentions of the authorities? Those dressed in a uniformity that allowed them the role of author of their own fate and mine, but not that of the face that was orange. I fled, drops of my life following after, a trail of crumbs for Officers Hansel and that of his or her partner. Looking back down the alley I gasped at the splatters of color that I was leaving behind me. Orange puddles. Round and ugly, a thousand faces. I released the sound of anguish that was bottled up, the primal cry that had been building steadily inside me. I was lost, confused and truly afraid. In every window, every mirror, every puddle and surface of reflection I witnessed Orange Face. It was before me, behind me, beside me. I ran and ran and ran until I could run no more. That was when I finally faced the truth I had been running from the whole time. I could not escape that haunting shadow. The monster was with me every anguish filled, faulting step. There could only be one logical reason, one sure fire bet. I would never escape Orange Face. I couldn’t, for Orange Face was me.

April 15, 2020 05:54

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Tim Law
11:28 Apr 16, 2020

This was the perfect chance for me to expand on a short story idea I had added to my blog in 2017. Based on a scene I distinctly remember from the Sin City movie.

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