This story is by Bruce B. Tryon and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Boom! Startled, I wake up, then sit up. Where am I? I place my hands on the floor to get up. Quickly I pick them up. Ouch! I look at the floor and notice that there are mirror shards. I look at the framed window in front of me.
As I sit and stare at the window, I notice that people were stopping and using it as a mirror. So, it’s a one-way mirror? Or something like that? I can see them but they cannot see me.
I look around and noticed that it looks like my room at home but this room is flipped somehow from side to side. My bed which should be on the right side of my room as I stand with my back to the door is now on the left side of the room.
In the fish tank, the fish are swimming backward. There is a sticky note attached to the fish tank. The note is from my brother and it reads “Bruce, please don’t forget to clean the fish tank filter every other Friday when I am gone.” That note looks like it is written backward but I can read it without any problem. The fish tank is on the top of his dresser.
On top of my dresser is the record player. It is open and it has an album on the turntable. It’s a Beatles album “Yellow Submarine”. So, I switch the record player on, curious to see if it will play and what it will sound like. At first, I cannot understand the song playing but a few moments later I did understand it.
I stand and watch in shock as the record spins the wrong way on the turntable. I expected the record to turn to the right which would be clockwise and not the other way.
The room still seems strange to me. As I look to my left where the window should be there is the back door to my room. This should lead to the back hall. I walk over to it, I bring my hand up to touch it. I find that the door seems solid enough but when I try to grab the handle my hand glides straight through it, just like the special effects in a ghost story movie or a hologram. So, am I trapped?
Yes, it resembles my room at home, but I haven’t been there in years. I have no idea where I am. I walk around and I hear the crack of broken glass or perhaps a broken mirror. I look for a broom and a dustpan.
I walk over to the closet, open the left sliding door and look in on this side of the closet and do not see them. Then I slide both doors over and look at the right side of the closet. I see them hiding in the other corner of the empty closet. The pair are standing where the shovels should be.
Even though it will be a bit difficult to clean up the broken mirror off of the carpet, I go ahead. I was pleasantly surprised when I started to sweep at how easily the broken pieces moved. The floor was smooth? Wait a minute. I could have sworn it was carpeted. Bending over I touched the floor. No! it definitely is a carpet. But when I moved my foot across it, my foot slid instead and didn’t catch on the carpet. So, the carpet looks like a pattern on the floor yet when I touch it with my hand, it turns into a carpet. I scratch my head, then continue to clean up the broken mirror.
As I clean up the pieces, different parts of my face appear in the shards, an eye, my chin, my mouth. It’s almost like a carnival mirror which distorts your shape.
Now, where is my trash can? It should be under my corner desk. I look there and at first, I don’t see it. When I walk over and move the chair I do see the trash can. But I swear it was not there a second ago.
It looks like the room is giving me what I need. Will it give me a way out or a hint of how to get out of here. Come to think about it, how did I get in here in the first place. I remember going by what looked like an antique mirror. It was about six to seven feet tall. When I first approached it, the mirror had a milky grey hue to it, but when I stopped and stood in front of it, the milky grey hue began to shimmer and ripple.
The mirror showed images of houses, rooms and what looked like back yards. I started to think about my father’s house and the bedroom I shared with my brother. The mirror began to show images of my father’s house and the rooms in it. The room I felt safe in was my bedroom. The image of my bedroom started to come clear. I stretched out my hand to touch the mirror. The surface rippled from my touch. The ripple effect looked just like someone had tossed a rock in a pond. Then the ripples hit the side of the mirror and reflected back on the mirror’s surface.
The ripple effect lasted for a little while. Someone yelled and distracted me from watching the ripple effect on the surface of the mirror. I turned around and saw to my surprise two people having a physical argument. The two people were moving apart and began to throw things at each other.
At first the objects they were throwing looked small so it didn’t appear to be serious. Things were happening too fast. The person that was facing me seemed to be stronger than the other one. I couldn’t make out any features of the two fighters.
The pieces were getting bigger and looked heavier. Oh my gosh! The last object that was thrown landed just in front of me. It broke open and rocks rolled out. I looked down and started to think about the rocks and why they were in a box. I heard someone yell “look out”.
I looked up and saw a large box come hurtling toward me. I couldn’t move. I just stood there in shock and fear. I didn’t know what to do. So, I braced myself and tried to look brave so that the people wouldn’t think that I was terrified but I was.
The box hit me and I fell backward, shattering the mirror. I went through it but the box didn’t. I looked at the mirror. It doesn’t look broken from this side, but where did those broken shards come from?
When I put the broken pieces in the trash can, I turned around and noticed people looking at me. One lady turned to a person I could not see and said, “look, there is a man in this mirror”.
Okay, how did she see me but the first woman didn’t. Is it because I am moving?
“Yeah, but there is no one in the other ones,” she said as she walked in front of the mirror. The second lady looked like a gypsy or at least she was dressed like one. She looked at me like she wasn’t sure if she wanted to try to talk to me. She opened and closed her mouth a few times before she spoke to me.
She squared herself and then asked, “How did you get in there? Are you hurt? Is there anyone else in there with you?”
I walked up to the window and replied. “How I got in here is a bit of a mystery? I was hit by a large box and knocked back into the mirror. No, I am not really hurt. I did get pierced when I pressed down on the broken mirror pieces trying to get up off the floor”. I looked at my hands then I showed them to her. There were still red marks where I pressed down on the pieces of broken mirror. “Other than that, I am not hurt. No, there is no one else in here but me, But, how do I get out, I am not sure.” I cannot get out through the door and the mirror looks like a window on this side with no access.
I looked down at the trash can and wonder. Then asked, “is the mirror still broken on your side?”
I looked back down at the trash can and rubbed my chin. Looking up I said, “Stand back I am going to try something.” I step back and pick up the trash can. Quickly, I throw the contents at the mirror and… There was an explosion.