Friday, February 16, 2007


[This story originally appeared here.]

For some reason, lately he'd become obsessed with mirrors. When he was alone in a room with a mirror he would find himself absently gazing into it. Simple, routine things like brushing his teeth or shaving, tasks which used to take up a perfunctory few minutes of his day, now seemed to last for hours, and he frequently found himself rushing to work or other appointments because he was spending too much time staring into the mirror. His wife began to notice his odd behavior, but didn't comment on it. She thought he was obsessing about the vicissitudes of middle age, worrying about his receding hair and encroaching wrinkles. She empathized, but was unsympathetic. Welcome to the club, she thought. His young daughter didn't notice anything at all odd about his behavior. She liked looking into mirrors too.

In fact, there was nothing particularly vain or narcissistic about his obsession with looking into the mirror. No, it was more like he was looking for something; however, he couldn't put his finger on exactly what it was that he was looking for.

He had a dream. He had just finished brushing his teeth before going to bed, and once again he found himself gazing into the mirror. He studied his face. He looked closely at what was in the background behind him on the mirror's surface. Somewhat irrationally he began to wonder about what might lie beyond the reflective surface of the mirror. When he found himself hefting his ceramic shaving mug there was no turning back. He threw it at the mirror. To his profound shock, the mug smashed through the mirror, taking large shards of glass with it. There was some kind of dark space on the other side. The next thing he knew, he had cleared away all the edges of the shattered mirror and was slowly poking his head through what had once been its surface. He could barely believe his eyes. The other side was like a large corridor, with no apparent floor or ceiling. As far as he could see—left, right, up, down, were what appeared to be windows. In each window was a face. He could see thousands of faces, and it dawned on him that what he was seeing was thousands of people gazing into their own mirrors, each one oblivious to all the others (including him). He found this sight unbearable, repulsive. He became angry. His anger turned to rage, and grew to such a proportion that, by a sheer act of will, he smashed all of the mirrors in the corridor. When he looked again, he saw thousands of copies of his own astonished face staring back at him...

As he emerged from sleep to this side of consciousness he felt a presence, a soft breath on his cheeks. He opened his eyes to find the dark, inquiring eyes of his daughter staring at him. Looking into those eyes, he saw a small reflection of his own face. He smiled...


  1. When I read such creative things I cry for my lost inspiration. Will she ever come back to give birth to stories about the small, unnoticed things of life, as she used to do? (sob, sob, sob)

  2. This story is curiously horrifying in the centre, with these thousands of people. I mean in an original way. Something to do with loss of individuality. The guy's normal view (and everyone's) is "shattered", so to speak, a second time, but before he smashes all the other mirrors. It's quite interesting.

  3. Usual Stuff--Keep trying!

    Pierre, thanks for your kind words. They mean a lot to me, my friend.

  4. Hi Kyklops,
    Wow..this is really good stuff. I love the ending, with the small reflection of his own face...awww.

    I love it. i hope you write more creative pieces like this.

  5. Thanks Maliha. It's a confidence booster when other writers of fiction have positive comments!