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Wear the mask. It will come off in the morningWhen a young man from a village comes to the big city to study, he finds himself overwhelmed by the urban lifestyle. But will he manage to blend in by going to a Halloween party, when his crush asks him to help decorate the place, when the abandoned villa becomes all too spooky for him and when the illusory masks everyone wears seem to never come off?
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BOO! A Halloween Story
There is something seriously wrong with their faces, mama.
I’m writing this in an email instead of telling you on videochat. I’ll explain why in a bit.
I’ve been in Athens for just two months. Honestly, it’s all very overwhelming. Back at our horio there were what, five hundred people around? Here there are five hundred people at any given time around you at Papagou avenue.
It’s... different. I was used to knowing everyone’s face, or at least having a passing familiarity with everyone I see each day. Here the sheer mass of people is crazy, mama. You see so many people every day when you go out, that you just tune the faces out. Maybe it’s impossible to handle all these faces, they are strangers after all, so we look away and ignore them.
We forget about them. But does the brain ever truly forget anything? Where do the faces in our dreams come from, if not from passing strangers in our lives?
It all started at October 31st. Halloween morning. Becky, my roommate, barged in and demanded I help her with the decorations.
“Come on you sleepyhead,” she said, pulling the covers, “we’ve got so many things to do before the Halloween party tonight!”
“Ugh.” I covered my eyes from the light. “We don’t celebrate Halloween in Greece.”
“Sure we do,” she said.
I noticed at that point she was wearing a witch’s hat. “Nice costume. Where’s the rest of it?”
She glowered at me and showed off her sexy witch outfit. It bore the concept of a witch costume, for sure. The essentials. With bits missing, and skin exposed.
Becky was one of my five roommates. She was the one who welcomed me and made me feel at home. It was tough, adjusting to the city life, and Becky knew that. She was from the countryside too, but had adjusted a little too well to the Athens lifestyle these past two years.
“Wake up, now, mister. We’ve got two Halloween parties tonight!”
“Two?” I rubbed my face.
“Yes, the one at the villa which I’m decorating, and the after-party at the cemetery. All the cool guys will be there.”
“I see. We wouldn’t wanna miss the cool guys.”
“Here’s your frappe,” she conjured up a glass from behind her back.
“Oh. Niiice.” I sipped and took in the caffeine.
She waited. “Well?”
“I’m not coming.”
“Why the fuck not?” she exclaimed.
“Dunno. First of all, as I said, Halloween is not something we celebrate in Greece, so it’s dumb. Second of all, it sounds like, too much, you know?”
She put her hands on her waist. “Aren’t you an anthropology student?”
“Yes...” I said carefully.
“And aren’t you supposed to integrate yourself into foreign cultures and study their customs?”
“Yes,” I sighed. I saw where this was going.
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