Carly Beth came to a halt in front of the store. A single light was on inside. "Okay..I'm going to wake up now, it's only a dream, I'm going to wake up." She closed her eyes, then opened them again. "It's only a nightmare...you'll never wake up." She heard herself growl. She groaned and ran for the store. As she reached the step the door slowly swung open. The man in the suit was waiting for her. "I can't get it off!" She cried as she ran past him into the store. "I know." His voice was hollow and uncaring. "I was expecting you." He closed the door and turned to Carly Beth. She ran to him and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, "Take it off! I want it off now!" The man only stared down at Carly Beth. "I cannot do that. I cannot remove that mask." The man moved out of Carly Beth's grasp and walked deeper into the store. "What...what the fuck are you talking about? What do you mean you can't take off the mask!" The man kept walking. "Don't you walk away from me! Answer me!" Still the man walked. "I cannot remove that mask." The man burst into the back room that earlier that same day, had housed the mask. Carly Beth quickly followed. She was crying now. "W...why not?" The man stopped and quickly turned on Carly Beth. "I cannot because that, that thing! Is not a mask! It is...it was a real face." The two stared at each other for what seemed like forever. "I...don't understand." Silence. "How can they be real?" The man turned and stared at the remaining masks on the shelf. He seemed lost in his own thoughts. "They weren't ugly in the beginning." He shook his head. "They were beautiful." One by one he touched the masks with careful tenderness. "As beautiful as any face could be. But...something went wrong. They changed, they became hideous! One after another, no matter what I did, the decay spread like wildfire. No matter what I did, deformity set in. Ugliness! Monstrosity!" "I don't believe any of this bullshit!" The man took no notice of Carly Beth's protests, he just kept speaking. "I call them...the unloved ones. Because no one will ever love them. No one." The man stopped at the empty space where Carly Beth's mask had rested. "Only you, Carly Beth. You were the only one. You're the only one who ever wanted them." The man turned to face Carly Beth. "The only one...who ever...loved them." Carly Beth shook her head violently. "No! No! No!" She clawed at her head. "I want it off! I want this fucking thing off of me!" The man started to panic. He grabbed Carly Beth by the shoulders. "Stop! Calm down Carly Beth!" He stared into her eyes. The mask's eyes. "I'm sorry Carly Beth. But this face. This face, is your face now." He spun her around so that she faced a mirror. She screamed at the top of her lungs. It was a blood curdling scream. A heartbreaking scream. The man backed away slowly. He looked at Carly Beth with pity, and sorrow. Carly Beth buried her head in her hands and sobbed violently. The man gulped. "There may be one possibility." Carly Beth stopped crying and turned to the man. "How many times have you taken off that mask?" "Taken off? Once?" Carly Beth was confused. The man turned away from Carly Beth. Hope rose up in his voice. "There still might be a chance!" "What!? Well tell me! We have to get this thing off!" "I told you. I cannot take it off. Only you can." The two stared at each other once again. "With a symbol of love." The man walked away. "What the hell does that even mean? I don't understand what that means! Who are you anyways and how do you know all this shit!" Carly Beth ran over to the man and grabbed him by the arm, spinning him around as she did so. The man grabbed Carly Beth and spun her around to face the masks. "I am the man...who created these faces." "You made them..." The man slowly nodded. "But...why?" The man sighed. "I was like you once. I did not love myself. I made these face, to hide behind them. To hide my faults. But the faults were inside me. That's what infected the faces, it's what turned them into monsters. Like this one is turning now..." The man put his hand up to his face and gently rubbed his scar. "Very soon it will join the others, collecting dust on the shelf." The man's voice was filled with hatred. "I don't dare show you what's underneath...or perhaps I should..." The man slowly turned to face Carly Beth. His face was filled with anger. "So that you may appreciate who you are, and what you've always had!" The man grabbed his face. Carly Beth quickly felt around for an object. Her hands found a beaker. She swung it with incredible force. It shattered against the mans face. Shards or crimson coated glass jutted from his face. Blood squirted all over the floor. The man fell to the ground. Carly Beth let out a relieved sigh. She looked up. The masks on the shelf had risen into the air and were advancing on her. She stared in blind horror. She quickly turned and ran from the room, into the front of the store, and out the door. She slammed the store door closed, trapping the masks inside. She ran for the only place she could go.