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The Masked

    Through the city streets walked its many masked citizens.  Everywhere the same face, the same expression, the same perfection.  Another one of those masked citizens, one who could be presumed to be a businessman by his proper dress, also walked the streets.  He blended into the grey, muddy blur of the rest of the passersby, save for one part of his dress—a bright, cherry-red tie.  Such an atrocious piece of clothing caught the hidden, judging eyes of many of the citizens he walked past, yet this eyesore to many was also a sight for sore eyes that piqued the curiosity of some. 
    Someone shoved him.  The businessman almost fell off his feet.  He glanced around nervously, trying to see who pushed him, but it was in vain.  He pressed on, slightly frightened by the sudden hostile act.  Again, despite his hoping that it was just a slight anomaly, another passerby shoved him.  The businessman started walking at a much faster pace at this point, scared about what would happen next if he lingered.  He thought his pace was sufficient enough to get him back into his office, until he was violently grabbed by the shoulders and thrown to the ground, the impact nearly breaking his arm. 
As he slowly turned from his side to see just who threw him down, he saw another masked face, nearly a mirror image save for its grey tie, glaring down at him.  A few other judgmental masks joined the first, all with equally disapproving stares.  The businessman looked from face to face, panicked and shaking.
    “Unacceptable,” the first masked snarled, lifting the man by his tie. 
    “I-I’m sorry,” the man stuttered, “what did I do wrong?”
The masked tore the tie away and threw it to the cement, making the man cry out as the last proof of his identity fell to the ground, ruined.  The masked then smote the businessman, throwing him to the ground and stirring the rest of the mob to action.  It seemed a thousand of those faceless clones surrounded him as they kicked, punched, and stoned him from every direction.  The businessman curled defensively, arms covering his blank mask.  Masks blurred and the air grew thin as he writhed. 
    Feeling suffocated, the businessman felt for his mask, thinking that removing the mask would relieve the sensation of suffocation.  As he removed the mask, it felt like shedding his skin as his true face felt the chilling kiss of cold air.  The mob almost completely froze in terror at once.  Toppled out from behind the mask was not quite a face but in fact an amalgamation of worm-like tentacles with a single, glaring eye staring from behind them.  Seeing this, the mob shrieked in fear as the fled from the businessman.
    The businessman blinked in wonder—his image must have been a terrible one indeed.  He slowly staggered to his feet, dusting off his now-tattered suit.  A few feet away lay his equally-torn tie, muddied and shredded yet still a vibrant red.  The businessman walked over and picked it up, caressing it in his hands.  He looked up at the clouded sky, feeling the cool breeze on his face for the first time.  There would be no going to the office today.






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