Friday, July 17, 2009

On reflection...

Roger glared at his reflection in the mirror.



"You'd have avoided all that trouble if you'd only remembered to--"



"Oh no you don't. Don't go laying that on me. That's all yours, friend."



Stunned, Roger staggered back from the mirror.



"Where do you think you're going? Get back here. I'm not finished with you."



Roger stared. His reflection stared back - and spoke again.



"This was your doing, not mine. You were supposed to set that alarm. Does it look like I could have done it?"



Roger's jaw dropped. He looked a moment longer and then glanced towards the door.



A hand reached out of the mirror and grabbed his tie. He was pulled forward and his face hit the cold mirror, hard.



"I said, I'm not finished. Where do you think you're going?"



Roger braced himself against the row of washbasins. He felt the pull on his tie lessen a little.



"OK. Now that I have your attention. If you weren't up half the night drinking with Andrea, you'd have remembered to finish Jack's presentation for today."



"What were you thinking?"



Roger threw up into the washbasin, spattering the mirror.



"Hey, watch it. Now look what you've done!"



Roger finished retching and stepped back. His reflection had let go of his tie and was busy wiping himself off. Roger shook his head to try clear a sudden pounding. It didn't help. Before his reflection looked up again, Roger made for the door.



"Where're you going?"



Roger sprinted through the door and down the hallway to the elevators. The doors opened. He stepped in.



"Glad you could join us."



Roger looked at his reflections, one on either side of him. At a tap on his shoulder, he turned to confront the reflection behind him. He turned back and jammed his arm between the closing elevator doors. Once out, he headed down the stairs.



He hit the lobby at a run, dashed through the revolving doors and down the street. His reflection kept pace, moving from mirrored doorway to store windows to the windshield of the bus that almost ran him down.



"Look at you, running from yourself. You think that's gonna help?"



Roger saw people turning to watch him, a young man running wildly along the street, veering from storefront to the edge of the street, from reflections in bus shelters to the relative safety of a quiet alley.



He sat, shaking, on a small wooden crate and placed his head in his hands.



"All I'm sayin'..."



Roger looked up. His reflection looked down at him through the bars covering a grimy window in the opposite wall. He sat back, resigned.



His reflection glanced at the bars covering the window.



"Not the best view. You know, I think Jack has something like this in mind for you. After all, it was a multi-million dollar deal -- and you blew it."



"Yeah", Roger answered. "I know. I know. If I'd just finished that damned presentation, the morning would have been very different."



"Exactly."



Roger sat bolt upright in bed, his body covered in sweat. He looked around, it was still dark. He peered at the bedside clock - five am. He shook his head and grimaced. His head pounded from the excesses of the previous night.



He slipped out of the bed, went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. His reflection faced him, matching move for move, bloodshot eye for bloodshot eye.



It was OK. It hadn't happened. It was a dream. He had time. He almost shouted for joy. It was a dream! He cleaned himself up and headed for the office.



His reflection smiled as it watched Roger go, stepped out of the mirror and slipped into the bed beside Andrea.



14 comments:

  1. Shivers! Good work, my friend. Love it!

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  2. Love it! I think mirrors are spooky anyway...after reading this I'll always be looking over my shoulder.

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  3. I loved 'look at you, running from yourself' - a superb line in a superb piece. I agree with Laura about mirrors.

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  4. For some reason I can't leave a comment, so I'm trying to outsmart the system by hitching a ride on Larua's comment. Hope it works.
    I was thinking the DTs on steroids. Was a little disappointed when it was only a dream, then laughed out loud when it turned out it wasn't - not really. Good double twist there at the end.
    ~jon

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  5. I finally got around to reading your story, and I just have to say: Wow, what a cool ride! Nice double twist at the end. Well done.

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  6. Glad you liked it folks - yes, freaky is good. I couldn't leave it as just a dream, life's too untidy for that. And I like the thought that there layers beneath the surface - always there, but unnoticed by us much of the time.
    And then, when we do notice...

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  7. That creeped me out! I loved it.
    Many apologies for being late :-)
    ~2

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  8. Very creepy ending. Loved the imagery of him chased down the street by his reflections. Imaginative stuff.

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  9. Creepy? They're telling me I write creepy stories! Well now, another feather in my cap :)

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  10. (Comments wouldn't work for me either)
    Nice! Agree with everyone on the creepiness, especially the idea of the reflection crawling into bed with Andrea. The ending's great, although I'm undecided what would happen if you tagged one or two more sentences to the end to maybe have Andrea unwittingly acknowledge the other...? Could work, but then again it ain't broken.

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  11. Sorry about the comments not working - don't know why they don't. What's the symptom?
    Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for working around the system to leave a comment.

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  12. Ach! Not a work dream! Please, not a work dream. Oh, you've done it now. A work dream. Okay. I'll get hold of myself. God, I hate work dreams. It's not enough they get us for most of our daylight hours. No, they have to reach into our dreams and follow us around and make us feel so guilty we get up early, saturated in the biochemical remnants of alcohol, and dash off to make them look good. Okay, okay. I can deal with that. Just, thank God, it was only a dream.

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  13. It was just a dream. Wasn't it? Wasn't it? It was. It has to be.

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