• Published 22nd Mar 2015
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Masks - _Vidz_



A young colt, tormented by the dreadful stares of the ponies around him, desperately searches for a place where he can feel safe. Just when he feels he's found it, it seems this place has a much darker plan for him.

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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

I don’t know how much time has gone by, but I’ve been curled up with my back against this door for so long that I feel the need to stretch out and reawaken my muscles. However, I don’t even dare move an inch, afraid something might be lurking the darkness. My body is exhausted from all the pointless shouting and pounding at the door for Suave’s Father to let me out, but he never came, never even said a word. The room, along with the house, has been quiet for such a long time. I haven’t heard any hoofsteps from Suave’s Father downstairs, not even the wind seems to be interested in howling any longer. I’ve been keeping my head hidden beneath my forelegs to hide myself from the dark. It feels like a large blanket has shrouded me, suffocating me. I can feel my heart steadily picking up its pace, and sweat is beginning to form at the base of my forehead. I try to calm myself by listening to the silence of the room. Until a sudden, loud creak in the wood floor forces me to raise my head up. I see nothing but blackness, but I listen, anticipating another sound to rupture the silence. Just as I pass it off as the house making noises, ready to lay my head back down, I hear something big shift across the floor on the opposite side of the room. I sit up, pushing my back even closer to the door as the sounds of some large animal moving about in the room become more frequent. The sounds shift from the left to the right and nearly every corner of the room. The noises become louder, and whatever is in this room with me, is coming closer. I shield my face with my hooves on the brink of breaking out into a loud sob.

“Avral?” A voice whispers on the other side of the door. The noises have stopped, and I realize just how terribly my body is trembling. “Avral, are you in there?”

“Suave! Suave help!” I plea with my body pressed against the door.

“Avral, don’t worry I’m here to help you.”

“H-How-How did you find me?”

“I snuck away from my parents back at the park as soon as my Father came back. . . I had a feeling he locked you in there. Hopefully they won’t notice I’m gone.”

“Suave, please, please open the door.” I beg, still nearly hyperventilating.

“I need to go find the key to the door, I hope he still keeps it in the same spot he always does.”

“Please hurry, I think there’s something in here.”

“What? What do you mean?” I hear the dreadful sound of something scuffling off in the opposite end of the room, and already I can feel my heartbeat picking back up.

“There’s something in here! Hurry! Please!”

“O-Okay! I’ll be back!” I listen to her steps as she trots down the hall, and the noises continue to creep up behind me. My hooves feel nailed to the door, and my neck turns stiff. I can hear the faint sound of raspy breathing as it draws closer. My mind is telling me to trot away, somewhere, anywhere but staying near this door. However, despite how desperate my legs are to gallop, I remain at the doorstep eagerly awaiting Suave’s return. With my patience quickly running thin, and the undeniable presence drawing near, I bang on the door as hard as I can whilst screaming for Suave to come back. With the soft touch of breath over the back of my neck, I silence. It moves up to my left ear, breathing into my very ear canal. Suddenly, the door opens, and I fall to the floor.

“Suave! Suave, I swear, there’s something—” I pause after picking my head up from the floor to see who has opened the door for me. Suave’s Father stands before me, carrying Suave with his foreleg around her waist. He tilts his head, just waiting to see what my next move is. I can see the stairway just down the hall, but I fear what he’ll do if he were to catch me.

“Avral, would you mind getting back inside the room?” He asks.

“Please, th-there’s something in there. . . D-Don’t make me go back, please.” I beg, on the edge of sobbing before his hooves.

“I will only ask you once more. Please, will you get back inside the room?” Fearing the possible consequences if I don’t obey his order, I crawl back inside to the center of the room. “Now sweetheart,” he says, now looking down to Suave whom he still has in his grasp. “I know you’re upset, but you’ll just have to spend some time in the room as well.” He throws Suave down onto the floor without any attempt at being gentle. “Now, I will be back later to check up on you two. I hope the both of you will learn.” He slams the door shut, coating everything in shadows once again, followed by the sounds of the tumblers in the lock fitting back into place. Quickly, I hurry to Suave who is struggling to sit up from the floor.

“Suave, are you okay? What happened?” I ask frantically.

“I . . . I was looking for the key, and right when I found it he snuck up behind me.”

“Are you hurt?”

“Well . . . my leg aches a little, but I’ll be fine.”

