Excerpt: Beyond the Fragile Glass (Part 2 of 3)

By request, here’s the next little segment of the story I posted last week.

“You’ve been struggling lately, and I think I can help,” she says from across the room in sing-song voice.

I cross my arms, pushing my wrists deep into my armpits. “Oh.”

I chance a glance at the girl. From this far away, she almost looks normal. She’s wearing a tight spaghetti strap shirt and a pair of baggy khaki-like pants, like an outfit that’d be popular in Europe or something. Certain parts of her don’t fit—her hair and death lips, for example. It’s like when I used to play video games: the characters looked real, spoke real, acted real, yet there was always something that felt off.

She walks over and tries brushing her hand against my face, but I pull away. All of this is weird and wrong and why is this stranger acting like she’s known me forever? My mouth twists to the side, while I glare the brown and black and purple stains caked into the carpet. I dig my toes into a purple stain that came from a poor attempt at dying my hair—that faded within the week. I look back up at the red-haired girl before me and try to not be jealous of her dye-job.

“There’s a world behind your mirror.”

A chill prickles down my spine, jolting my shoulders. I stand and pace around the room. “I’ve officially lost it.”

There’s a trashcan in the corner, over flowing with paper, crumpled tissues, clothes I decided I hated and cheap jewelry I didn’t need and books I knew I’d never read and letters and cards that family gave me and other shit. I’ve been on a trash-binge lately, I guess. There’s a pile of clothing on my bed that’s probably been there for the better end of a week. I’ve kind of just been sleeping on it. My room is never this messy. I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately. Okay, maybe she’s right. I haven’t been doing so well, but why am I hallucinating? I turn on my heel and glare at her, hoping some explanation might form into tangible words in the air, but nothing happens. I get that same sense again that I’m looking at a video game character. It’s that part of her that doesn’t feel right, that seems off, but that keeps me from running the hell out of my room screaming. Why haven’t I run the fuck out of here? I don’t believe in auras or any of that other shit, but the feeling I get from her tells me that something incredible will happen. She feels like adventure, and I have no idea how else to explain that. Weird as she might be, I want to play along. Curiosity killed the cat, I suppose.

“Okay imaginary human, what are doing here?”

“I’m not imaginary,” she sits next to me on the bed, tucking her feet under her ass. The bed holds her weight as if she weren’t even there, there’s not even a fold or molding. It’s like she’s floating on top. “I want you to come with me to Glass,” she says.

I look up at her. “Glass?”

“That’s what we call the world that lies beyond your mirror.”

“You’re trying to tell me that my mirror acts like some portal to a world far, far away?”

She nods. “But not just your mirror: every mirror.” Her eyes soften, and those pale lips spread, revealing teeth nearly the same color. I think she’s trying to be reassuring, but the attempt gets lost as my mind begins to whirl.

A flash of memories passes before my eyes: bad solos, naked dancing, awkward sexual encounters, tears, speeches dedicated to myself, and a whole slew of embarrassing and personal things I’ve done—all in front of mirrors. My secrets. My deepest, most private moments, all done in front of this mirror. Jesus Christ.

My mouth gapes open.

“Don’t worry. I don’t watch you all day long, all though, I do enjoy your singing.”

I feel hot, and my head does that thing where it gets all light-weight and my chest starts heaving. I think I’m dying. I might actually be dying of shame.

“For fuck’s sake. What a creep,” I almost yell. “You must know me pretty well by now, as well as everyone else who lives there.”

“Only I watch.”

“Huh, oh great. I feel much better.” I roll my eyes. I really wonder if you can die of embarrassment. I snarl and pull myself off the bed. I stomp toward the corner of the room like a stubborn little kid.

“I promise it’s not a big deal, Haize. I was drawn to you, like everyone where I’m from. We’re each drawn to only one person.”

I cross my arms, hoping that maybe I can keep my lungs from exploding. “This isn’t okay. You can’t just watch people.”

She nods. “I know. I wanted to tell you before, but it wasn’t the right time. I’m sorry.” She looks down, and pulls her mouth to the side. My back releases some of its tension.

“What’s so special about this place?” I whisper.

“Come with me and find out,” she says.

Her hand reaches for mine, stalled in mid air, waiting for me to lace my fingers with her. But I don’t. I stare at her hand and the long delicate fingers, calloused at the tips. She doesn’t wear any rings—or any jewelry for that matter—but on her wrist hangs a bracelet made of wound leaves and twigs.

“Trust me,” she says, and her mouth pulls loosely on one side. Her glistening eyes stare deep into mine.