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Challenge Day 3 – Mirrors


It wasn’t so much the disjointed perception of reality that kept him as he was – sane – and it was most certainly not his own ability to deceive himself that it was all true, that attributed to it; rather it was the simple acceptance of the fact that nothing was ever as it seemed. Added to that notion was the fact that he literally forgot what he looked like while ambling along through the depths of life. It became quite easy for him to recreate reality as he thought it to be. Not in the sci-fi sense where reality altered according to his emotions or the state of his mind or anything like that; it was, instead, the way in which he viewed the world, himself and the events around both those two pinnacles…as he saw them. It was only during those moments when he faced his own reflections that the appearance of his disheveled image nudged him back to reality as it was – undeniable.

As surprising as it may seem, his apartment lacked any reflective surfaces, save for the tall, standing mirror that stood against his bedroom wall; dark mahogany wood against painted, sky blue wall. He used the object as means of making sure that he looked decent enough in appearance before heading out to explore the world. It was that same mirror he was standing in front of that morning, when he saw the first crack on the reflective surface. The crack was at that first time merely an annoyance – just a scratch he’d surmised. It’s presence was made known to him while he’d been brushing down the thick black strands tousled atop his head, though in truth his attention was more on the bright grey orbs that stared back at him rather than on his form. It was though he were being watched by someone else, another being that resembled his appearance rather than a simple reflection. Of course common logic told him that he was merely looking at a reflection, but his mind couldn’t or didn’t want to accept that as truth – that was when he saw the crack. A tiny scratch, almost imperceptible had it not created the illusion of a scar running up the side of the reflection’s cheek in a thin line. He’d ran his finger across the pale skin of his cheek first of course and not feeling a ridge, proceed to do the same to the mirror, his finger grazing over the line, tracing its length along the smooth surface. With a nonchalant shrug he turned from the reflection, already lost within his thoughts, his capricious musing already plotting out the events of the day ahead, beginning with a visit to a local music store.

The air buzzed with a certain kind of life as he stepped into the cool interior of the tiny music shop. A guitar riff permeated the air in its intensity, a heavy drum beat steadily rising with the thick, scratchy cry of a passionate vocalist, the  inundating crescendo of cymbals and screams filling the air, higher, louder, fuller and at the apex of it all…crashing into a cacophony of drums, guitars and rambling. This was metal. This was his scene. He meandered through the seemingly endless selection of CD’s, spanning over the chest high aisles that twisted through the entirety of the shop. He sifted through the various CD covers of bands he’d vaguely heard of, most of them while on the internet. A few that he did recognize he picked up to see if there was a particular song that he recognized. It was as he gazed at one particular CD cover that he caught sight of his reflection on the CD cover and the reflection of an individual beside him. Looking up he came face to face with a young woman with shockingly green eyes framed by long dark locks of hair.

“Are you merely browsing or will you be buying something?” She asked him with a chuckle, flicking a fringe behind her left ear; there was familiarity to her but he could not place it. He noticed that her shirt’s logo and text was printed backwards – a statement in itself.

“Meh” he replied with a shrug, placing the CD case back in its pocket on the rack. He turned back to her, throwing out what he hoped was a nonchalant yet charming smile, “Just seeing if there is anything worth buying here…you know.” He flipped his hair – that normally made girls swoon. She smiled back with a slight twinkle in her eyes,

“Just another browser huh?” he casually looked away from her, catching a glimpse of her reflection from a nearby glass. Surprisingly, a scowl painted her face but when he turned back to her, she was smiley sweetly. He shrugged to himself before replying to her

“Only if there is nothing worth the buy. Anything that you would recommend?” An older gentleman walked into the vicinity, smiling broadly as his head nodded to the music – an gold ring glinted over his eyebrow, the shirt he wore also having the text and image backwards.

“Well anything in particular that…” she stopped in mid-sentence, her eyes squinting at a spot on his face.

“Hey…you are bleeding.” He looked at her confused reaching up to touch his face to see what she was talking about. He flinched back as his fingers touched the sensitive spot, a streak of blood smudging his index finger. Without waiting for her to say more, he rushed off to the bathroom to see what the extent of the cut was, though his mind could not comprehend what had caused the scratch.

The bathroom stall was septic white, the fluorescent lights bright and glaring but all of these were just in his peripheral. His focus lay solely on the now throbbing cheek, a prominent line seeping red goo onto his cheek – a crack in the mirror in line with his face.

“…well you deserved it! Why did…” the voice, feminine, rose faintly from a distance and yet it resounded in his mind as though it was said directly to his face.

“…never my fault it…” a male voice, familiar – his own. He quickly threw water over his face, looking back up at the mirror to see that a second crack had etched across his forehead followed by a throb and the telltale sensation of dripping liquid; blood.

“…over, don’t you get it!?…” another crack, another cut.

“…shouldn’t be this way! I love…”

“I don’t…” The final crack ran down from the first one right down to the area where his heart was. The pain was agonizing.


I don’t want to lose you now,

I’m looking right at the other half of me

The vacancy that’s set in my heart

Is the space that now you hold.


About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

5 responses »

  1. A beautiful piece of writing, will it be continued?

  2. Very nice build up, young Nthato!

    At first I felt some Dorian Gray influence entering in… but the ending was surprisingly effective and different 🙂

  3. Thanks! I’m glad you liked it. I felt like I could write more and develop the Reflection and the actual character more as the ending seems abrupt and I’m thinking maybe I should add just a little more. But I will leave it as it is maybe as a Work In Progress to be improved upon later. I’m glad you liked it!


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