Masquerade

Masquerade

"Little red riding hood knocked on her grandma's door as she cradled the basket of goodies her mom had made for her…" She still remembered her mother telling her that fairy tale as she was being tucked in to sleep when she was still a child.

How could she forget?

She watched him stride towards the spotlight where the huge grand piano was. His every move was as smooth as a fish swimming with the flow of the current. She edged closer as his gloved hand swept the keys with a single swish of movement. Every bit of emotion swayed with the music that emanated from the phenomenal instrument. It is truly amazing that such a bulky hunk of wood could produce such light delicate music…

Adjusting her mask with her laced hand, her eyes traveled from his hands up to his face. She was rather taken aback at the ingenuity of this pianist. All those present at the masquerade had fretted over how to decorate so that it outshines the rest. To think that all that was needed to do was to put on a clean white mask. The mask seemed to shine, radiating a some what God-like glow; giving her the impression that he was the most chivalrous of all men, the most genteel of all gentlemen; the perfect man. As the ladies of the court; attracted, turned to look at this stunning talent, each and every one of the males present grew green with envy.

Her own was blood red. The edges of the eyes were decorated with golden butterflies and dangling gold chains. Her auburn hair was held up with a golden fan. Despite all of this, her presence still was dull compared to his. She could not help releasing a sigh of relief as her mind indulged itself in the melodic atmosphere. At that instant, the pianist's green eyes opened and glanced at her onyx ones, sending shockwaves down her spine. Flushing a crimson brighter than her own outfit, she pushed her way out of the crowd that had unwittingly formed around the pianist; like a barricade that trapped her with him.

She had finally made it to the huge doors that provided her her escape. Like the rest of the room, it was styled during the Victorian time. Engraved around it were sculptures of gargoyles and people—bare but for a piece of silk that draped over them flimsily. As she grabbed her shawl, the music had already died away, but somehow was still thundering in her ears. She made her way out of the palace and unclipped the huge fan out of that mass of red hair. It fell as delicately as rose petals falling to the ground.

She was feeling frustrated and confused. What was happening? Why was she so flustered, she asked herself. Why was she running away? Why had those green eyes had that effect on her? No, she could not stop to think, she needed to stay away.

She suddenly felt a tap on her shoulder and spun around, her long locks whipping through the air as she did so. "What—?" There, before her very eyes was the very pair of green eyes that sent electricity throughout her body that seemed to be able to paralyze her. "This must be yours," "His voice is as beautiful as the music he plays," she thought as she hastily retrieved her red heel from his gloved hand.

"Are you in much of a hurry?" his mellifluous voice melted her like a cup of hot chocolate on a winter night. "No, not quite." She said with her head lowered and her eyes fluttering up from time again to look at those beautiful emeralds that sparkled from his face.

"Then why don't you stay to hear my next piece?" he said. His entire face was covered with a mask of white but she could see his eyes smiling at her. It gave her a very peculiar feeling of both excitement and fear. She couldn't wait to explore it. "Sure, why not?"

His gloved hand rested on hers and then gripped it firmly as they made their way back to the banquet hall. Hundreds of eyes stared at them out of their masks as they walked to the center of the spotlight. She was enjoying the attention she was getting; no doubt feeling a bit cheated after all that hard work she had put in in trying to achieve those looks of envy that she is obtaining from her girlfriends right now.

As they walked through the sea of masks, she pondered about how these masked men were in reality; how she knew that the people who wore the more elaborately decorated masks were really people with foul characters—like a beautiful waxed apple that was really rotten in the core. How happy she felt to be escorted by one who has on a blank mask.

"Sit next to me," he whispered in her ear, and she obeyed. He then began to play. She was hypnotized by the swift movement of his fingers sweeping across the keys, and how elegant it looked. She could not believe that she was sitting right next to him.

They had left the palace right after his performance and he was sending her home. She watched the eerie street lamps glow by the brick sidewalks as her mind went further and further away in a fantasy of romance with the pianist.

"Okay, we're here."

"So soon?" she wondered as she turned about to gather her bearings. Everything around her looked foreign. From the structure of the buildings to the design of the clock tower. They had all suddenly looked monstrous and gloomy. Fear settled into her tummy as she tuned to face her "prince". He had removed his mask to reveal a smooth and flawless face. But his eyes—oh those glittering green eyes were smiling a sadistic smile; it was mocking her.

"Click." She heard and realized the four doors of the Rolls Royce were locked. She could not speak-- let alone scream. Fear had paralyzed her nerves. Now, she was like his puppet; he had total control of her.

"Did I look so safe?" he said as he drew closer to her. Cupping her ears to his lips, he whispered, "I am going to eat you up whole," as his tongue reached for her smooth neck and licked it. His "gentle" hands became rough and tore her clothes of her as he began to strip himself as well. Tears flooded her eyes as she pleaded for him to stop.

She got home that night her gown ragged and torn. As she limped away from her apartment to the rooftop, she thought about what she lost.

There is a saying; the safest place to be in is the most dangerous one. It would definitely apply to this man then, she thought. Her angry eyes welled up in tears again as she thought of her stupidity and naivety. She realized that a person who truly has nothing to hide would not even wear a mask in the first place regardless of its decoration. It was too late to feel sorry now. With naked feet she stepped over the edge of the building and plunged down to hell that was to receive her. Laughing till the air cut her voice away from her.

Like a wolf in disguise, he had tricked her into trusting him. But this was no fairy tale. There could be no happy ending. The wolf ate her.

End