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Anthony North

[Fiction] Masquerade

November 26, 2007 | Comment icon 1 comment


Image Credit: sxc.hu
They're taking over and it's hard to retain my sanity. Sometimes I think I'm imagining it all. It's all one big, horrible dream. But then I pinch myself and I know I'm living on the edge. I know if I make one wrong move they'll get me. They're omnipotent, you see - like God. Or the Devil. But they make mistakes themselves. Oh boy, do they. They make some whoppers. They're not infallible. Most people wouldn't realise they make mistakes. Ha! That's a laugh. Most people don't know they exist. But some must. One day I'll find them and show them how they make mistakes.

I found one mistake soon after realising they existed. I'm an investigative journalist, see. And we look under the covers of society for patterns, and in those patterns we find the basis of a story, and then we dig until the story comes clean.

Well the Opera are my story and I'll dig and dig and dig.

I can do that now, because I've found a pattern of their progression.

It's quite simple, really. Their mission is to take over everything. And to do that, you need to place your people, or at least your influence, at the top. You need to control from the top down, so you need to infiltrate departments of government, and the military, the local authorities and big business. But when you do that, there's a change in emphasis. It may only be slight, but to those who know, it's an alarm bell. And as I moved from cyber cafe to cyber cafe, never staying on one computer too long, I soon found out how to spot the changes - realised when they'd been got.

It was a simple pattern. Usually the head man didn't change. He just changed, as if he'd been got at. Policies varied, then, only marginally. But what did change was a number of new appointments, obviously as Opera took over every last tentacle of the concern. But of most interest to me were the changes in the head man's private life.

'It was as if he was a different man. I couldn't understand him any more. And he got violent. And, well, I left him.'

'It was when we made love. You can always tell. He was different. It wasn't making love at all. Kind of animal. That's why I left him.'

'I've been married three times, and you can always tell when you're intimate. We all have a smell, see. And he wasn't the man I married.'
Omnipotent, .yes. But infallible?

Anyway, I began checking their movements before their 'change.' And with the help of their ex-wives, I soon found the common denominator.

It was an expensive clinic. You know, one of those major plastic surgery places. I spent several days watching the comings and goings. Some were easily recognisable - the famous. But many others were total unknowns. And as I followed some of THEM home, they went off to non-descript bedsits. Clearly, these people could not afford this clinic's prices.

My suspicions had, of course, been confirmed by this. It was a simple ploy, if you had the know how. First, lure the man you want to the clinic for some minor plastic surgery.

Pandering to vanity often did the trick, our movers and shakers wanting to look as good as they think they operate. Then, once under, take all the samples you want - of fingerprints, of body blemishes; take their exact measurements. And then, under intense treatment, turn an unknown Opera man into the person you want them to be. And finally, when the treatment is complete, a swift murder and a swap.

So that was their plan. Taking over by surgical stealth. But had I taken too long over this investigation? That same car outside my hotel room every night? Similar face seeming to follow me around? I knew I had to act fast.

I took out my shadow on the night I decided to act. It was the first time I'd slit a man's throat. But it was for a good purpose, I convinced myself, and fought down the bile. Then it was a simple matter to break into the clinic, find the two plastic surgeons responsible and shoot them dead.

Oh, I know it was only a minor irritation to the Opera. They'd soon recover. Find other plastic surgeons, other clinics. Or maybe, seeing this method had been compromised, they'd move onto other ways of taking over. But if I could keep going, forever providing irritation, maybe I'd eventually tilt the tide against this Opera.

But as I read the paper, taking in the inexplicable murder of the two surgeons, another piece caught my attention and I cried.
It was all pervasive, this paranoia within me, the result of existing in a paranoid world. For there was no shadow. Hence, I would have to learn to live with the fact I'd created three orphans of an innocent man.

© Anthony North, November 2007



http://anthonynorth.com/essays/the-unexplained

Comments (1)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Wickian 15 years ago
Nice. A good read.


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