‘mirror’

Written for Mark Welker‘s blog challenge:

A mirror, he thought. Someone has jammed a mirror under that bridge, cut it to size, pushed it in, polished it to an immaculate sheen. The reflected bike too perfectly the reverse of the one at his feet.

He walks forward, past the first bike. The crunching sound of the snow is the only noise in the entire city. Everything has stopped, even his chattering teeth. His steps alone rupture the winter frozen silence with a fizzing crinkle that sounds as though each carefully placed foot is ripping through the very fabric of the planet.

The bridge looms. The man takes his gloves off, the air soaking straight past his shocked skin and cutting into his bones like a welder. The cold is white hot inside him. He feels his fingers harden at the knuckles but regardless he reaches forward to touch the reflective surface.

His fingers, then his hand, and then his forearm dip into the reflection and, as though he were scooping water from a flailing boat, when he attempts to drag it out, he feels resistance, and when it gives something comes away with it, falling viscously at his feet. He looks at the image, it isn’t the same now. The bike is no longer there, but it isn’t a simple case of the bike disappearing from the image; it is like a portion of the image, has disappeared from that reality. There wasn’t a different object, or even no object, lying in the snow. There wasn’t even a black space, because that would be something. This was nothing, as though part of that mirrored world had ceased to exist. Never matching the man’s world again.

At his feet a slurping noise drew his attention. On the ground a jellied mass wobbled and writhed, mewling in the cold.

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