Short Story: Reflections
Most people go through their daily lives not realizing that there are thousands, if not millions of alternate universes existing alongside ours.
Whenever you make a decision, in an alternate version of our universe, you decided differently.
In this universe, you decided to go left to stop by a local Starbucks to get coffee before work. In another universe, you went right to work to get there early.
Most decisions lead you to the same pivotal points in your life, seemingly unaffecting your life in any discernable way, but sometimes a simple decision to go right instead of left could start a chain of events that lead to your death.
We all have the ability to see these other universes, though we rarely know we’re viewing them. Whenever you look into a mirror, or any reflective surface, you’re actually looking at an alternate universe, but one that the other you is at the same exact place you are.
Often, there are moments when you are the only one in all the neighboring universes that passes by a particular, reflective surface at that exact moment in time, or your other self is in the reflection, but not in the same, exact spot as you. In these times, if you were paying attention, you would see that your reflection is just a little bit, or a lot off.
In the end though, how many of us really pay attention to each reflective surface we pass, and even if we do, how many of us really pay enough attention to notice that something minor is off, like an exhale instead of an inhale, or a hand curled slightly different.
Ron was ready for another day at work.
Recently he had been promoted and had even been given his own office.
It seemed he had been making all the right decisions, and life was good.
“Hi, Marie,” he said walking past the front receptionist.
“Hi, Ron,” she replied, and then with a smile, “I mean ‘Sir’.”
Ron smiled back. His promotion wasn’t that big a deal, and no one was going to start calling him sir, but he appreciated her adulation.
“Thanks, Marie,” he said, walking past her to get to his office.
The rest of his workday consisted of handshakes, and a lot more work piling up on his desk.
By the time five o’clock arrived, he was ready to leave to get home and relax.
Walking home, he was feeling good. He had worked hard to get to where he was, and he wanted to start looking for ways to enjoy the finer things in life.
He stopped in front of a store window to admire the mannequins in their nice outfits.
I can pull that one off, he thought, admiring a winter attire combination.
Something caught his attention out the corner of his eye. Across the street was a man standing, wearing a black trench coat, and baseball cap. The seemed to be watching him.
When he turned to get a better look at the guy, he was gone.
Ron didn’t know why, but he felt a sense of dread grow within him, and he quickly walked away from the store, continuing home.
As the evening progressed, he couldn’t shake the image of the man who seemed to be watching him from across the street, and then suddenly disappeared.
He finished his night reading a book called, “Sins of the Fathers” by Antonio Garcia. He read every night until his eyelids began to get heavy.
He laid the book down and walked to the bathroom to brush his teeth.
He was brushing his teeth, half awake, when suddenly he dropped his toothbrush. It made a clink as it fell into the sink.
The cause of him dropping his toothbrush so suddenly, was that when he glanced up into the mirror, he saw the same man who had been watching him earlier, now standing in his bedroom.
Realizing that he had been noticed, the man charged at Ron.
Ron turned to face his attacker, but when he turned, the man was gone.
Oh shit, I’m losing my mind, Ron thought, as his chest heaved.
He let out a sharp cry, as he turned back to the mirror to see in it’s reflection, the man was back, this time, seemingly dragging Ron out of the bathroom, and into his bedroom.
It’s a strange sensation to see that your own reflection has been replaced with a reflection of you being attacked, while the real you, stand watching.
Ron did not know how to react. The reflection was so real, that he could almost feel the struggle the other him was in, but every time he turned away from the mirror towards his bedroom, it was serenely quiet.
His brain tried to rationalize what was happening.
Have I been drugged? Am I hallucinating? Is this the future I’m witnessing?
All these questions ran through his mind as he tried to understand what he was seeing.
The two struggling men would disappear around the corner, only to reappear moments later. Each time the men disappeared around the corner, Ron would run out of the bathroom, to see if he could see what was happening, but each time, he ran to an eerily quiet room, with no signs of distress.
In the end, he watched as the other him struggled, while his attacker choked him from behind. Slowly, the other him struggled less, as his strength seemed to fade, and eventually fell limp.
His attacker, laid Ron’s twin on the ground, and placed his fingers to Ron’s double’s neck to ensure he was dead.
Satisfied that the deed was done, the attacker walked into the bathroom, and Ron found himself looking at the man looking at him. The attacker was standing in front of Ron as if he was now Ron’s own reflection.
The man’s face had been previously hard to discern, but as the man removed his hat, and now stood in the bright light of the bathroom, Ron could now see who his doppelganger’s killer was.
“What?” Ron asked himself. He had recognized the man immediately.
