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Mad in the Mirror

Mad in the Mirror

A Story by Mortricia

A short tale.


The young man was lazily aware of his eyes shifting around in their sockets. He was not in a bottomless sleep, but one that was deep enough for him to be unaware of his surroundings. The only thing he noticed was the amount of sweat that seemed to glue him to the tattered, faux-leather recliner he was slumped in. He imagined the skin peeling away from his bare thigh as he swiveled his body to the left.


The air in his bantam, one bedroom apartment was thick. The asbestos-ridden complex he had lived in for the past six years never seemed to dip below hell-comparable temperatures. In the wintertime, this was great for his wallet. This was never great for his claustrophobia.


The claustrophobia.


It seemed to be getting worse lately. Before his mother died three years ago, she told him that he just needed to get out more often.


"Sure", he had thought. "I live in such a nice, charming neighborhood. I'll just have a relaxing stroll down Pothole Avenue and see if I can't get mugged and stabbed a few times before I get to Shitview Bend."


But he knew better than to complain too much. The area was rough, but it was cheap and the bus transit he took to work was just up the street.


Besides, dear old batshit crazy mom only wanted the best for her dear Jonesy. Why else would she have left her prized-possession of a rustic, antique mirror for him in her will?


That mirror.


It stood taller than him at almost six feet and hardly fit into his apartment at all, yet there it was. Too bad his mother was probably writhing about in her coffin. Just weeks after inheriting it, Jones had accidentally knocked the colossal relic over, causing two massive cracks to appear right down the center of his reflection.


It really was especially balmy in his room that evening. Jones had been suffering from mild sleeping disorders for the past year or so and his apartment seemed to exacerbate the issues. At first, his doctor had given him some various stimulants to help him stay awake, as he had been getting easily fatigued. But in the last few months, he hadn't been able to sleep much at all.


It was getting very hot.


He needed to get up. Jones managed to pull himself apart from the sticky recliner so he could stand up and look into the mirror. When he did, he staggered for a moment. He figured he was a little light-headed from lack of food and rest, so Instead of examining himself, he clumsily made his way to the kitchen. God, was the kitchen bright! Ignoring his purpose for going in there at all, he turned away from the room like he was vermin that had just been spotted by the angry humans.


He settled for gulping some water from the bathroom tap, instead. When he returned to his recliner and gaudy mirror, he noticed something bizarre. Everything in the room seemed to be moving. It had to be the lack of sleep. And the heat. It was so blazingly hot all of a sudden. He tripped to his recliner and fell on it-knees and feet on the tremoring ground. Without knowing just how long he remained in this position, he pulled his left arm away from the fly trap of a chair. Funny, it looked like his skin really did peel away from him this time.


He gave a maniacal sort of laugh at this thought. It came out much louder than he had thought it would and seemed to echo for several minutes.


With heavy lids, Jones gazed over at the mirror. He then began to scoot over to it, for a moment feeling like a dog needing dewormed. Another unbalanced laugh escaped his mouth as he tumbled backwards, looking at the upside-down mirror that was now directly behind his head.


He saw that his eyes were unnaturally red. The orbits surrounding them were casting deep shades of blue and purple, the rest of the skin on his face and neck taking on a jaundiced tone.


With his left index finger, he began to pick at his scalp where his forehead met. The hairs seemed to pull from their follicles like plugs in a drain.


Another maddened giggle ripped through the coagulated air.


He then had the queerest vision. He burst forth from his own head, being reborn as a mighty god-like warrior. He felt very sure that his entire life had been an illusion, and that the man in the mirror was the real him. He enjoyed the mirage thoroughly until the mirror began to fill with seraphic, colorful smoke and the image disappeared.


The letter. He remembered now. There was a followup letter on the coffee table from his last visit to the doctor's office. He turned his body to look towards it. When he did, it appeared to be moving down some imaginary hallway further and further away from him. In a stupor, his eyes moved to the clock on the wall. He saw a long hand wiggling around a shorter one that was bleeding down the number nine. When the entire clock began to spill down the wall, he tore his eyes away from it and focused them back on the table. Battling gravity, he managed to lift his body upright so that he could crawl along the ground. Ignoring the sensation that he was slithering, he finally reached his destination and spotted the envelope. Wasting no lucidity, he grappled at his target, missing several times but finally succeeding. As calmly as possible, he pulled at the delicate flap and freed the piece of paper that rested inside. Unfolding it, cataracts of words seemed to film over his eyes. He tried to focus on one at a time. Burning...insomnia... Jones... Jones...his name(giggle)...hallucinations...poisoning...mercury...



To be continued.

© 2015 Mortricia

Author's Note

This short story is a writing prompt based loosely around a previous idea. The goal was to somehow incorporate these words/ideas in 1000 words or less: Athena, Narcolepsy, Ghetto.

I hope to revise this and continue working on it. Thanks for reading.

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The second time around has me loving the humor in this

Posted 5 Years Ago

I also noticed how many times I used the word "just". I need to work on that.

Posted 10 Years Ago

That is a good suggestion. I constantly try to look for things like that, thank you.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Very well done! Nice flow, and very nice tone throughout. The only critique is a broad one. To make a piece less passive, try and eliminate words like, "was" and, "that" if at all possible. Sometimes, it can't be helped, though. Great imagery. Great language. Nothing seemed forced. Yours is definitely better than mine! I'm jealous!

Posted 10 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on January 20, 2011
Last Updated on September 15, 2015
Tags: mad, crazy, mercury, poisoning, man, mirror, insane, delusion, apartment, athena, hallucinate




Get cozy to take a journey through a rhythmic, twisting prison, I'm a metaphoricalien and writing is my mission. "Didja hear about the guy who lost his left side? He's all right now..... more..