Taking Off The Mask

I'm really getting into chain stories. I had an idea to write this while in the shower, and then it slowly evolved from there. Mind you, this is a very random story that includes religion, so, if in any way, you feel offended...


(just kidding ;) )

Chapter 1

Wren Zuckerman From California

I look at my toes moving slowly in the soft, warm sand. The cool breeze whizzes through my hair. I am tempted to swim in the warm ocean water, but I can't.

They would know.

I look up at the sky. It is clear. The sun is shining bright, lighting up the small but busy Californian beach.

It doesn't hurt to look directly at the sun. Not for me, at least. What's the point of feeling pain when we're all about to inevitably die?

I fall out of my trance and brush any remaining sand from my clothes, then I walk out of the beach gates and onto the L.A sidewalk. The concrete is warm against my bare feet. Even though it's rough, it's soothing. Like a massage. I look around the area and think.

No one can know who I am. No one.

I've been keeping my identity quiet for so long...If I told anyone, what would they think? There's a reason I torture myself daily with my appearance. Every time I look into a mirror, I don't see myself. I've never seen myself.

I see someone else.

I know who she is. She's the girl who blabbed. She's the one who I had to kill. She told her fiancé about the book, its rules, our people...and I was sent to kill her off. Traitors are not welcome in our culture.

I am sick of living behind a mask. I can't kill anymore. I don't want to. I don't want to follow this cult. Moranism, that is. I don't want other people's faces. I don't want to serve our holy lord. I don't want to stay away from elements like water and fire because they'll "wash off my hard-earned skin".

I just want to get out of here and be free, with no one but my true self. But I don't want to be punished for it.

I get up to the Anvakane, the temple where we meet up to pray. I knock on the mahogany doors. They are large and powerful.

"Password?" Hisses a voice.

"Alfheim Anvakane, O' Sweet Lord." I whisper.

The doors open with a loud creak. I walk inside of the temple and shut the doors behind me. I look around.

I'm late.

"Wren Zuckerman!" Yells the reverend.

I sprint inside and sit down on one of the benches. All eyes are on me. I almost feel like throwing up. I can't stand to be noticed.

"S-sorry, Reverend Jones. I guess I just lost track of time..." I stammer.

"Good grief, Wren! This is the third time this month! Why are you disappointing our lord? Are you ungrateful to him? He has given you your hard-earned skin! Are you thinking about leaving us and throwing your life away?!"

Everyone on the benches gasps, and a few seconds later, the room erupts into loud whispers and hisses.

"SILENCE!" Screams the reverend, banging her hand against the podium.

Everyone grows eerily silent.

"Now..." She begins, recollecting her thoughts, "I would like everybody to stand and repeat the following words."

Everybody, including me, stands up and puts the palms of their hands on their foreheads. With their right hands, of course. Then they close their eyes.

The reverend clears her throat and speaks, "We thank our sweet lord,"

Everyone repeats, "We thank our sweet lord,"

"For giving us the skin we have hoped, wished, and worked for." She says.

"For giving us the skin we have hoped, wished, and worked for." We repeat.

"We are grateful for every cell in our bodies,"

"We are grateful for every cell in our bodies,"

"Especially those that aren't ours."

"Especially those that aren't ours."

She then begins to chant things in Latin that I don't bother listening to. Why should I follow some cult that I don't even believe in anymore?

An urge grows inside of me. An urge to leave Moranism, the Anvakane, and even California, to be myself.

But that can't happen. If I leave, they'll think I'll go tell everyone about them. They'II think of me as a fraud, a traitor. They'll think I'll go and get them arrested for murdering people and taking their skin.

Then they'll kill me. And take my skin.

I just wish there was someone else here like me... someone else in this world that wants to leave Moranism. They don't even have to live in California! They can live anywhere in this world, feeling the same way I do.

I just don't want to be alone anymore...

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