It stared at me from across the room. Sitting in its polished oak wood briefcase. It was watching me. The Mask. A Relic. Or so I was told by my uncle. He had a reputation for stretching the truth, but somehow I mustered enough trust to believe him. My uncle Thomas told me of a family treasure buried underneath my house, the house that had belonged to my family for two generations. Built by my Great Great Grandfather Samuel R. Longfield. My uncle told me of a story that Great Grandpa Sam raided a nearby Native American tribe. He and the rest of his military platoon killed every inhabitant of the camp; men, women, and children alike, in search of a “sacred artifact” that could buy a man a small fortune in gold. Needless to say he found it. Yet, for some reason, he never sold that mask. He never even spoke of it. Sure, he boasted about his heroic and bold capture of it; yet after that night, he was never that same man. He would sit for hours in the study of this very mansion, just staring at it. Out of guilt? He did slaughter an entire tribe in cold blood. Out of curiosity? He heard so many legends of the mask, that it was carved from the black stone of hell to give a man immortality, and that the price was his very soul. No. Neither were the true reasons. The truth is, he was scared. Fear of the flames of hell. Fear that the blood of the Natives had damned him to hell. Fear that he was not alone, and that the Natives were using the mask to exact some sort of revenge against him. The fear drove him insane, to the point where he buried the mask six feet under the cellar, in an oakwood case. The following week, he was found dead. While sleeping in the master bedroom, an arrow was found lodged in his head, it entered through his left eye. An arrow used by the very tribe he raided. It was impossible. No native survived the raid, and my great grandpa was a paranoid man. He lived alone, and locked every door and window of the mansion at night.
A chilling tale, no doubt. But immense fortune wasted due to an old man’s paranoia?! Oh, what a greedy fool I was. The day I heard that story, I dug as deep as I could to find that treasure. The joy I had upon finding it! The immense pleasure I felt after realizing that my uncle was somewhat useful to me! I began to call every historical museum in the area, scouring for the highest bidder. However, my sense of victory was short lived the first night I beheld it. I began to hear the intense trots of running horses. I knew it was odd, because even though it was farmland that surrounded my property, I don’t own horses and neither do any of my neighbors. I’m a business man, a city boy. Absolutely no interest in a farming life, just here to collect my family’s mediocre wealth and move on to a bigger, better, modern life. The following day, my suspicions were correct. Horseshoe prints, several covering the property. The following night, the sound of beating drums, echoing throughout the mansion. And the night after, came the screaming. Oh, that terrible sound of women and children screaming! My head felt as if it was turning inside out! But tonight is my last night in this historic hell. In a matter of two hours, my uncle will come to drive me to the airport, back to the great big city I know and love! But the mask, it still stares at me. It’s almost beckoning to me, telling me to succumb to its evil. It wants me to wear it, to become immortal. To be the living legend. I grabbed it in frustration, no longer shall I live in my great grandfather’s fear! And as it arose to meet my clammy cheeks, so came the pain of the Native tribe. I howled in agony, it felt like a million guns fired upon me in anger. I struggled to pull the mask, yet it would not come off! It did not yield to my strength, in fact, it met my power with a force stronger than my own. It felt as if a thousand hands were pushing the mask onto my face. What a greedy fool I am! What a monster my Great Great Grandfather was to toy with such powers! To slaughter those innocents for gold! I suddenly felt myself sinking into the floor, as if I were falling below the ground. I fell into a pit of pitch black. I saw nothing, felt nothing.
The next thing I heard was my uncle’s voice, screaming for me to awake. I rose to my feet, only to see the mansion in flames. My family’s history, my inherited wealth, burning before my eyes. Yet at my feet, was that mask. The Natives did get their overdue revenge, they destroyed my Great Great Grandfather’s prized creation, just as he had theirs, using me as their surrogate.