Faceless

Faceless

A Story by bba
"

Can a woman resist the mystical charm of a Kapre?

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Diane’s long black hair lay tangled on her soft pillow. Her hair was one of her best assets. Indeed, it attracted a lot compliments. It accentuated her eyes and ample lips that made her face look like a posh doll’s.

Her petit frame gave her an innocence, which to her utmost annoyance, made her appear even more child-like. Though she would not admit it to herself, her innocent look was another feature that made her attractive. Certainly, she was a beauty. But having one failed relationship after another, she wondered if her kind of beauty could only attract men who would only hurt her.

Under her closed lids, her eyes moved relentlessly back and forth as if following a tennis ball across the court.

In her dream, Diane was standing in her bedroom. Everything appeared blurred except the tall dark man on which all her attention was focused. The man was faceless, but that was what made her love him the most. She could easily affix a face that she desired on him.

This wasn’t the first time the man visited her dreams. This tall dark man with rugged curly hair and featureless face filled her many nights, and sometimes even insinuated himself in her playful daydreams.

He brushed his hand on Diane’s face. She smiled as the familiar aroma of tobacco reached her. Diane didn’t think it was possible, but she seemed so sure he smelled strongly of fresh-lit cigar. She didn’t smoke but she loved the smell of tobacco. The odor of tobacco and her tall dark man seemed to belong together; the scent belonged to him as he belonged to the scent.

The faceless man bent his head down at Diane’s face. She stared at the shapeless face, and felt aroused by his anonymity. A thin horizontal line appeared just above the man’s chin as though an invisible knife had sliced across the smooth surface. Slowly the line gaped open into a smile revealing a set of perfect white teeth. Two more horizontal slits emerged above the lips, and dark brown eyes stared back at her. Slowly, the contours of the man’s face formed. Eyebrows sprouted. A long and strong nose poked out. Cheekbones appeared, chiseled by a masterful hand. Altogether his face, his face was everything she desired. Dianne closed her eyes and kissed her tall dark man.



Melvin was a funny guy. He was an average-looking man but with his charm and rich personality, he could easily make any girl like him. He had a way of talking to people that could make them feel as if they had known him a long time. That was one of the reasons why Dianne went out with him. She had never felt this kind of connection with anyone else before.

On their first date, Melvin took Diane out bowling. She was hesitant; she never played bowling in her life. She found it childish and was not her idea of a romantic date. But much to her surprise that night turned out to be one of the unforgettable dates she had ever had.

It wasn’t hard for Diane to like Melvin. He was a bit short of being the perfect man if such a man exists. Nonetheless, the thought of having a serious relationship frightened her. Her miserable experiences with men who turned into indecent monsters as soon as they became deeply involved with her was enough to make her think that nobody could take her seriously and treat her with the respect she deserved. She was even starting to believe that somehow she contaminated them and let out the evil inside of them.



The moon peeked out from the passing cloud and the dark road was illuminated with a mixture of faint lights. Diane clenched Melvin’s hand tightly as they walked through the night. It had been Melvin’s idea to walk her home. She didn’t mind. Walking hand-in-hand would heighten the romance of the perfect evening. Without words, they walked in unison as they swayed their clasped hands under the blanket of the night. Diane glanced at her side and smiled at Melvin. He smiled back.

The two stopped in front of Diane’s apartment. It was a lovely night. Cold air began to seep through the couple’s clothes and tempted them to seek warmth at one another’s arms. The soft breeze soughed through the leaves as tender as a whisper. It would have been pleasant to look at the stars but the big old Balete tree they stood under obscured the sky.

Melvin held her face with both hands and leaned towards her. Diane closed her eyes and kissed him. The kiss reminded her of the way her tall dark man would kiss her. It was what a kiss should be, she thought. Diane’s mind flew and she was once again in the arms of her tall dark man. His fragrance filled the air; the strong scent of cigar was all she could smell. She opened her eyes and saw the faceless head she was kissing " faceless except for the lips with its beautiful smile.

