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A Broken Mirror

A Clandestine Spy in her Own Mind

By Susan Eileen Published about a year ago Updated about a year ago 7 min read
A Broken Mirror
Photo by Klim Musalimov on Unsplash

The mirror showed a reflection that wasn’t my own. I fell asleep swiftly the previous night after a taxing day with my ex-boyfriend. I had been increasingly frustrated with trying to determine his intentions with me. The longer I pondered the question, the more I questioned whether I was genuinely interested in the man at all anymore. The lustre of this new relationship has faded quickly, as increasingly disturbing details of his personality emerge.

As I look in the mirror, it seems as though the face looking at me is my old love interest and not my own? Am I so obsessed with this man that I can’t get him off my mind to even brush my teeth? Did he follow me home?

The image in the mirror whispers to me, “I am known as gatekeeper here in town.” I shake my head in disbelief, or so I think. The breeze across my face is not there as it should be. The reflection is a nearly toothless middle-aged man. The few teeth remaining are badly scarred from nicotine. A salt and pepper moustache complements my upper lip, with a small goatee gracing my chin.

The image in the mirror scowls at me, and begins to turn its back on me revealing an arsenal of ammo strapped but hidden from the front. He appears to be a survivalist of a different sort. A camo jacket fits snugly across his well-defined chest.

His rugged profile disguises a deeply insecure man, living in a state of chaos and confusion. Once a legend in his own mind, his angry eyes tell the tale of a man who decides who lives and who dies – kill em all and let God sort em out. She recoils in revulsion. Is she having a conversation with a mirror or remembering last night’s conversation at the Thai restaurant?

You’re going to break my heart one day? Aren’t you? She remembers saying.

Come on, Vi – I can only break your heart if we fall in love. I’m the kind of guy you have fun with remember?

The fun ran out weeks ago, she thought to herself.

I’m just not in the frame of mind to be in a relationship right now, Vi

Then why exactly are we spending time together?

His black eyes stare back at her – look if you have better offers go –

I get up from the table. As a matter of fact I do and head toward the door.

You’re right for leaving me Vi I’m never going to amount to much anyway.

Listen Greg, you were a distraction from my problems when we first met and now you ARE the problem.

I decide who lives and who dies Vi, he whispers – I thought we were just getting st- he stops midsentence realizing she is already gone.

I must be in a dream-like state she thinks. Snapping to a quick decision, I leave the old musty bathroom and walk to the one across the hall. Why don’t my footsteps make any noise? The bathroom across the hall has pink vinyl wallpaper with dainty red flowers. Even the wallpaper has a tinge of nicotine yellow to them.

In this mirror, I am an old greying woman. Crow’s feet dot the outer corners of my eyes. She's a clandestine spy in her own ho me, in her own mind. Did Greg put something in her drink last night? Is her house haunted?

She surveys the house. A Victorian Colonial in the English part of town that is too much house for her. Eleven rooms in total, it's been decorated in stages across generations. Plaster and lathe walls, dusty, creaky floorboards, and leaded windows reveal its age.

What time is it anyway?

The house is dusty, cold, and sterile at the same time. Much like my personality she chuckles to herself. She can't escape her heritage. She's always been bizarre up close but beautiful from a distance.

Maaaaaa! - __________ she hears a shriek from down the hall. Rushing to the child's cry she scampers noiselessly down the corridor only to find a small child hiding under a quilted ladybug blanket. She tugs at the blanket, to see the child underneath. Just then, she catches a glimpse of what she thinks is a shadow. It looks like Gatekeeper. She can see the tips of the machine guns peeking out behind his back. Is Gatekeeper following her? She turns around to find no one there. Something must've been slipped to me in my drink last night she thinks again.

Down the hall she sees an old man with a cane in one hand and a handgun in the other. She's in a prison in her own mind and the locks are on the inside. She just can't seem to find them. She's looking for exit and entry points to no avail. She sizes up the gunsight angle to determine if she is in harm's way. There is too much missing information, but she is anxiously sizing up all of her opponents without seeming to do so, ferreting out the intent of the other worldly residents in her decrepit Victorian home. Kill em all and let God sort em out Gatekeeper whispers in her ear. It was a shout delivered as a whisper.

