Wisteria D. Jones’ Short Story #1: The Man with No Face
**Warning: This short story includes scenes with graphic content. Reader discretion is advised**
Not that long ago, there was a child born with no face. Doctors had not seen any issues with the sonograms taken during the mother’s first few months of pregnancy, but lack on funds meant that she couldn’t afford to keep checking on the baby regularly as the due date drew closer. When he emerged into the world, the medical staff were horrified by the silent, squirming creature they had delivered.
Where his eyes, nose, and mouth should have been, there was only a smooth, flat surface of skin. There were small indents on the sides of his head that almost seemed like internal ears, but they were completely covered with skin and lacked any openings. Though he could not latch onto his mother to feed, she took him in her arms anyway and held him against her chest, looking down at him with nothing but love in her heart.
His father left the hospital that day without once looking back.
Life was not easy for him growing up. Through multiple tests, scans, poking, prodding, and what seemed like a stream of endless questions and theories, doctors had reached several conclusions. The child did not seem to require food or water, though his skin did absorb some moisture if it came into contact with a liquid. There was nowhere for the body to expel waste, and after several multi-day scans of his body it was found that his system was self-sustaining and devoid of want for outside sources of sustenance.
Despite his terrifying appearance and unexplainable attributes, his mother vowed to do everything in her power to protect her child from the cruel world she knew all too well. She raised him as best she could while juggling several part time jobs, utilizing resources for parents of blind, mute, and partially deaf children. She found that if she spoke loudly enough, her voice would carry past the skin covering his internal ears and he could hear and understand her. It was hard adjusting to yelling lovingly at her child all day, but they made due.
Making friends wasn’t as difficult as his mother had previously thought. The only people who were disgusted by his appearance were the parents of his fellow classmates. As most of them did not share the same lack of sight as their children, they saw nothing but a monster learning to read Braille and sign language alongside their offspring. The boy was not immune to the knowledge that he didn’t fit in, and through his studies he easily caught on that he was too different to adhere society’s standards. He grew the small crop of hair atop his head out as long as he could, and learned to cover his face with it at all times. Though his mother always tried to brush it back, he made a point of moving it back to veil his feature-less face.
As he grew older, he began to hide himself from the rest of the world. He sought refuge from being unable to integrate into society by joining online forums for those with disabilities. Late into the night, his mother would hear his laptop speaking loudly, reading out comments and posts by those who felt his pain and knew of his deep, internal sorrow. Not knowing if it was doing more help than harm, the mother allowed her son his time alone with the internet to process and come to grips with his situation.
The mother grew older, and found herself relying on her son more and more for help around the house. Spending a third of a century learning to do simple activities without the add of sight meant that the man was easily able to help his mother around the house. Yet, he felt woefully unable to help her with daily tasks that required leaving their home. Accompany his mother to the store to get food wasn’t so bad, as they would walk arm and arm, her leading while he supported. His mother could see the stares and hear the whispers at the sight of her son, and she was glad that he could not.
A sudden and unexpected heart attack took the man’s mother away from him. No one came to her funeral. The family had cut her off the moment she chose to keep her only child; they could never forgive her for bringing something so strange and horrifying into the world. She didn’t have much to leave him, but what she did have was enough to keep the electricity, water, gas, and internet bills paid for the foreseeable future. The house had been left to her by her grandparents after she got married, and she had made sure all expenses for it were paid for and settled.
Since the man didn’t have to eat to survive, there was no longer any reason for him to leave the house. Slowly but surely, he stopped venturing outside. It was no place for him now that the only person he had ever known to show him love was gone. For years he sat in the same room, his only companions being his laptop and the dust that settled on the floorboards. Those that he spoke with online offered solace for his life of solitude, though they never fully understood his hardships. He conversed with many who were blind, deaf, and/or mute, but never exposed the key difference between himself and others.
One day, the man heard a loud knocking at the door; loud enough that he heard it clearly in the big, empty house. He had ignored the light knocking sound on the door many times before, but this sound was different. He could almost sense the emotions raging inside the person who had done the knocking: pain, anger, and sorrow. The man knew that he had to answer, if only to be in the presence of another who felt what he was going through in his isolation.
Opening the door, his hair covering his face, the man heard someone loudly sobbing, and tried his best to make out the words the person was shouting.
“You… Took her from me!… You took… Everything!…”
The man didn’t know what to do. He began to sign a question to the stranger, asking who they were and what they wanted, but a loud sound and intense pressure on his chest stopped him from finishing his gestures.
There was pain, warmth, and a sense of falling. The man crumpled to the ground, his hand reaching up to the large hole in his chest. He felt a warm, sticky substance on his fingers. Whoever he had opened the door to was still shouting and sobbing, though he was finding it hard to hear them, as if he was slowly falling asleep.
As he felt himself lose control of his body, he thought for a moment that he could feel someone wrapping their arms around his body and lifting him into a sitting position. His chest was still painful, but there was another source of warmth on it now, and the sobbing sounded closer. Although it had been many years since he had experienced it, he recognized the sensation of being held by someone. He thought of his mother, but soon thought no more.
As the man with no face’s father cradled his son’s lifeless body in his arms, he pulled his gun to his chin and fired.