(June 19, 2009)
"Who are you?"
"I'm a projector of personalities, weaving layers of identity so neatly that the seams are invisible to the naked eye. That's who I am: everyone."
He frowned, then reached up with one hand; she shank back instinctively, but when he pressed forward, she extended her neck just enough to let him touch her. As his fingertips grazed her cheek, a wave of sensation rippled across his knuckles and through his palm like an electric current, tingling and exaggerating the thrum of his pulse. He applied slightly more pressure and her skin gave way with a jolt of resistance; the pads of his fingers vanished into her, framed by a soft red glow that reminded him of the backlight illuminating an X-ray. Beneath the first facade, he felt much rougher flesh, the sort which might belong to a man who had spent his life in search of wind and sun. His breath caught in his throat as he splayed his fingers across her nose, which spread wide over a face he was unable to see. Its uneven contours made no sense to his eyes, which still believed in the features they perceived.
Layer after layer made its way up as he made his way down, each more remote and arcane than the last: a baby-smooth softness which yielded a cold, glassy substance he could not readily identify, then a broad landscape of acne scars gave way to a smattering of wiry fur. When his hand was almost completely obscured by the only face he recognized, its edges visible under her surface as he moved it from her forehead to her chin, he reached a feminine form which almost matched her. The shape of the eyes felt all wrong, though, and when she parted her lips to speak, the teeth behind them were suspiciously sharp.
"Are you satisfied now?"
"No. This is only what you are. Who are you?"
She took a step back, and as his hand slipped away from her, he felt an identical grin on every face.