Life had been strange as of late, though that was putting it mildly. As if newfound memories, or perhaps better categorized as memories he couldn’t understand, combined with gaps of time simply erased from his memories weren’t bad enough he was dealing with something that he hadn’t felt for years. Feelings. Feelings were the bane of his existence and he was very careful to squash them deep down inside, not letting them seep through the cracks of his otherwise cryptic exterior. If he had learned anything over the years it was that feelings only led to problems, which led to complications, which led to a complete breakdown of emotion that he didn’t want to accept. Feelings meant that he was just as bad as the clients he saw; simpering fools on the couches who cried at the mere mention of parental units or past relationships or (god forbid) the loss of a pet.

It was clear to him that he was experiencing these feelings and how terrible it would be if he needed to explain himself. Feelings were natural in society, after all. They were socially accepted and lack thereof meant that something was wrong with him. That, perhaps, he was some kind of sociopath. While that may have been slightly true, he wasn’t willing to project that out into the world so he did the next best thing that helped in these troubling times; he drank. A lot. In abundance. Feelings were not something he wanted back into his life, even if they were minor. That’s all they were, after all. They were minor but not something that he wanted to expand upon. God forbid he expand upon them because something horrible could happen. It was just the cycle of feelings. Nothing good ever came from them and he wasn’t going to say otherwise now.

The strangeness of life was bad enough and the feelings kept creeping in and that’s when he would continue to drink until they were suppressed, deep down into his black heart. Or so he thought. The numb feeling of the alcohol; it had started with brandy because he wanted to feel sophisticated. It gave him a sense of refinery that he liked. It had soon switched over into scotch, though, a nice end scotch, that he let burn every inch of his body until he couldn’t feel anymore. This had been going on almost every single day that he arrived home from work, drinking on the job was never his thing, although he did enjoy other extracurriculars on the job, and ended when he passed out, rinse, repeat, start all over again. It wasn’t a necessarily fulfilling existence but he had convinced himself that the feelings would settle at some point.

The weekend allowed him free reign of his drinking episodes, though, and he would put on an album, on his record player, of jazz music while he sat and drank. It wasn’t hugely known outside of his small circle of close friends but he enjoyed the old-school approach to life when he could get it. The record player, which he had bought many months ago was part of that. The next stop was getting one of those robes, the kind that men wore in the old movies, smoking cigarettes in their bachelor pads and occasionally ringing up a dame or two. It was a ridiculous scenario, one that he was aware he was not but he enjoyed the roleplaying aspect of it all, even if it was for himself. It was then that it dawned on him that, among other reasons, this was why he would never see a psychologist about his own problems. They would likely have a field day with him.

On Sunday evening, he was nice and toasty. The weather outside had been awful but inside, he was warm from the heat of his place and the alcohol. It dawned on him that he should probably eat something, and he stumbled into the kitchen, half drunk and considered the contents of the refrigerator. It would be a dicey situation to try and cook something in the state he was in and instead he opted to enjoy leftovers from the night before to avoid an emergency room visit thanks to cutting off his finger with a knife. Even though he didn’t enjoy leftovers nearly as much the following day, his balsamic chicken and pasta would simply have to do. He scooped the contents onto a plate and into the microwave, pouring himself another healthy pour of scotch and realized he needed to go to the bathroom, thanks to the scotch in question.

He stumbled into the bathroom, much like he had to the kitchen, and proceeded to do his business, not paying much attention to the bathroom around him. It wasn’t until he flushed the toilet and went to wash his hands that he noticed something hanging with his towels, something that wasn’t quite right. It was a mask. A mask that he didn’t recognize but somehow recognized and those memories that he didn’t want to think about all made sense now. There was no logic or reason as to why it was there. Nothing about this made any sense to him and he wanted to shrug it off, give credit to the alcohol for creating some sort of illusion or hallucination, but he knew better than that. The gaps in his memory, the things that didn’t make any sense, they explained it all for him.

From down the hall he heard the beeping of the microwave but that was no bother to him. Food could be re-heated again. He tentatively picked up the mask and held it in his hands. It was not lavish or anything of that nature but somewhere, deep inside, he knew it was meant for him. There was a pull at his feelings, not the same feelings he had been experiencing, but feelings nonetheless, and he pulled the mask over his head. The fit of it told him the whole story; this was his and he knew it. It fit like a glove and he looked at himself in the mirror, a smirk appearing under the mask though no one would be able to tell.

In his drunken state he was almost proud of this discovery and that actually shot some sort of fear through his body. Fear wasn’t something he experienced frequently, if at all, but he knew what this would mean for him. It had confirmed everything that had been happening to him since the New Year. He took off the mask and stared at himself for a moment, trying to find a glimmer that he was still in control, that this didn’t mean what he thought it meant. The other man wasn’t talking to him… yet. Perhaps this was just a sign of things to come. He stumbled into the bedroom to put it in the closet, checking if he would find another sign but there was none there. He shut the door, almost relieved, before making his way back into the kitchen.

He checked the microwave, his food was cold yet, and he took it out, setting it on the counter next to his drink. He eyed it and downed it all in one big chug before pouring more. As if he needed more of a reason to dull the feelings.