“…she undoes its bow, and ties the blue band around her upper arm. “

I dare you read this work. Aebersold tutors Isobel and three others in the strict rules of his Genevan masquerade that he feels is gradually rivalling the mighty Venetian one. An intriguing tale of masks as an experiment in self-identity, during the nemonymous masquerade where chosen participants in the experiment as well as ordinary locals are invited. Amidst much carnival atmosphere and characters, I wonder into what maze I may have wandered by reading this text between its generous en or em dashes. Right, and then left, was that it? I forget. Till the ultimate late-labelling.

Isobel’s mask is the death-mask of a real evil person from the real historic past and she is not allowed to see it before its tethers are sealed behind the back of her neck like an all encompassing face itch that cannot be scratched. In no circumstances can it be removed till the masquerade ends. But this story also seems to mask each reader of it, as I wonder whether my future nature and past nurture feed off each other. In both directions of a filter’s flow. “Find an anonymous lover, if that is what excites you.”

When I finally took off my mask at the end of the story, I suddenly realised that to take  the letters ‘sobel’ from Isobel to help form Aebersold did leave remaining what each reader calls themselves  when thinking about themselves or telling others what happened to themselves, i.e. ‘I’. And ‘dare’ is needed, too!

“Christman, finger to mask’s lips, holds the child’s elbow.”


This story is available in WEIRD HORROR #2, Undertow Publications.

My previous review of Marc Joan: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2021/10/19/tawuse-melek/

My previous reviews of Undertow Publications: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/tag/undertow-publications/

My ongoing reviews of single stories by living authors: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2022/11/06/the-single-story-toward-a-novel-world/

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