No Reflection

Photo by Alex Lopez on Unsplash

Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 32

I get up at my usual time, stumble to the bathroom, relieve my bladder, and flush. All my actions are on auto-pilot. I reach the vanity to wash my hands, but something is wrong. But it’s an illusion so perfect I don’t notice it at first. When I stand before the mirror, I lean in and let the hot water run for a few seconds. The sleep finally clears from my eyes and my brain, then I see it; the mirror in front of me is empty; there’s no one there!

I can feel myself hyperventilate.

Calm! Breathe! Just breathe!

I look back in the mirror, but there’s still no one there in the mirror.

I grab the hand towel, thinking to wipe down the mirror. Maybe the mirror is dirty, a desperate rationalization by a man growing irrational and desperate.

Before me, in the mirror, I see the towel floating ghost-like in front of me.

I close my eyes before my panic can blossom fully and sweep me away into a blubbering, shivering mess.  

Am I a ghost? If I wander back to the bed, will I see my body lying recumbent there, where I died?

I force myself to think of something else, anything else. I think about my friend and how she has agreed to help me move my bed out of storage today. She’s a good friend. I want to insert a pause here, to think about her for several minutes, but I barely manage a minute. Then, after gathering my nerve, I wander back to the bed. I do not see my dead body.

Well, that rules out the idea that I’m a ghost. But why am I not casting a reflection? How is that possible?  

I can affect matter; I just moved the hand towel! So that implies I have a body.

My eyes seem fine to me. They see everything else in here, the toilet, the mirror, the vanity,

So what do I know so far? I’m not dead – apparently, I still have a physical body – apparently, but that body is currently missing its ability to reflect light – apparently. These sound like the crazed mutterings of a tragic character in a Poe story.

Currently, I’m living with two of my friends. What do I do? If I walk downstairs like this? I can’t imagine that would go over well. I could frighten them.

If there’s a right or obvious answer to my dilemma, I cannot see what it might be. So I sit on my bed and stew about it.

Finally, I formulate a plan of sorts.

I will quietly make my way down the stairs. I will locate one of my two friends, and then I will quietly stand in front of them. I am fishing for confirmation that I haven’t turned invisible, even though that is what my brain is insisting must have happened. If I have turned invisible, what then? I can’t think that far ahead. I know I don’t want to scare them. I will say nothing.

WAIT! Can I say anything?

“Testing, testing, testing,” I whisper. I think I hear my voice, but can I be certain it’s not just in my see-through head?

The philosophical questions are piling up fast!

I’m going to assume that I have a voice, table the philosophical navel-gazing for another time.

I will sneak downstairs. I will find one of them and see if they see me. I will not speak because I don’t want to alarm either one.

I hear them both working in their offices. Perfect. I walk as softly and slowly to the stairs as I can. I silently descend to the first floor. I cross to the kitchen, stand out of the way between the kitchen table and the windows – a walkway seldom used in their house. I can imagine that bumping into an invisible person might be as troubling as one speaking to you!

I stand with my knees not locked. And I wait. I’m just going to stay here.

I remain there on the hard floor for almost half an hour; my knees are killing me. This is a stupid idea.

So I change it.

If I don’t want to alarm them by speaking to them while (potentially) invisible, I will do the opposite. I will shout to my friends from here in the kitchen. Some emergency, perhaps? But what?

The ice-maker has been behaving unreliably lately, so I open it, pull out the tray, and act as though I’ve spilled it. I raise the tray to waist height, then shake it violently. The ice flies everywhere and makes a fair amount of noise as it crashes on the floor. Then I step quickly back beyond the table, out of the way.

“Oh, damn it! I’m so sorry, Reggie,” I shout. While I’m reluctant to interrupt him during his workday, I feel desperate measures call for desperate actions.

A few seconds later, Reggie comes to investigate what mess I might have made. He enters the kitchen, looks down at the floor, and sees the ice. Then he looks around for me. His eyes brush past me twice. On the second pass, a part of me dies.

Reggie can’t see me because I am invisible.

I wait patiently while he cleans up the ice I threw on the floor.

When he returns to his office, I sneak quietly out the backdoor, walk around the house, get in my car. I drive. I have no destination. Many people would want to exploit my condition, which I hope is only temporary. There are many ways I could make money now. None of them are ethical, but I’m invisible now; I drive towards my invisible life.

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