The sunlight teases my eyes as the dawn brings me to a groggy rise. I sit up in my bed and scoot to the corner; I'm up early. I turn to switch the alarm off before it starts blaring and attracts one of the creatures. I rub the sleep from behind my eyes for an extensive period of time- maybe if I rip them out of their sockets I won’t have to see anything anymore. Maybe I could cope with this new reality if I didn’t have to look at it. I finally bring myself to stand, and I tip toe to the bathroom, shutting the door and locking it. Just as suddenly I breathe out my relief, I hear tiny scratching noises coming from the other side.
“Dearest… is that you?” Asks the warbled, gurgling voice of the creature. I take in a sharp breath and hold it. Maybe it will leave me alone if it thinks I’m not here.. or maybe it would find comfort in knowing that I’m dead.
“I know you’re in there. You have to come out sometime.” The scratching continues and crescendos into a tapping and then into a full blown banging. The creature shrieks and throws itself at the door repeatedly. I’ve only ever seen the creatures once and I would gladly throw myself in a meat grinder before I saw them again. They had glowing red eyes the size of saucers, huge black grins framed by rotting gray-green skin riddled with boils and gashes, facial protrusions filled with maggots that resembled noses. They were tall and bent in unnatural ways, their fingers long and crooked and bony; cold when they molested my face in the least loving kind of unloving caress. That’s perhaps the sickest twist of this whole situation; the creatures are simply rotten, perverse versions of my real parents. Sometimes when the Mother creature whispers to me as I pretend to sleep, I want to leap into her arms and ignore the smell of dead things and tell myself it’s her.
But it’s not.
I cover my mouth to keep a sob from escaping as tears roll down my cheeks. I turn from the door to the sink, and proceed to wash my hands - my arms are scarred and ugly - scars don't fade well in this hell. Dare I look up? I lift my head to peer into the eyes of the thing that inhabits my body. The vessel in the mirror looks happy, with shining caramel hair that flows long and straight down her back , sparkling blue eyes, a big white grin , and a clear beautiful voice. The thing inside sings as she washes her hands. She stares straight at me, squinting and grinning.
“How’s the other side treating you?” says the garbled voice of my reflection. I want to cry out, to scream at it, but but no sound comes. It gives me a sly grin.
“Why did you do this to me?” I mouth silently to her. She runs a brush through her hair... through my hair.
“You did this to yourself. Quit moping around and live with it! Don’t you think I’m treating the body much better than you had? I mean just look at yourself.. well I guess now i should say look at ME. I'm absolutely radiant! ” She bears my pearly whites, applies mascara to my eyelashes. I whimper.
“Please… I'm sorry! I can be happy, I can take better care of the body, I can try to… to get better. Please! I've learned my lesson.”
“Why can't you see it? You have gotten better. I’m helping you learn your lesson! You should thank me!” it says, shaking my head and smiling a sad smile.
“I’m gonna find a way out of this place, and I’ll take the body back by force if I have to! I’ll find a way!” I screech at my reflection in the shakiest threat I've ever given. I lean back, watching the thing puff up and grow angry. It bunches up my fists and points my finger into my face.
“I’m never going back! You hear me?!” The thing growls at me, using its hoarse tone instead of mine, growing my pupils to dot out the blues and eventually the whites. It sneers.
“Please!” I beg, gripping the sides of the mirror and gritting my teeth against the screams that I can’t force from my swollen throat. She gets so close to the mirror that I can smell her rotten breath… or is that mine? Have I become the thing, and the thing become me? What have I become?
“You had your turn. This is my body now.”
“You can’t do this!”
“How many times must I say it? You did this to yourself!" it screams, slamming my fist into the glass repeatedly. The mirror cracks beneath it, forcing my body to bust the glass apart, and through the cracks, I reach for my body. I desperately grasp for that last little hope of holding on to who I am yet all I am greeted with is a few strands of hair - the thing I loved the most about myself. The light seeps out of the room as the cracks widen, glass shards fall like rain…
When last bit of the mirror fell to the abyss unleashed all around me, I fell to my knees, peering at the strands of blondish brown silk I’d managed to salvage.The last piece of me.
What have I become?
What will become of me?