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A Short Story

 Amelia Cooke

Copyright © Joyce Gibbons   All rights reserved.
Published by: JGHawaii Publishing Co., Hawaii, U.S.A.


"It's time to pick up your stuff, Jason.  Your Mom will be here any minute." Lydia said, as she adjusted the cushion behind her and settled on the couch to watch the late news.

"Okay" Jason sighed, picking up his miniature cars scattered on the carpet.

The news started with the latest scandal in Washington, and the hearings in Congress.  The camera zoomed in on an informant testifying. His face blurred by media technology.

"Gross!   How come his face is missing?"  Jason asked, when he looked up at the television screen.

"So that no one will recognize him and know that he had informed on the person he's testifying against.  After all, they might be working together in the same office." she explained, and tossed him a car that had rolled under the end table.

"That's doesn't seem like it would hide much when you can see the rest of him.  Look, you can tell he's a fat man in a brown suit."  he scoffed.

"True, but at least the media can say they made an attempt not to disclose his identity."

Jason put the last car back in his box, and with one last look at the television, shook his head and muttered, "Stupid people, even I would be able to know him if I worked at their place."

Lydia laughed, and had to agree with him.

He gathered up the box to put with his other things he brought for the evening and put on his jacket.

After Jason's mother picked him up, Lydia watched the rest of the news, finished the homework for her math class and went to bed.

Lydia was late getting up and she hurried to the Science Building where class was just about to start.  The Research Department was having a guest speaker for the weekly lecture, and she didn't want to be late.

Arriving at the door, with a quick glance at her watch, she realized she was almost 5 minutes late. Lydia opened the door slowly so she could quietly sneak in and find a seat in the back row.

To her surprise, it wasn't the usual crowded room, but just a few students sitting in the first two rows. No one looked up as she entered, so she quickly sat down in the last row. The speaker with his head lowered, was reading from a textbook.  He continued his lecture in a soft voice and Lydia had to lean forward to hear him.

She reached in her bookbag and pulled out a notepad.  The lecture was supposed to be on a new AID vaccine, but after listening for a few minutes, it seemed to be on a newly discovered treatment for skin cancer.  Engrossed in scribbling down what notes she could on the subject, Lydia suddenly became aware he had stopped talking.  Finishing the last sentence she put down her pen and looked up.

The guest lecturer raised his head, and the few students in the front rows turned to look at Lydia.
At first, she stared blankly at them, then blinked her eyes before looking at them again. The shock at what she saw left her stunned. Every person in the room had no face !    It was like the television program last night.  The faces had a blurred outline across their features. No eyes, nose or mouth appeared.

The lecturer stepped away from the podium, as the students slowly rose from their seats.  The group began to walk up the aisle toward Lydia.

Startled, Lydia jumped up and ran toward the back exit.  Trembling she pushed on the door to escape.  The door wouldn't open.  Panicking now, she glanced over her shoulder to see how close they were, before turning and cutting across the last row of seats and heading for the side door leading to the hallway.  She stopped short as one of the faceless students blocked the end of the row.

Her knees began to tremble and Lydia thought she would crumble right there. One look at the faceless person closing in on her made her move and she climbed over one of the seats and ran down the next row until she finally reached the door, shoving it open to turn into the hallway.

She felt a hand touch her back, and she jerked away and ran faster.  The door at the end of the hall led to the next building  and Lydia hoped to find someone to help her.   Reaching the door she pushed on the bar handle.  The door was locked !

"Noooo ! "   she screamed, and turned to see them closing in on her.  Next to the door was a fire alarm box. Lydia set off the alarm and crouched down against the door, covering her ears as the noise from the alarm bell  bounced off the enclosed space and echoed throughout the hallway. . . growing louder and louder.

The ringing pierced through Lydia's senses and she began to stir.   Opening her eyes slowly, she gradually realized she was laying on her back  in her own bed.  The alarm clock sitting on the table next to her was causing the loud noise she heard.  With a shaky hand, Lydia reached over to turn it off, then laid back on the pillow still trembling from fright.

Taking a few deep breathes, Lydia sighed,  " It was only a dream ! "

Still shaken at how real it seemed, Lydia got up and went into the bathroom to splash cold water on her face before eating breakfast. She flipped the bathroom light switch on, walked to the sink and turn on the water before looking up at the mirror.

The reflection in the mirror was faceless.


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