Amit was a boy of eleven, who lived with his parents in Delhi. A naughty boy, Amit used to prank his father a lot and shock his mother as much as possible. Now he had finished his Half-Yearly Exams and was enjoying his vacation.
Amit woke up at 8 in the morning on a Sunday. He usually woke up at 5 or 6 am in the morning, but for all kids, wake-up time during vacation is always different. He snoozed his alarm clock, and slowly got out of bed. Still half-sleeping, he somehow made his way to the bathroom. As he applied toothpaste onto his toothbrush, he glanced at the mirror. He dropped his toothbrush and toothpaste in surprise and shock.
The reflection ( or whatever it was ) in the mirror looking out at him was not Amit. It was really someone else. Was the mirror haunted? Amit had read about ghostly mirrors. But till yesterday night it was quite normal. He did not know what to do. He rushed downstairs.
He burst into the kitchen, where his mother was making dosas. His mother turned to look at him, but asked, “Who are you? How did you get inside our house?” and glanced at the front door to check whether the door was left open. It was quite closed.
Amit cried, ” Ma, this is me Amit, your son! Ma, can’t you recognize me?”
“Amit! Is this really you? But why is your face…?” his mother asked him questioningly with eyebrows raised.
” I don’t know ma! When I woke up I saw myself in the mirror in this state! So it’s not the mirror’s problem,” he added as an afterthought.
” But I don’t think so, Amit,” his mother said shortly. She looked suddenly suspicious. “How many times have you fooled me like this? How can I not think this is not another stupid prank of yours?”
“Ohhh Amma,” said Amit desperately. Now he came to think about it, it was true, he really had pranked her like this so many times before. But this new look of his once handsome face? Was this a prank? No way.
” Actually, Amit, this new face is more creepy than your normal face. Where did you get this mask? Remove it and show me your real face please,” his mother said with a smile.
” Ma, please believe me, this is not a prank at all! I really don’t know how my face changed like this! Now instead of suspecting, will you please look for a way to bring my face back?” implored Amit, now on the verge of tears. The new face was aching and his mouth and eyebrows were prickling.
Hearing this new tone of his voice, his mother realized that it was not a prank after all. She had thought it was a mask and could be removed easily. So she stepped closer to him and pulled at his hair, where she thought the edge of the mask could be present. But Amit screamed in pain. “Ma please, it’s already very painful! Stop it, stop it!” And his mother let go of him.
Amit’s father entered the kitchen now. He had his newspaper in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. He set the cup on the kitchen counter, peered into Amit’s face and started laughing. Struck by the new voice, Amit sprang up from the stool and stared at his father.
His mother couldn’t bear it. “Why are you laughing now? Something has happened to our son’s face, can’t you see? Stop laughing and look for a remedy!” she scolded his father.His father’s laugh came to a stop and he spoke at last, “Amit, do you remember putting a toy lizard in my soup for dinner last month? I had sworn on that day that I would take revenge on you someday. And the day has come dear boy, it was me who stuck that mask on your face yesterday night when you were sleeping. Now as I can see that you have been pranked, I will remove the mask from your face. Come here,” finished his father, the corners of his mouth twitching as he tried to suppress a smile.
Amit and his mother looked very relieved. Amit went towards his father, who took out an ointment from his breast pocket, and started applying it on his son’s new face. “The shopkeeper told me that the mask would come off after two minutes of application of the ointment. Let’s wait,” said his father.
Amit waited and waited. His parents also waited and waited. But how much ever they pulled at the mask, it would not come off his face. Amit’s voice had become coarse after all the screaming when they pulled at his mask.
“Now what are we going to do? My dear son…” his mother started weeping yet again.
“I don’t know…sorry Amit, I didn’t mean to hurt you like this, but I don’t think the mask will come off your face…” his father said uncertainly.
Amit fainted on the spot, but at the same time got up from his bed, sweating profusely. It wasn’t 8 in the morning, but 3 in the evening, when he had fallen into an afternoon slumber.