Gothic Bite Magazine is now opening their gates to all authors who would enjoy sharing their work with the public. We welcome all writers, from the enthusiasts to the professionals.
This week, we are sharing the fantastic work of the author and now part of the Ghoul Family, Lycan Soul. Part of the Stories of Misery, the second chapter is now for your spooky eyes to enjoy!
Chapter 2: Love’s Mask
Downtown Misery is a beautiful place. Today was the day Mary was going to end her suffering. At least that is what she kept telling herself as she walked through the door. The bell that was attached to the door rang, and her body shivered. Mary has heard stories that just by entering, you become cursed. The town council has worked hard to try and counter the name of the city. However, there is one store that stands out from the rest. This store is known to the locals as the curse store. Its shelves are full of occult items and antics. Most of the people that shop there are angry spouses and those looking for gag gifts.
“Welcome to Misery’s Company. Is there anything I can help you with today?” asked the woman behind the counter. Mary looked at her and stared at the woman. She was a beautiful young woman with raven black hair. The woman looks just like the cause of all her problems, but Mary knew it could not be her.
“Unless you have something to get back at a cheating boyfriend, I doubt you could help me.” She looked away for the woman embarrassed that she let that information slip.
“We have many things that could help you with that,” she says with a smirk, “We have items, that will make him impotent, or something that will simply make sure he no longer has a love life.” The woman tilted her head to the side a little then smiled, “However, I think I have just the thing for you.”
Mary gave a nervous chuckle, “You don’t know anything about my situation. I am sorry for wasting your time, but I think it might have been a mistake to come here in the first place.”
“Are you sure you do not want to test his love for you or maybe just get some old fashion revenge?” she said as Mary turned to walk out the door. This stopped her right in her tracks. That was the question she has been asking herself since she saw the text messages on his phone.
Mary turned back around and walked up to the counter, “What do you have that can do that?”
The woman reached under the counter, as she did, her raven black hair fell forward to reveal the strange tattoo on the back of her neck. As she stood back up, she was holding an old beat up wooden box. Mary got the strange feeling that whatever was in the box was waiting for her. She quickly shook that feeling away as she was being ridiculous.
The woman carefully opened the box to reveal a beautiful silver mask. Mary let out a gasp as she unknowingly reached out to grab it. The mask was surprisingly warm to the touch. It seemed to be made from real silver and Mary could see herself in the refection.
As she looked at herself, it seemed as if the black eye she had was more prominent than she remembered. She reached up to touch her eye then snapped out of her trance and put the mask back in the box as she looked to the woman.
“How will this help me find out if he truly loves me, or even get me my revenge? I mean it is just a mask.”
The woman gave her a sinister smile, “This is not just any regular mask,” she picked it up using the velvet cloth that lined the inside of the box, “This mask has been around for centuries. Some say once you wear it, those that gaze upon you will see the ones they truly love. Although, it does intensify the wearer’s desires as well.” She placed the mask back into the box and made sure to cover the mask with the cloth. “Sadly, only a person that can control their desires and emotions can wear this mask.” She gave a little shrug with one shoulder as she said this.
“I can control my desires!” Mary blurted out. Something inside of her wanted to see the mask again very badly, something even deeper inside her wanted to feel its warmth. “How much is it?”
“I am sorry, but I cannot, with a clear conscience, sell you this mask. I do not think you can handle it. Maybe I can interest you in a love potion, or some ancient makeup perhaps?”
“Like I said, I can control my emotions. I am sure that mask is just that. A mask. It is a nice story just to up the price on something so simple. So, I will ask you one more time. How much is the mask?” Mary was starting to very antsy and annoyed. It was getting very hard to keep herself in check, but she had to have that mask. As far as she was concerned, it was already hers, and the rest of the store was empty.
The woman made an overly exaggerated shocked face, “It is no mere story, this mask it said to be the very mask Juliet wore when she met Romeo.” Mary was starting to fidget with her hands as she stared at the ebony box. “Well, I seem to have mistaken your control of yourself. I will sell you the mask, but there are no returns once you put it on.”
Mary paid for the surprisingly cheap mask and quickly left the store. As she exited, she thought she heard the woman laughing. As she turned back to look, the woman was nowhere to be found.
The drive home seemed to be the longest trip of her life. All she wanted to do was get home and put the mask on. Every red light she hit, she would find herself touching the ebony box. It took every ounce of her control to stop from pulling over and putting the mask on. This was the one thing that would tell her if he really loved her or not.
“That bastard better love me!” she shouted as one of the seemingly thousands of lights turned green. She didn’t notice she was touching the mask until she felt the warmth creep up her arm. This made her jerk her hand back, but very soon the need to touch it was upon her again.
She finally made it home. As soon as she pulled into the driveway. She grabbed the box and ran inside. The stale cigarette air hit her nose, and she started to feel nausea again.
“I must be getting sick again.” She said quietly to herself. She stood as still as possible but was gently rubbing the box. It seemed to give her comfort and made her stomach feel better. She did not want to tell her boyfriend about her being sick like this again. Last time she told him, he accused her of being a whore and started punching her in the stomach. She never knew why he acted like that, but it did stop the queasiness from coming back.
