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Avenger's Vignette-Hockey Mask

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Hockey Mask



Jack sat in his lush apartment, a glass of blood in hand, studying the mute skull-face in the chair opposite him. "You were supposed to be a lark, you know. Just a simple little diversion for my boring mornings and evenings. Look at me now, thanks to you." He took a drink. "I'm a superhero, I've got..." He swirled the blood in his glass and thought of Taylor. "I've got a woman I love. A real, human woman, friends, and...half the city knows what I am. Most of the vampires know too." He stared down at what he drank.


"I don't even know if they realize the full implications of my existence." He set the glass down, looking intently at the hockey mask across from him. "God, it's so hard to remember how living people act. How living people think." He scrubbed his hands through his thick, glossy black hair. "It's just a joke to most of them, you know? Oh, look at the vampire who's a superhero, how very cornball and heroic." Gently, carefully, he replaced the glass on a nearby table. "I'm not like them. I'm not like them at all, really."


A crackling fire burned in his apartment's fireplace, the light casting an eerie red and orange glow over Jack and his surroundings. "That's what I'm really afraid of," he finally said. "Maybe the only thing I really am afraid of. One day that particular mask is going to slip, and Taylor's going to see me at my worst. Or Scarab, or any of the others who've basically trusted me for so very long..." He shuddered, rising to his feet as he picked up the glass again from the nearby end table.


"So what do I do? I put a hockey mask on and I go out and beat up muggers. And gods, and extra-dimensional tyrants, and...God." He rubbed his eyes, studying the mask again. "I can't keep doing that." Walking up to the mask, he bent down and studied the plastic most carefully, remembering his long-ago argument with the Scarab. Not so long ago, I guess, in the grand scheme of things. "The hockey mask is about scaring people. About hurting them, even when I'm supposed to be their protector." He touched the plastic. "If I'm going to be a hero, a real hero, who actually inspires people...this is one mask I don't need."

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