Novice Chapter 3 The Blue Mask
I wrote Novice while writing the Horowitz story in Dope. It was a dream that popped into my head one day. It was vivid and alive. I literally jotted down the bulk of the story in three or so days while revisiting the places I saw in my dream. They were all in Miami around Miami Springs, Hialeah, Miami Lakes and Miami proper. Below is a chapter from the piece. Enjoy 😀
The Blue Mask
by: Robert J. Escandon
“Hey buddy, it’s me, Frank. I got something that you might be interested in. Call me ASAP. You got it? Bye.”
This happened two years ago.
I was real good friends with Frank, for a while. There was a point that Frank and I could have been brothers in a past experience. We were almost blood brothers, if it weren’t for that stupid lunch teacher stopping us. Number of years later, after third grade had come and gone, Frank was still my acquaintance. Aside from him stabbing me in the back (shame on him), we were chums. I would call this ‘Circumstance A.’
From this point on, Frank’s name will change to Snake. Aside from being a more deserving name for Frank, I just hate his name.
This ‘interest’ of mine as Snake put it, was a job. A job to steal this artifact, this thing of great importance. He told me that he could get a lot of money for it. He told me that the buyer of this…thing, wanted it real bad. I didn’t think twice. I hopped along for the ride. To justify a means to an end, it was well needed money at the moment.
This…thing, was inside an apartment, in the downtown area of the city. It was a rat hole. So I thought the job would be quick and easy. But, some pissed off God decided to interfere with my life, right then and there. I felt honored. Snake and I went in. We were fast and quiet. Nobody was home, so we took it upon ourselves to stop sneaking around the house. Snake sent me over to one side of the house while he went to the other. We were, ‘looking for the mask.’ I guess Snake knew where it was already. To make a long story short, Snake found the mask first. He then took it upon himself to leave me behind, without a moments notice. At that moment, the owners of the house came in
Shame on me.
This…thing, that we stole was the Blue Mask of Yutao Wung Lao. He was one of Japan’s greatest warriors. In great legend, it is written that he alone defeated the savage army of the Aka Midori. Legend also has it that, at the end of the great battle, Wung Lao solely stood in triumph. They called this the story of ‘Frozen Honor.’ A wizard who stood leaderless cursed Yutao Wung Lao. The wizard trapped Wung Lao’s soul, into a blue mask that Yorinobu, defeated leader of the Aka Midori wore in battle. The blue mask stole Lao’s soul and kept it forever. The same mask we were looking for.
A year ago from my current present, I saw Snake in a dark, lonely, alleyway. He had been affected by that day somehow. He kept yelling at things that I could not see, things that weren’t visible to the naked eye. There was a dead body lying next to him. It looked like a struggle had finished. Snake lay on the floor in a mumble.
“Help me,” he said.
I stared at him for a glance. I smiled and stood up slowly, holding my hand out to him. “My apologies,” I said.
I turned my back and walked away from him. I left him there in his pain to wallow till dead. The Blue Mask had done something to him that I couldn’t understand. It didn’t even look like him anymore. He seemed as if he was trading places with someone else.
Apparently he didn’t die that day. He had wallowed and crawled into endless pain. He was better off dead, I thought. I also had the distinct feeling he couldn’t die. I hated that feeling. I hated that he could still use a phone. I hated that he still called me.
I hated him.