No. It’s a soft dark. It’s dark where everything looks painted in black, but not dark where forms would be invisible.
My watch says 3:00. Why must I wake up at 3 in the morning? My roomate is sleeping soundly, turned away from me.
Sleep. The thought forms in my mind. Sleep. Sleep. My body instinctively curls into the fetal position as I begin to drift.
No, it’s brighter now, and my watch says 4:00. Something really doesn’t want me to sleep, I think, uncurling from my sleep position. The moonlight still shone slightly, but the moon was sinking to make way for the sun.
The blankets fall off me as I slide off the bed, treading on cold, bare feet towards the shared bathroom outside our room.
The lights are quiet. The room is yellowed, giving the white stalls an old and stained look.
I resist the urge to look up as I wash my hands. Don’t look at the mirror. Don’t look at the mirror.
The urge to glance up is far too great. My reflection’s staring right at me. I don’t blink and I back away carefully, reaching behind me to open the door. My reflection blinks. I rush out.
Back in the darkness of my room. Now it’s really dark. I stand by the door to wait for my eyes to adjust and for my heart to slow.
The flower-petal light in my closet turns on and I collapse to the floor, avoiding my own reflective gaze in the mirror. Don’t look at the mirror. Don’t look at the mirror.
I can’t help it, I really can’t. I want to know why she watches me. I need to know what’s behind.
There she is, standing there perfectly like a picture frame. She’s me, but I’m not her.
Behind me is another closet, with another light, and another mirror. Click. The light turns on.
My reflection looks scared, she knows there’s something behind her. I try to look but she moves with me, blocking my view. Always blocking my view.
Move, I think, move.
No, I hear, no.
I begin to back away, and she does too. Slowly, one step at a time, back to the darkness of my room.
My breath halted in agitation as I whip around to look at the other mirror. My reflection isn’t there, only the reflection of the mirror in my closet. The reflection goes on and on, like an infinitely long hallway that will never end. A hallway that reflects eternity.
I look back into my closet. She’s standing in the hallway, her quiet features stretches in terror of what hides behind her.
One more step back. One more step back. I step into the other closet, and my reflection starts screaming. Not screaming out loud. But she’s screaming very loud. She’s very small now. The figure hiding behind her is getting larger, overpowering her. It’s swooping in front of her, cutting her off from me.
I keep stepping back. I touch the other mirror. My reflection is gone, swallowed by the black figure crowding the mirror in my closet. I look behind me into the mirror in the other closet.
There’s nothing there?
I look towards the mirror in my closet.
Is it getting farther away? Get out, get out. Her screams are bloodcurdling, I feel her fear rising with every breath I take. GET OUT.
I run, run towards the scratched mirror in my closet. GET OUT.
I’m still running. I can see her, I can see my reflection. She’s getting closer, she’s running with me. Don’t look back, don’t look back. Her movements are swift, like she had been running all her life.
Behind me is the mirror abyss, the hallway that leads to nothing. The dark figure rises up behind me.
I hit something hard. It’s a wall, but I can’t see it. I can feel it. It’s a wall.
I can see my reflection. She’s screaming, pounding at the wall, pounding at it but it won’t break. Her body is bloody, scratched by a million shards of glass. Her figure is torn, is that bone and marrow I spot?
The darkness is rising behind her.
It’s not darkness. It’s a creature. A beast. A beast with no form, a beast that was once human. Trapped in an eternity of mirror reflections, the human turned to beast and beast turned to darkness.
The glass breaks, I fall to the ground. The room is dark, I can’t see my reflection. The lights are off. The moonlight is bright.
Bright enough for me to see my reflection. The lights are on, giving the white stalls an old and yellowed look.
I see her, I see my reflection washing her hands. She doesn’t look up. Look up, look up.
She looks up. Why do you look scared of me? Where are you going? She’s backing up into the bathroom door. She doesn’t dare tear her eyes away from mine.
The room’s dark again. I don’t want the darkness. The darkness is where the beast lies. I turn on the flower-petal light in my closet.
There she is. She’s scared. Don’t be scared. You’re not the one with the best lurking behind.