This week’s visual fiction is a bit different than most. It’s a bit longer and darker. I hope you like it.
They say you can’t see yourself in the mirror ball in the park, and for once “they” are right. I don’t know how he did it–the anonymous artist who designed it–but no matter how close you get to it, you’re invisible. You can see everything else around you, skewed and stretched along the curved, reflective surface, but never yourself. I see my friend, he sees me, but neither of us sees ourselves. Weird science, I guess.
They also say that if you go the park at midnight and look into the ball, you will see how you are going to die. Nothing weird about that; it’s the kind of thing “they” say all the time. Everyone says it, but of course, no one does it.
Except I did once, with my girlfriend at the time. I took her for a walk in the woods at midnight for the same reason guys bring their dates to horror movies. Girls who are scared cling closer to you and there’s nothing wrong with that.
We came out into the clearing with the mirror ball and my girl stepped closer to me.
“I hear that if you look in that, you see how you’re going to die,” she said.
“Oh yeah? Should I try it?” I asked. False bravado in front of the ladies.
“Come on, let’s just go,” she said.
But I wasn’t finished showing off. I stepped away from her and walked towards the ball. I saw her behind me in the reflection, stretched and contorted and standing alone in the moonlight.
Then my watch beeped.
In the space of a heartbeat–barely enough time to react–I saw a car appear in the circular reflection. It hit a tree and a body was flung through the windshield and towards me. It lay, unmoving, at a twisted angle that was exaggerated even further by the convex mirror. Still, I saw without a doubt that it was my girl. A figure lurched out of the driver’s seat and came towards her. It was me as I had never seen myself before: older, bearded and holding a bottle.
Then the image was gone and all I saw was my girlfriend standing in the moonlit forest, hugging her arms around herself. I turned back.
“So, did you see how you were going to die?” she asked, a teasing smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.
“No, I didn’t,” I said. “I’m going home now.”
“What? You brought me all the way out here just to bring me home?”
And then I brought her home and went straight home myself. I broke up with her the next day, no explanation. She never forgave me for that.
“I thought you were the one,” she said.
I think I was.