The song says,
“A mirror is a negative space,
With a frame,
And a place for your face.
It reveals what the rest of us see.
It conceals what you’d like it to be.”
Mirrors reflect everything, but you can’t see into them. Instead, you only see what they see. That’s how mirrors work. Light strikes the surface, and it’s not absorbed, or filtered. It’s reflected. Sent back the direction it came.
Standing in that forest, on that day, I saw them. The mirrors. They walked among the trees, like we did, going around, over, under, moving small branches, and pausing to look at things.
At first, I didn’t notice them, after all, they looked like the rest of the forest. Eventually, I realized they were there, only because underbrush doesn’t move, and sections of tree trunks don’t appear out of nowhere, and then vanish into thin air.
They stopped moving when I stopped, which made them difficult to see. I moved short distances, a step or two at a time, always stopping to look around, and see how everything changed. That’s how I found them. The background changed. The background didn’t always show the right things. By moving a yard to the left, I could make a tree branch vanish. A yard right, and a branch that wasn’t there showed up.
When I found such a branch, I started trying to get closer to it, only to see the scenery change in different ways, like bits of the forest were moving away from me.
The only sounds were my feet stepping on leaves, and twigs, my breathing, the occasional bird, the sounds a forest makes. I never heard them walking, or breathing. They made no sounds at all.
Eventually, moving bit by bit, I caught one off guard, it’s figure cut a human shaped hole in the image of a tree trunk. Mirrors reflect. The mirror was there, between me, and the tree, and a human shaped image of leaves resting on the ground, a couple of mushrooms, and my right shoe, looked back at me from in front of that tree.
“Who are you?” I reached out my hand, to indicate it was OK. I wouldn’t harm them. That I’d noticed them. And was curious.
They panicked. Like forest animals. “The human has seen us! Run!” Reflections went insane, parts of the forest flashed to and fro, moving in impossible ways. Until they were all gone, nothing moved. Nothing reflected an image that was out of place.
They were gone.
Without a sound.
Since then, I have returned to that place in that one forest, a hundred times, hoping to catch another glimpse of them. Always failing. It’s like they watch for me, and hide, when I arrive. I’ve never seen them since that day.
Sometimes, I wonder if they were really there, or if my mind was playing tricks on me. Sometimes, I wonder, are they hiding in other places. Outside the forest. Maybe in broad daylight. Maybe they walk through our parks, along our city streets, filled with glass, and reflected images. And we never notice them. Just another reflection among thousands.
And I wonder if they have faces, eyes, ears, noses, fingers, toes. Like we do.
I may never know. I may never learn. Because I have never found them since that day. When they showed me how mirrors work. How mirrors reflect light, so you can see what they see, and never actually see them.
I will keep looking. I will have my camera with me when I look. I want to get them in pictures, to prove they exist.
They do exist, don’t they?
I know what I saw that day. I know!
They do exist.
It’s week 125 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.
The music lyrics in the above piece are from the song “Mirrors” by Blue Oyster Cult. Here’s a link to a youtube video of the song: