I Hate. I Love.
Will opened his eyes and blinked sleepily. He reached
out and pushed the button on his alarm, silencing it. He collapsed back
onto the bed, tiredness seeping through every muscle and tendon.
A few seconds past then his eyes snapped open and he jumped out of bed, his gaze jumping around the room wildly. All he could see was himself, reflected from a multitude of mirrors that were strewn about the room. He screamed in fear and collapsed as his yell was echoed back from the mirrors' smooth surfaces.
Squeezing his eyes shut he crawled around the floor, feeling for the mirrors. Each one he found, he flipped over so that it's dull back faced the room.
When he was certain they had all been turned he opened his eyes and glanced around the room. On the backs of the mirrors were the portraits of a hundred people all staring into the crowded room with an air of pompous indifference. Will collapsed again, this time out of relief. He reached out to the nearest paintings and touched the flat faces and dry eyes.
He stood carefully, still a little dizzy, looked around the room again then opened the door and stepped into the hall. His scream echoed off the full length mirror attached to the wall and was cut off abruptly as he fainted.
Will twitched in his sleep and woke as his nose hit the wall
painfully. He stood up, holding his throbbing nose and looked around in
surprise, not knowing why he was in the hallway.
His bedroom door was open behind him, so he leaned through the door hoping for an explanation. A hundred dead, staring eyes looked back at him, flat and unmoving. He spun, slamming the door behind him and ran for the bathroom.
He had only gone two steps when he retched violently, the warm liquid splashing off the carpet onto his feet. He fell onto his hands and knees and let his stomach empty itself spasmodically, then rolled onto his back.
The roof began to spin slightly and everything faded to a shining black colour. He hoped that the next time he woke he would remember to ring the doctor.
Will rolled over and choked as his nostrils filled with
cold vomit. He sat up coughing and gagging, fighting the urge to throw
up. The last thing he remembered was collapsing at his bedroom door. How
had he ended up halfway down the hall?
He got up of the floor, his stomach churning horribly and made his way to the bathroom. He stepped onto the icy tiles, keeping his eyes on the floor, certain that the medicine cabinet would be closed.
He reached up, feeling for the edge and was surprised to find it open. He lifted his head and found the little bottle of dark red pills.
A thought crossed his mind.
Shaking violently he reached for the door of the
medicine cabinet and closed it. He forced himself to look in the mirror
and saw his face for the first time in over twenty years.
He saw bloodshot, sunken eyes.
He saw greasy, pallid skin.
He saw patches of congealing half-digested food.
He tried to look into his reflection's eyes, but he began shaking so wretchedly that it was impossible.
Unable to control his arm he flung his hand reflexively at the mirror, the edge of his palm slamming in to the glass. He hit it again. And again. And again. He yelled in pain as the mirror smashed and shards of silvered glass sliced through his skin, soft from years of disuse. He kept beating and the remains of the mirror until his terror gave way to tears and he slumped over the porcelain sink, stained pink by the blood seeping from his hands.
He sobbed to the point where he was gasping for air, his weak lungs almost tearing from the strain. His tears ran down his cheeks, to drip off his chin and nose and mingle with the blood that was now pouring from his hands.
With the vicious sobs still wracking his frail body he grabbed the bottle of pills and fumbled at the lid with mangled hands. In frustration he ripped at it with his teeth and only got it off after chipping and loosening what remained of his teeth. He spat the twisted plastic lid into the sink and poured the pills into his mouth, gagging strongly as he swallowed them.
The lump of pills stuck for a moment then slowly began to slide down his throat. He slumped onto the floor and waited.
Will looked at the shards of broken glass in delirious wonder. Even as he felt the pills sliding down his throat, he reached for pieces of mirror to look at himself.
And dropped the mirror.
And picked it up.
And dropped it again.
And watched the spreading pool of blood.
Leaking over the floor.
Getting darker as it thickened.
And fell asleep to the ringing in his ears.
© Joseph V Ford (aka Incitatus