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Stories
Saving Face
Susumu, a young salaryman, has an eerie encounter in a strangely empty subway train. Now he's racing against time to restore what he's mislaid before it is lost forever.
Author(s): Rellawing | Editor(s): Trismegistus Shandy | 3 Warnings!
Content Keywords | Status: Completed | To Disqus!
MyReviews: 0
Preface
Susumu discovers the most disturbing thing that has happened to him during this entire strange day.



Chapter Seven : Part Seven: Facelift
Posted: 2018-10-22 07:35:58 | Updated: 2018-10-22 07:38:43
Words: 1921


I see another horrifying visage. The same officer is still on duty, and he’s watching the passageway. When my eyes meet his, he stares at me, stunned, and turns to look towards Rui. “Father, my ass!” he barks loudly.

“Oh crap… that cover story isn’t going to fly anymore. Oh, it’s a good thing I thought ahead…” Rui chuckles nervously as the policeman rushes forward, lifting his baton.

“Stand down! You have questions to answer! Your lies are unbelievable! Have you been tricking and pranking this station all day? I recognize your form, but not that face! Do you get kicks preying on the fear of passengers here? The rumors of the noh face that has been spotted around here have fanned the flame of the passengers’ fear! They’ve been hiding their faces routinely for the last week! Some days they don’t even come here! The level of fear has risen to ridiculous levels!” he barks as he stops before us. He removes two pairs of cuffs from his belt. “Turn and assume a submission posture or I will subdue you!” he orders. I gasp and turn, putting my arms behind me, chewing my lip. I look to Rui and give her a Run! look.

“Oh, don’t worry.” Rui winks at me. “Ume has our butts covered! Trust me!” she cackles cutely. Suddenly, as the officer seizes my wrists to cuff them, a burst of smoke explodes around us.

The officer yells loudly, cursing as all around us forms dart about quickly. Capes flutter in the smoky air. I cough and gasp for breath as hands seize my arms and pull me away for a distance. Then there’s a familiar face right in front of me. Ume! She winks at me and flashes her fangs, twirling her hair around her finger, and she wields a brush liberally on my face, painting it with unnatural hyper-speed. My clothes are ripped quickly from my body with unnatural strength. I stand in a daze as new clothes are fitted on me. When the smoke clears, I look towards Rui and immediately notice that she looks like a goth lolita vampire with complete fangs. I can barely recognize her!

She grins at me and flashes her fake fangs, perhaps in imitation of Ume’s manner; unable to resist, I grin widely at her, flashing my own at her. I barely noticed them slipping them into my mouth! I look down at myself and turn red from head to toes. They’ve dressed me in a similar dress. It doesn’t suit me. I’m a man and I’m taller than Rui, but they actually put me in a dress! I have a flat chest! I scream, and my voice actually sounds convincing. Ume hushes me, putting a finger over her luscious lips as they spread with mirth. A large group of vampires gather around to mill around us and Ume pulls us after her through the platform. The policeman stares towards the crowd of vampires, gaping. We blend in perfectly with the others! It’s like we’re a part of some Halloween party group bound somewhere. Other vampires I see dressed up like classic Dracula or Grandpa Munster. Others are going as animesque vampire characters. I cover my mouth to suppress uncontrollable laughter.

We’re escorted through the ticket stands. Another police officer watches us as we pass through and blinks, shaking his head. He sighs visibly about young people.

Ume sees us out of the station into the cool moonlight. As I gaze upwards, I notice that the moon is full, ironically. She looks to us and suddenly I feel myself seized with Rui in a group hug by her.

“You’re looking so much better now. I’m so happy for you! Have a wonderful night!” she cheerily wishes me. She leans towards my ear. “If you ever want to try the vampire life, since noh face doesn’t suit you, you can look me up. I’d love to have a nibble.” She punctuates it with a nibble of my ear. I blush and stare at her with wide eyes, but she doesn’t actually draw much blood. She winks and blows a kiss at me as she walks over to the waiting group of vampires who rescued us in the station. They bow or curtsy towards us with flourish, and I can’t help laughing aloud, delighted as I return the bow with considerably less grace. Rui tugs me along afterwards and she winks at Ume as she waves her goodnight. We hurry then many blocks towards my apartment. Rui escorts me there the whole way for some peculiar reason that I am unable to fathom.

When we arrive outside my apartment building, I look at her, and honestly I can’t restrain tears of joy, floored by how kind and wonderful she really has been to me lately. No matter her earlier attitude, she stuck it out with me and in the end resolved the situation. Thanks to her I will not be a yokai, as far as I am aware. Because of her efforts, I am no longer a noh face!

