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Mirrors

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I looked out the window of my friend's 93' Chevy. The interior seemed cold and damp. The radio was playing eighties hits. Michael Jackson blaring over the radio. The windows were rolled down. He hadn't repaired the air-conditioner since the accident he had gotten into a few months ago.

The accident was pretty bad. A suburban slammed into it, and wrecked the whole back bumper. Nothing remained but dirty chromed steel hanging loosely off the car, almost ready to skim across the streets creating a sound like a chainsaw against a rock wall. The top of the car was leaking from the rain outside. Small droplets would fall to the ground, and splash into my coffee.


It was always raining in Seattle. Cold. Dreary. Dead. Waiting. Waning in the rain. Waiting for light to illuminate through the bleakness.


'Hey Jimmy, you alright?' my friend, Carl, the driver, said whose eyes waned from the road for just a moment to look at me and then turned back like a flash of lighting. 'You look kinda nervous,'




I turned to him. 'I didn't really get enough sleep last night. I've been having this reoccurring dream,' I paused for a moment. 'Well it's more of a nightmare than a dream really,, but its been keepin me up at nights,'


'A dream is keeping you up at night? That's kinda lame. Me, I got bigger problems than a dream' Carlos said.



'It's not just a dream though, you know?' I said suddenly feeling defensive. ' It feels so real. So vivid. I don't even know how to describe it, but I feel like I need to tell someone. You know, get it off my chest kinda thing,' I looked down at my shoes in embarrassment. 'I feel like maybe if I tell someone it'll go away, and I won't have to deal with it anymore. I know it sounds weird but it just feels so real,'



'Are you sure it isn't real?' he said as he made a turn onto Harper St. 'I've seen movie stuff like that where the main character lives like his whole life and it all turns out to be a dream. You ever see anything like that?' he said.



'Yeah, it's called the Matrix genius, and I'm pretty sure that my life is real,' I said in retort.




'I don't know. Have you seen anything strange lately. Green monsters? Flying saucers? Martian-men? The Boogeyman?' he said as a wide grin began to stretch across his face.



'Nope I can't say I have. The only weird thing I've seen these days is you,' I said laughing.



We pulled up to a light. Stops lights always reminded me of racing. Daytona. Speeding around a quick track. The bright lights. The sound of screeching tires as they went from zero to sixty in three seconds flat.



After a moment he said 'Are you going to tell me or just talk about how crazy it is. You've caught my interest,'



'You sure you want to hear?' I said turning to him. 'You ain't gonna be freaked out or anything. He nodded in response. 'Alright, here give me one of your cigarettes,' I said pulling my lighter out of my pocket.











'You need to light up to talk about a dream? You know that stuff isn't good for ya right? You were never really one to smoke,' he said.




'Shut up,' I hastily said as he handed me a cigarette. I lit the cigarette, and began to smoke it.



'The dreams started a few weeks ago. Every time I would go to sleep, no matter where, when, or how, I would find that dream. Or better, it would find me. The first time it happened, I remember it perfectly. I was laying in bed trying to find a way to go to sleep. You know how hard it is for me to sleep some nights with my sleep deprivation thing.



So I'm lyin there on my back when I'm suddenly in this tunnel. And it's just me in this pitch black. But then I see this light, this bright glowing radiant light right at the end, and for some reason I know to go to it. I know that I'm supposed to touch it. To feel it. In all truth, it reminds me a bit of a mosquito flying towards the closest and brightest light, but that's what I do. The lights just floating there too. Nothing shines from it. It doesn't radiate against the wall. It's just there. Maybe it's a firefly, and I'm six again and in Pennsylvania chasing them with my father down a valley as deer spring from the woods, but that's not the way it feels. It feels grim. Dark. Like the walls are closing in around me, and only this small faint light of hope remains. So I do what anyone would do, and walk towards it. Only it doesn't get closer. It felt like hours I walked through that dark pitiless tunnel and the light almost seemed farther away. Not an inch closer. And I start to feel kind of discouraged, I mean wouldn't you after walking that far?' I said looking to Carl.




He nodded at me staring me down intently. He was interested. In all certainty so was I when I first had it. Now I was just scared.



'So I take a few more leaps and bounds toward the light, and then suddenly it's right in front of me. Maybe ten feet away. No farther away than we are from that car in front of us,' I said pointing to the car. ' It's right there, and I feel its staring into me. Deep into my soul. It was like I was being judged for what I had done in the past. And then when I'm close enough to the light to reach out and touch it, I reach my hand out. My fingertip scrapes the little ball of light, and then it's over. It all disappears, and almost no time has gone by, and my forehead has beads of sweat flowing down it. I'm back where I started, laying on my back,'




'As interesting and philosophical as that dream of yours is, I don't really see how it's keeping you up at night,' he said as we approached a toll booth. I opened the glove box which was cracked down the enter of it's frame, and reached for a wad of cash and gave him a one.




