The Mask Crumbles


© Yinglan Z.

Their High School Drama club had adopted this section of the path through the forest near their campus to clean up every quarter. Derek, the most unpopular student in class, brought up the rear while everyone else had already picked up the more easily found garbage and litter and moved on.

Cynthia and Stephanie decided to take a break and sit on the grass and they saw Derek looking under the wooden path as if he were puking. They started giggling at the sight, calling out “Doofus Derek.”

“Those stupid girls, I can hear them. They think I care…hey, what’s that?”

Something was moving in the shadows. “Probably just a cat or a squirrel.” That’s what he thought until the long dormant blackness leapt into his face.

“Oh gross!”

“What is it Steph…oh gross. Derek what did you do to your..?”

Nothing had happened to his face except his mask fell away finally revealing all of the rage inside. The berserker he’d become rushed at the teens. They were just the first pair to die.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge-Week of March 20, 2018 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for creating a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

It was tough to come up with a story based on the image. The guy really did look like he was vomiting and the expression one of the girls seemed to indicate shock or horror. I built on that, leveraging school bullying and how being pushed too far can finally send even the mildest person into a rage. In this case, Derek had a little supernatural help, and his response was beyond deadly.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to


The Woman is Africa

black woman art

From: Clipart Kid

It’s been over forty years and I can still remember her. She’s probably forgotten about me completely, and I don’t blame her. I didn’t make much of an impression.

“What do you think of it, Jeff?” Diane showed me her completed art project. “Think she’ll get first prize in the Senior Art Fair?”

It was our Senior Year in High School. I’d been taking art classes there since I was a Freshman, and she’d transferred from Tucson at the beginning of the year.

“I think it’s great. Is it a self-portrait?”

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