Diane broke off from the kiss. She jerked back her head, away from the man she was kissing. She expected to see the faceless man but there was only Melvin’s face in front of her. Diane suddenly felt a pang of guilt swell inside her. Her cheeks flushed as Melvin offered a feeble smile, looking uncertain like a child who did not know why he was spanked. She said nothing. She just turned around and walked inside her apartment, leaving Melvin on the sidewalk under the big old Balete tree.

Diane closed the door and leaned on it. She waited for a moment, her chest pounding from confusion, then keeping the lights off she moved towards the window. She watched Melvin behind the small crack of the curtain. The bewildered man stood there for some time, took a step back, paused, then turned around and walked away.

Diane followed Melvin with her eyes until the young man was well out of sight. She sighed. She felt ashamed of what she did; ashamed of thinking of another man while kissing Melvin. But she was more afraid " afraid that somehow her imaginary lover had become more and more real every time she thought about him. Diane closed her eyes and went back to the first time her tall dark man appeared to her in her dream. And she remembered it well…



She was looking out the window. A thick fog shrouded the night. The only thing she could see was a tall dark man under the big old Balete tree. He was calling her name.

“Diane,” he said in a low, almost inaudible, voice. She wanted to answer his call. She wanted to come to him. She wanted to tell him how much she loves him. But when she opened her lips, not a sound came out, only thick blue smoke.

“Diane,” he called again. She couldn’t understand the force that was pulling her towards the tall dark man. She knew nothing of this man yet she wanted him, loved him. Diane opened her window. The thick fog gushed like water into the room. And the room was flooded with the smell of cigar.

“Diane,” said the voice behind her. She turned around from the window and saw the tall dark man standing in front of her " the tall dark man with featureless face.



“Diane…”

She quickly opened her eyes and looked around her apartment. Everything was black and she could barely see the outlines of her things. The last utterance of her name was not from her reminiscence. It was as real as the cold draft she was feeling on her back, as real as the faint smell of cigar suffusing the room.

“Diane…”

She didn’t remember opening her window and she was afraid she might find it opened " afraid she might see the faceless man under the big old Balete tree.

“Diane…”

She didn’t want to answer the call but she was compelled to nonetheless. She couldn’t understand why she wanted him and why his pull was so strong. Diane started to cry and turned around to face the window.



Melvin walked silently on the cold pavement. His hands never left his pockets, his head down as if counting his steps. And he might as well count his steps than think of what had gone wrong. This was the first time a thing like that ever happened to him and he knew he had done nothing wrong. He didn’t blame her. Diane did mention other men she dated in the past and the reason why she couldn’t trust men easily. He decided to give her time. He was certain she would call him later tonight. But he could never forget the expression on Diane’s face when she pulled away from the kiss: she was disgusted as if she had tasted the most repugnant fruit on the face of the earth. Melvin placed his hand in front of his mouth, breathed out then sniffed. “Smell like an angel’s breath,” he said to himself smirking.

He stopped at the red curb and looked up the stoplight. The red light in the shape of a man glared down him accusingly. The air became colder, and the wind brought a thin sheet of fog. The white posts of the streetlights on the corner appeared like long fingers thrusting out the deserted pavement. Not a single car had driven by since he left Diane’s apartment. No cars were parked alongside the road. The street was silent; it seemed as if anything that might cause a sound suddenly ceased to exist. Melvin looked both ways then crossed the street without waiting for the green light.

After a few steps, Melvin stopped. He looked back to where he came from, then back again to the road ahead. The houses and trees lined up on the other side of the road appeared like chess pieces waiting for the first player to make his move. The low rise of the roof casted a shadow over the long-paned windows and over the front wall, and the dark rooms inside concealed the identity of every house. Melvin could have sworn he had passed by this block earlier.

