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Hall of mirrors

And a cruel voice

By Giulia VitiPublished about a month ago 5 min read
Top Story - April 2024
14
Hall of mirrors
Photo by Robby McCullough on Unsplash

Things used to matter, before all the noise. And at that time when things still had meaning, there had been dreaming too, when dreams still mattered. And the brightest dream from those times was full of mountains and seas and smiles and the types of passion that absorbs you the way a dog is absorbed by witnessing something for the first time: with absolute presence, and awe.

Now, feeling as if covered in damp ashes, he stirred and opened his eyes. He was met by thousands of reflections, all slightly different but all resembling him. He looked at his hands: “I am real. Let’s start from that” he thought. He got up.

The reflections were coming from hundreds of mirrors of different shapes and dimensions, some of them touching the ceiling which was also made of mirrors, others as small as a fingernail, just scatter on the sides like pebbles.

He carefully moved closer to an oval one, slightly taller than himself. His face looked slightly more square and he looked generally bulkier than what he knew what a slender if muscular figure. The lines on his face were somehow accentuated by the light in the room, making him look older.

He moved on to look at another mirror, smaller than first one by a few centimetres and square shaped. In this one he looked as if his chest was caving in and the rest of the body was following, as if a black hole had opened in the middle of his rib cage and was sucking the rest in. The shoulders especially looked bent and scrawny.

He closed his eyes and touched his body from head to toe with deliberate slowness.

“I’m real. I know myself. This is a trick” he repeated calmly, trying to hear the truth in his own voice.

When he felt more settled, he gave up looking in the mirrors. It would only make things worse. Instead, he tried to remember how he got there.

“Go back to sleep” a voice said from everywhere and nowhere. It was similar to the voice of his mother, but colder and cruel. False…

“Reveal yourself!” he commanded.

A shrill laugh pervaded the room, and the volume of it made the mirrors shake and rattle.

“I hate that you’re awake” it said.

It was an iridescent voice that seemed to be of different people at the same time: his ex girlfriend, his teacher, his mom again, hundreds of people who he had knows and loved and been hurt by - but the coldness and cruelty pervaded each one.

He felt a familiar anger bubble inside of him. He wanted to smash all the mirror and find whatever that creature was a kill it. Something that sounded like that had to be killed, he thought in a red hot flame.

As if hearing his thoughts, the voice laughter again. A few mirrors exploded, scattering glass all over the place. He lied down with his arms over his face, trying to protect as much of his face as he could.

After what felt like forever, the explosions stopped and he dared to look up. He was hoping that with less mirrors he would have been able to see more of the room and find his way out. Glass was scattered everywhere, but there were so many of the mirrors that the maddening effect of the room had not been disturbed. Behind some of the ones that had exploded and had holes in them, more mirrors lay intact.

He sat down and felt an immense tiredness sweep over him. He sat on the floor with his eyes open for what felt like eternity, the voice finally silent, his mind looking frantically for a way out.

Suddenly a sense of resolution seemed to settle in his heart: he would walk. He wouldn’t look at the mirrors, he wouldn’t listen to the voice(s), he would move forward and eventually he’d find something or figure something else out.

He got up.

The voice laughed. It said something about how he couldn’t, about how he was too weak, too tender, not enough, too much, too strange. It talked at length about how getting him to wander aimlessly until his death was exactly what it wanted, and he had finally fallen for it, what a fool. What a pitiful, gullible…

“What is it that you just said?” He suddenly asked.

The voice made a sound as if it couldn’t believe he wasn’t paying attention. It sounded like his father now.

“I said you’re a gullible…”

“No no, before that!”

Silence.

“You fool, what tricks do you think you’re playing?” A snicker.

But the voice has said the word he was looking for without knowing it.

“The Fool!” he exclaimed!

He remembered a tarot card with a small bird on it, just walking. There was a number 0 on the top. Someone else had picked it, but the booklet that came with the deck had said that it meant the beginning of a journey.

When had that happened? It wasn’t when life was still…alive. But it hadn’t happened in the room either. So there must had been a moment in between. A limbo. And if there was a moment before that, it meant that the hall of mirrors wasn’t infinite. If there was a beginning to it, there must’ve been an end.

He dusted the glass off his clothes, and started walking. There was no trace of the voice.

Just as he started feeling some dread, some worry that the journey might take him his whole life, and what a loss that would be to live a life just looking for an escape, he remembered the card he had picked at the time: The Lovers.

The booklet had said that the card’s interpretation wasn’t only romantic love. It spoke of reviling in the pleasures, big and small. It said that even in the worse situation one could imagine sweet nectar flowing from the crown of the head, and enjoy the aliveness of the body, the warmth of the secret parts that we never touch, like the creases of the elbows and the space between one eye and the nose. It said that being alive was a gift in and of itself.

He sighed.

All the reasons why that was stupid and impossible came in a feeling like bile coming up his throat. “I’m in a fucking labyrinth of mirrors you fucking card, what am I supposed to be enjoying?!!!??”

“It’s bullshit!” he growled.

The depth of his voice took him by surprise. He found it beautiful.

And thus the meaning of the card arrived to him. He touched his body again.

“I’m real. I’m beautiful. I am true” he roared.

He turned to look at the mirror closest to him, but he only found a frame. He stepped through it.

PsychologicalFableAdventure
14

About the Creator

Giulia Viti

🐻 Poet • Wild Hag 𓅣

I use this account to try new things with my writing ✨

Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insights

  1. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (14)

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  • Jamal Green23 days ago

    I really enjoyed reading this story as it becoming more interesting as it got deeper.The only flaw I see is try using an alternative word for that or limiting the amount you use it.

  • Anna 27 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • Belle27 days ago

    Congratulations on top story!

  • Trippy & Self-affirming piece!

  • D. D. Lee28 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • Flamance @ lit.29 days ago

    Amazing job congratulations 🎉🎉🎉 top story

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Kendall Defoe 29 days ago

    Excellent! I have written about a mirror used as an escape and I want to know where you'll head to next... ;)

  • Andrea Corwin 29 days ago

    Holy cow, this is a fascinating story! I loved the last line!! congratulations.

  • Congratulations on your top story.

  • Ameer Bibi30 days ago

    Congratulations 🎉🎉 for top story I adore your story , glad for him superb story

  • Kodah30 days ago

    I couldn't stop reading, phenomenal story! Well-deserved top story!! 💌🥳🎉

  • Hannah Moore30 days ago

    Love this, I think it's a wonderful story about mental health.

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    That was so creeeeeeepy! So glad he found his way out in the end. Loved your story!

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