The choas and confusion is now ubiquitous. Is this retribution for rejecting him? She has more questions than answers. A nervous storm is rolling in from all directions. Wind chimes lay silent in the stagnant air.

Her scope of vision fades to black.

A piercing buzzing noise penetrates her ears. She adjusts to reality with a start. There is a Doctor in front of her. His badge says Dr. Leister. He begins to adjust her straitjacket.

You don't understand your own mind he tells her. You switch identities to avoid reality - your brain will never be the same again. Once a cucumber is turned into a pickle, it can never be a cucumber again.

What is happening here? Am I adjusting to be a pickle, or am in a pickle? She begins to laugh manically and abruptly stops when shes sees he how stoic he is.

You're in more than a pickle Vi - you may never see the light of day again.

How long has it been since I've seen the light of day?

At least a year now, Vi.. and please call me Greg. Would you like the Thai food you left on the table? A twisted smirk reveals his lies.

As his eyes settled on her, she felt a shiver go down her spine. Had she really been trapped inside her head for a year now? She looked down at the moldly Thai food. She remembers from her days at uni that mold can wreak havoc on your body - hallucinations, starvation, then death. He's been feeding her moldy food since that night at the Thai restaurant. What kind of sick bastard was she sleeping with anyway? He's brainwashing her to believe that she deserved this in some way. She doesn't switch identities - the mold has been poisoning her - and it must be wearing off as she can think clearly for the first time since that night at the restaurant.

She's still wearing her new flare leg jeans from that fateful night, now soiled beyond belief. In anticipation of the breakup, she planted a knife under the base of her foot. Trying to pull her eyes into focus, she sees her grey Converse tennis shoes are still on. Wriggling her toes, shifting her weight a bit, and adjusting her foot she realizes that the knife is still there.

She smiles coyly at him, "Surely we can work this out.." She only needs to wriggle one hand free to grab the knife. She only needs about ten seconds to escape the madman in front her. Do mad acts a madman make make? Yes, they most certainly do.

Vi - we are well past the way of working this out. You humiliated me at the restaurant, you left me at one of worst points in my life, and worse yet, you gave me false hope that you were taking a chance on me..you are pathetic..too big for your britches as mother used to say..I needed to put you in your place.

Almost done silently wrestling a hand free from bondage, I lock my eyes on his dead, black eyes. I can't tell if he can feel the tension rising in the room. His eyes are soulless - there seems to be no emotion at all.

I act like I'm gagging from the moldy Thai food. I lean forward wretching..I'm about to be sick, I wail. I grab the knife from my shoe and in one swift motion, stab him in side of the neck.


It wasn't enough to finish him. As he falls against the wall, he breaks the mirror that had been hanging there for what looks like ages. It fractures into pieces, haphazardly scattering across the floor. She quickly starts grabbing shards of the broken mirror, stabbing him with a rapidity she didn't know she could muster .. He collapses to the floor, over a dozen pieces of the broken mirror plunged into his neck and face. She lurches towards the door to escape.

I can't believe you did this to me! I was going to introduce you to mother! Who are you Vi Nguyen?

I glance up and his mother's head appears to be poking out of the wall from behind the place the broken mirror once hung. She's been fed moldy food too - she doesn't know where or when she is. Vi lobs the door open in one thrust, slamming it behind her, shards of the broken mirror stuck to her feet.

She walks out into Ho Chi Minh City. She ducks into an alleyway to clean up, grab a drink, and pretend that she never even met Greg Leister. All her life she's been chasing shadows of men and broken mirrors. Collateral damage at the end of the day. Broken mirrors reveal the faceless cunts she left behind. Too much - and not enough - of a girl for a man like Greg Leister. Do madmen feel pain? She's bizarre up close, but beautiful from a distance. A distance that get farther with each step.


About the Creator

Susan Eileen

If you like what you see here, please find me on Amazon. I have two published books under the name of Susan Eileen. I am currently working on a selection of short stories and poems. My two published books are related to sobriety.

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Comments (2)

  • Susan Eileen (Author)about a year ago

    Thank you

Susan Eileen Written by Susan Eileen

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