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The Masquerades

Posted by Janus , Mar 19 2009 · 582 views



I'll be perfectly honestly with all of you. I have no idea what this is, none whatsoever.

I mean, I attempted to add some measure of logic and sense, but my original plan went spiraling madly out of control.

For those of you wondering, my original plans were as follows

A: Family-type story wherein younger brother discovers older brother is in fact part of a rebel faction that has been tearing apart the community in which they live
B: A poem-type thing about said situation.

I'm not really sure what happened.

Word count: 753


The Masquerades

A Half mask was their mark, a harlequin painted strip of fabric—it wasn’t enough to cover their faces entirely, but apparently it was enough to strike fear into people’s hearts. Enough to get them what they wanted.

Who they were was a mystery to everyone, there was no statement, no public address…nothing. One day people simply awoke to find that their world had changed, to find that they were living amongst strangers.

They didn’t have a name, or a purpose seemingly. The fearful public simply referred to them as the Masquerades—perhaps due to the half-mask that they bore, perhaps due to their penchant for striking at crowded theatres. For their part, the gang didn’t seem to care what they were called, so long as they got what they wanted.

Of course that was the mystery…that was the thing that nobody could quite figure out. While it had been hundreds of years since crime of any sort had occurred in the city, they still had records; thousands of files that gave the raison d’etre for many different criminal syndicates. The Masquerades didn’t match any of them.

When offered money they simply sneered and laughed. In fact, none of the many different pleasures of the flesh—which had been the reason for many criminals in the past, seemed to appeal to them a whit. They only thing they seemed to take satisfaction in was the deconstruction of everything.

They had never killed anyone, never hurt a single person—but the destruction they caused was immense…having burned down several theatres in the span of weeks.

Their game plan was simple, really. They would enter the theatre sans mask and split up: From there all but one of them would begin working to siphon each of the theatre goers out of the building while the final member would ignite the building. The most peculiar part was that the Masquerades would not let their captives escape for some time, forcing them to watch the building burn. All the while they would remain silent and simply stare into the flames, half their face hidden by their masks.

It came as no surprise when the police force was resurrected to deal with the threat—what was shocking, however, was when the Masquerades simply showed up at the district, masks and all.

“We’d like to surrender” they said, raising their hands, half their faces still unknowable. The police standing guard outside of the building said nothing.
“It was an experiment, you see” The Masquerades explained as they came closer to the building. “To see where the social structure broke down. To see when we reverted to the system of enforcers” As they said this, each of them reached up his or her face and removed their mask. Girls and boys, whites and blacks, colours of every shade reached up and pulled the garishly painted strip of fabric from their faces.

Somehow it came as a surprise to everyone to see that these hated and reviled dangers to society, these menaces who hid half their face behind a mask…were not just children, but their children. To see daughters and sons in a line of what was thought to be enemies was a shock to the system of the city as a whole.

And then the Masquerades-no-longer turned to embrace their families, to show them that they were not the monsters that the media had made them to be.

A shot rang out, those who had been spared still shrunk back as though they’d been struck. Then gradually a circle formed around the young man in the centre who’d taken the blow. It was a clean shot, a killing shot. The former Masquerades turned their wrath upon the officer who had fired. No words were spoken, no blows were exchanged. The young officer crumpled to the ground.

“He…he was my brother” he sobbed.

It was later discovered that the young officer had fired simply due to the stress of the situation. It had not been a deliberate aimed shot, simply a misfire due to the overwhelming stress…a misfire that had taken his brother’s life.

And the Masquerades saw their experiment bear fruit. After the death of the young man, a newly revitalized police force was instigated—with an in-house police force to supervise them.

A single mistake compounded by the naiveté of youth saw the world again restructured as the enforcers grew stronger and stronger yet—until the criminals rebounded and everything returned to the beginning. The dance had begun anew.

  • 0

Like we'll ever reach a point in society where law enforcement is no longer needed. tongue.gif Hooray for pessimism.
    • 0

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