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Masks of the Monsters

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I don't know if this pasta is NSFW, so this is a quick warning. While not incredibly detailed, this pasta does contain mature content.

1859, England: Jared

Maskerade mask

Evangeline was a dirt-poor girl, despite her beauty. In all the tales she ever heard, beauty got you somewhere. Not in the reality she always had to go back to.

Unlike most young girls in her neighborhood, she had so far escaped slavery or the whorehouse. Even though she daydreamed, she was just on her toes enough to keep a morsel in her stomach and still be free. She didn't even have to drink or smoke or do opium to be happy.

Her dreams were enough. They flew her to a forest, to a castle, to a place she couldn't even identify. They were what she really lived on. "Jared," she finds herself murmuring as she falls asleep. Jared is the one who always leads her through her dreams. With her imagination, she couldn't keep all monsters out of her dreams. Jared fights them off, suppresses her cares, guides her until she wakes up saying his name.

He never said that that was his name. Evangeline just knows. Like she also knows to trust him with her thoughts, her secrets, her love, her mind. Especially her love. Even though he never really speaks, she had fallen for him. Hard. In the rare dreams when he wasn't there, she fantasized about being with him, under the trillions of stars in her mind, just staying in his arms as he kissed her. She keeps her eyes closed for almost an hour after she wakes up, and she never realizes...

When she dreams of him, she doesn't breathe all night.

This evening, as the night goes on and her breath stops, she has her first nightmare in her life.

Most Beautiful Dream

Jared is there, holding out his hand. It's too dark for her to see much but his perfect masked face and the stars that pierce the sky with brilliance. Her world is beautiful, and harmless. She's lived in it for years, since her father was murdered and Mama left Evangeline on her own when the girl was just fourteen. Evangeline takes Jared's hand, and as she walks barefoot over the cold, hard floor, it slowly gets brighter.

The light is golden, warm, inviting. 60 people stand before her as the gold double doors swing open, waiting for something. The female ones seem as disoriented as Evangeline. They wear masquerade costumes with elaborate masks, standing in groups of two, utterly silent until Jared takes Evangeline to a throne and sits down with her on his lap. The black-dressed man with the white mask at the piano begins to play, and more than the music of one instrument fills the air, weaving itself around the guests as they begin to dance together.

It is perfectly executed, without a flaw, and each pair of dancers move in the same way as Jared leads Evangeline through the crowd, behind a pillar. She replaces her nightgown with the beautiful black and silver dress he gives her, and he gently places a mask over her face as she smiles, and for the first time, he softly kisses her lips before guiding her back to the throne.

They watch the dance, Jared's hand stroking her hair. One by one, each couple dances away, into 17 of the 18 doors around the sides of the decagon-shaped room. When they are alone except for the musician, Jared takes her down to dance with him. They glide around the room, and Evangeline has never been this happy. For the first time, Jared speaks, his voice quiet but powerful.

"This is your most beautiful dream yet, isn't it?" he asks her. She is afraid to speak, to ruin the spell of the dream. "Aren't you going to answer me?" he says playfully, placing his hand against her throat. She opens her mouth, but no sound comes out. She feels the warm red trickle from her throat to her breasts before she sees it.

As Jared moves his hand away, she sees the tiny blade in it, the blade that punctured her voice box. The man at the piano stands up, but the music continues as Jared dances with Evangeline, ignoring the blood that stains her dress and his gloves, and she does her best to ignore the growing pain. Her dreams are all she has.

As long as she can, she wants to keep this one. She wants to stay with Jared. The white-masked one just stands a few feet from them as they keep moving in circles, the king and queen of the dance. Jared kisses his queen, unbuttoning her dress and sliding it to the floor. She barely notices, she's so wrapped up in his kiss. Jared caresses her naked body, holding her closer, kissing her more passionately.

Suddenly, the man in black grabs her by the shoulders and flings her to the floor before withdrawing again, leaving Jared to rape her on the cold stone tiles. It takes her several minutes to realize the throbbing in her head, that the room has tilted, that her lover's kisses are different now. She opens her mouth to scream, but the blood from her throat moves faster, and, like Jared, the beautiful music goes on interrupted.

Dance of the Blades

Tears streaming down her face, Evangeline is carried from the room through the 18th door, leaving light spatters of red on the floor. The music follows her and the two men as they go through pristine white chambers, Jared crooning frightening words to the tune of the music, the other man still silent. She hears Jared refer to him as Cain. The voice sounds like it's coming from far away.

She curls up into a ball in his arms, wishing she had the strength to run. Instead, all she can do is tremble when she sees the knives that Cain holds. A wooden plank with leather straps, held up by five legs, is in the room they finally enter. Cain and Jared strap her down, and, forgetting her wound, Evangeline tries to scream again when Cain holds up a circular blade. She struggles against the leather as he brings it closer and closer to her stomach, smiling. "Oh, don't worry," Jared says. "You're not going to die until we let you."

In a perfect dance of their own, the circular and another knife dance across the top layers of her skin, leaving red designs in Evangeline's naked stomach. Another knife, held delicately between the thumb and middle finger, joins them in the dance as they all move farther up to her chest, but none go deep enough to reach her heart. She wishes they would. The pain is more real now, too real for just a dream.

A fourth knife is added, and they all dance in pairs down her body as blood seeps out of the pattern carved into Evangeline's skin. The knife slips on her thigh, and the leather strains as she tries to get away. Cain sits back, grinning through the scars that line his face, as Jared adjusts the mask on his victim's face and picks up an ivory masquerade fan. He runs it through her heart.

The next morning, exactly 30 lower-class young women, all known dreamers, were found naked and dead in their bedrooms with masks on their faces, bleeding designs carved into their bodies, and elegant masks on their faces. The cause of death was an expensive fan driven into their hearts.

People still dance today, some still with masks. Among them in their dreams, even now, are the Monsters.

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