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The Faceless Girl
Many a night the Faceless Girl came to me, standing in the light of the moon beaming through my open bedroom window. The ethereal white strands of her hair billowed around her, and the light fabric of her Greek chiton rustled as if by some non-existent breeze. Where a face would have been was only smooth, pale translucent flesh. A great, crushing sadness seemed to radiate out from her, a coldness that froze me to the bed sheets and my tongue to my mouth. She looked so lost and helpless; I wished to cry out, but all that would come was a hoarse gurgle. She would linger, there by the window, until the first rays of sunlight pierced the morning sky, and she would fade to mist and my paralysis would be broken.
I sit in the café now, my thoughts turning in endless circles and always returning to the mysterious spirit without a face. My sketchbook sits on the table, my pencil poised above it, but there are no creative sparks today. I am too preoccupied.
My gaze drifts across the street and I begin to sketch, not really paying attention, and my thoughts wander as I listen to the rhythmic clinking of coffee cups, and my pencil moving seemingly of it’s own accord across the page. The conversation is muted as it always seems to be in cafés and libraries.
I suppose the Faceless Girl deserves a name. Ariadne seems appropriate, after the cunning mortal princess who led Odysseus through the Labyrinth. I hope now, that the power of a name may help her find what she has lost in dying. I wonder what she could be looking for that would lead her, of all places, to my bedroom.
“Zat is eenteresting. Eez it a ghost . . . Or a Greek goddess or somezeeng?” Keppie sits across from me, stroking his goatee thoughtfully. He is, in essence, the cliché café guy. He has a goatee, square glasses, a dazzling array of turtleneck sweaters and even a beret when he’s in the mood. His French accent is so obviously fake it is pathetic.
But Keppie’s voice sounds as if it is coming to me through a tin can (French accents sound very weird through a can by the way.). I’m looking down at my sketchbook, where I had unconsciously drawn a perfect likeness of Ariadne. Her beautiful white hair and Greek style dress seem to be moving in the breeze as I am looking, but it is probably just an optical illusion, a trick of the light. It was as if giving her a name has summoned her here.
I look up at Keppie, dazed. “Yeah, I guess.”
My eyes wander back to the sketch and my words die in my throat. The picture has changed. Ariadne’s hand is reaching out at me, as if pleading. And I notice something else: she is no longer standing in my bedroom, but in the mouth of a dark and narrow alleyway.
“Zat eez eempossible!” Keppie gapes open-mouthed at the new drawing.
He listens in silence as I tell him of the Faceless Girl, and how I had just given her a name when she appeared in my sketchbook.
“You think I’m insane,” I accuse him.
“I believe you. Eet eez eempossible, but I saw eet weeth my very own eyes!”
“I think maybe she’s asking for help,” I say, as an idea comes to me. It feels like electricity on the tips of my fingers. “Do you know where this is?” I offer Keppie my sketchbook, but he is too scared to touch it.
“Surely you do not think zat you are going zer tonight!”
“I think I can help.”
“Zee supernatural, you do not mess weeth it!”
“Keppie, please. Where is it,” It is not a question, but a command.
“Okay. I will tell you. But beware, eet will be very dangerous!”
Ere long I find myself walking through a labyrinth of narrow side streets and passages, Keppie having convinced me to take him along (Zer is safety in numbairs!” he says.). In the empty twilight streets our footsteps echo dully on the cobbles.
I can’t help but wonder if Ariadne would appear to me with Keppie along, but there is no losing him. Despite his earlier fear is now babbling non-stop about “Eez first supernatural encounter!”, so much so that I have to keep reminding him that I have absolutely no clue where the alley is, so could he please pay attention to where he is going.
As we are now, I suspect, fairly close to our destination, I can see very clearly that the picture is moving, and the breeze has picked up to match the breeze outside. I keep this from Keppie, though I am not sure why.
The mouth of the alley stands empty and dark before us. The full moons shines brightly overhead, casting an eerie glow, and the breeze picks up slightly, chilling me through my chic suede jacket. We enter the alley. Ariadne is nowhere in sight.
“Zee strangest sensation!” Keppie exclaims. “Eet eez a mad fizzling een my skin!”
Keppie seems to be made entirely of pixels, and the breeze in the drawing of Ariadne has elevated to a full force gale, her hair whipping around in such a fury I cannot describe. And then Keppie is gone, and in his place the Faceless Girl.
I tear my gaze away from the apparition and stare at my sketchpad in disbelief. It is now Keppie in the alley, his beret blowing off his head and his face frozen in an expression of alarm. The picture moves no more.
Ariadne leaves the alley, and I run after her, despite every nerve that was screaming to run away.
She lead my to a small cemetery, and stands in the center of the path, with the same look of a lost child.
I realize what she is looking for: her identity. In dying she has lost who she is. But how am I supposed to know who she is? Thankfully there are not many tombstones.
A beam of moonlight falls on one particular stone, and I read the inscription.
Killed on the stage at a tragic young age
On the stage. That might explain the Greek clothing. She was nineteen.
“Celine? Celine Beauregard? Is that you?” As I am speaking her face begins to change, and gain features. She is no longer the Faceless Girl, but Celine.
With a grateful smile, she fades to mist. Now I must find a way to get Keppie out of my sketchbook. Oh well, his fake accent was annoying anyway.