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She had been collecting supplies for some time: fabric, yarn, scissors, and glue. Strong glue. She needed this to hold together.
Everyone wore face coverings now. It was hard to recall what people looked like without them. Over time they had become larger, covering more and more of the face. Nobody wanted to show their real skin; only their eyes remained real.
The papier-mâché trend had been slow to start, but now everyone was doing it. Full papier-mâché masks, with a sealed mouth and slits for eyes. Some made them look like their real faces, others had one for every occasion: a work mask, a party mask, a dating mask. Every time she went to the supermarket there were at least two people with Elvis Presley’s face.
When she made the first one, she wanted it to be as fantastical as possible; she made the nose deliberately long and pointy, added piercings, a tattoo across the forehead.
But it was never enough. She always wanted more.
Then she saw the dead fox by the side of the road. Its beautiful amber pelt reminded her of a cat she had once owned.
She took it home and peeled off its coat, leaving a layer of skin to which she could apply the glue. She began attaching the fox fur in small sections; it was amazing how well it took, like turf bedding down into her skin, until her face was completely covered. Then she used the whiskers to make a grille to conceal her eyes.
She admired the effect in the mirror. In the sunlight her cheeks glinted like burnished gold. The fur already felt part of her.
She picked up her handbag and left the house. She wondered how long it would take before everyone else was doing it too.
Terri Mullholland is a writer and researcher living in London, UK. She has a PhD from the University of Oxford, where she has taught English Literature and Critical Theory. She is currently working on her first novel and has just started writing flash fiction.