Suddenly she heard the word murderer whispered in her head. She looked around as the hair on the back of her neck stood up. The voice sounded inhuman, like a guttural growl. She found herself hugging the box tightly. She looked down at it and suddenly ran to the bathroom and slammed the door shut. She tried to lock it, but her boyfriend broke the lock last time she locked herself in.
She set the box gently down on the counter and opened it. The mask was still covered by the velvet cloth. She carefully pulled the cloth away from the mask and stared at herself in the reflection. She started to caress the mask with the tips of her fingers. The warmth of the silver ran up her fingers, and she gave out a low moan. She thought to herself, this is what love must feel like.
Mary reached under the mask and lifted it out of the box. It was must lighter than she remembered in the store. She was slowly raising it slowly to her face. Suddenly she paused an inch from her face. Something suddenly did not feel right about this mask. At that moment the mask seemed to leap out of her fingers and onto her face.
She let out a scream as a flash of heat swept over her face. It lasted only for a second, but for her, it seemed like an hour. During the pain, she collapsed to the floor grabbing at the mask. The mask was anchored to her flesh and would not come off. She reached up for the edge of the sink to pull herself up. Her arms were shaking so bad her mirror fell off the wall and shattered on the floor. The sound of the mirror startled her so much she let go of the sink and fell back onto the ground.
“What the fuck was that?” came a shout from the front of the house. The sound of the mirror must have masked the sound of the front door slamming as well. Suddenly the bathroom door opened forcefully. “Sarah! What are you doing in my house? I told you to never come here!”
Mary stared at him confused, “What are you talking about, William?” She started to sit up and felt a sharp pain in her shoulder. “It’s me, Mary.”
William rubbed his beard and gave a smirk, “What is this, some kind of roleplay thing? At least you could have picked one of Mary’s sexier outfits. Not that trash she wears every day.”
Mary’s eyes went wide, and not in a surprising way. Her eyes were wide with rage. She reached the area where her shoulder hurt and felt something cold and sharp sticking out. She pulled it out without even thinking about it. As she looked at it, there was nothing where her reflection would have been.
“Sarah! Are you okay? We need to get you to a hospital.” William reached down to grab her, but she slashed at him wildly with the shard of glass. “Whoa, what the fuck are you doing?” he yelled as he pulled his arm away only receiving a small thin cut.
“I told you, I am Mary!” she screamed at him. There seemed to be a growl in her voice now. William started to back out of the bathroom, but the door slammed shut behind him.
“Sarah, calm down,” his voice was shaking with a fear he has never known before. This is the first time a woman has ever made him feel fear. “We can talk about anything you want. I don’t understand why you are acting like this.”
“I will tell you why William!” Mary’s voice was almost gone. The deep guttural voice that was in her head was taking over. “You are a cheating, murdering, pedo. We are about to see just how soulless you really are.”
Mary’s voice might not have been her own, but her actions still were. She was filled with a rage that berserkers only dreamed of, in fact, she had never felt so powerful in her entire life. She thrust William against the door and started slashing him with the shard.
William tried to block her attacks with no success. She was attacking him with almost inhuman speed. The small bathroom was starting to become painted in blood as William suddenly became silent. He weakly slid down the door as he gazed at Mary. She finally stopped with her flurry of cuts and stood glaring at the only spot that was not covered with blood. It was an outline of Williams head and torso on the door.
She was breathing heavily as he eyes followed the outline to Williams body slumped on the floor. Most of his clothes were torn to pieces exposing areas where chunks of flesh were now missing. Her rage started to seep away only to be replaced with an unwieldy amount of sorrow.
“Why didn’t you love me?” she screamed out as she started to break down in tears. She fell to her knees and picked up pieces of flesh trying to put him back together. She could barely breathe as she sobbed, and she laid down next to his body. “I am so sorry!” she cried out between gasps.
She placed her head on the ground, and the mask clanged on the tile floor. She sat up quickly and reached to her face. She had forgotten all about the mask once she started the attack. Mary began trying to remove the mask once again. She clawed at the edges but could never find a seam. Now it was her turn to feel fear. This was no ordinary fear, it was a terror that she could never imagine.
Mary couldn’t breathe and started to panic. As she tried to stand up, she slipped in the blood that pooled on the floor. She landed on her side, and the tainted shard of mirror bored into her ribs. She quickly pulled it out too full of terror to feel the pain.
She took the shard to her face and started to cut around the edge. The only thought in her head was to get that mask off. Suddenly laughter filled the bathroom. It was the same voice that was in her head. The last voice William ever heard. Mary started cutting faster, if the terror didn’t kill her, the mask would. She knew this deep in her soul.
The mask was starting to heat up again as Mary was cutting it off her face. Once the circle around the full-faced mask was complete, she pulled with all her strength. The mask went flying across the bathroom and landed in the bathtub with a loud crash.
Suddenly all the pain flooded her at once as she started to stabilize emotionally. Mary let out a scream as she started to crawl to the door. He body was weak, and her eyes were starting to burn. She looked down and saw her reflection in the blood. She let out a loud wail at sight. The skin of her face was completely missing. The only thing left was muscles and lidless eyes. She collapsed into the pool of blood, now rising with her own. She stared at William as everything started to fade to black.
“I can control my emotions.”