Capter One: Awake
The world is a strange place when no one knows you exist. There is temptation for evil in a world without personal consequences. And tempted I was, but that's not where this story begins. You see, I was born without facial features, just a fleshy form with a faint heartbeat. The doctors don't know why I came out this way, but I'm the only child that has ever born with absolutely no face to speak of.
I took my first breaths in a world which would scorn and hate me and the first noises I heard were from the screams of the attending doctors and nurses. I'm pretty sure that's what I heard; you can't actually remember the day you were born, but still those horrified shouts haunt my dreams. And I can still see the looks of sheer horror in my parent's faces as they stared in disgust, like I was that female wrestler, China, at a nude beach or something. I suppose I had a fairly normal childhood, all things considered. Kids are funny like that - you don't miss having a face when you never knew what it was like to have one in the first place - so until I was 12, I was actually pretty happy. But the world and it's strangeness were abruptly thrust into my life 37 days after my 12th birthday - the day this flawless face i now display (a face that same world, down to even the slightest soul, covets) simply... appeared.
And for the first time in my whole life, I truly felt awake, "Bishop! Come quick and look at your cousins on the news!"
My mother screamed to me from the basement that Friday night. And there they were, Larry and Sarah, my two youngest cousins, on the news, covered in blood and surrounded by a fleet of photographers and cameramen. At least, I was told they were my cousins, for I had never actually seen them, as the screen shrieked what seemed compacted sound. I was quite relieved, when the medics cleaned the blood from their faces, to see that they were not my cousins, but only several "little people" who had completely covered themselves with fake blood and were in town to tell the media about a new blood substitute that would enable doctors and nurses worldwide to save their patients when no stocks of normal blood were available. I wonder how they got a hold of such a substance and I told my mother, "if they had been my cousins we could have win a jackpot marketing that thing.”
Sadly, I turned off the tv and continued to gaze at my new found reflection in the mirror while trying to conjure up some new way of making a jackpot. As my eye lids fluttered open and closed, my blurred vision could bring only one thing into focus. A horrific and mesmerizing sight; my faceless, expressionless refection. A face with no life, no memories, no pain, completely and utterly lifeless. A face that had nothing good in life to reflect. What could this essentially lifeless face have to offer the vastly dense and intricate world which surrounded it? Nothing at all. Of course not. I would conquer this world with or without my facial features. Fly far away and back again to tell the world of tales.
Suddenly, I was brought back to reality as I realized that I had a waking dream that took me back to the awful nightmare of my previous faceless existence, and I knew that the miracle that had given me my new and beautiful face, and my own dedication, sacrifice and heroism, would allow me to "conquer this world" and "fly far away and back again to tell the world of tales"; thus, I was saved in my quest to have joy and and have a full life. "So tell me Dr. Fischer, what the hell is wrong with me; am I crazy?"
"My friend, what you are suffering from is 'acute facial displacement', which is a rare disease that causes your face to alternate between facelessness and face perfection. This can be treated with a new medicine called "arhythmicfacialcondoplasty", but it must be taken every four hours."
"Oops, I misspoke, the condition is called "arhythmicfacialcondoplasty", but the medicine I speak of is called "Facialforce". It comes in a liquid and needs to be taken a pint at a time.
"Doc, every four hours? A whole pint? Is it worth it, I mean, for just a face? Faces are optional, technically, aren't they, I mean I could do without, right? Is a face I have to buy really worth the price? Perhaps facelessness offers something to be desired, I don't know, maybe I should think about this some more. Maybe my real face is no face. Maybe I'm beyond facefullness. What's that condition called, Doc?"
“It's two-thirds sheep tears, and one-third Proactive acne solution, we've never used it on humans, but it worked wonders on the lab rats we've tested. Well Mr. Bishiop, facefullness isn't a condition. But its clear that you need to think about this decision a bit more. What does a face really mean to you? I suggest that you when you leave here today you take a good look in the mirror, ask yourself, "what is the meaning of my life" and then... go out into the world, and find an answer!”
"What is the meaning of my life...ah is that really the true question I seek?" I wasn't sure; all I knew, is that Dr. Fischer had a diploma from Harvard Medical School on his wall, and I had a face condition that I wanted some potion for--so I decided to gulp it down, and face the world (pun intended). I quickly dropped to the ground, rolled about, and shook violently as if suddenly taken with epilepsy. I then menacingly rose face to face with the doctor and yelled, "You're making me angry, and you won't like me when I'm mad!!" Seeing the paling doctor's terrified expression inspired guilt within me, and I had to end the joke shortly after it began by consoling the scarred doctor, "I'm just kidding doc, I don't feel different at all." It wasn't until the next morning that I realized "Bishop" no longer existed; and I was terrified! I was very afraid, but during that morning as I tried to console myself by singing my favorite song, I realized that my vocal range had suddenly elevated fantastically and I could sing very high or very low with perfect control and with a wonderful and inspiring quality that would be the envy of anyone in the universe. My newfound "voice" was not my only metamorphosis...Oh God there was more! My mind had changed too; suddenly, I was a genius. Into my mind came transmissions on how to plant a garden, build a solar-powered house, a car that runs on water, and other very useful information that could only have come from the science channel, which meant to me that somehow my mind was able to accept transmissions on any number of subjects from any power source.
My mind was a sponge, i soaked up everything that I came in contact with. It wasn’t that i felt smart, or that i could understand everything that I read. I hadn't become a genius over night. it was my face, it began to form. For you reading this you would take the formation of my face as a literal transgression. But my physical features didn't change. I began to hear voices, inaudible at first, like a radio signal out of tune; then I realized these voices were not voices at all, they were people's thoughts and I could "hear" them! It was amazing at first, and scary too, but ultimately, it made me really listen to people for the first time in my life.
I found that most people had far more sad and intricate stories than their simple faces projected to the world. And I realized that everyone was trying to achieve victories in so many areas of their life and to finally realize their dreams and to have the ultimate realizations and joys; so I thought I would try to help them do it. I suddenly found myself drawn to a young woman sitting on a park bench watching her child play nearby; and although she smiled her mind spoke to me of deep sadness. "Is that your son?" I asked.
She looked up and spoke to me with tears; then looked over at her son with a smile and deep concern. Her son was happy and played blissfully; all was right in his world. But little did he know, his mother held a dark secret about his life.
"Do you believe in fate or karma; that what goes around comes around?" she said to me. If you give love, it often is passed right back to you so that the increase is quite pleasurable. Bishop knew that he just stated the obvious, a platitude and a common sense idea, and he wanted to get to truths that weren't obvious; so he asked, "How long has your son been able to generate light and electricity through his fingers and toes?" Her eyes bore into mine, a look of shock and relief coming over her as she replied, "So you can see it too?" She gently touched my hand and continued, " I should have known you could, you have a kind face," and now it was me who sat dumbfounded and shocked, she saw my face! How did she see a kind face while the rest of the world saw the twisted mass that has peered out at the world since birth? Perhaps it was the residual effect of my medicine, Facialforce, that Doctor Fischer had given me, for I had taken it every 4 hours as prescribed, and it had indeed given my face a handsome look, but I had not taken it for a couple of days because taking a pint every 4 hours is quite the exercise. Bishop answered her kind and loving reply with, "What is your name, my dear?" "My name is Mia, and my son's name is Zachary," she replied. "I sense," but I hesitated to say, "that you are troubled by your son's special-ness." Without hesitation, like a penitent parishioner, she told me her tale; she began at the beginning, the day Zachary was born.