'I got this one,' I said as I handed it to him. He payed and the gate opened giving us entrance to the highway. 'You know Carl, I felt the same way you do until about a week ago. Before last week I thought the dream was interesting. I even went to the library to read a quick dream book. I was curious. But then, last Friday the dream got a twist. It's like I finally got to that clutch moment in the Sixth Sense or Fight Club where you understand all the drama that had happened before led up to this one realization and the plot-line spins wildly in the last direction you would expect it to. It felt like that'




' I was back in the dark tunnel. Now I had gotten used to it. I expected it. I think I would have thought it unusual to not get that dream. Except it wasn't so dark. There was a dim light caressing all the walls and for the first time, the hallway I was in was visible. With this new development I had almost completely forgotten about the light at the end, but I knew it was there. I could still see it even as I glanced over the new found discovery,'




'So what did it look like? A mine shaft? A subway? A hallway? What could have been so frightening you had to tell someone?'Carl said braking slightly as traffic began to pile up in front of us.




'Mirrors,' I said.





'Mirrors. What the hell do they have to do with anything,' he said in retort.




'Will you just shut the hell and let me finish dang it,' I said getting frustrated because I was losing my train of thought. 'Like I was saying before you interrupted me, the walls were ebony black. Like the color of your hair. And looked Chalky. It looked like a tunnel in the side of a mountain. The weird thing was, the walls had mirrors spaced out evenly. It looked like a fun house in there, and the mirrors ran all the length of the tunnel.



So out of curiosity I went to one of the mirrors on my right side. These mirrors borders were painted with this sparkling white, like diamonds resting in the sand above an Arizona sun. Shining and gleaming like nothin I've ever seen. As I walked towards the mirror I watched my shadow creep towards it as well. Following me towards the mirror. I went to the mirror and stood before it, and there was me. But it wasn't me now. I was ten years old again and staring into the face of a red-headed child. Freckles covered his face, and he was smiling back at me with this beautiful smile that would make even your mother smile back in return. And we know what you're mother's like. It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen, but something makes me turn away. Maybe it was curiosity driven, or maybe something else, but I turned away to face the mirror on the other side. It was scratched., and painted in a worn black paint,'



'I walked to stand in front of the mirror, and I found myself face to face with the same child I saw before. Me again, at age ten, and I'm smiling back at myself. And I'm smiling too, and thin tears are dripping down my face at the sweet nostalgia, and I feel like reaching out and hugging him. The mirror. Me. But his smile becomes twisted. It becomes a wicked smile at first, and then a frown. A bloody looking frown that read Help Me. And I wanted to help. I did, but I couldn't. My legs felt frozen to the floor. I was trapped within it's clutches. The child in the mirror, it was certainly no longer me, became pale as a ghost. It looked like he hadn't eaten for days, and his face cringed at the sight of me. His eyes, this sapphire blue before turned coal black. Blood poured from his eyes, and I became terrified. It came from his pores, and his whole face became drowned in blood. The mirror cracked and shattered to the floor breaking into thousands of tiny crystalized shards of glass. Then I could move. Then I could run. I don't stop to look at the other mirrors. I only catch these fainting glimpses at them. I see myself quickly aging through the mirrors. On my right, I would see this happy-go-lucky smiling face, and on the left this terror of a face shrouded in sorrow. My face, and I wonder why. I feel like were back in high school again and watching a scary movie and walking home in the dark, and I feel watched, and I feel like running. It feels like somebody was peering over my shoulder the whole time laughing it up. Drinking a beer. Watching the show. Then the light is close, just as it was before. Close enough to reach out and touch it. But I don't go for it. I see something that catches my eye. The last two mirrors on either side of me were empty. Even as I stood in front of the one on the right no happy me appeared. The mirror only fogged up, and gave me words that were barely readable. It said Righteousness. Out of curiosity I turn to the other mirror on the other side. This mirror does the same thing and instead of delivering a morbid image it gives me a word. Punishment. And then I wake up, and just like before I don't touch the light. It just hangs there. An unreachable object just out of my touch. I'm concerned about it though. Any insight you can give me?'



' Maybe this is like some kind of Divine Intervention in your life. Although I doubt it. I've never been much of a believer in that kind of stuff,' he said



The car lurched to a stop at the Seattle Federal Bank. My heart started to pound nervously.



'You're not thinkin of backin out of this though are you?' he said questioning me with poking eyes.



'Well don't you think it's weird right before we do it, I have this weird dream of my whole life-story. I think I have a right to be at least a little concerned,'



'Alright I need an answer now Jimmy. You are my best friend, but I will do this without you,' he said ' Are you in or out?' he said giving me the ultimatum question. I pondered it for a moment
.


'I'm in,' I said reluctantly.



'Good,' he said ' you ready?'



'Yeah, lets do it,'





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