The Cracked Mirror

by Olivia Webb 2 years ago in fiction

A Story

The Cracked Mirror

When the sting finally hit me, I knew I had been clipped; at that moment my wife’s beautiful face, which constantly haunted my memories, flashed across my mind. She had always begged me repeatedly to make safe choices and to return to her unharmed. Being a homicide detective, there are many things in my past that I have seen and done. Over the years, murder cases have lead me farther and farther from home. In this line of work, one wrong choice could end you. Now, I find myself lying on wet cobblestones, peering into the glassy waters of the vast darkness in the merciless ocean. Only a dim streetlight, nine or so steps away, could be seen cutting through the shadowy, gloom of nightfall displaying the bloody scene below. The intense pain surging through my head is no joke; rather it is an illusive memory to which I would love to forget, but unfortunately not possible just yet. I can feel myself slipping away into the darkness, which is engulfing my every miserable and intense breath I breathe. I didn’t want the darkness to over take me, but with what had happened today, and the events of moments ago changed everything.

On the outskirts of this diminutive town of Brunswick, I would constantly find myself seated on those old, tattered barstools, drinking from my flask, which has become my trusty friend recently. Once filled to the brim with whiskey and burnished new, my flask is now reaching its end from relentless use. Traveling with this companion has been my world for some time now. I keep it inside the worn out pocket of my wrinkled raincoat. I had grown comfortable with drinking and it has become a sort of hobby of mine, which has slowly consumed me with each passing year since the death of my beloved wife. After taking a swig from my flask I peered into the cracked mirror, past the glass bottles holding in them the poison of choice. It appears that this fractured mirror exposes to its onlookers their true image and their blurred perception of self-examination. With the consumption of alcohol all onlooker’s visual awareness, even my own, have become distorted and changed. The mirror stood still while continually reflecting the ever-changing world around it. Cracks along the baseboards appearing to hold the room together, were stained with yellow from the cigarette and cigar smoke that infiltrated the room. Even the artwork displayed along the walls, with hardly a space between them to see the wallpaper, were discolored to resemble a dingy mustard shade, that was becoming more and more unappealing. Looking all around you, you would notice the ceiling was beginning to sag in the corners, mold and mildew was a common friend that appeared to be part of the décor now a days. The only natural light that could be seen came from the large single window attached to the door at the entrance of the bar. Parts of the bar were lit with green stained glass bottles containing candles on each individual table, while the rest of the place remained shadowed. I stood slowly to collect myself. Grabbing my jacket, bought by my deceased wife for me as a gift, I swigged down my final gulp of whiskey, and headed across the room to the exit. Outside, the air was crisp; nipping at the core of my inner soul, making it difficult to breath. The late December air was growing colder at night, it seemed as though a rather difficult winter was approaching.

Walking down the cobblestone avenue, in the distance the dilapidated, timeworn warehouse stood across from the once-popular fishing pier. Many in the town would gossip about the horrors that had transpired there years ago. Victims that never returned, and the never dimming, faded, yellow light that overtook the upper lofts located on the east side, made this the talk of the village. This place may seem to be a threat to the town, due to it mysterious sounds and hidden passages but to me it brought excitement, since now a days I haven’t been given many homicide cases, so excitement wasn’t quite in my current vocabulary. Getting into the place was easier than expected, as though my arrival was anticipated. Creeping through the doorway I made my way across the room. I couldn’t quite place what the grotesque odor I smelled was, but it reminded me of dry gutted fish lingering in the air. The intense odor of fish and the mixture of liquor swelling in my belly made for a rather nauseous feeling. Over the years dampness began to settle into the wood and with it came a molded musk that seemed to infiltrate everything. A rickety staircase led to the offices on the second floor. A faint glimmer of light was visibly seen under the doorframe and sinking to the shadowy floor below, barely made the stair steps detectable. The unsteady staircase wobbled, creaked, and bellowed with each step taken as I ascended to the top. Strange and unnerving commotions were coming from the darkened office at the end of the hall. Reaching for my gun I raised it to guarantee proper aim, ensuring my safety with whatever was to be encountered. The wooden door at the end of the hall creaked open when my hand pressed slightly upon it. The light which had previously illuminated through the under crack near the floor went out, cutting off all visibility. Raising my gun higher, the once steady grip I had, began to shake with fear. Moonlight could be seen through two large windows slightly shaded by discolored and twisted blinds. Creeping was my only alternative when trying to make my way across the darkened room. New and foreign territories had always given me a rush of excitement to my mundane job but somehow, this time, an uncomfortable fear made me tremble at what might lie ahead. Adjusting my eyes to survey the room was impossible so struggled to peer into darkness was my only option. For brief moments darker silhouettes symbolizing furniture enabled me to depict the basic layout of the room. Rays from the moon, filtered through the blinds, may have aided me a little, but without actual light my path was harder to see.

My own breathing and the faint breathing from across the room that I detected seemed to be in unison. Sheer panic quickened my heart and I could feel cold sweat slowly dripping from my forehead down to the sides of my face. Clouds passing by now veiled the moonlight, which once aided my vision. Pitch darkness was inevitable. Retracing my steps was my only hope of returning to safety, a lump of fear rose in my throat. Stepping deeper and deeper into the midst of darkness I sensed the breathing getting closer and closer. All of a sudden the drifting clouds parted revealing my shadowed assailant, standing four paces away from me. In haste I shot two rounds. The first round sailed across the room and hit him in the shoulder, causing him to stagger back. The second round shot the victim in the throat. Dark spews of blood drenched the floors and finally caused the victim to fall to his knees. In fear of someone overhearing the shots I tried to turn to flee the scene. Unexpectedly, I had been wounded by my assailant, which hindered my mobility causing me to crawl away rather than run.

Reaching the streets below, cold night air sent piercing chills through my body and throat. The edge of the cobblestone street, where the wooden dock stood protruding over the glassy waters, was my final destination. I feebly crawled across the wet road to reach the dock. Peering over the edge, my reflection could be seen, but I also detected another. A blurred silhouette of a man, standing erect behind me glared at me. In sheer terror I weakly turned my head to take a glance at my assailant. Seeing no one, I turned to face the waters again in hopes I had imagined the silhouette, but yet he still remained. To my final realization, as I closed my eyes in death, I was both the murderer and the victim.

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Olivia Webb

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