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Little masked stories 2

Updated: May 18

The haunting of colours


On the evening of the day following the police statement, just when some people thought that everything was back to normal and that the previous day's episode was just a bad wind, the rumours began to circulate and the story became comical, captivating and terrifying. Some spoke of the celestial nature of these masks, others of their magma origins, or of the evil plan behind them. Among a group of young adults huddled near the Berri/Sherbrooke junction, the discussion was intensifying.

‘Tabarnac! They say that these creatures are all white and ugly", said a tall man who seemed to have a very good insider's view of the phenomenon; he added: ’Do you know what amazes me? It's the strange colour of these creatures; some witnesses say they are white. And yet, as we know, there are no white monsters, never. I've never heard of them...’.


- Of course, it's said that they're all yellow and hideous, but the darkness makes their appearances indiscernible, deformed and horrible to perceive,’ replied a young lady, her charming face covered with an artificial mask, lipstick, mauve hair, false eyelashes, false eyebrows and make-up.

- It seems that not all of you have the correct information, these masks are all black. Apparently it's the witnesses' amazement that makes them see other colours, otherwise everyone knows that all strange creatures are black. Doesn't that make sense? He tried to get everyone to agree, before adding, between you and me, have you ever heard of a race of devil other than black? It's unimaginable, it's not even possible; at most, he could be red. All the legends, all the books, all the stories say it: the evil one is always dark. In fact, I'm going to tell you a story I heard last night over coffee about these masks.

-You're right, Louis. During the distribution of food to the needy last December at the Jardin Gamelin, the church handed out little cards with the meanings of each of the colours we use every day. White stood for holiness, purity, humility, liberality and divine glory. Red: evokes the passion of Christ, the torture of the martyrs and the feast of Pentecost. Green: symbolises hope, growth, peace and nature created by God. Violet: represents penitence, mourning and death. Blue: evokes serenity, candour and celestiality; but Black, according to the Church, always evokes penitence, mourning, mysticism and impurity.


Feeling reassured by Kevin's support, Louis became more captivating, tying his speech to a masterful gesture; he wanted to hold the attention. His voice was so reassuring about what he was saying that the audience had the impression that it was he himself who was witnessing the facts. But you have to recognise the talent of some speakers. Louis was a spellbinding speaker; even when he was talking nonsense, he was always taken seriously. So he continued his story.


"Listen", he said, “it's a dark story, a really dark story, yes dark, to be dark, it is, this story”, he insisted so much on the colour that the others had to nod to reassure him that they understood. Louis glanced around to see if anyone around him was embarrassed before continuing, ‘According to the story, the masks come from the depths of the earth, they are of African origin and emerge from the lower core, the heart of hell, where fire and rock have danced together for millennia, the nest where magmas reside. These burning abysses, where God himself has never dared to set foot, contain much more than the simple dripping larva that emerges from volcanic eruptions; they are said to hold the darkest secrets of all life. As his friends widened their eyes to bear witness to this version, Louis saw an opportunity to amplify the story. Yes,’ he added, ’it was last night that I learned this version, that in this blazing fire, dark creatures reside. I asked myself, how could this be? I swear, I heard people say it, take my word for it. I didn't believe it, but as I listened more, I thought the story might be true. In any case, it's said that it's there, in that burning inferno, that the story of the monsters' lives begins..."

As his friends widened their eyes to bear witness to this version, Louis saw an opportunity to amplify the story. Yes,’ he added, ’it was last night that I learned this version, that in this blazing fire dwelt dark creatures. I asked myself, how could this be? I swear, I heard people say it, take my word for it. I didn't believe it, but as I listened more, I thought the story might be true. In any case, it's said that it's there, in that burning inferno, that the story of the monsters' lives begins. So the souls of the revenant masks, strange creations forged by the fertile human imaginations of early Africa, had been locked away there so as not to disturb man's quest for power over other creatures. In the past, the sculptors, in their arrogance, had believed they could create a soul for each of their works to help them reach the ancestors, but as humans sometimes lack subtlety, they had attributed superior mystical forces to the masks without any measure of control, and the masks began to rival their creators. The latter, having tried in vain to remove the souls from the masks, decided to drive these souls away and lock them up in the belly of the Earth, in the fiery abysses of the depths. They thought they had hidden them forever by forgetting them in the depths of the devouring Earth. Humans believed that the souls thus thrown into the fire would burn and disappear forever. But they had forgotten that the soul does not burn, like the wind; rather, the soul animates the fire, making it even brighter. These trapped souls have been waiting for centuries, thousands of years, to emerge and take their revenge. They have become indomitable; they burn, they dance, they always seek the light, even in the heart of darkness. The masks, fashioned by these forgotten souls, escaped from the magma, carrying with them the memories and torments of those who had fashioned them. Their mission was clear, their destiny drawn by fire: to find those who had forgotten them, the men who had tried to imprison them, and to remind them of the truth they had tried to escape. In this ocean of embers paved with sordid secrets, the returning masks made their first stop and vowed to rise to the surface. They slipped silently between the shadows of the smoke. Every step, every breath was filled with the promise of an imminent revelation.’


Louis had succeeded in creating absolute silence around him. His story was so captivating that even passers-by stopped to listen. One small man, sitting on the stairs in front of a non-functioning building, who was attentively following the exchanges between the group of friends, also wanted to take part in the debate, which he found interesting.

- Your story is fascinating. Well done! But, to get back to race, he says that these masks are red, hideous and monstrous. It says so in the paper. He held up a sheet of paper bearing the headline ‘Red monsters from the depths terrorise Montreal’. They're red, they're dangerous, they're bloodthirsty, those reds... they're red, to be red, they're red my dear,’ ruminated the little man.

The little man stood up, as if challenged by someone, lit a cigarette and headed towards the rue Saint-Denis.

The group of friends remained silent. The looks on their faces were one of amazement, curiosity and dread. Police bells and sirens began to echo through the city. It was going to be an anxious night, what's going on? wondered the inhabitants of the metropolis...


By Banesé

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