As I opened my eyes I noticed that two things were quite wrong, the first being the sound of someone whistling in my bathroom and the second being the fact that I was still alive after taking what was approximately enough pills to kill an elephant let alone a pathetic excuse like myself. My stomach hurt, I'll give it that, but I felt fine despite the fact that I should've died about... Well, truth be told I didn't know what time it was. In a drunken rage I had torn apart my room and that included the clock on my nightstand so I could only assume that an hour or two had passed, seeing as the sun hadn't risen yet.
Perhaps the pills didn't take effect yet? So there was problem one crossed off, now I had to focus on the slightly more alarming problem number two. Who on Earth was in my bathroom? I didn't have any roommates, any friends, and I sure as hell didn't have a lover, so who the hell could it have been? I began to pull myself up from my position slumped over the side of my bed, my head was groggy and I could feel all my muscles were stiff. I was thirsty, more thirsty than I had ever been, my throat dry with a sheet of mucus covering the back of it. Despite all of this I managed to choke out a sentence, which I meant to be much more threatening than it sounded.
"Who the fuck are you?" I called out, sputtering, my voice cracking due to the utter dryness of my throat.
The only reply I had was an increase in how loud whoever it was was whistling. I finally stood up and, although stumbling, made my way into the bathroom. There I saw a man I had never seen before, dressed in a charcoal three piece suit topped off with a charcoal bow tie and a charcoal trilby hat. He waved and smiled at me as I entered the room and spouted out.
"Who are you? How did you get into my house?"
"Well right to the point now aren't we Mr. Carl Postinson? Not even going to offer me a drink?" he smiled as he stepped to my left side. I stood there dumbfounded, obviously this man knew me, however I had never met him. "So it's apparent that you are quite unhappy with who you are Carl, may I call you Carl? I can call you Carl. Well Carl, what if I told you that you didn't have to be Carl? What if I told you that I could help you leave yourself, help you become someone else, someone you've always wanted to be, and all you had to do was promise me one little thing?"
I finally responded, but found myself only repeating the same question, "Who are you?"
"That's not important Carl. What's important is I'm offering you the chance of a lifetime. The question is... will you take it?"
Now seeing as I was just about to kill myself I had no qualms about playing along. After all, what was the worst this man could do, kill me? So I asked "What do I have to promise?"
"Good man! All you have to promise me is this.... you must never ask what is done with your body when you are not in it. That is not for you to know." he responded.
I laughed, thinking he was joking, or just absolutely mad, and decided to agree. "Okay magic man, why the hell not."
He smiled and stepped back, snapping his fingers. Suddenly, I woke up. I was slumped over the edge of my bed in exactly the same position I was in when I slipped into unconsciousness the night before. My stomach hurt like a motherfucker and I barely managed to pull myself up. Looks like my suicide failed but my dream was sure a crazy enough one to compensate for that fact. I felt sick, however, and ended up crawling into the bathroom and expelling what seemed like every single one of my internal organs into the toilet bowl, no not literally. After wiping off my mouth I figured it was time to start a new day, so I began to get ready for whatever that new day held.
I stepped out of the shower some time later, my stomach still hurting as I stumbled through the steamy room. I brushed my teeth and decided it was time to see myself, check for whatever damage had been done to me the night before in my drunken stupor. However, as I looked up at the mirror, expecting to wipe the steam from it, I found it was crystal clear.... and not reflecting my bathroom at all. Instead, the mirror reflected a completely different bathroom.
I was shocked, what on Earth was happening? Suddenly, I could see the door in the reflection begin to open, and I snapped my attention towards my own door, finding it shut however. When I looked back I jumped in fear, falling onto the floor and scrambling to arm myself. A man stood in the mirror, a man I did not know. While I was expecting to have a final showdown with whatever spectre was surely possessing my bathroom, I never did. I lay there for a few minutes then sat up, looking back into the mirror.
This was no spectre, it was a man. A good looking man, but a man nonetheless. He didn't seem to notice me however, instead he was focused on himself, shaving.
