My Father's Son, Part V

February 17, 2010
By , Bradford, PA
It dawned upon me that if I could change my image so that it was not such a surreal imitation of that of my father, the reflections around me might not seem so repulsive. I found a bejeweled knife in my father’s bedroom and cut my hair in a random fashion. My reflection and my father’s photo had revealed we had had exactly the same neat, boyish haircut in our youths, and of all of my features which were similar to my father’s, my hair was certainly the easiest to fix. For once, my reflections did not seem so repugnant to me, and for a time I could regain composure.

It was a mystery to me where this light could have come from. There was no source of illumination that could have come from within house, and the blinds had never been drawn so that the sun’s rays never penetrated the gloom. It was dark and only became more so once one descended the cellar. Yet since I had been astounded by that very first glint in the wall by the stove, the mirrors had created and reflected their own eerie light, tossing it back and forth like their own little secret I could see but never hold. The reflection of my image had traveled farther and farther through the house’s expanse until all its little children clinging to the walls had risen in one being of perfect clarity to mimic and taunt their helpless creator. It was now above my powers to foil the path of the unceasing progress of its sustained vision. That it existed nowhere yet ever eluded my grasp seemed to match its transcendent power to never have been born but always to have existed. If that light indeed had no progenitor, then it must have eternally existed to reveal to me my own image.

Everything in the house showed my reflection, with the one exception of the door to the cellar. This alone retained the forlorn dullness that had once characterized the entire house, and yet for that reason caused me all the more anguish. I thought that once I had locked the cellar I could erase the images of that endless darkness; that I once I had escaped from its grip I could bury what belonged there. What I had known in those day-less, night-less hours, when life had no sun nor moon nor air but only rotting life, I had left behind meaning for it to stay. But I had not anticipated that this nondescript door would emblazon before my eyes more than all the illuminating reflectors in this unlit house, would fill me with an even more uncomfortable and menacing familiarity than even my own image. Now like staring into the recognition of dead it axed my brain with the memories that with passionate evocations called me back, called me back with a beauty to revile disgust. I desperately wanted to move the box completely out of the house, so that finally I could secure that feeling I had once had, in those distant memories I left behind so long ago trailing through the dark forest. The only difficulty was that I could not find a door leading out of the mansion, so for a time I was helpless to ease my disturbed state of mind.

Winter set in, and the storms would howl in a distant world around my now darkless abode. During one particularly violent blizzard, one of the doors blew open. Having been shut off from the outdoors since my confinement in this asylum of mirrors, I instantly caught the door as it blew open and propped it with a stick. For the first time in many months, I unlocked the cellar door and made my way down the steps to the closet. As I opened it, there was a slight scratching from within its dark cavity. I stood there for a moment, but the sound had stopped, and I heard nothing else. I dragged out the long box, for the first time seeing it in the light. It was made of dark wood covered in mildew, with a hinged lid. The corners had been severely worn down, scratched or gnawed at. The thought made me shiver, though I was fairly certain any wear or tear on the box could have only been due to the diligence of rats. Over the cold floor of the cellar, I dragged that box, which was so large I could have fit myself inside, and I could feel the heavy weight shift within it. As much as I had always been terrified of the box, I dreaded opening it more than I ever had in my entire life.

My plan was to take the box outside and leave it in the woods. I began to lift it up the stairs of the cellar, just barely making it. Suddenly, I was startled to see the lid rise an inch. So close to success, I would not allow my plan to be foiled, nor did I care how any sort of being might be able to do so. I shut the lid again, and nothing else happened. At the top, I paused to catch my breath. The lid rose again. I stood and stared. My spirit left me, a paralytic form. A white thing showed through the lifted crack. Long, bony fingers, then a hand, then an arm. Evincing a frightful vitality, it groped through the air. The lid lifted, a bit more, all the way. From the depths of the box, slowly, rose the pale, gaunt face of a boy with long black hair and fascinating, lurid orbs. They looked at me for a few seconds. Then his febrile voice whispered, “I am Samuel. You cannot escape from me.”





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blove said...
Feb. 24, 2010 at 1:54 pm
Future novelist...I knew you when..
 
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