“What’s going on with him? What’s going on with everypony? Before, they were kind and caring, now they’re—”

“Different?” Suave interrupts. “I know, Father was like this the first time he put me in this room. B-But, I still can’t believe what you did.”

“What do you mean?”

“When Mister Mayor offered you the mask, you told him ‘no’. . . I-I don’t know how you did it. I thought for sure you were going to say ‘yes’. If it were me, I think I would’ve been too afraid to tell him ‘no’. I wish I was like you.”

“Really. . ? Because, all this time I’ve been wishing I was more like you.”

“Me? Why?”

“Because you already knew something I should’ve from the beginning. I can’t keep hiding behind a lie, I can’t be afraid to show everypony who I am, so that they can see ‘me’ . . . the real me. That’s why I told him ‘no’, because I couldn’t stop thinking about what you said to me.”

“You mean, after hearing what I said . . . I helped you?” She asks, astonished.

“Well, yeah, I feel like you’ve helped me understand.”

“I knew it! I knew you’d understand me!” She cheers. “I thought nopony would ever understand the way I feel, but as soon as I met you, I knew you were different from everypony else!” Then all of a sudden, her bright and cheerful celebration quickly calms to a saddened mumble. “I just wish . . . Father, Mother, or anyone else could understand.” Noticing the change in the tone of her voice, I feel determined to pull her out of it and bring back that jovial tone of hers.

“. . . W-Well, back home, I-I’m sure everypony would understand!”

“Oh, you make it sound like such a wonderful place. If only my home could be like yours.”

“I-I’m still going to take you with me, a-and you’ll see!”

“Avral, I don’t think there’s a chance of that happening. After what’s happened so far, we’d be lucky if just one of us escapes this room. I know you’re just trying to be kind, but please don’t fill me with false hope.”

“No! Th-That’s not it! We’re going to get out of here, both of us, and when we do I’m bringing you with me. We can both escape this place!”

“Avral. . .” Suave, still sounding unconvinced.

“Have I gone back on ‘any’ of the promises I made you?”

“No, but. . .”

“Then I promise you, that you and I are going to get out of here, and I’m taking you back home with me. You’ll be able to be who you are and-and not be afraid of it! You helped me learn what I should have known from the start, and I intend on repaying you by keeping this promise.” I sit, patiently waiting for her response. Instead of words, I am startled by her sudden embrace, the smooth cheek of her porcelain mask against my chest, all to the sound of her crying.

“Avral, I . . . thank you.” She struggles to say, fighting through her sobs to utter the words. It seems Suave’s crying is the only noise taking the place of the silence, until my ears catch the faint sound of scuffling off in the corner of the room, reminding me that I wasn’t just imagining what I heard earlier. The scuffles turn to scratches and thuds, and Suave’s crying quickly halts so that she can listen to the noises. “W-What was that?” She asks, still overwhelmed by her sudden burst of tears.

“It’s what I heard before, I told you there was something in here!” I whisper. The grotesque sound of the raspy breathing begins again, sending Suave and I bolting towards the door. The both of us pound as hard as we can on the door, calling for Suave’s Father, or just about any sort of help from anyone who might hear us. “Do you think he went back to the park?” I dreadfully ask. Suave doesn’t answer, I assume she believes he indeed did leave the house. With whatever is with us in this room, we listen as it inches closer; breathing, and scratching at the wood floor. Suave and I crumble to our knees, clutching each other. In the very midst of our fearful breakdown, the sounds stop, and the room is once again overtaken by silence. Realizing that it may have left us alone, I try to calm Suave, as she still is grasping onto the cloth of my sleeve rather tightly. “Suave, I think it’s gone. You can let go of my sleeve.”

“I’m not holding your sleeve.” I feel whatever has my sleeve, grip and yank me away from the door. With a frantic cry for help, I reach out for Suave’s hoof, and almost instantly I feel her grasp mine. She tries to pull me back, but the creature’s strength is just too great. It grabs onto my hood, and I choke at the violent tug it gives. I can feel Suave’s grip weakening, urging me to come up with some way to set myself free. I, with as much strength as I can muster, reach for the zipper to my hood. The creature’s grip on my sleeve is strong, but I can just barely touch the metal of the zipper. With one desperate pull, I unzip my jacket, and the creature pulls it right off. I scurry back to Suave’s side, listening as the creature scratches at the walls far off to one side of the room. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I’m-I’m alright.” I stutter, struggling to catch my breath. “Now do you believe me?”

“I’ve heard these sounds before.”

“What?”

