An old flash fiction that I just had to revisit. +Adrianna Joleigh put up a writing prompt challenge on her blog and there was one that I felt was already in my hard drive that was perfect but needed to get chopped up and edited to be just right for the challenge.
Maskara means "Mask" in my native tongue. During the practice of Animism Shamans/Witchdoctors/Witch would put on masks to channel the helpful spirit.
I hope you all enjoy it. Don't worry this isn't replacing the 100 word story that'll be up in a bit. Taking my time.
I remember visiting the Witch’s bamboo hut. People came sick and with questions, bearing
gifts of meat, vegetable, and fruit as payment for her medicine and
fortunetelling. I went there every day, the smoky smell of incense an
inviting scent, watched as she made herbal medicines, and as she put on a brightly
painted mask each time. I remember asking her for one, she told me they
weren’t for little boys to play with. I
asked and I asked until finally I asked…
took me down below her hut, past where she kept jars of medicine cool with the
cold damp Earth, down further where shadows lay untouched by light of Sun.
It is here she kept her masks from prying hands of little boys. The
walls were lined with their brightly painted wooden faces, too many for my
little fingers and toes to count. I
looked and touched and wondered aloud: Whatever are they for? She reached
for one and told me its story, who made it and why. The spirit of a witch lives on in her mask,
to pass down her knowledge and wisdom to the next, and then to be passed on to
another, and to another. But, for now,
there is no other for her to pass it on.
I cried and cried. I did not want these beautiful masks to go away
came, and seasons went.
grew out from the boy that was, grown distant from the brightly painted masks I
Within that time
Strange Folks came to our island. They
were pale as sister Moon, with hair the fair color of brother Sun. They brought with them science, trade, and
religion. They proclaimed that they came
to save us from an eternity of brimstone, fire and pain. From them I received salvation, as well as a
good and proper Bible name. I went back
home told neighbors, family, and friends: Do not
be afraid! These Strange Folks are only
here to help! I went to visit my old
friend in her bamboo hut, a mask of happiness and joy plastered on my face, to
tell her the news.
The Witch had no
more visitors after all these years, for none believed in her fortunes and spirits,
yet she was still my mysterious and special friend. The hut was burning
when I arrived, a black smoky finger pointing accusingly at the sky. The Witch crying as she watched her home burn
down, broken pieces of brightly painted wood scattered around her. I
watched as tears bled down her craggy face, angry pitiful cries racking her frail
ancient body. I took her to safety as the fire grew stronger, and asked
her who did it.
Who would do this
Folks!” The Witch howled, I cried and shook my head in disbelief.
No, no, no, they wouldn’t, I
explained, for they gave me a good, and proper Bible name.
“Ahhh… Finally you have your mask.”