The Mask and a Half by Chiad Onyeje

A man marked for death walked into his home away from home, the job he adored so. The job all others had abandoned for the day to retire to their abodes. This man had come to finish his report, for he was a man of the paper. Through day and into the night, he worked and toiled until his brain could take no more. Today was no different, to him that is. As he paced the aisles of cubicles to his desk, a 3 digit numeral of 364. You could tell as he walked by the rows he was drowsy, and who could blame him? The whole office was a bland grey, the darkness outside was of no assistance either. As he reached the door of his office, the marked man held out his hand to turn the door. To his surprise, the door was locked, for he was sure that the door had never been locked, especially since he was the only one with the key to lock it. As he searched for his key, on the other side of the door, I prepared myself for the grand entry, the next chance for perfection. A marked man turned the key in the lock, and to his fearful surprise and my fractured joy, we met face to mask, man to distortion. Before he could run he was already trapped in place with expanding fright. I moved quick and gracefully around him and my doubled smile not wavering an inch, checking to see if he was indeed the perfect mark. He stood stock still until I spoke to him for the first and only time “You of course know exactly who I am, but are you the one I seek?” He hesitantly nodded and shook respectively and relinquished his fate into the capable hands of death, just like the others, he was prepared to answer to death’s horrific song. To me, it’s a most wondrous melody, but…, it wasn’t perfect.


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