Friday, November 9, 2012

Soul Searching

“Just… look,” Genny said.

Damian frowned, but did as he was told. As he turned back toward the mirror, something happened. A shimmer? A flash of light? He couldn’t honestly have said. His eyes seemed to squint at the same time they were being thrown wide. It felt as if the world around him suddenly got sharper, more vivid, and not the least bit… prickly.

That was the best description he could muster. Something about the air around him poked at him, prodded him, grated against him. Yet at the same time, it wasn’t altogether unpleasant. It was a pain that hovered on the verge of pleasure. A seductive tremor.

“What is…?” Damian trailed off.

He noticed his reflection in the mirror for the first time, and the image took his breath away. He’d expected, well, himself. The same boring visage that stared back any other time he made use of a mirror.

What he saw instead was a battled-hardened street tough. Oh, the shape was still his, but everything inside was not, like a coloring book where a child has used all the wrong colors. Orange grass, green sky, a purple sun.

The arms of the man in the mirror were corded with muscle, taunt and twisting beneath gray, heavily scarred skin. Tattoos wound around his wrists and crawled up under his shirt, except they weren't ink; they were furrows, intricate designs carved directly into the skin. The cloth covering his legs was ripped, as if he’d just gotten out of a particularly nasty fight, and his knuckles were raw and bleeding.

Still, it was not the grisly body that frightened him the most. Rather, it was his face. The designs on his arms snaked up the back of his neck and wrapped over the top of his bald head, tapering to seven points where his hairline should have been. His cheeks were sunken and severe, his mouth a grim line. It was still his basic bone-structure, but harder. More chiseled. Even the eyes staring back at him seemed full of stony chips, and deep in the heart of his irises, flames danced.

Damian stretched one gnarled hand outward, and then took and involuntary step back as his reflection did the same. “W-what? What is this?”

“It is a reflection of your soul, Damian,” Genny said, her voice sounding curiously metallic and resonant.

Damian tried to find her in the edges of the mirror, but one of the overhead lights seemed like it was amplified by the strange phenomenon. It was far too bright and stabbed at his forced open eyes. He held up an arm, trying to shield himself from the radiance, but it didn’t help.

Squinting, Damian turned to look for his friend, and the spell was broken. The room muted out. Genny stood nearby, arms folded and looking somewhat embarrassed.

What did she see? Damian wondered.


koalabear said...

Now his ability to handle that fight scene from months ago makes so much more sense!

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

I like how you take the human insecurity of how others see us and expand it to the soul. It makes sense to me--others see what we do and say as part of who we are.

Part of human insecurity is wondering who the heck we are, which you have also evoked in this scene. Or, at least, that insecurity is part of my mid-life crisis. :)

Matt said...

@kbear - Oh, there's a bit more to it than that. :-)

@EAM - I'm going through quite the life-transition right now as well. Obviously, it's that sort of adversity that inspired this. Insecurity seems, to me, an essential part of any transition. Change is scary, right?

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