Child of Mirrors
About 3 years ago as I was falling asleep one night, I had an idea. Isn’t that always how it goes? :) This one was a little different from normal because it was for an abstract short story. It first came to me as an image of a man wandering in a white world full of strangers, holding a rather large mirror in front of him. The idea kept circling in my mind, so I hauled myself out of bed, went to my laptop, started it up, and wrote it down. Then I immediately shut my laptop down, flopped into bed and fell asleep. So, here is the kind of thing my brain thinks up when I’m half-asleep.
There was once a foolish man. Stories became essential to him, more essential than food and drink. He devoured them constantly until one day his blood became words. Having words as blood, this man became aware of the power they held.
They could blaze souls to wondering ash, feed a dry and withered mind, or warp and change a person—for good and for bad. Awakened to this knowledge, the man felt fear. The power held in hand was the same for all. A single word passing lips could change the course of lives.
In fear of this power, the man became a Child of Mirrors. He reflected what was seen in other’s eyes and became what they expected to see. Wounding others with words was not an option for him. He could feel the pain of words more deeply than others, and hated the thought of being the one to inflict pain on another. And so he took up his mirror and held it in hand, hoping it would bring respite.
The fear of hurting and being hurt grew and shaped his life to the point of absurdity. Then one day the man could no longer speak. But he put on a smile to bring others happiness, and held his growing mirror all the tighter. He was now human, but not human—a shadow content to be cast wherever and in whatever shape the false sun pleased.
After some time the man realized that his life as a shadow, as a reflection, was not life at all. It was a lie, not only to himself, but to the people around him. Being this way helped no one. The man grew discontent and wanted to shatter the mirror he clung to so fiercely.
His words for blood were hated, but loved. He could not give them up, not for anything. And yet the man wanted to be seen not as a reflection, not as what they expected to see, but simply as who was behind.
But the man could only run. It was all that was possible for him to do after so long. He carried the mirror always, trying to warp what was seen by others—yet he always, always wished to break his mirror.
After more time the man had the thought that every person was a Child of Mirrors, carrying them in hand in every form—as large as a body or as small as a penny—weather by purpose or not.
Standing in the middle of the masses, he looked about. Though knowing the mirrors were there, he could still see none but his own. He was alone, alone with words for blood and a very, very large mirror. The man desperately gripped the edges of his mirror and held it before him, between his body and the world. He trudged ever on.
A Child of Mirrors is forever a Child or Mirrors. The only thing that can change is the mirror held in hand.