Behind the Face
by Katie Jordan
The sign on the fair booth read ‘PSYCHIC READINGS’.
“I’ll catch up with you in a minute,” I told my mother.
I wanted to believe in a promising future, having dropped out of college single, overweight, and depressed after not having obtained my ‘MRS.’
A voice from inside the booth startled me. “You,” she said. “You look like a Jane.”
I gasped. She didn’t have a normal face: irregularly-shaped circles for a nose, bird-like slits on the sides of her head for ears, and eyebrows singed off, leaving a thick line of scarring above her big blue eyes, a perfect circle of porcelain skin surrounding each one.
“Y-yes,” I stammered. “How did you know?”
“I’m Matty Nevans.” Her mouth twitched as she pointed at another sign. “The reading costs five dollars.”
I paused, then opened my purse.
When she lifted the tent flap, she revealed a long, dimly-lit room with a concrete slab floor. When she closed it, the crinkly walls transformed into perfectly flat mirrors, and Matty disappeared. I tried to reopen the flap. It wouldn’t budge.
My face and body stretched and squashed in each frame of the mirror. When I got to the last pane, the clarity was flawless but the face staring back at me wasn’t mine. No ears. No nose. Large blue eyes under scarred eyebrows.
I felt my face, and ran out of the tent. “Mom! Mom!” I screamed.
I threw myself around her. She shrieked, and pried me off. With tears in my eyes, I could see the disdain and outright fear in her eyes. I was no longer Jane. I was Matty Nevans.
Katie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her bonsai enthusiast husband, Brad, two daughters, and the world’s most stubborn beagle, Bailey McBeagleston. She dabbles in writing dystopian, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and women’s fiction.