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The boy had been told for as long as he could remember that he was special, so special he had to stay in his special room in the basement. Mama always said the world couldn’t handle his specialness, so for the good of everyone, he needed to stay inside. The boy did not mind because he had learned to appreciate the dark. The dark hid the boy from himself, the vision of terror each mirror had ever reflected back at him. He knew that mirrors lied; his reflection in his mother’s eyes was a lie because her words said he was beautiful. Those words were true. The mirrors of the world were liars. His facial construction was not truly deformed. His fingers were not truly gnarled and crooked. His feet did not truly point inward, and his spine did not zig and zag. Those were the lies told to him by the mirrors of the world. The only mirror he could trust was in his world, in a corner of his special underground. Six feet by two feet, it sat near the furnace and observed him every time he approached it. The cracked image it reflected back at him placed every piece of him in the correct place. His cheekbones aligned. His crooked spine straightened. And he was beautiful. Maybe his mother’s words had cracked the mirror for him. He was not sure. But he knew the spot where he stood in front of the mirror was a special place, full of dark warmth and truth. Above him was only a fearful world that illuminated and reflected lies.




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