Mask on, Mask off

Greetings, Atomic mates! Presenting: a macabre horror story based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Be careful about accepting an invite to the next Halloween film special at your local cinema!

Written for Six Sentence Stories, which is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. This week’s cue word is: FILM

Mask on, mask off, Jamie Lee Curtis and Boris Karloff, Cushing and Price and Christopher Lee, Robert Englund and Janet Leigh, vampires, zombies, luscious scream-queens… yep, I’ve seen them all a dozen or more times when I bought my victims popcorn and ice cream, tickets to back row nightmares, icy blades scored down a spine, they will be mine, and sit by my side at the Halloween showing of a horror no one would expect I could ever be capable of.

I like to choose the rejects, male or female, I don’t care; the fat ones, the pimply ones, the ones with disorders and less than 100 followers on Instagram and Twitter, the ones with identity issues and dead-end jobs, single and lonely and with ne’er a fine lover in all their dull years to tell them they were beautiful, or handsome, and worthy of the knife I keep beneath my cloak.

Mask on, mask off, I take my dates to special screenings of Night of the Living Dead, Psycho, The Shining, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ring, Halloween, Rosemary’s baby,  A Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser… and it’s interesting to observe my victims as they watch the film horrified, mortified, petrified… hark! the screams and gasps from the audience… how a jump scare silences the unsheathing of my blade for my dark annual desire.


And I… I slip off my mask and stare in the mirror with revulsion at the uncontrollable ghoul I became last night; mask on, mask off, swift was my exit to leave my victim dripping wet with blood as some poor cinema employee discovered the corpse while sweeping the aisles… what a monster I am! (but only on Halloween, you must understand!)

Then it’s back to the day job of air traffic controller, at a famous airport the flyers among you may have passed through one time or another, and for which I am happy to report that in 25 years of employ I have personally overseen the safety of more than a million passengers arriving in our splendid city, mask on, mask off.

Mask on, Mask off story and art by Ford, 13 October 2022.

Ford, Atomic Mage.


  1. Hey Ford! Good to ‘see’ you… (well, not in the does-he-realize-I’ve-remotely-turned-on-his-webcam sorta way).
    We miss your lyricism, Sixistically-speaking. Motifs and re-stated themes… way more difficult to pull off than they look.

    Fun Six!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hello Mage….remind me never to take a plane to CDG any time soon! Just kidding, I’d like to visit one day. This story reminds me of the film where the supernatural killer actually exits the cinema screen through the fourth wall and kills members of the audience who are locked in the cinema. (I’m trying to recall the title)

    Liked by 1 person

      • Hi there, the movie was on the Horror Channel in the UK about 2 years ago. It was set in what looked to be a high school theatre and they had a film showing where the killer from the film had the power to leave the screen and was picking off victims. The killer had some family relationship to one of the students. If I can find the title of the film, I’ll let you know!

        Liked by 1 person

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