“There!” I exclaim as I finish installing the last camera. Stepping back, I take in my handiwork with a nod of approval before my gaze gravitates to the tragic mask. The vision of the moments before Chase Steffens’s untimely demise replays in my head for the hundredth time. For the first time in millennia, I had stared into the face of my dark side and what I saw was frightening, to say the least. It was like a stranger wore my skin. She drew in her prey with a dark and alluring song, and she exuded a confidence I myself so lacked. Tragedy is most certainly two-faced. She’s also a sneaky bitch. I took immediate notice of the fact that she was wearing my, or was it our, tragic mask. After all, it was hard to miss as it covered her, or our, youthful facial features.
This raised some big questions, a mystery I was keen on unraveling. Was a ghost haunting the mask and moving it from room to room, or had the ghost been me all along? I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. The first phase of my detective work is now underway. I set up cameras throughout the house, hoping to catch its movements on video. I focused on the rooms it shows up in the most: the kitchen and my bedroom. Normally, it’s active at a bare minimum once a week, but as of late, it has been more like two to three times a week. A shiver goes down my spine at the thought of my dark side taking over that often.
I try to shake off the sense of foreboding filling me. Rubbing my eyes underlined with dark circles, I head over to the plush couch piled high with journals and papers. For the past several millennia, I’ve kept a diary. Since the invention of the computer, I’ve been slowly working on converting them to digital copies, with an emphasis on slow. However, that’s not why I have them out on this particular day. No, I’m doing some research for phase two of my detective work. I have to figure out what is going on with me, and after what happened with Chase Steffens, that need has only been exacerbated. My mind is like a puzzle I’ve yet to find all the pieces for. But I’ve found that keeping a journal and regularly reading back through them helps me fill in those gaps.
I flop down on the couch, picking up a three-ringed binder with transcriptions derived from my original journals. Dating back as far as 600 BC, they’ve long since become too fragile to handle, so I made a digital copy of them ages ago. I cross my legs underneath my voluptuous skirts, trying to relax. I skim through the pages, stopping at the first mention of the tragic mask…
ANCIENT GREECE, 532 BC
So, this is strange. There’s a tragedy mask sitting on my kitchen table. I don’t own a tragedy mask. I have no idea where it came from or how in Tartarus it got in my house. It’s giving me a weird vibe, too, like déjà vu. It’s so bizarre. I think I’ll keep it.
The mask aside, I haven’t been feeling quite myself these past few days. My thoughts are so muddled that it’s hard to focus on any one thing at a time. Because of this, I’ve been rather forgetful and unorganized lately. I keep misplacing stuff and am having trouble remembering the simplest things, like what I ate the night before. This is so unlike me. I mean, come on, I’m the daughter of the freaking Titaness of Memory, for crying out loud!!!
Ugh, I don’t know what’s going on with me, and it’s making me irritable. I wish I could talk to Mom. If anyone can help me with this, it’s her…
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
No joke. That mask moved on its own last night. I moved it to the dining room yesterday, or at least, I think I did. I don’t know anymore. My brain is still so foggy. I try to reassure myself that I’m probably just stressed and need to take some time for myself, but I am not fully convinced. I can feel it deep down in my bones. Something is wrong with me.
But back to the mask. It’s now perched back on my kitchen table, like some wide-eyed, frowning sentry. I don’t entirely know what to make of it. There’s this static energy coming off of it in waves that both creeps me out and draws me in at the same time. I’ve considered taking it to Clio to see if she can’t get a read off of it as to its history. But I ultimately decided that I don’t want to trouble her with it. She has more important things to do than analyze a strange mask. Besides, she’d probably want to keep it for a few days to examine it, and for some reason, I am loath to be rid of it for that long. Is that strange?
My hand freezes over the page. My wide-eyed gaze slowly lifts to look at the tragic mask in its little display case. Millennia have gone by, civilizations have risen and fallen, and never once did I ever let that mask out of my possession. For that matter, I never even told anyone about it. But why? Was I protecting it from someone, or was I protecting someone from it? That’s some food for thought.
I close the binder and rub my temple, feeling a headache coming on. “I think my brain is going to explode before I can even get close to wrapping my head around this.” I sigh in defeat. I place the binder aside and get up from the couch, ready to call it a night. Turning off the light, I pause in the doorway as the feeling of being watched crawls up my spine, but when I look back, no one is there. Am I going mad?
Too late. You already are.