# 92 – Nopperabo


The model stood in the front of the room with her hands clasped behind her back.  Liza zoned out ten minutes ago while waiting for inspiration to strike.  Bruce was drawing so slowly that the model would probably age before he finished.  Liza reminded herself that this was an assignment and forced herself to start.

She did a rough sketch, then went back to add detail.  Liza was in a weird mood, so she decided to have some fun.  She swapped out the the woman’s khakis for black jeggings.  The white blouse became a fitted hospital gown that stopped at the waist.

Liza left the face for last and filled in the detail on the body.  She drew the model standing at an angle so that the one of the knots on the back of the gown was visible over her shoulder.  A rectangular box peeked out from behind her back, presumably held by one or both of her hands.  Liza used two colored pencils to shade the shirt hospital gown-blue.  Hmmm.  Bruce was still hunched over his drawing.  There were only about ten minutes of class left.

She stared at the faceless drawing.  It reminded her of a scary story that she heard as a child.  In Japanese lore, the nopperabo were shape shifting ghosts with smooth skin where their face should be.  Though not evil, they loved to scare lone people at night.  The nopperabo could take on the features of a real person.  They would engage in conversation with someone, then revert back to their blank face.  Sometimes they would appear as someone the target knew.  Liza found the idea terrifying. 

Eh, why not?  Liza left the face blank.  She went over it all in her fountain pen.  There.  It was black and white with the exception of the blue shirt.  She was happy with how it turned out.

Class was ending.  Bruce sat up and Liza slid a sideways look at his drawing.  It was better than the picture he’d shown her earlier.  There were no physical deformities, but he’d run out of time to add detail.  It gave the model an anonymous appearance, not unlike that of Liza’s nopperabo.  Liza liked the creepiness, though she was sure this wasn’t his intent.

Bruce looked over at her drawing.  She waited for the sarcastic comment.  His eyes flicked across the paper several times.  “Can you take a picture of it with your phone?” he asked.

“Hmm…sure,” said Liza.  She pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of the ghost/model.

“Can you print the picture for me?”

Liza sighed.  “If you had a cell phone of your own,” she widened her eyes at him, “I could send it to you.”  Bruce opened and closed his hand like a mouth, but he was grinning.  Liza shook her head.  “We can stop at a drugstore and print it on the way home,” she said.

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