She wasn’t beautiful she knew that. But when she put on the mask and leaped out into the night, she felt safe. Nobody judged her when she was wearing the scarlet mask. There were no sideways smirks. No mumbled comments. She was simply a typical masked teenager.

All her life she had desperately wanted to be “normal.” Unfortunately, a cruel joke had been played upon her face at birth. The birthmark stretched from her left temple to her right cheekbone. It was an ugly purple tinted putty color.

Her parent’s shame of her facial imperfection had deeply scarred her as a child. Their insistence that she be homeschooled for her own protection only added to her enforced isolation. The fact that none of her tutors dared to look at her face made her feel invisible in her own home.

Then the masked craze started. Teenagers began wearing masks to all social functions in order to act out their online personas. She could now interact with other teenagers without fear of rejection. And the cool part was that she had become the most popular teenager in town!

While other teens were role playing, she was finally able to be herself.

© eat create repeat, all rights reserved.

Side Note:  Growing up one of my friends had a huge birthmark and was made fun of often by the other kids. Halloween was always the best time of year because everyone dressed up and wore masks. Any form of “difference” can make teens feel isolated and unsafe. In reaction to that they often wear masks of some kind or another. Many times behind the masks they feel a false sense of safety and normalcy. This story is simply a reflection of how many teens feel about themselves and the masks they don.

Narrative: This writing prompt aka “sparker” is meant to spark an idea in your brain that triggers a short story.  This prompt came from a great app called “BrainSparker.”

If you would like to join me in trying out a Sparker Saturday post please feel free to add a pingback to this post or put your link in the comment section.  You can write this prompt as prose or a poem.  Just pick whatever works best for you.

If you would like to add an additional challenge try writing this as a microfiction+ story.  I added the “+” because technically microfiction is usually 100 words.  For this one, let’s try the challenge of writing it in 200 words or less.

I look forward to seeing what you write.

7 Comments

  1. She wasn’t beautiful she knew that. But when she put on the mask and leaped out into the night, she felt like the scars of her past melted away. The first scar formed when her dad poked her in the stomach. “You’re getting fat,” he grumbled. She wasn’t. She was five pounds underweight. But this is what he did. Relentlessly.

    The second scar formed when her high school boyfriend forced her to have sex with him in the back seat of her car. She tried to stop him, but she couldn’t. She wasn’t strong enough. The next day he walked by her at school without saying a word. He texted her that night. “You’re too skinny,” was all it said.

    The third scar was not one, but more than one. She started cutting herself. There were barely visible lattices of white lines that criss-crossed her thighs.

    But with the mask on, nobody could see her scars. The doubt. The insecurity. What they saw instead was a confident woman who strode forward, commanding attention, while inside she felt like a child, still yearning for her father’s affection. A woman who wanted a lover. To never hurt herself again.

    Some days were better than others.

    1. Kira says:

      WOW! So very poignant. This actually brought tears to my eyes. I think most women can totally relate to one or more parts of this incredible story you wrote! I keep re-reading it and seeing a subtle nuance that I missed during the previous read. And look, you wrote a story…not a poem! And a darn good story to boot! I could go on and on, but it’s really late here and I need to go to bed. Thank you for participating in this challenge 🙂

      1. Thank you. I have to admit that the “first scar” is an idea I stole from a co-worker. She will always have body image issues because of her dad’s relentless criticism of her weight even though she is skinny.

      2. By the way, besides finishing my Two Turtles short story for that collection, I’ve picked up a work in progress that has stagnated for several years. For the first time in a long time, I’m managing to write without my internal editor telling me it’s crap. If you want to take a look at the first two parts or chapters, it’s here: https://kingmidgetramblings.wordpress.com/the-irrepairable-past-3/

        This little piece has been one of the banes of my writing existence, but I’m optimistic I may have cracked the door open on it.

      3. Kira says:

        Oh wow! That is absolutely fantastic news. My silly WP Reader doesn’t show me you posts for some reason. It is very frustrating. Let me go check it. I am so glad that you have “cracked” the door open! Yay!

      4. Kira says:

        Yes, I saw that! I feel much better now knowing that maybe I am not missing your posts in my reader! Fabulous two chapters. I look forward to what you are working on now!

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