The Mask of Never Forgetting

My entry for the writing contest. Hopefully this will shed some light onto our society's prejudice against appearances.

Word count: 598

Comments and ratings are greatly appreciated!

Chapter 1

Audition

I paid the taxi driver and stepped out onto the busy street corner. This was it. I'd dreamed of this all my life. I was going to make a place for myself in New York City on the famed stages of Broadway. I shouldered my worn canvas bag and strolled into the tall building that stood before me- The Royal View Apartment Complex. Nothing, not even the stares could dampen my mood.

"Hi! Sorry I'm late, the flight was delayed and my step mother didn't give me your number." I hurried up to the woman dressed in a black suit. She spun around and pursed her lips when she saw me. She had sharp, almost bird like features and dyed blonde hair with gray roots showing through. She was appraising my deformed skin with a cool, professional appearance barely concealing disgust.

"Stella told me about your...hmm... accident...." She tapped her pen rapidly against her clipboard.

I frowned. She hadn't told me about that. I knew she'd met with a real estate agent to settle on my apartment, but I had no idea she'd told this woman about the fire that had killed my parents and burned most of my body.

"Here's your key. I assume you can find your way up."

I forced a smile and proceeded past her to the elevator.

"Stella tells me you're here to try to make it on Broadway..." She smirked. "Good luck with that."

I shook off her comment and hurried up to my apartment. I had an audition tomorrow, and I was certain not everyone would treat me the same way as that horrid woman. I was a fool.

I woke promptly at 9:00 and I warmed up my voice and grabbed the sheet music to "Don't Rain on My Parade" from Funny Girl. I walked to the theater, arriving exactly one hour before the audition was scheduled to start.

I was tapping my feet all the while I was waiting to be called, and a full two hours went by before I heard a tired man announce that it was my turn. This was it. The moment I'd been waiting for. I stepped on stage and handed over my sheet music. I stared at the faces of the director and the producer, but they looked down, refusing to meet my gaze.

The music started playing. "Don't tell me not to..."

The producer held up a hand. "Thank you Miss Hyde. We'll be in touch." She drawled in a way she'd probably practiced hundreds of times with others. The difference between me and those other performers- they'd got to sing the full 32 bars.

I clenched my fists. This was what I'd waited years for? To be waved out of an audition before I'd sung my first verse? I hurried out of the audition, wishing so much I could just hide myself away. I bumped into a tall man waiting for his audition on the way out.

He scrutinized my face for a second and smirked the same way Irma Ranthall had. "You don't belong here, you freak."

I hurried back to the apartment and dug through my things. Maybe there was a way to hide my face forever. I pulled out the plain white mask my father had given me. I secured the strap behind my ear and stared at my reflection in the mirror.

"This is what it's come to." I whispered. "Never will I take this mask off again. Never will I let them see me. This is where freaks like me belong. Behind a mask.

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