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Jack stepped out of the door and into the cool night air, the raucous sounds of the party still echoing in his ears. He walked briskly to keep out the chill, his brown hair blowing in the crisp autumn breeze. A dense fog pooled around the streets of London, covering up street signs, and muffling the tolls of Big Ben as it struck twelve. ‘ It’s Witching hour’ Jack thought, remembering childhood tales of ghosts and monsters who prowled the streets at night.
From far off, a dog howled, the sound eerie in the smothering fog. Jack had to stop many times to see where he was going, having never been to the west of the Thames where the party was. He was quickly lost, wandering down forgotten allies that only beggars and thieves called home.
The fog seemed to get thicker the farther lost he became, and Jack longed for his safe little Victorian house in the richest neighborhood of London. At the snoring of a beggar, Jack started, but then chastised himself for being so jumpy. This was 1950! The superstitions of the medieval ages were no more.
But, it seemed that was not the case for London. All the houses were ancient, 200 years old or more. The stones were cracked and worn, and the wood knotted and rotted. The streets he were on were narrow and cobbled, with dirty water trickling down the ruts. If it weren’t for the odd lamppost, Jack could have sworn he had gone back in time.
The wind gusted, blowing unnatural eddies in the fog, shaping it into the likenesses of Jack’s friends and family, but Jack shook his head and the images faded, and he walked on, chagrined that he was getting so skittish as to see people in the fog.
Suddenly, he rounded a corner and collided with a goliath of a man, in a dark trench coat and a top hat that shadowed his face. He wasn’t a beggar, he was too well dressed for that, and Jack began to apologize to the man, who was obviously a gentleman of some sort.
But when he opened his mouth, the man looked up, letting the light fall on his face for the first time. The man had no face. It wasn’t that he had features cut out, they just weren’t there. Where eyes and nose and ears and mouth should have been was just smooth baby white skin, unmarred and untouched. The man reached out his arms and groped for Jack’s face. Jack stepped back, petrified, but the man’s clumsy fingers brushed over Jack’s mouth. Jack tried to yell for help, but he realized he couldn’t. He couldn’t move his lips!
No, it was worse than that. Jack didn’t have lips, or a tongue, or teeth, anymore. But the man did, now. A mouth, Jack’s mouth, slowly shimmered into existence. Jack felt for where his mouth should have been, but he only had smooth, perfect skin there. The man smiled, revealing a mouth full of Jack’s teeth, even the one yellow canine.
Jack screamed, soundlessly, his vocal cords vibrating uselessly. He ran, sprinting at speeds he wouldn’t have thought he still could reach, straining to escape this nightmare, for that was what it had to be. Soon he would wake up in his plush house on the East side, and all would be well.
He tore around corners, not caring which way he was heading, but another faceless man, concealed by the fog, blocked his path, and Jack barreled into him.. Jack fell to the side, the man’s hands waving around, trying to reach him. A wild swipe slapped his cheek, whacking his nose.
Instantly, the sharp, pungent smells of london disappeared. The fumes wafting off the Thames were gone. But a Jack’s pimpled nose appeared on the man’s featureless face, and he sniffed the air, satisfied again.
Jack ran faster now, his heart slamming against his rib cage. Fear gripped him in it’s grasp, and he succomed to it, slumping over, sobbing. The faceless converged around him, surrounding him. Their hands blindly swiped at his face, his hands, his head. One after another, he lost his senses, his body becoming the faceless body. The last part to go was his eyes, which was torture in it’s own way. He could see the faceless stealing all that made up him.
When his eyes left, his soul left. His face was a blank now, his limbs unfeeling. He could sense life now, and he was drawn towards it with an insatiable hunger. He stood up and joined the ranks of the faceless, left to forever wander the streets of London, searching for the senses that had been taken from him, longing to live again.