Chapter Two: An Omen
David stepped through the doorway into a hallway. As he glanced into the hallway, the 4 doors that initially lined the walls were gone. Where are my brother’s rooms? My parents? The walls of the hallway built with drywall were painted a smooth cream that was acutely designed to cover up any plaster marks from the aftermath of angered teenagers.
David stared bewildered by the complete lack of any pictures on the wall, his family made it a point to proudly display their love down every Corridor. What happened to us? Where is everyone? The hallway had one door, the one leading back to where David once came. A dead end. Suddenly, the door behind David slammed with the bang of an artillery shell.
“Jesus, Fuck!” David panicked as he turned around, slamming his back into the wall and drawing his fists in defense. It was quiet, dead quiet. The kind of silence reserved for those in mourning, standing next to the open casket of your recently deceased loved one as they lay a wax shell of what they used to be. David attempted to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. The handle wouldn’t even relent a couple millimeters for the turn.
“Whoever is fucking with me is.. ju… you’re gonna regret it. Hello?” Silence. He turned back to look down the hallway and everything had changed. The walls were now painted a sharp red, plaster marks shining through like fungi to branch off in their own section, creating new and leaner hallways. The wall was no longer bare. Twelve paintings lined the hallway, six on either side. David peered into the frames only to be met with confusion.
Do I have a sister.. Err a cousin? Wasn’t mom’s hair brown? When did Tony ever have an afro? Everything was there, some new additions as well, but nothing felt real. Worry and panic settled in, as the darkness that sought him out seemed to slowly be clouding his mind. This isn’t right, what happened to me? Where am I? Who are these people? It can’t be us, they’re too… too… David always felt he could trust his memory. He would never forget who helped him, who crossed him, who loved him or hated him, yet his heart and mind began to break at the lack of any realization.
Through the haze, David noticed a blinding glimmer at the end of the hallway. When his vision cleared, he saw a man standing at the end of the hallway. It was an old man, at least 65 years old. He was a short, meeting David’s 5’10 stature at about 5’8. His hair thick and white, his skin being pulled straight down to the deepest pits of hell. His eyes were a quickly fading blue. His clothes were ragged, hanging loosely off his slimming flesh. David began to walk forward, and for a second it seemed that the man was too. Yet, even though he moved the motions, he floated in place as David grew ever closer. He seemed to copy every move David was making. Matching him with a choreographed grace that only seemed to lack a spark of life.
It was then that David realized. This was no man he was running towards. This was no man he was face to face with. This was a mirror the size of a wall reflecting back unto him the truth of his reality. David panicked, touching his face and grabbing his clothes. Nothing matched. He couldn’t feel the drooping flesh, but he saw it. He couldn’t feel the saggy clothes, in fact his seemed tight to the chest, but he saw them. He matched David’s every movement and mannerism to the T, yet he couldn’t bring himself to accept it. This must be a trick, some wacky carnival mirror. How could that be me?
The eyes of the man, once shining a blue as the sky was fading and fading fast; slowly being overtaken by a darkness that grew from the pupil. Stealing from him the blue that brightened the light around his mind, taking with it the white that reflected back the beauty of his world, taking with it the rosy skin that sagged to the depths of hell. The man’s mouth dropped. His face covered by the tentacles of a darkness from within, populating his face like veins about to burst.
Something began to make its way out of the man’s mouth. Crawling out like a severed hand delicately stalking its prey. It was smokey, it was dark, it was cold. The darkness froze in place and the silence that once consumed the hallway began to dissipate. David began to hear a ring. Distant at first, a mere echo, building into a cacophony so immense it could be heard through the furthest reaches of space. Along with it, the darkness changed form. Growing in the mouth of the man, bending his neck and stretching his face. More and more hands flowing out from his throat, fighting for the space between his cheeks. Forcing the mouth open, breaking the jaw and tearing flesh from bone.
David felt fear rise over his body, sending a cold drip of adrenaline down his spine. He stood up straight with the rising fear until the noise grew so loud in his head that he could no longer take it. The veins burst, exploding with them a black ooze that dismantled the very face it lay beneath, the head ripped and popped like a fresh white-head, releasing a cloud of black into the reflected room. The darkness shed the man like an unwanted jacket and then stared, eyeless. Motionless, David looked directly into the center mass where the man’s eyes used to be. The Darkness grew exponentially, covering up the entirety of the mirror’s frame until, much like the man, the mirror burst.
There may have been a darkness that erupted, it may have come shooting out at David only to be scared away once more by a brighter force, it may have never come out and only meant to dismantle David’s mind. On this, he will never know. For when the mirror exploded, shrapnel was sent hurtling towards David. He covered his face as fast as he could, but he still felt the shards embed themselves into his skin. He dropped to the floor in pain. Lying in the fetal position, David twisted back and forth for a minute. Using everything in his power to hold back tears. Tears, not from the shards of glass that sent shooting pain into his very soul, he’d dealt with pain before, but tears from the thought that it was him in that mirror.
He rose from the ground, clutching his face to feel for the glass and blood that had riddled his face. There were no pieces of glass. There was no blood. His face felt as if it hadn’t aged a day. Smooth to the touch with only a slight groove to the pores across his nose. He began to center himself in the calm, in the denial of what just happened. It was just a hallucination, calm down. Just a hallucination. David raced through his mind for answers and only came up with maybes.
He turned back to where the mirror once was, all of its remnants scattered into the ether. In its place resided a door. One David had not seen before, with another golden handle he had never laid eyes upon. There was no lock for the Darkness to crawl through this time, there was no burning glow to protect him. It felt like a normal door, one he had not seen, but normal nonetheless. David grabbed the handle and it opened.