Putting on a Mask
She was trained to be a Mongolian contortionist by the best - and far too early in her career, had suffered injury that kept her from performing.
She then coached for a few years, trying to find new students in an adopted country, and in the free time trying to help rebuild the missing historical record of her own - before Communism.
It was as an expert that she received an old mask from a private collection - it's own history lost, but not one of the ones that had reappeared in the traditional Tsam dances of the past few years... the closest equivalent she could find.
It was a coincidence when one of her older students sent in a horrible fanfic - expecting it should be laughed at, half wondering if it contents were actually possible.
The weren't. And she was about to reply to that effect, when something about the mask sitting by her desk caught her eye. A flicker. A change of shadows. It really shouldn't have been on her desk, but she had been examining it's exposed Papier-mâché for any sign of newsprint - or any chance for a date, a location associated with its production. She had found none. Curious, she adain picked it up - something was odd with the mouth - where the wearer was supposed to look through, as there were no other holes for eyes - it seemed to be making weird shadows from the light of the computer's screen.
And before she realized what she was doing, she slipped the mask on.
She felt different. Her worn joints didn't ache. Her clothes felt different. And... the stupid, idiotic fic that her student had sent her was happening in front of her. Oh. God. What was that man doing to that woman...
He looked up. Wait. Looked at her.
"Who the **** are you?"
Wait. Was she part of the fanfic now? Was he going to do to her what she did to that poor girl? No. No he wasn't.
"You shall not have my name, but shall know me as..." she was doing this? She was doing this. "The Dragon Coach"
She proceeded to tear both him and the woman a new one - him for disrespecting her like that, her for allowing herself to be disrespected like that. And then she led her out of the dingy little house....
"Are... you a new character? The story's over. Just... hang out 'till were needed by someone again."
The house disappeared behind them, no longer needed. The man - put on a hat, and shouted after the pair, "The really should write more like you - nice working with you!" before ... flying into the distance.
"Yeah, you really had some definition there, some push. Be nice if they respected more muses like that...."
"Wait, who?" There was supposed to be some common knowlege here. Which she didn't have.
"The gods. I guess." The woman before her gave a half hearted shrug, not quite getting the reason for the question. "We follow their words, whoever they are. Say... they wouldn't have sent you to fill this role if you didn't know your stuff."
"Could you give any tips? The contortion stuff was pretty cool compared to standing there and delivering dialogue. But it'd be really nice to do it right the next time, if I'm allowed."
It was the oddest class she'd ever taught - like she was instructing a shapeshifter how keep human form - frequent mistakes, proper technique. A few times it was appropriate to show a particular move, and she could. No pain. She didn't really want to push it though... but wondered if she might have become some sort of shapeshifter as well.
When the woman, apparently not a woman, apparently not saved, was satisfied after what seemed like days of instruction. And then, with no warning, they were gone.
She took off the mask.
And was back at her desk, sitting.
Out of practised instinct, she saved. The text before her had changed. it stopped shortly after a new character - the author seemed to be trying to assign them a gender of "him" - walked the woman out of the house. She didn't bother to read the rest.
There were no new emails. Not much time could have passed. Her aches were back. But oh, it had been wonderful to really stretch again.