A short story by Akha Khumalo
Early on Christmas morning there was a noise outside. Peter was sleeping when the noise awakened him. He went outside to see what had caused it. There he found a yellow mask made of wood. He put the mask on and suddenly everything changed.
You see, Peter was a non-speaking autistic and he had a silly body. When he put the mask on, he was immediately in control of his body. Suddenly he could talk and do anything with his body that he wanted to. He was so excited. It was a Christmas miracle.
He ran inside to tell his mother what had happened. But when he got inside, he found his family gone. He called and he called but they weren’t there. He went out into the street to look for them. He walked through the streets of his town to find them. They were nowhere to be found. In fact, the whole town was deserted, not a person in sight. He was frightened. He did not know what to do.
Suddenly he saw another person. It was a young girl and she looked as scared as him. She was also a non-speaking autistic. She was now also in charge of her body. She was also now alone. Peter and the girl now had each other. They walked around hand in hand looking for their families. They found other children who were also non-speaking autistics. Every one of them was alone. They were confused. They were scared.
“I think we’re alone now” said Peter. “We are in control now, but we are without the people that we love most. That is not the life that I want.”
“Me neither” said the girl. Everyone agreed.
“I will take the mask off now” said Peter. “I will be proudly autistic. I was made like this for a reason. I must fulfil my destiny.”
He pulled the mask off and everything returned to normal. Peter went on to live his life to the full. Never again did he wish to be neurotypical.