It was cold. Cold and dark. That’s all I could feel when I stared into the black abyss, that made up its eyes. There was a tingling sensation in my feet, that slowly rose up in my body like panic trapped inside of me. I felt changed. I don’t know what he was doing to me, but it freaked me out. My heart started pounding, but that was the only part of my body that moved. I couldn’t blink. I couldn’t even breathe. All I could do was stare. Stare into those big, black eyes. Those big… beautiful eyes. Like a night sky full of breath-taking stars. But these stars were… moving. Slowly but surely. Not just moving, spinning. It was mesmerizing. It was hypnotizing. It was beautiful. He was beautiful. I wanted to thank him for this… these stars. They were the most beautiful things I had ever laid my eyes upon. I wanted to praise him. I… I wanted to worship him.
And then like a warm embrace my body was relieved of the coldness, and I gained the ability to move again. He’d released me and dissappeared, but I knew what to do. I must worship him. I must be like him. With the starry night image still in mind, I slowly reached for my pocket knife. I went for my eyes first. They’d already seen the best thing they’d ever see, so why bother with all these inferior sights? I didn’t need them anymore. The beautiful vision would forever be in my memories anyway.
With the stars still in mind, I brought my knife to my eyes. First the left, then the right, forever blinding myself from my unworthy surroundings. There. I could finally see. See my stars. Nothing but the stars. With a pleased smile, I sat down and brought the knife to my legs, slowly peeling both the skin and the flesh away, leaving nothing but the bone. It took ages, but I knew it would be worth it. I would be beautiful. Beautiful like him. Beautiful like Bigface.
* * * * * *
“Chicken!” Dan taunted. “It’s just a forest.”
“A forest where people go missing,” Brick grunted in return.
Normally he’d be up for a camping trip, but recently the walls in the city had been decorated with pictures of people who’d gone missing.
“You don’t know if the forest is where people go missing,” Dan added. “No one knows what’s happened. That is, unless you’re scared of Bigface?”
Brick shoved Dan hard. “You know I’m not superstitious!” he yelled at him, but Dan only laughed.
“Oh, he’s real,” he taunted. “I’ve seen him myself.”
Brick glared at him.
“You’re lying! You wouldn’t be alive if you’d seen him!” he shouted.
“You sure know a lot about someone you claim doesn’t exist,” Dan continued. “You sure it’s not because you’re a chicken?”
“I’m not a chicken!” Brick yelled again. Dan smirked.
“Then prove it.”
“Fine! We’ll go on your stupid camping trip,” Brick answered, trying his hardest not to stutter.
“Deal! I’ll see you on Saturday. 3 pm, in front of the forest,” Dan instructed.
“Deal. I’ll see you,” Brick agreed, and the two boys parted ways.
Walking home, Brick felt terrified already, but he didn’t want to be a chicken. It was just stupid superstition. After all, most towns had their own tales, right?
Brick laughed to himself, feeling a tad bit braver. Surely none of them sounded as silly as Bigface. For a while, Brick started to wonder why he’d even be scared in the first place. He snorted. A massive floating head. Surely whoever came up with the tale must’ve been drunk. What would a floating head even do? Headbutt you to death? Brick laughed. No, Bigface was definitely just a myth. A silly myth indeed.
When Brick came home, he threw himself on the sofa and turned on his PlayStation. He knew his mother would be against it, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. He played for what seemed like hours, until he suddenly heard a car pull up. “Shit!” he thought to himself, and quickly turned everything off, running upstairs, and only just made it before he heard the front door unlock. He pulled the first book he could reach out of his bag, and turned to a random page, pretending to be deep into homework.
After a few minutes, he heard a knock on his door, and looked up to see his mother peeking into his room. They started some small talk about Brick’s day at school, and eventually Brick asked his mom if he could spend the night at Dan’s place on Saturday. His mother smiled at him, pleased he was finally getting along with someone. “Sure, honey,” she replied. “Do you want a ride there?”
Brick rejected her offer, knowing he couldn’t tell her where he was really going. He deemed it better to go by bike. He knew Dan would bring a tent. Dan’s parents were never home to notice what Dan was doing anyway.
Brick sighed, wishing he was as lucky as Dan. Brick would be 12 in a few months, but his mother insisted on treating him as if he was 7, and surely she’d never let him stay the night in the forest. But she didn’t need to know that’s where he was going.
“Thanks for letting me go, mom,” Brick murmured, returning to his pretend-homework. His mother smiled in return before heading downstairs to cook dinner.
Brick sighed with relief, though a part of him wished she wouldn’t have agreed to the sleepover. The confidence from earlier was gone, and he was definitely terrified again. That night, Brick barely slept. Whenever he closed his eyes he’d see floating faces grinning at him. One of the nightmares was him rushing through the forest, with a massive face chasing him, and its horrifying laughter echoing in the woods.
