“The Face” by Luca Penne

Categories: ISSUE 01: Babe

The Face

Up at night, the cats yowling, I stagger into the bathroom. In the window hangs a face as pockmarked as a wasp nest. I peer too closely, realize what it is, and faint in a heap of useless meat. When I awake the face has faded and the wind from the southwest stinks of decay. I stagger back to bed, yank the thin cotton blanket over me, and try to forget what I saw. Across the black wooded hills, down the streets of unlit villages, through the restless vapor-lamp slums of sorry industrial cities, the wind creeps with purpose and taints, eventually, my sleep. I dream that face over and over to prove it was only a dream; but I know, even while dreaming, the fact of it festers in the dimensional world. I saw it once before, in a small town in Missouri when in the dull of night I listened to my girlfriend cry in sleep, weeping in tones so absolute they would crack a marble heart. Beyond her sleeping form that face rose in the window. I thought it the moon, but it smiled and I fainted because the smile bled like surgery. Now the cackle of jays and crows alerts the morning light to rational explanations, but none of them thrive in the back of the mind. The face has rooted so deeply X-rays can’t distinguish it from what it wants to displace.

Story by Luca Penne