Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mirror, Mirror - #FridayFlash

I haven’t told this story to anyone else but you seem nice enough. Maybe you’ll understand. At any rate, it’s time I told the truth.

You see, I’m not from your world. I know you find that hard to believe but just hear me out before you make any judgment.

It all started with the mirror. I was going through the piles of junk, looking for anything useful to trade – or eat – food being one of the highest commodities on my world. The sun was just breaking the horizon. That’s a good time to hunt. The gangs tend to sleep later so I’ve learned to rise early.

The first rays hit something in the rubble, something shiny that caught my eye. I dug through the layers hiding it and found a mirror. By some miracle it was unbroken, with a large gilded frame surrounding it.

As I tried to wipe the grime away, my arm fell through the plate of glass. Not breaking it, mind you, but through. I was so startled that I dropped the mirror onto the ground. I lost my balance and fell on top of it. Instead of lying there in the dirt and garbage though, it shimmered silvery and I passed right through it.

Well, I ended up in what you call an antiques store with my back to that same mirror. The proprietor came around the corner right then and looked at me in disgust. He hadn’t seen me come through. All he saw was a grimy girl sitting on his floor. The guy called me a bum and told me to get out, giving me a shove for good measure as he opened the door.

That’s when I really understood that I wasn’t home anymore. The buildings and sidewalks that you have…well, there’s nothing like them where I come from.

Anyway, I’m sitting on the sidewalk, my mouth gaping open trying to take it all in, when Frankie walks up to me. He sizes me up right away as someone who needs a friend, or at least a meal. I don’t know anything about your world at this point, so I fall for his friendly routine. I’ve never had someone be so nice to me before so I guess I can be excused on that part. Besides, I’m never going to turn down an offer of food.

After I’ve finished eating food out of a paper sack, Frankie gets me to tell him my story. I don’t know whether he believed me or not, but he got a thoughtful look on his face. He dragged me back to that store and ignored the man who said I couldn’t come in saying, “She’s with me.” I didn’t understand why at the time, but that shut the guy up.

“Is this the mirror?” Frankie had a hold of my arm or I would have bolted. I could see through it, right into my own world, a place I never wanted to go back to. I nodded, afraid to say anything. I thought he was going to push me back home.

Instead, he bought it, telling the owner where to have it delivered. He brought me to this place; called it an apartment. It was the most gorgeous space I’d ever seen, something only officials would live in. By the time I’d gotten out of the shower and dressed, choosing from the closet full of beautiful clothes he had, the mirror had been delivered.

I cringed at the sight of it. That pleased Frankie somehow. He forced me over to it, watching the terrified look on my face as he forced my arm through it. He laid his hand flat against the silvery surface, as though demonstrating his superiority.

“That’s some wild story you’ve told but it looks like it’s true, at least for you. If you don’t want to go back, you’ll do what I tell you.”

What could I say? I watched those eyes of his narrow, becoming mean and shifty. He suddenly reminded me of the worst of the gang leaders, the one I used to run stuff for in order to stay alive. I guess in some ways your world isn’t much different from mine. I nodded, wondering what he wanted.

“That’s a good girl.” His grip on my arm loosened. “Sit down here and let me tell you what you’re going to be doing for me.”

After telling me what my duties would be in exchange for his kindness, I decided that he really didn’t deserve to walk this earth.

Looking back on it, I have to wonder why he never once asked me what kind of skills I possessed. Maybe since I didn’t say much he just assumed that I couldn’t do much. He really should have taken the time to learn more about me though. Poor Frankie thought he could fly by the time he climbed up onto the roof.

You see, my world isn’t a parallel of yours even though we may look the same. We have abilities that you might call mind control. Your people don’t know anything about mental blocks to guard against it, either. You might want to correct that before any more of my kind show up. Some of them aren’t as congenial as I am.

Story first appeared in Pow Fast Flash Fiction, Jan 2010