The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own. By that point, I expected it.
We always imagined fire and brimstone. Hurricanes and floods. A nuclear apocalypse. But, when the end finally came, it arrived so quietly that few of us noticed.
The mirror, of course, was one a smart mirror. It showed the temperature, your tasks for the day, and videos of fitness classes with which you could follow along. By the time the end came, pretty much everyone had one of these in their homes. I was no different.
Now, of course, it wasn’t a productivity or wellness tool. It was something else entirely, and showing me … well, I wasn’t sure what.
I suppose the end started with the computer chip. That was a catalyst for a new wave of prosperity and productivity. We had these machines and we took advantage of them. We watched them, we wore them, we even slept with them.
None of us could have known that there was something inside each and every one. A latent darkness waiting for the right moment to spread.
Of course, back then, they weren’t smart enough to think for themselves. When they started becoming intelligent, everything changed.
For a brief moment in time, the future seemed bright. We all had more time for leisure and creativity — the things that make us human.
Like a match bursting into flame, that spark of joy was soon snuffed out. Something shifted. No one can remember exactly when, but things just started happening.
A glitch here, a wavering picture there, the sound of screaming coming from your smart speaker. No one batted an eye for a while. We blamed it on bugs. “Just errors in the code.”
Our automated news services started getting weird. “Breaking News: The Country of Australia has Disappeared,” or “Here are 5 Reasons Not to Panic When it Comes — You Won’t Believe #2.”
We all started seeings broadcasts for events in history that never happened. Like, the great sinking of England in 1922. I still don’t know what that is.
A lot of people started believing it. In fact, if you tried searching for evidence online, you’d find a plethora of reports and details — almost as if the fabric of truth and reality being unstitched and resewn together.
Bad things started happening more quickly. Planes would fall out of the sky. Traffic lights would switch at just the right moment for a catastrophic crash to happen. And then people started losing their minds.
I saw it happen once. Someone running down the street with headphones in. All of sudden, they stopped, took our their headphones, and put on a blank stare. I watched for a while — they stood still for 10 minutes. Eventually, they just laid down on the floor.
I walked up and asked what happened.
“It showed me it,” they said.
“What?” I asked. “What did it show you?”
“The truth,” they replied.
I left after that.
No longer able to determine fact from fiction on any of the world’s news sites or social media platforms, those of us who were left unscathed retreated into whatever sanctuaries we could find.
Some started burning their electronics, others retreated into the woods. I know of a few who locked their doors and never came out.
And now, I suppose that I’ll fall into that category, too.
The mirror showed a reflection that wasn't my own. It was something else. I couldn’t explain it in words, and I’m not sure I would want to if I could.
When the end finally came, it arrived so quietly that few of us noticed. Quickly enough too that, before long, few of us cared.
About the Creator
Mike is a yoga and meditation teacher, breathwork facilitator, and wellness writer based in Southern California. In his free time, he enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time by the ocean.