Previous Parts: Part 1Part 2Part 3

Spanish Version: Carnaval – Parte 4

It was probably a man and he was in front of Opalia. The young girl collided with him because she was distracted, even though she was hugging thighly Lenzo’s arm. She had made the man’s hat fall and the young boy took it from the ground and lend it to him, apologising with emphasis. The man accepted the apologies unwillingly, took his hat and went away, not before giving a mad look at Opalia. Before he was lost in the middle of the crowd that was around him, the lady could see a tail sneaking out of the skirt of the man’s suit, which was purple with golden edging. The tail was composed by 3 black snakes with golden details on the edges of its scales, with white eyes like the man, and they three hissed at Opalia like crazy cats. The girl startled and came back to reality.

  • And that was what I was talking about when I said to you not to step on anybody’s tail. Be careful with where you put your feet, Opalia. I can’t stay with you the whole night. – the boy said after sighing heavily because of the situation.

  • What? – the girl asked, absolutely lost. But, lucky her, Lenzo didn’t get mad at her, he just started laughing so hard that everybody around them looked at him. Suddenly, Opalia felt small, too much noticeable by the inexpressive or grotesque masks, and asked Lenzo to be quiet.

  • Ah, I am sorry, I mean it. It is just… that I have not seen anyone so passionate about the ball like you in so many years. – the young boy answered quickly, taking her to a nearby street, following the stream of people in front of them.

  • How many years have you been here? You don’t look so old… – answered she, still moving her neck into painful postures to avoid missing any detail of the people around her.

  • Like I was saying before… when you kept staring for so long at that owl-woman… Nothing in the Carnival is what it seems to be. You should enjoy the party until the sun rises, because this only happens once a year. Oh… but before that… – Lenzo made a quick turn abruptly and the girl felt her feet flying.

Thankfully, the boy was holding her by the waist, or she should be flying completely. Opalia couldn’t see the wicked smile that was forming on Lenzo’s face, because they just entered a shop, imbedded in between two bustling restaurants, and where there wasn’t even the smallest whisper. The shop was kind of intimidating, apart from the stony silence, because there were only two pieces of furniture: the counter, simple, made out of wood and with a cover of leather, and a gigantic wall behind it, filled by mask and more masks on every visible milimeter, each of them with a more unique and different design than the rest. Lenzo gave some little pushes to Opalia in the back, and she came closer to the counter just a few steps, where she saw a buzzer and she pressed it only once. A door opened in the very wall full of masks, moving some of these aside and coming out of the whole a man yawning, with an advanced age and some old clothes. He was not wearing nice clothes at all, for the season it was, and he looked completely tired because of the actual day that one was, the day of the party of the King of Carnival. Opalia tried to greet the man, but he suddenly was at her height, maybe stepping onto some unknown stair behind the counter, he took Opalia by the chin and stared at her, turning her face to one side and to the other. From out of nowhere, he took a monocle and ajusted it to his left eye, that became much bigger because of the augmentation of the lens over it. He looked at the girl without blinking, like if he was looking at something that was not there. Finally, the man leaned out at a side of Opalia, without releasing the girl’s face, and looked at Lenzo.

  • And souldn’t you be at the Palace? They are going to kick your ass. – said the vendor, with sour and sudden voice, like after suffering from a long cold.

  • Yes, yes, I should. I was just accompaning her to know the place. It’s her first time. – answered he, behind the young girl.

  • Yeah, I can notice it. I need some seconds. – he released Opalia, shaked her hands like if they were coated with flour and disappeared behind the door, closing it with a bang.

  • Do you work on the Palace? I didn’t know about it… If I am making you late, please, go now, I will be able to go by. – said Opalia, turning towards Lenzo, while he was arranging his fringe, pulling some strands and squinting, without noticing it, trying to see a hair that wasn’t able to catch. Opalia tried not to laugh when she saw him making such a stupid pose, and the boy came back to reality.

  • What? Ah, no, dont’ worry. And please, don’t think I am an old man. – the boy said, bitting his tongue and frowning his brows because of the scaping hair.

Opalia was almost laughing when she heard another bang behind her and turned again. The man came back and he was holding a mask, wrapped in some white silky tissue. When he took it away, he lend it to the girl. The delicacy of its work contrasted enormously with the rough hands of the designer of masks.

  • Mascherari. – he said, without further explanation, breaking apart the detailed study Opalia was making out of the mask.

  • Pardon? – answered she, blinking quickly and looking at the man.

  • We are mascherari, those who make the masks. It is a craft. – the man sighed and went away, letting the girl look at the mask, not before grumbling and saying “those youngins…”.

  • Oh… I am sorry, but my education ended some years ago already… – said Opalia, coming back to the mask.

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