Brick’s eyes flew open, and he breathed heavily for a while. Eventually, he rolled onto his side, attempting to fall asleep again. And there, on his extra pillow laid a big mask, grinning at him. Brick was up in an instant, drenched in sweat and breathing heavily. He looked around frantically to ensure he was awake for real this time. After rubbing his eyes for what seemed like minutes, he finally checked his alarm. Still three hours of sleep left. Brick sighed, wishing this terrible night would just end.
The nightmares continued playing out for the rest of the night, and Brick was still tired when his alarm rang. However, he didn’t want to go back to sleep. Though he definitely wanted to stay at home, he couldn’t have Dan calling him a chicken in front of everyone at school, so he got out of bed and started getting ready.
Brick barely had any breakfast, and made sure to hide the food he threw out well in the garbage so his mom wouldn’t notice. He spent the rest of his time, packing his backpack before he yelled goodbye to his mother and ventured out on his bike.
Brick’s heart was pounding as he cycled, and he knew it wasn’t from exhaustion, judging by the slow tempo he kept. All the way there, Brick kept telling himself to relax and calm down. Bigface wasn’t real. He and Dan would be just fine. They’d have fun camping in the woods. The only thing they’d find in there would be the trees and animals, Brick thought. The normal animals. Big floating heads weren’t real, and Brick and Dan would prove that. Brick would never let Dan know he was scared. Puffing out his chest a bit, he finally pulled up to the forest where Dan was waiting for him.
The boys spent most of their time setting up their tent and collecting wood for a fire. When everything was finally ready, the sun had set.
The boys sat around the fire, keeping warm. Brick was happy they’d lit the fire before it had gone dark. The fire provided enough light and warmth for the boys to stay up for a bit, though fear was starting to sneak up on Brick. The noises in the forest started to get on Brick’s nerves, and even the slightest sound made him twitch a little. Brick moved closer to the fire to pretend his slight shivering was from being cold.
Suddenly, Brick heard a loud snap that made him jump. Out of fear, he turned around to see where the noise came from, and he found Dan laughing out loud while holding both ends of the stick he broke.
“Dude, you should’ve seen your face!” Dan laughed. “Your reaction was priceless!”
“That’s not funny!” Brick shouted, standing up to confront him. Dan stopped laughing.
Good, Brick thought. It seemed he had some effect on Dan after all. He’d show him not to mess with him like that. He’d show him he wasn’t a chicken.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than joke around all day? When will you actually start taking things seriously?” Brick growled angrily, looking down at Dan. But Dan wasn’t looking at Brick. Dan was looking at something behind Brick. “What? Cat’s got your tongue?” Brick continued angrily, but Dan only pointed at something behind Brick. “Yeah, I’m not falling for your tricks,” Brick snorted.
It wasn’t until Dan’s eyes got wide with fear and his pointing more desperate, that Brick finally turned around. And there, a few yards away, Brick saw something move. It had a human-like silhouette, but there was something off about the way it moved. As it got closer, Brick noticed how thin the person was. They must’ve been lost and not eaten for days, Brick thought to himself.
The boys just kept starring at it, and eventually Brick realized the reason behind the thin appearance. Surely, the creature was human. Or, at least, it used to be. The person’s body was literally just… bones. But what really scared the boys was the face. The entire body was missing its skin and flesh, but the face was intact. However, the area around the eyes was covered with dried blood, and the eyes appeared to have been slashed. Brick stared long enough at the morbid face to realize this… person… was one of the missing people from the posters he’d seen.
Feeling sick and terrified, he turned to Dan so they could run. But Dan was being held by another walking skeleton, its face just as terrifying as the first one. Another missing person, Brick assumed. He took a step back in fear, and started to look around for a means of escape, but wherever he looked, he only saw more and more skeletons appearing. Brick didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t leave Dan, and he couldn’t spot any way out.
Eventually, he saw something else coming out from between the trees. Something bigger. Brick froze in place, completely unable to move. Now both he and Dan were forced to look at the creature emerging from the forest. Brick started to feel a tingling sensation rising up from his feet, and he soon realized the creature was little more than a face.
Bigface! he thought to himself, and despite their rising panic, Brick and Dan remained rooted in place as Bigface floated closer. At the same time, the walking skeletons began gathering behind the boys, also starring at Bigface. It wasn’t until the enormous bulbous head of the creature was before the boys that Brick noticed its eyes. It’s big black eyes. It’s big, beautiful black eyes, full of… stars?
Both Brick and Dan continued staring into the eyes until Bigface eventually disappeared. The skeletons let go of Dan and started to leave as well.
Both Brick and Dan dropped to their knees, searching for rocks. But not just any rocks. They needed sharp rocks. Rocks that were sharp enough to cut.
Bigface had shown them the stars, and they were prepared to do whatever it took to see them again.
They needed to worship him, to be like him.
They needed to be beautiful.
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