Mutatis mutandis

“For when he manifests he will have thy visage, mutatis mutandis, and no more.”

My real name is Lysander, but everybody thinks I am Mick. Nobody believes me when I tell them my tale. Instead, they threaten me with incarceration at the madhouse. So I stay quiet. But you, dear reader, are different. You will believe and sympathize with me, with the ordeal that I have to endure for the rest of my life.

It happened one night, exactly a year ago. I was on my way to meet a client whose old manor was to be renovated. The hour was late and the roads were deserted. Driving through a desolate part of the country, I was accosted by a stranger asking for a ride. Happy to see a soul and happier to find company, I stopped to pick him up.

The stranger was dark and swarthy, with a striking scar across his forehead. He carried a small bag on his shoulders and did not appear to be a dangerous person. In fact, he looked like anybody you would meet as you go about your daily life.

“Thanks,” he said as he got in.

“Where are you headed?” I asked him.

“I am going north, to meet up with my friends.”

“I am going as far as Newbury. I will be glad to drop you there.”

The road no longer appeared as dreary as before, now that there was someone to talk to. But the night was still young and there were many miles to go. And scarcely does anybody know what the future holds as I was to find out soon.

I asked him what he did for a living. Instead of answering, he said, “Hey, I like your face. Can I have it?”

“What?” I said, hitting the breaks. Utterly shocked, I almost jumped out of my seat. The car came to a screeching halt.

It was then that I experienced the most bizarre moment of my life. The stranger looked at me intently. I do not know how it was, but his gaze paralyzed my whole body. He then took out an odd box-like instrument from his bag and ran it across my face. It seemed to be some kind of scanner. He did the same to his face. My eyes popped out of my head when I saw the stranger become faceless. I watched helplessly as he pressed some buttons on the box and run it across his faceless face again. I almost passed out when there appeared my face on his. And as he repeated the procedure on me, I knew he had transferred his face, that from now on his face was mine.

***

The dawn was breaking in the sky. The stranger was nowhere to be seen. I do not know how long I slept. My limbs were moving again. Scared to look in the mirror, I touched my forehead, only to feel the scar. Sitting alone in the car, tears rolled down my face relentlessly. Outside the sun shone brightly on another brand new day.

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Beryl Zephyr

Beryl Zephyr

An occasional writer but a regular thinker, Beryl sometimes fiddles in speculative fiction. He sees both humour and tragedy in everyday events and is extremely concerned with the fate of other creatures trapped in the monstrous march of 21st-century human civilization.
Beryl Zephyr

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