“The last time Father locked me in here, I thought I heard something moving about in the room. I was so scared that I was completely convinced there was something here with me. Father used to tell me stories about this room. He did it to scare me, to make sure I wouldn’t do any wrong that could get me locked in this room. It was so dark, and the noises made me feel I wasn’t alone, so I believed his stories. It’s why I never wanted to be locked in here ever again. I was afraid of something that probably didn’t even exist.”

“How come you never told me?”

“I-I was afraid of what you’d think. We were getting along so well I just . . . I didn’t want to scare you away.”

“ . . . I would’ve believed you.”

“You would?”

“My Dad used to tell me stories too. Whenever he would tuck me in bed, he would tell me all kinds of stories; but it was his scary stories that haunted me. I guess it was to try and toughen me up, since I would always come to him in tears, just telling him about how awful my day was. That was just about every day, so he had a story for me nearly every night. I loved the ones he would tell me about adventures and mystery, but his scary stories always left me wide awake in bed. I always heard noises. If you were there, I would swear to you there was something in my closet back in one of my old homes. Whatever is in here right now, it’s real; and if your Dad isn’t coming back soon, we’re going to have to find our own way out of here.”

“But how? The only way out is the door, and it’s just so dark in here, we wouldn’t be able to see a way out even if we tried.”

“Th-There’s got to be something!” I whisper in denial. “Let’s just . . . feel around the walls. Maybe we’ll find something that way. Just . . . be careful.” Suave and I split up, hugging the walls. I feel around for just about anything. A light switch, maybe another door, I’m not too sure what to expect; but it’s better than just sitting around waiting for that thing to attack us again. I hear the violent scratching coming from the far side of the room, it sounds like it’s etching into the wall.

“Avral!” Suave whispers. “Come here!” I follow her voice with my hooves out to keep myself from bumping into her or the wall.

“Where are you?”

“Here, I’m right here.” Her voice is close, and we meet up at once. “Touch the wall here.” I feel the surface of the wall, and it caves in, crinkling like paper. “It’s covering something, I think we can tear right through this.” Just as she finishes, the scratching grows louder, becoming more violent.

“Hurry!” I shout. We rip at the paper, revealing a beam of moonlight firing into the room through the newly created hole. Shred after shred, we tear away the paper to reveal a dusty old window, casting away the dark with the moon beaming through the glass. The scratching silences, and with the room now alighted, we turn to get a clear view at what was once hidden by blackness. The entire room appears to be empty, but my eyes are caught by a shadow in the corner of the room.

“There was a window here all along.” Suave murmurs. “He must’ve covered it with paper to keep the light out, and hoped I would never find it. . . Avral, this is our way out. Could you help me open this. . ? Avral?”

“Suave . . . look.” I whisper. She turns, and upon noticing what’s nestled in the corner of the room, she becomes still. Something hunched over, dressed in what looks like my dark jacket with the hood over its head. Covering its face, is one of the same white porcelain masks caked with dust. Behind the mask, I can hear the faint sounds of what I believe is a light weeping. The creature tries to hide away from the moonlight, keeping its limbs in the shadows. I step closer to it, and immediately Suave calls my name.

“Avral, don’t!” Ignoring her plea, I proceed to inch even closer to the crying creature. As soon as she realizes that I’m not going to stop, she follows closely behind me. I walk until I am a mere foot away, and I can tell quite clearly now that the creature is crying, and its body is moving in a way that makes it appear like it’s breathing. I stretch my foreleg out, and Suave quickly lowers it down before I can get close. She shakes her head to me, and I realize how ridiculous it sounds, but I just want to see it. Again, I reach my hoof out, and just as I’m about to pull the hood down from its head, the mask and jacket fall flat to the floor. Simultaneously, Suave and I jolt once the clothing hits the floor. I step on and kick at the jacket, but nothing happens. I pick up my jacket to see if there was something underneath, but all I find is the bare wood floor. Suave picks up and inspects the dusty mask, as I hold the jacket in my hoof, gazing down at it, wondering if I should even bother taking it back. The only purpose this jacket had was to help hide my face. Now, I see no other use for it. I toss the jacket back into the corner of the room where the creature sat. Turning to Suave, she seems to be gazing down at the mask with the same intensity. “Avral, are you ready to leave?” She asks with her eyes still stuck on the mask.

“Yeah, I am.”

“Good.” She tosses the mask back to the corner of the room, atop my jacket. “So am I.”

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