Behind the Mask

Holly has never been surrounded by friends but she's never been one to complain. She's always had Manny, the one who's been there for her ever since her mother died when she was five years old. But the day the cool crowd takes a noticing of her the temptation to be cool and leave Manny in the dust becomes to great and so she turns her back on the one who has always been there for her. It won't be long before she realizes just how big of a mistake that is.

The meeting had just begun as the figure slipped through the door immersing itself in the shadows.  This wasn’t anything new; in fact Abraham probably already knew she was there.  Abraham stood, his strong, clear voice bringing silence to the room.

            “Let us begin.”  He began to call on them one by one, asking each one in turn for his report.

            “Alavaro,” he called.  The man stepped forward, “How are things coming along?”

            The man smiled brilliantly.  “Things are going great.”  Abraham stared at him waiting for the man to go on.  “I mean we’ve had our ups and downs but she’s pulling through.”

            “Of course she is,” said the figure from the shadows.  All heads turned her direction but she didn’t move.  “They always do with you, don’t they Abraham?”   

“If you have something to say, Lucy, step out and say it.”

            Lucy grimaced at the thought but did what he said.  She stepped out into the light, wincing at the brightness.  She could see the whole room now.  It was filled with all of Abraham’s many workers, twice as many as she herself had.  Her gaze filtered over Abraham’s magnificent son and wise advisor and rested finally on Abraham himself. 

            “What is it that you want?”

            Lucy pulled herself to her full height though it was never enough to match Abraham’s or even his son.  “The same as I always want, Abraham, clients.”

            “Well you can’t have them and you know it.”

            “What about his?” she asked pointing to one of the workers in the crowd with a smirk, “He’s failed and his client is quite unhappy in fact,” she paused, looking slyly in Abraham’s direction. “He’s almost turned to me.”

            “You can’t have him.”

            “You can’t make him like you, Abraham, and you know it.”  Her voice was rising and she could see the fire beginning to flash in Abraham’s eyes.  She lowered her voice not wanting to awaken Abraham’s wrath upon her.  “You may be able to do a lot of things, Abraham, but we both know you’re powerless when it comes to controlling them.” 

            “Get out!”  Abraham’s eyes pierced her like fire and that alone was nearly enough to make her back down, but not quite.

            “Not until I get what I want.”

            “I told you,” Abraham was on his feet now, “you can’t have him.”

            Lucy fell to the ground, covering her head as she cowered back into the shadows.  Abraham scared her that much was for certain but not enough to get her to leave.  “Let’s make a deal.”

            “I don’t make deals with the devil.”  Abraham said between clenched teeth.

            Lucy smirked, “That’s because you’re scared.  You think I’ll actually win and your poor, helpless client will be mine.”

            Abraham sat back down in his chair and his son came to his side to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder.  “Propose your deal.”

            Lucy smiled wickedly and slunk out of the shadows and back into the light where she could see their faces once again.  “We will have a battle.  A battle for the loyalty of your best client.”  She pointed at Alavaro, “His client. If she’s really as loyal as you all insist, if she really does enjoy the benefits that come with being your customer than she won’t even bat an eye when a few of my workers offer her a couple minor propositions. Well?  What do you say?”

            There was silence and the entire assembly waited for the decision of their leader.  Abraham stood to his feet.  “It’s a deal.” There was an audible gasp and murmurs filled the room.  Abraham held up his hand for silence.  “Now get out before I change my mind!”

            “One more thing---“

            “I SAID GET OUT!”  Abraham thundered his voice seemed to shake the room where they stood and Lucy trembled nodding her agreement as she disappeared back into the shadows and out of the room.

            As soon as she was gone, Abraham sunk back into his chair and his son rushed to his side.  “Father what are you going to do?”

            Abraham put his hand lovingly on his son’s head, “The same thing we’ve always done son.  Lucy’s never beaten us before and she won’t beat us now.”

            “But sir,” Alavaro had stepped forward now, “we lose more and more customers to Lucy everyday, she’s getting better.”

            “Lucy isn’t getting better and we’re not getting worse,” Abraham reassured them calmly, “It is the customer’s desires that are changing.  The times are getting worse and a battle is sure to ensue between us and Lucy.  We must be prepared and we must prepare our customers.  After all, if we don’t have their support we are helpless.”

            The crowd nodded their agreement.

            “Holly will hold true.”

The End

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