A more polished offering, about masks and made of masks, all the way down. How much to unmask here? Let’s say that structure – numbered sections, from one point of view – masks the real story, and trappings – Queen and court, available trades – mask the real setting. Masks themselves define the narrator each day, job and personality and gender. Every aspect of identity. They’re elaborate things, painted dressed-up colours: sable or ebony black, saffron yellow, jasper red, sapphire blue. Fun! Except when your job is to be tortured to death, perhaps.
One by one the masks are stripped away. “Imprint” isn’t the first clue, but may be the moment the story fully reconfigures itself in the mind. It’s a criminal offence to be in a position to hear that meaning of that word, of course, an illicit thrill: learning who’s running this dollhouse and how is forbidden. Suffice to say that there isn’t necessarily salvation in taking off the mask, in the certainty of “I”. That would be too easy. I liked the story for that, and for toying with me. It’s also available online, here.