At the end of the block, the red stoplight greeted him again like an old friend. He’d been around Diane’s place only a couple of times and he knew on the second stoplight there would be a railroad running through the intersection. Melvin walked to the middle of the street. There was nothing but the white line on the concrete. The cold air pricked his skin, but Melvin could feel the sweat building on his face and at the back of his ears.

Something awfully familiar was brought back to Melvin’s mind. He didn’t think about it or felt it for a long time but he knew the distinct feeling very well. He felt it a long time ago when he was riding his bike and felt the handle wobble on his hands. The feeling crept up his nerves as he lost control of the bike, fully aware that he would be crashing down onto the pavement in a second, that he would inevitably feel pain. Melvin looked around. The roads all looked the same " long and endless. And he was once again riding his bike.



The window was wide open. The moon once again hid behind a thick cloud, and the looming shadow of the big old Balete tree reached out the road, extinguishing every light. Diane stared at the man under the tree even if she didn’t want to look at him. She cried until her tears blurred her vision.

The thin sheet of fog slowly crept through the darkness between the tall dark man and Diane but she could still see his naked body, his long curly hair, his featureless face.

“Who are you?” she said in a quivering voice.

“I am yours as you are mine,” said the tall dark man. His voice was soft and calm like the blowing wind, the falling rain, the rustling leaves or the ebbing sea. It was the most beautiful sound Diane had ever heard.

The cold wind had dried her tears and Diane felt calmer as if the wind had also swept away her fears. “Why are you doing this?”

“We are meant for each other, Diane.”

The strong scent of tobacco surrounded her. Diane felt dizzy. Her vision blurred as if she was running through the long tunnel of a dark desolated cave. The wall between Diane and the tall dark man had vanished. The gray shiny tiles on her floor, the white wide-paneled ceiling, the concrete road, everything disappeared slowly like smoke blown away.

“What are you?” She was floating through the darkness towards the open arms of the tall dark man. Diane felt his gentle hands on her tense body then she fell to his arms, giving herself completely to the faceless man. Her body released the tension her fear had brought and her arms and legs became heavy. She couldn’t move and she didn’t try to; all she knew was she was safe now " safe and content with her tall dark man.

“I will give you everything. I am yours. You are mine.” The faceless man opened his square jaw and the lower part of the skin stretched down like sock stretched over foot. Diane saw a small strain as the skin continued stretching down. The strain slowly grew, slowly opening, creasing the skin around the breakage like fire consuming paper. The edges of the opening curled out and formed the faceless man’s lips. The blank canvas of the man’s smooth skin transformed to a face that could have belonged to an angel.

“I am yours,” Diane said closing her eyes. “And you are mine.”



The wind grew colder and the fog thicker. Melvin’s footsteps echoed through the long empty road. Cold sticky sweat gathered around his armpits and his back; he could even feel his crotch beginning to sweat. He had been walking up and down the road, trying to get back to Diane’s apartment but somehow couldn’t find the way. Dozens of sleeping houses and not a single one offered a clue of who was inside.

Melvin stopped. He rested his hands on his waist and took deep breaths. He tried not to move but his body was pulsing along with his heartbeat. This is not happening, he thought. He looked at all directions: to his right where he was absolutely sure was the right road out, then to his left to where Diane’s apartment rested, then up where the troubling clouds concealed the sky. And as he stood there, he became aware that someone was watching him from a distance. He felt the eyes staring at him like a piece of meat lunged between his teeth. Someone was standing over the rows the big old Batele trees. Melvin moved closer. The man’s face appeared to be shining, his mouth glistering like a mirror that had caught the sun.

“Oh thank God!” he exhaled. “Excuse me,” Melvin called out, relieved that another soul was on this damned road. “Excuse me. You won’t believe this,” he continued, letting out an embarrass laugh. “I’m lost. Can you show me…” his voice fell and died out. The relief Melvin felt on seeing another soul on the deserted streets left him as sudden as it emerged and was replaced by utter terror.

