We eat your words

SHORT STORIES: Mirror

Nothing seemed peculiar about the morning it started. The sun had snuck round the fringes of the curtains to illuminate the room, and Dom had woken in his usual stuffy stupor. He dragged himself from under the duvet, and trudged grumpily across the landing and into the bathroom. It was just the beginning of another tedious day.

He turned on the shower, threw himself under the water and revelled in the sensation of the cold droplets working their way down his body. Once washed, he drew back the curtain, pulled a towel over himself and went to the sink.

His brain was beginning to wake up as the slowly moved the toothbrush around his mouth, and the dismal state of his affairs began to perturb him once again. No hot water. No job. No interesting company. He had burnt his bridges, only to find his island uninhabitable.

His routine continued with him dropping the brush into the pot on the stand next to the sink, and splashing his face with more cold water. He would usually then wipe the water from his face with his vest, but as he looked up,  he stood deadly still, horrified by what he saw behind him in the mirror.

It was a small boy who he didn’t recognise. He was stood in the shower cubicle behind him, wearing a grey shorts and a school blazer, and there was a vacant expression on his surprisingly colourful face. Having overcome his initial shock, Dom instinctively turned around to confront the boy, but he wasn’t there. He turned back to the mirror, and there he was, but then as he looked back at the cubicle, he saw nothing but toiletries and black mould.

“Wow…I drank way too much last night.”

He ran back out onto the landing and went for a long walk in the park, trying hopelessly to think up a reasonable explanation for the appearance the whole way.

***

The next day Dom saw the boy again, and this time was put ill at ease by his presence.

“Why are you here?!”

“What do you want?!”

“Why are you in the mirror?!”

“What did I do!?”

The boy stood completely still as Dom hurled the questions at him, which only aggravated him more. Tears began to streak his cheeks.

“I don’t get it! I don’t understand!”

In a tired confusion, Dom picked up the pot from beside the sink and launched it at the mirror. The pot smashed, and left a large crack in the centre of the pane, but the boy remained. He lifted one of his hands and brushed some dust from the hem of his blazer, and Dom slumped to the floor hiding his head in his arms.

***

The third day came, and Dom cautiously entered the bathroom, eyeing the mirror nervously. The boy was still there, but Dom had exhausted his anxieties the previous day, and this time chose a calmer approach to the situation.

“Why are you here?” He asked quietly.

The boy shrugged.

“Do you need help?”

The boy shook his head, and stepped forward out of the cubicle.

“Is it lonely in there?”

This upset the boy, who dashed back to the cubicle, and stood with his face to the wall.

“I’m sorry. It’s lonely out here too…”

***

“Morning! Ready for school?”

The boy smiled gently and nodded.

“Good. I’ve got an interview today. Wish me luck!”

The Boy smiled broadly this time, his cheeks filled with a pleasing scarlet, and waved as Dom left the bathroom.

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