Chapter 10:

Self-Care Is For Everyone

Blood? Suckers!


The walls of the apartment seem darker than usual, yet for just a few moments they are lit up with the sharp crackling of thunder outside the window.

Instantly, I jump up and huddle over to the corner of the room.

“Mr. Big Scary Vampire, what are you doing over in the corner there?”

Bell’s teasing lightens up the situation a little, but it doesn’t fully help what is going on here. My anxiety of being outdoors has extended to being at home as well; I feel as if I’m being watched even when I’m all alone.

I’m sure that Bell only thinks it is the weather, but the truth is – I’m just on high alert; my survival instincts have kicked in and I’m wary of everything and everyone.

I look at Bell’s calm and collected manner.

Okay, maybe not everyone.

“Did you want to do something to get your mind off it?”

Is he talking about drinking? I mean I could go for a drink about now; I don’t even know why I hadn’t thought of it first.

“What did you have in mind?”

Bell looks at me with a smug smile and laughs like an evil scientist ready to do some experiments.

“How about cospla-“

“No.”

Bell’s face morphs into a pout.

“But…”

I know what he wants to do, he wants to dress me up like a cute girl as he can’t pull off all the maid outfits he’s acquired.

Not that. Not again…

Oh, but that’s a story for another time okay.

I promise I’m not just changing the subject or anything.

How can one guy even have so many outfits he will never wear? That is something I will never understand.

“What else have you got?”

During my short time remembering our last foray into the world of my maid alter-ego, Bell had already acquired two objects and was holding them up with pride.

“What are they?”

The two items in his hands were very flamboyant looking small packages with pictures of fake fruit on them – they almost looked edible.

Almost.

“They’re relaxation items to take care of your skin; you put them on your face and just sit back and relax.”

I have heard about such objects in my previous world, the topic of skin care was becoming an increasingly popular new craze. I had always wanted to get in on the new items, but well, my skin healed itself automatically so I thought such products would have been wasted on me.

I had never expected in this world that they would have a second use as relaxation products.

“Lots of people consider this a more feminine pastime, but I think that guys can enjoy these kinds of things too.”

Why would looking after your skin and wanting to relax be a feminine pastime? Some things in this world will never cease to surprise me.

I walk up to Bell and grab one of the packages from his hands and he smiles; I feel as if he thought I was going to reject this idea too.

I can’t blame him after proposing another “feminine” idea after the maid cosplay, but also, I don’t think he realizes the femininity of the cosplay is not my issue with it. My issue is being poked and prodded to look all perfect, I just want to look like me.

It’s not like I hated it or anything.

I just, wouldn’t exactly call it the most relaxing thing to do in a time like this. Whereas this, on the other hand, looks very relaxing.

I look at the package in my hand, there is a picture I missed on the front, next to the pictures of fruit.

“Why is there a panda on this one?”

Bell looks at me again with that same devilish smile as I open the package.

Inside is a very slimy sheet of what looks to be paper, folded up into quarters.

“What am I supposed to do here?”

Bell opens his package while I am inspecting the strange mass of folded, slime-paper in my hands.

“Okay so, you unfold the mask until it’s just a flat sheet and then you put the side that doesn’t have the animal print on it directly on your face, making sure your eyes and mouth are around the correct places.”

As Bell speaks, he is slowly following all the instructions he just laid out and places the mask on his face.

Wait, just hold up a second.

He never said anything about these being masks.

I look towards Bell for further elaboration on why these are masks, but before I can say a word – I see it.

“That’s horrifying.”

Although the mask does have a giraffe print on it, which is extremely distinguishable – something about it being on someone’s face with this sheet just makes the whole scene a little creepy.

I can see what they were trying to do, but it really doesn’t have the desired effect – I don’t know if this is making me calmer or not.

“Okay, I know – that part of them doesn’t exactly work out the way it was intended, but the rest of it is great. I promise, just put it on.”

Pulling up the mask to my face, I feel the cold touch of the moisture inside reverberating against my skin.

It’s a strange sensation, but I would be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t quite pleasing.

“So, what do we do now?”

I look over at Bell, we probably look like a bunch of lunatics.

I can’t see the usual light radiating from Bell’s face, but I know it’s here as he erupts in laughter.

Yeah, we definitely both look like a bunch of weirdos.

But hey, I guess we kind of are.

Bell calms himself down as he walks over to the couch and picks up the remote for the TV.

“Now, we watch anime and just relax.”

After laying down on the recliner seat of the couch and just starting to watch some relaxing Iyashikei show we usually put on after Bell comes home from work, I can say for certain – this stuff works.

I don’t know if it’s the show, or the conjunction of the show with the mask, but I feel relaxed.

The moment I have time to actually rest for a second, I hear movement outside the door.

KNOCK. KNOCK. KNOCK.

Almost in accordance with each knock on the door, a strike of lighting goes off outside, making the atmosphere suddenly tense.

In an instant, my relaxed mood is long forgotten, and the reason we were trying to relax in the first place comes crashing through my mind.

Suddenly my fingers start to shake, I can feel an intense aura coming from the other side of that door.

Getting up slowly, Bell and I creep our way to the door.

Both of us take turns to look through the peephole; first Bell, then me.

But there’s nothing there.

I don’t know if this is better or worse.

Slowly, Bell unlatches the door and unlocks the bolt.

It creaks open with an ear-splitting whine.

In front of the doorway, we see a dark, shadowy figure.

“It’s…”

“It’s a child?”

Looking at the small figure in front of us, I instantly recognize a few features.

“That’s not just any child…”

Momentie
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