The man standing before him couldn’t be human. He had no face. What should have been a face was blank and flat as a board. There were no discernable features. No nose in the middle, no eyebrows arching on where the forehead should have been, no cheekbones hewn at the sides. From the hairline of the long curly hair downwards the skin stretched out, exposing the upper gums. And protruding from the gums were hundreds of long uneven fangs dripping with saliva for the lower jaw was missing. A strong odor of cigar oozed from the man which added to Melvin’s impulse to retch. But there was no more time and Melvin quickly turned on his heels and ran, as far and as hard as he could, away from the faceless man and his saliva-drenched fangs.

Melvin didn’t stop running. He ran away from the trees to the middle of the street. He ran across the intersection not caring that a passing vehicle might run him over. He continued to run through the block, the trees flanking his right. He kept his eyes straight on the road, refusing to look back to see if he was being chased, or to the sides. All he could think of now was simply to run and not stop.

The second intersection loomed near. Relief flooded him as he saw the road brighten up ahead. So he ran some more.

When he reached the middle of the intersection, Melvin fell down and tumbled to the ground. He tried to stand up but couldn’t. Can’t stop now, he thought. He began to crawl to keep moving. I can’t stop now, he said to himself. Can’t stop… But he stopped. And the people looking out the windows of the train watched the man crawling, dragging the crippled half of his body and then stopped moving completely.

 

Diane opened her eyes. The glare of the sun danced through the leaves of the big old Balete tree and down to her face. She was lying on her bedroom floor facing the window. She was naked. She thought about her dream of the familiar tall dark man and smiled. She sat up and felt a small object slide down and rest between her breasts. It was a white round stone pendent on a silver chain around her neck. The stone was warm to the touch. She looked at it with dreamy eyes and thought back to her tall dark man. She knew this was a gift from him.

Without removing her eyes from the white round stone, she stood up and walked towards the mirror next to her bed. She smiled at herself, pleased. It looked good on her. It’s perfect, she thought.

Behind her reflection was a man standing a few feet away from her. Diane smiled even wider, letting the man feel that she was content just by looking at him. She knew she would never get hurt ever again. She knew that this tall dark man would always be with her.





© 2010 bba



Author's Note

bba
This is my take on the Philippine tree demon the Kapre. I've changed come features of the Kapre in this story, like giving him the ability to change his face, but I've maintained the creatures basic characteristics: the love for Tobacco, the ability to disorient and to make people lose their way their own familiar surroundings, his famous white stone, the longing for a love interest, and his home tree - the Balete tree.

(Wiki entry on the Kapre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kapre)

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Reviews

This is very cool!! I like the way you have included Philipphine legend :)

Posted 2 Years Ago


Doesn't fit in with my criteria but I'll allow you to make another entry!

Posted 5 Years Ago


Really, really interesting. I agree with many of the reviewers, it was very mysterious. I can say while being completely honest, that when I was reading the part where the man was running from the Kapre, that i actually felt fear, adn I felt like I was watching a scary movie of some sort. This was a really good story here, I enjoyed it very much.

-Pokie

Posted 6 Years Ago


mysterious :D Great job

Posted 6 Years Ago


A very mysterious story, it held me captivated all the way through. You did a great job on this.

Posted 6 Years Ago


That was very well done. The ending was fantastically creepy!

Posted 6 Years Ago



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Added on December 20, 2010
Last Updated on December 20, 2010
Tags: Horror, Short Story, Fiction, Kapre, Balete Tree, Fangs, Philippine Creature, Tobacco, Faceless, Brian Ayson, I really don't know how to tag m

Author

bba
bba

Philippines



About
I write short stories mostly, somewhere within the realms of horror, fantasy, drama, dark fantasy. Please feel free to read and write a quick review of what you think of my stories. Any comments gr.. more..

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