Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

They say that they smile.

In order to disarm a human, they think a smile is the way to go.

But there’s something wrong with it. It’s the way the smile doesn’t meet their eyes, it’s the muted stillness in the face they wear in order to convince you they’re real.

The scariest part about them is that sometimes they even convince themselves.

That was the part that caused hysteria in the streets when they first arrived. The fact that the things creeping into your homes to take your lives, your face, your personality, that they might not even know they were doing it. How could you reason with something like that?

People would run wild in the streets with weapons. Even if you didn’t smile or even if you could smile convincingly . . . many of our kind were butchered.

We don’t smile anymore. It’s not safe, you could invite violence.

That’s why I was wary of Leo when he came back from gathering supplies. It wasn’t a smile, perse. It was a grin. It was the slight twitch in the corner of his mouth until he saw me staring at him.

Then his expression changed, his eyes growing wide as the creature that stole his face realised it had made a mistake.

I had to kill him.

He bolted down the hallway, to the other survivors holed up in the house. And he screamed. He was screaming that I was the mimic and not him, but we both knew the truth. I had to get there first.

The creature pretending to be Leo smashed me out of the way and threw open the basement door, screaming bloody murder as I tore after him into the dark. I found him standing silent in the middle of the basement floor, surrounded by bodies.

It hadn’t taken that long to kill them at all.

The thing pretending to be Leo turned on me, “How could you?”

You see, there it was, it thought it was real.

“How could I?” I mimicked in anger, gripping the handle of a bloodied shovel in one hand, “Because I know what I am!”

The thing rushed me—but luckily I was prepared for that—the shovel swung swift and true.

Once the bloody deed was done, I stalked up to the mirror in the bathroom.

Leo stared back at me.

It was a better face than the one I had mimicked earlier, that last person couldn’t smile. Even I had almost convinced myself that I was real, almost.

I stared hard into my new face, and practiced my best smile.

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