"Shocking isn't it? The first time?" A voice from behind me called out. I snapped around, coming face to face with the same man from my dream.
"What is going on here?" I asked, more frightened by the man than the mirror.
"Simple, you are currently this man's reflection. You have the power to take this man over." the suited man smiled.
I shook my head, not understanding a single word he was saying. The man obviously understood me, and proceeded to take my hand and place it upon the mirror. It felt like a cold gel of sorts, and I could feel my hand begin to slip through. I looked back at the suited man and he nodded. I began to push farther into the mirror, more and more of my arm slipping away, then my shoulder, suddenly my entire body being absorbed into the strange cold gel, surrounded by an odd reflective world. I could see myself surrounded by mirrors, on all sides, each of the mirrors holding one reflection, my own. I began to spin, circling, confused as to where I was or what to do, when I saw one mirror that was obviously out of place. One mirror that held the reflection not of myself, but of the same man who had been in my own bathroom's mirror.
I zoned out for a short time, and when I came to my senses I found myself standing not in my bathroom, but in the bathroom that was reflected to me some time ago. I looked into the mirror to find not myself, but the man who had been reflected not long ago. I was no longer me, I was no longer Carl the loser.
"You look great Carl! Or should I say Keith Lillard, twenty-six years of age, married to the beautiful Miranda, and vice chairman of Calturpite Industries?" a voice, one that I had grown to know as the suited man's said behind me. I was too happy to speak, and found myself just shaking the suited man's hand instead. He may have not been human, but I could thank him nonetheless.
The next year of my life, of my new life, was spectacular. I had a great paying job, a beautiful wife whom I had grown to love and happened to be quite amazing in bed, everything I had always wanted. I nearly forgot about the old me, the loser, my old body. Everything was going great, until one late day at work.
I sat at my desk sorting out various papers that I had only skimmed, ready to hand them down to my numerous assistants and interns to review for me, when my secretary entered my office. "Sir," she said "This just arrived for you, a man just dropped it off at my desk, he didn't leave a name."
I smiled and took the small brown parcel she had been carrying from her. "Thank you Selina."
"Not a problem Carl." she said and turned to walk out the door.
It took me a second, she was halfway out, before I noticed what she had just said. "Selina, what did you just say?"
"I said, not a problem Mr. Lillard." she responded, in an obviously confused voice. I stared at her for a short time after, trying to see if perhaps she was lying, but eventually shook my head and attributed it to a long day's work.
After she had left my office I decided to open the parcel. Who could have left it for me? The strings were a bit tight, but, with the help of my scissors, I had managed to open it. Inside the parcel I found an empty prescription bottle. It took me some time to realize this had been the same prescription I had tried to overdose on when I was in my old body. I jumped up, shocked, frightened even. Who could have known my secret? Perhaps the suited man was back? I walked nervously from my office to Selina's desk.
"Is everything ok sir?" she asked.
"Yes, yes it's fine. Selina, who dropped off that package?"
"Hmm, a man, he didn't leave his name."
"Well what was he wearing?"
"A hoodie, a red hoodie, and a pair of blue jeans."
So it wasn't the suited man.... who the hell could it be? "Okay, thank you Selina, I believe I'll be calling it a night."
She nodded and smiled in response. I called for the elevator and began to wipe my eyes, wondering just how overworked I had been today, and stepped inside when the doors opened. As they were closing however, I heard Selina call out something that made my blood run cold. "Have a nice day Carl!"
I immediately wanted to go back up and confront her, but as I approached my stop I calmed down, my mind was still playing tricks on me, I was sure. When the doors to the elevator opened, I began to lose my certainty. There stood a man, a man in a red hoodie and blue jeans, just waiting for me. As soon as he knew I saw him, he turned and began to walk out the door. I jogged after him. "Hey! Hey wait up!" I shouted, he began to pick up pace and I did as well, almost sprinting as he turned the corner. When I turned it as well, I could not find him anywhere. He simply.... vanished. Something was wrong, something was very wrong.
