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People say that what we see in a mirror is just a reflection of light that allows us to see ourselves as others see us. Our reflections are only capable of copying our every move and they cannot surprise us or do us any harm. I am certain that this is not true in the least. I know it sounds far-fetched, but my reflection is an entirely different person.
It’s hard to say when it all began. Do you ever feel like your reflection moves a fraction of a second slower than you do? Science tells us that this is just our brain processing the visual change and the result is experiencing a very slight delay. However, I always had the silent fear in the back of my mind that this was a sign that my reflection was its own separate being and it was only mimicking me to keep up appearances.
Of course this fear was most prevalent when I was a child. Some kids are afraid of the dark, others the monster under the bed or in the closet. I was afraid of mirrors because I believed that they were gateways to a parallel dimension devoid of free will and individuality. Perhaps I had seen one too many scary movies growing up, but I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.
As a teenager, this fear abated and I spent my time and energy on some carnal pursuits. I was a bit of a rebel, but I never ventured too far outside the boundaries of the law.
As an adult, I became a butcher by trade. I cover the basics: cows, pigs, and chickens. They come to me, and I make a meal out of them. I liked the work so much, I bought my own little shop. Frequently, I have to change gloves and wash my hands in the store bathroom because the residual fluids from the meat would go all over the place. That’s when I really started to notice some strange things.
One day, I lifted my head after washing my hands and could swear that I saw my reflection grinning while I knew that I was holding a neutral expression on my face. At first, I shrugged it off and figured that my muscles had some kind of freak spasm that I somehow couldn’t feel. But as each day went by, I began to feel like my reflection was intently watching me when I wasn’t looking at the mirror. Every so often, I would catch a glimpse of it from the edge of my vision, but I insisted it must be an optical illusion.
Perhaps my childhood fears were returning, but I was in denial that it was anything more than my eyes playing tricks on me. But I could no longer deny it when it started happening every time I looked in the mirror. I tried covering up the mirror, taking it down, even shattering it to pieces. But every time I went back in that bathroom, it would be right back up there staring me in the face, as good as new. I decided it was time to face my fear and began actively watching what was happening on the other side of the mirror.
In spite of my aversion, I found myself studying my reflection, almost fascinated by how different he was from me. There were times when he seemed to stare like a predator, eyeing a piece of meat. Other times, he displayed a nervousness that must have resembled my initial reaction to these bizarre events. Things got much more interesting as it appeared that I was seeing his world through other mirrors.
I would watch for hours as he went on with his daily life. The longer it went on, the more I came to believe that despite what I first thought, he couldn’t see me. Or at least not all the time. It was amazing because what I had previously believed was so sinister became increasingly mundane and in some ways, pathetic.
I watched as he drooled over women he had no chance with, cowered in fear of a boss he could never stand up to, and stuffed fatty foods into his face to comfort his lonely soul. It didn’t take me long to realize that he was the perfect trifecta for my shop. He’s exactly the kind of pig, chicken, and cow that I chop the flesh from every day, and my customers would just eat him up.