The mask itched something fierce, but Maisy didn’t dare take it off. Not with Thomas beside her. Once out the door, he told her, “Maisy, you’re stuck with it. Mama chose you to wear the mask.” By the hiss in his voice, he sounded almost jealous. Maisy thought he was crazy.
Years ago, aggressive and barbaric aliens invaded their world and were defeated in a great war. From the skinned face of a dead alien, a mask was made so everyone remembered the enemy.
The original was in the National War Museum, but a rubber replica was always worn by children on the war’s anniversary so they’d never forget the alien’s cruelty.
In every town, a family was selected and chose one of their children as the mask-wearer. As befitting what was done to the aliens, the child in the mask was never treated nicely, but it was a badge of honor.
With difficulty, Maisy sucked in damp air through the tiny hole used as a mouth. She pushed her thin finger carefully under the soft and rubbery skin to scratch her cheek, grumbling, “It’s not fair. It wasn’t even my turn to wear the stupid thing!”
Her twin brother, Elgin, was supposed to wear the mask, but he got sick. So, her mama passed it on to Maisy saying, “A girl should do her duty.”
“I hate this!” Maisy ducked as someone hooted and threw yucky stuff at her. She sniffed. A tear ran down her face. Thomas squeezed her hand and said, “It’ll be okay, Maisy. We’re at Mrs. Rimache’s house. She’ll be nice.”
Thomas knocked. The door opened. Tugging on her mask, Maisy could barely see through the two tiny eye holes, but swallowed hard as she saw long dark antennae bobbing up and down over a scaly green face.
But then, Mrs. Rimache smiled, displaying sharp teeth dripping saliva. With her sad bulbous eyes, she said, “You poor thing. You got stuck wearing the human mask, didn’t you, Maisy?”
This was written for this week’s Trifecta Challenge, using the third definition of the word “mask.”