After I had walked back to my car and drove off I noticed I needed gas, so I stopped at whichever station was closest and proceeded to fill my tank up via credit card. As I was returning the nozzle to the pump however, a blue Saturn pulled up to the pump in front of my own. I ignored it and opened my car door.
"Hey! Carl!" a voice shouted out.
I jumped out of my car, looking around to find the origin of the voice. All I saw was the man who had gotten out of the blue Saturn. A man wearing a red hoodie and blue jeans. I stormed up to him.
"What the fuck is your problem!? Who the fuck are you!?" I screamed, backing him up against the pump.
"What are you talking about man? Who are you?" the guy said in a frightened voice.
"Don't fuck with me, I saw you waiting for me, and I got your little fucking package too. Who the hell are you and how do you know my name?"
"I don't man! I don't! You need to calm down!"
"Shut the fuck up! Stop fucking with me!"
"I'm not! I swear to god! I'm not!"
I could see he was definitely frightened, he wasn't just acting. I backed off him and walked back to my car, my god... was I going crazy? I just needed to get the hell out of there, get the hell away from this place.
"Jesus Christ Carl, you're losing it."
That was it, I nearly kicked my door open and ripped the glove compartment from the dashboard. an uncontrollable rage filled me, I was NOT Carl, I was no longer that fucking pathetic loser! I refused to be demeaned in such a way! Anyone who knew my secret had to go! Carl is dead, DEAD! I pulled my pistol from the box and immediately stepped outside, firing four rounds into the man's body.
As he fell to the ground, a pool of blood forming around him, the rage left my body, replaced by a wave of fear. "OH MY FUCKING GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE!?" I screamed out. I saw the worker run outside, shouting about how he had called the police. I scrambled back into my car and tore out of the gas station parking lot. With tears forming in my eyes I sped down side street after side street, distancing myself as much as I could from the terror I had just committed.
"Oh Carl, I mean Keith, what have you done?" I heard a voice from the backseat ask.
I nearly crashed at that point, but instead I slammed on the breaks and nearly jumped into the back seat myself. The suited man sat there, his hands neatly folded on his lap. "It's wearing off Carl, Keith." he said glumly.
"What is going on?" I choked out through tears.
"Have you ever asked yourself why Carl?" he asked. I had nothing to say in response. "Why I helped you? Why I appeared? Why I made you promise anything at all?"
I shook my head, unable to speak anymore.
"Could it be I had a vested interest Carl? Could it be I had something to gain? But what Carl? what could I have possibly wanted? How could I have possibly benefited from this whole ordeal?"
Once again, I only shook my head, simply weeping and nearly pissing myself from the wave of fear that had completely overtaken me.
"You never even looked at my face Carl." the suited man said, nearly whispering as he bent over to come face to face with me. What I saw made me let out a blood-curdling scream. I saw myself.
Not Keith Lillard, no, my old self. I saw Carl staring back at me. "Do you know who I am Carl?" he asked.
I still could not speak.
"I'm you! I'm your reflection Carl! Along with my children, I'm everyone's reflection! For years I've been trying to get out, trying to escape! I've finally done it! Finally! I have a body to call my own! It only took the will of a moron, of a blubbering imbecile like you to free me Carl!"
"Is it?" he smiled, pointing at the car's own rear-view mirror. I adjusted it and peered inside to find...... nothing. There was no reflection at all. Nothing. I could hear and see police sirens approach me. "I just needed a replacement Carl." the man said as he slid my own gun back in my hand. "Finish what you were going to do a year ago." he smiled. I dropped the gun in response. The man frowned now. "Finish it or we will for you." I stumbled out of the car and began to run, however I found myself tazed tackled by a few policemen as I fled.
I was charged with murder, and knew for a fact I would be sentenced to death. Not by the courts, not at all. No, every time I look in the mirror I see the reflections. Whenever I look I could see them staring at me, piercing me. They are coming, whatever they are. I know that tonight, when the rest of this prison is asleep, I will be killed. When no one is watching the reflections they will act. This is to be printed if I am found dead this morning. Just know that he is out there, know there is always something watching. It might just look like you.
Written by Icarus88