The Woman in the Mirror

I came home, stumbled against the sofa and regretted another night of drinking too much. I drink when I feel the world is too heavy; when I need to just get out of my life for a night. That night, with my girlfriend going overboard in a swirl of emotions and memories and blame addressed at me – I needed the drink. If I had known that she would die that night I would have listened more; likely I would have drunk more too.

I went out after our far-too-long video call. Then I got drunk. Then I came back and stumbled against the sofa; finally I found myself in the bathroom. The light was on, but my eyes were closed; bright lights confuse me when I’m drunk. That’s one of the things Dana always complained about – that I do stupid things when I was drunk; like ignore the sound of pee splashing on the seat.

I flushed and walked over to the sink; the cold water ran over my hands, then I lead some in my mouth and splashed it in my face. My hands were freezing and stiff when I wiped the water off my face.

Only then I raised my head and opened my eyes. I’m not sure what I was looking for, maybe whether my hair was wet. But I didn’t even notice my face. I only noticed the woman behind me.

I whirled around, grabbed a shaver to defend myself.

“Who –“

There was no one behind me.

I ripped the shower curtain back, looked around the room and finally turned back to the mirror.

She was smiling back at me. She was standing behind my mirror image and smiling at me.

I stumbled backwards, threw a stack of towels off the shelf. My mirror image did the same. The woman stood next to my mirror image. But she didn’t look at my mirror image, she looked at me. Her smile turned into a grin.

Then she stepped forward. My mirror image was still in the same position as before; still pressed against the wall just like me.

The woman stepped closer to the glass. She looked familiar and at the same time as if I had never seen her before.

Her features were those of Dana – but her expressions were wrong; her smile wasn’t Dana’s, her eyes weren’t Dana’s, not even the small wrinkles in the corner of her mouth were Dana’s.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She moved her lips. I didn’t hear a thing.

For a moment I felt my body pulling forward; felt a strain on my arms and chest and head. Then it stopped.

I was still in the same place, in the same position, confused and mesmerized.

But I think my mirror image had pushed himself away from the wall. I only saw her lips; I only saw her mouthing the word “Future.”

She said other things; I didn’t understand what she was trying to say. But I think my mirror image heard it; he heard what she said.

I’ve never seen myself when I’m angry. And never in my life have I hit a woman.

I saw her screaming and falling on the floor; I saw how he jumped on her chest; I saw how his fingers closed around her neck.

I screamed at him to stop, but he didn’t.

She tried to beat and grab his face, but she did not manage to do more than break his skin before her hands fell to the ground.

He held onto her throat; then he got up. He kicked her body – the head, the chest – and stepped on her arms and hands.

Then he looked at me and smiled.

I felt myself being pulled; felt my body moving to where he was in the reflection; I stemmed my feet against the ground, grabbed hold of a shelf – but he just stepped to where my reflection should have been. He smiled for a moment, then he stemmed his feet against the ground and grabbed hold of a shelf.

The pull was gone.

I waited for him to move, but he didn’t – until I took a step. He stepped just like me, the same moment, the same movement. For a moment I had a feeling he was still smiling, but when I stared at his face he looked just like me.

The woman in the mirror was still lying on the ground with blood slowly forming a ring around her body.

I went to bed. I swore to drink less, if ever again.

I broke that promise the next day shortly before noon; when the phone call woke me up.

I listened to the deep voice explaining Dana’s murder. The phone call ended; the metal lid bent in my hand; I didn’t even take a glass.

The questioning took hours. I was the prime suspect; the door wasn’t broken – and only I and the landlord had spare keys – and the chat logs suggested a fight.

The security in my building saved me. The guard remembered helping me to the elevator; the tapes corroborated his statement. I, officially, didn’t remember a thing.

It’s been months now. Still, when I look in the mirror in my bathroom, I see the dark stains on the floor. It’s not an illusion, I’m sure of that, but it doesn’t show up on photos.

What worries me more are the scars; the scars are not like the blood on his pant legs and shoes that I can only see in the mirror in my bathroom.

No matter in which mirror I look; the scars are not just on his face; I can also feel them on mine.

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

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