He was the husband of a woman he knew. She was a coworker, who he had begun an affair with. They had worked on a project together, and after working late for a couple of weeks, they began to meet at a hotel two to three times a week once the project had ended.
Ron had ended it after having met her husband at the company’s Christmas Party. Before, the husband was just a name, but after he had met him face to face, guilt overcame Ron, and he had ended the affair immediately after.
He watched as the husband splashed some water on himself, and looked into the mirror. He didn’t seem to be able to see Ron.
Ron continued to watch as the man walked back into the bedroom, and dragged the other Ron out of sight.
Ron didn’t know what to do next. He could no longer see what was happening. He couldn’t call the police. What would he tell them anyways?
All he could do was continue to watch, as a short time later, the husband walked past the bathroom on his way out of the bedroom.
Sleep did not find Ron that night. As he lay in bed, he felt that he was laying where his other self may have been placed.
The next day, he went through the day in a daze, as he drank coffee after coffee, trying to keep himself awake.
He saw Mindy, the woman he had the affair with, but avoided her each time he saw her.
Finally, five o’clock arrived, and he was able to leave for the day. He didn’t want to go home, but he was too tired to do anything else.
As he walked down the street towards his apartment, he stopped by another store window, to examine his appearance. He looked as bad as he felt.
Ron froze as his reflection turned away from the window, and walked to the crosswalk.
It’s a strange feeling seeing your reflection walk away from you.
He couldn’t help but stare. He watched as his other self looked both ways, and seeing no cars, began to cross.
All of a sudden, a car appeared to the side of the windows reflection. It raced towards his double, who was still crossing the street.
His other self had barely enough time to see the car before it struck him, sending his body flying through the air, and landing hard on the ground.
Ron couldn’t hear anything, but could imagine the sound that each contact made.
He barely noticed where the car had gone. He couldn’t take his eyes off his other body lying dead on the road.
He wanted to scream, but as before, when he turned away from the window, there was no body.
When he looked back at the window, he froze as he saw the body in the street begin to fade, and Ron was left with no reflection staring back at him.
Not able to cope with not having a reflection, he ran away.
He stopped at a car window, and took solace in the fact that his reflection was once again staring back at him.
He never felt so alone before. Watching himself die over and over again felt like he was slowly fading away himself.
As the day came to an end, he couldn’t stop looking over his shoulder, expecting the husband to be there to attack him each time.
Every time he passed a reflection, he was afraid that he would witness another version of him being murdered again.
There has to be a way to make this right, he thought. He considered calling Mindy and convincing her to help him somehow. He thought of calling the police, if only to tell them who his killer most likely is, if he ever turned up dead.
Unsure of what to do, he walked as quickly as he could back to his apartment, locking the door behind him.
He could barely glance at his bathroom mirror as he passed, and as soon as he saw his reflection in his apartment window, he quickly closed the curtains.
He fell to his bed, unable to breathe. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to continue living, never being able to look into a mirror again.
Staring at the ceiling, he contemplated how he was going to keep from going insane.
He envisioned himself taping up the windows, covering all the mirrors, and never leaving his apartment again.
After a short time, he took in a deep breath, and said out loud, “I’m being crazy.”
Letting out a quiet, insane laugh, he sat up and walked to the bathroom to wash up before bed.
He peeked his head in the bathroom, taking a quick look at his reflection. Seeing it was only him, and he wasn’t being murdered, he slowly walked into the bathroom.
Cautiously, he began to brush his teeth.
He dropped his toothbrush, as he saw the husband quickly walk into the bathroom and attack his reflection.
Once again, he spun around and saw no one there.
Not wanting to watch himself be murdered again, he ran out of the bathroom.
After he was able to calm himself down, he took another deep breath, and walked back into the bathroom.
“I’m not going to let this ruin my life,” he stated.
He bent over to splash some water on his face, and when he came up, he jumped again as he saw the husband once again enter the bathroom and attack his reflection.
“Keep it together, keep it together,” he repeated to himself.
He looked down into the sink long enough to allow his attacker to disappear from the reflection.
When he felt it had been long enough, he looked back up, but instead of it being clear, the mirror showed the husband standing at the entrance of the bathroom staring at him.
“I need to get out of here,” he said to himself, turning around to leave.
When he turned away from the mirror, he froze as he saw the husband still standing in the entrance.
Before Ron could say, or do anything, the man attacked, stabbing him several times.
Bleeding, Ron turned away from his attacker, and saw another him watching him die. His reflection looked on, his eyes filled with terror.
Published on January 05, 2018 08:41
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