“Thank you so much, Rui… I can’t thank you more for what you’ve done for me today. This has been a truly memorable day.” I smile warmly at her. “What do I owe you? Oh, a kiss from a girl. I don’t know any anymore. There was an amazingly beautiful girl that I grew up with and she won my heart and I adored her, but she didn’t love me back. She killed herself, and…” I cry softly, sniffling. Rui reaches out and comfortingly hugs me.

“Oh, no… you’ve been all alone dealing with that… and being the victim of a wayward yokai. I’m so sad to hear that someone you cared deeply for died,” she empathizes. An Oni? She’s a complete angel! How could I ever think poorly of Rui-chan… I love how amazing she is…

“Hmmmm… it’s sad that you don’t know someone who would be willing to pay for your services. That would normally be a dealbreaker here, but the way you’re looking tonight makes me feel silly. My brain goes fuzzy and my knees wobble… so let’s call it even now…” She pulls my face down and suddenly seizes my lips hungrily with hers. I stiffen, and then I melt, turning into jello when she kisses me so passionately out of the blue. I have never been kissed in my whole life. My first kiss is Rui’s? I blush, unable to think clearly. It feels like an hour later when she finally breaks the kiss. Afterwards, I lose my strength entirely. I collapse to my knees right in the street before my apartment building. I peer upwards to her face and gasp for breath for a few moments, feeling glad that the makeup Rui applied to my face hides my blush. Seeming to be aware despite it, Rui smiles warmly at me.

“I know you’re a man, but you trigger me like this… so I had a delightful idea. I’ll be back by your place in the morning with a present for you. I think you need something special to show you the way to move forward with your life. It’s not the end of your life, only the beginning, Susumu. That is the meaning of your name, isn’t it? Progress! Moving forward step by step!” she says encouragingly. “You lost someone special to you, but you do have the strength to keep going. Believe in yourself! I believe in you. See you soon.” She winks at me and trots away, looking happier than I’ve ever seen her.

She skips like a young girl, looking ridiculously happy to have kissed me even though I’m a man. I blush and squirm in a very unmanly way as I watch her go. When she’s gone, it occurs to me that I should walk her home. Oh, Kami… am I the girl in a relationship now? But that’s getting way ahead of myself. Why would a lesbian ever care for a guy like me? Anyhow… I reach down and touch myself to reassure myself that nothing has changed. I sigh, comforted by the proof of existence of my manhood down under the dress. Surely the vampires must have seen it briefly. I was naked in a station for a moment, really? I scream in a very unmanly way as I realize that fact. I’m relieved, but is it really a good thing? If Rui might be interested in me, she wouldn’t be happy to find a penis in my underwear. I laugh.

I climb to my feet and dust off the goth dress as I chew my lip. I quickly climb up the stairs to the second floor and my apartment door. I fidget at my door when I realize that the vampires destroyed my clothes. I now have a costume I never would have purchased, for sure! Oh, but maybe I should return it to Ume. I’m certain that it is worth a lot!

When it dawns on me that I’m missing something important, I scream aloud.“My keys!” I desperately paw at my body all over.. I find a hidden pocket in the skirt and discover my possessions tucked inside.

“My wallet, phone, and my keys!” I gasp aloud. Wait… Rui doesn't have my number, but she has my address… I guess that’s fine?

I open my door to stumble inside, locking the door behind me, and sigh in relief as I finally relax, back in my home. The apartment is cramped, but I feel safe here. I wonder if I’ve developed a complex from my experiences recently? My world has become a unsteady and truly frightening place in a single day, but on a positive note, maybe I’ve also found… love?

I walk into my wash closet to clean off the makeup. I scrub the layers of black and white makeup they’d used to give me that classic ghastly pallor. I use a towel to finish off cleaning my face. I finally spit out the fake fangs in my mouth, and set them down on the sink. I finally look at myself in the mirror; my face is red from scrubbing and cleaning, but I can see it clearly now and experience the worst shock of the entire day, believe it or not.

“R-Reiko-chan…” I gasp aloud as my eyes open widely. Tears start flowing from my eyes, and I can’t stop them. I touch my neck as I notice that my Adam’s apple is gone. This hairline is hers, the face is hers, everything from the neck up is hers, not counting my hair and my mind. Unable to bear the irony of the situation, I fall to my knees, crying aloud. How can I work like this? I’m strange now. What can I do? What kind of a future do I have? Oh Reiko-chan, I’m so sorry for you. Oh, Rui… What now?

Postface
I hope you have enjoyed Saving Face! Only on Topshelf did I entirely release it in a single update as now. It was submitted on DeviantArt as well as TGS. Deviantart received a huge update up to Part Five, but TGS has been receiving it up until date 24th where it will receive the final part! There is an epilogue for this story in a mixtape, which I may upload here as well. :D It will be the first piece done by authors other than myself on this site!


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