Mirror of the Nine Halls (Part 4)

This one took a bit longer than the others, and contains some foul language that may be inappropriate for some audiences. As always, if you haven’t read the previous posts, please do so below, as this is a continuation of my previous ones. Enjoy!

Mirror of the Nine Halls part 4

Kalgan awoke feeling refreshed and well-rested, if a bit thirsty… And more than a bit hungry.
After getting dressed, he headed out to the kitchen. There, he saw Celine eating her second cup of yogurt for breakfast.
He rolled his eyes, but opened up the fridge to take a look. His mouth watered at the sight of last night’s ham.
He took it out of the fridge, then used a knife from the drawer to carve off a massive chunk. He didn’t even bother getting a plate. He just grabbed it after putting the rest of the ham back and headed for the door.
Celine just watched him as if he were a complete lunatic. She had always been a stickler for manners. Kalgan’s hunger overrode his sense of decency, however.
He tore bite after bite off of his giant chunk of ham as he walked down the road. Once it was all gone, he licked his fingers clean. He was still hungry, but much less desperately so now.
“I have a feeling today is going to be awesome!” he commented to himself. He felt full of energy, and the sun was shining. It was a beautiful day, and he didn’t want to waste it by sitting at home, staring into that silly mirror.
He hadn’t seen his best friend, Karl, in quite some time. He lived across town, but Kalgan didn’t mind walking that far. He had the energy for anything today! Maybe Karl could spare some food? He walked a little faster in anticipation.

While walking, Kalgan reflected upon the nightmare he had had, and what it might mean. He did not usually have dreams at all, and if so, almost always forgot them upon awakening. This time was different. What was his subconscious mind trying to tell him? To get rid of the mirror? Even with all its mysteries as-yet unsolved? No. He wasn’t going to do that. Maybe Karl would have some ideas as to what to do with it.
The sound of a car horn going off just behind him snapped him back to reality and set his adrenaline pumping. He jumped and immediately turned around to see a familiar old brown Pinto.
“God damn you, Karl!” he exclaimed. “You scared the living shit out of me!”
Karl leaned his head out of the window. “You speak to your mother with that mouth, Kal?”
“Of course not, fuck-face!” he replied to his best friend, then circled around to the passenger side of the car and pulled hard on the door. It stuck a bit, so you had to be a bit rough with it.
But not this time. It flew open with ease a lot faster than he expected and struck him in the chest.
“Ooof!” Kalgan said, taking a moment to close his eyes from the pain. “You finally fix the door?” he asked, hopping into his usual seat and slamming the door.
“No! Geez! Be careful! Darla’s getting old!” Karl said, slightly annoyed and distressed. “What are you doing out this way, anyway?”
“Walking over to your place, obviously.”
“Oh yeah? Since when do you walk over to my part of town? You haven’t done that since we were twelve.”

“Has it really been that long?”
“Maybe longer. So what’s the plan today?”
“Hey! Not so fast. What brings you out to MY part of town?”
“Looking for you, obviously. So tell me about this mirror.”
Kalgan looked over to his friend as Karl put on the gas, and they started to roll down the road. “How did you…? Oh. My sister must have called you.”
“Yeah. She wants me to try to convince you to get rid of it. She sounded pretty scared last night when she called.”
Kalgan rolled his eyes. “Why is everyone trying to make me get rid of it? I like it! Well… Kinda. It’s really mysterious. Look… Can we get some food first? I’m starving!”
“I guess,” Karl replied, his eyes staying focused on the road. He liked to speed a little, but what 16-year old with a “new” car didn’t? “How about Cudgel Duck’s?”
“Oh god yes!” Kalgan said, just the thought of a Cudgel Supreme making his mouth water. Going to the Mexican food restaurant had been a tradition for him and Karl for years.
“Cudgel Duck’s it is then.”
“You’re a life-saver Karl! I’ll pay you back tenfold for this someday. I swear!”
Karl looked over at him for a second as if he had sprouted a pair of wings from his head, or something.
“You okay? You don’t seem like your usual self today.”
“Got sick last night. Puked up my dinner. Wasn’t fun. Now I’m better. And hungry. So step on it!”
“You got it.”
Then Karl really did “step on it” and the acceleration pushed Kalgan’s head back into the seat.
“Whoa! Karl! Slow down a bit. Geez!”
Karl put his foot off the gas, and they coasted for a bit.
It was a five-minute drive to Porra del Pato’s. It meant cudgel of the duck’s in Spanish, but he and Karl always just called it Cudgel Duck’s. It had the best food in town, in his opinion.
Karl and Kalgan got out of the car and made their way to the door. Kalgan in a great deal of enthusiasm. He rocked on the balls of his feet in anticipation as his friend opened the door.
“Geez Kal! Calm down. You won’t starve to death waiting for the door to open.”
“Shut the hell up, Karl!”
Karl laughed as he opened the door with agonizing slowness.
Kalgan snarled and grabbed the door handle and wrenched it open while his friend tried desperately to keep it shut. This was no time for games! There was food to be eaten!
Kalgan easily pulled the door open with one hand, while Karl was dragged along trying to keep it closed with two.
“Holy shit, Kal! Have you been working out?”
Kalgan didn’t answer as he marched into Cudgel Duck’s with a smile.
There was a familiar middle-aged Hispanic woman behind the counter. She smiled as they entered her restaurant. “Porra supreme?” she asked. They were regulars, and she knew exactly what they wanted.
Kalgan nodded with enthusiasm, and took his usual seat in the sunlight streaming in through the large window.
Karl also ordered, then took his chair on the other side of the table.
“So… Tell me about this mirror your sister told me about,” Karl asked, unable to put off the mystery any longer.
Kalgan was getting too hungry to really concentrate any longer, but he had time before his Cudgel-Supreme arrived, so he sighed and began his story.
“Well, yesterday, I was walking through an antique shop downtown with my mom and sister when I came across this weird mirror that didn’t show my reflection, just a deep blackness. It was perfectly smooth and perfectly dark, and I knew I had to have it the moment I saw it.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Just you wait until you see it yourself! It’s awesome, but also a little frightening. I hit a rock against it, and it produced no sound whatsoever, except for a distant echo-like sound out the other side a good ten seconds later. It was fucking eerie!”
“No shit?”
“No shit, Karl! I’ll show you once we get back to my place.”
Karl looked at him like he was being fucked with. Kalgan’s best friend was not someone who believed in anything fanciful or mysterious. And until he had discovered the mirror, he hadn’t either.
“It’s no use talking about it anymore,” Kalgan said. “You’ll just have to see it for yourself.”
“Okay. Whatever.”
“Don’t sound so enthused, Karl!”
Karl rolled his eyes. “I guess we’ll see how good of a fibber you are when I see the Mirror.”
“You won’t be disappointed. I promise you that! Maybe a little freaked out and disturbed, but not disappointed.”
When their food arrived, Kalgan was nearly brought to tears by the smells coming from the biggest burrito available for consumption in the tri-cities.
The burrito hung over the plate a good three inches on both sides, and was a good 8 inches wide and six inches high.
Karl got the same thing, but knowing him, Karl would only eat about a third of it, then save the rest for lunch the next two days.
Kalgan planned on eating the whole thing today. Something he never did, but today was an exception.
He grabbed a fork and dug in immediately. The first bite was heavenly. As was the second.
Karl began to slow down as he got close to eating a third of it. Just as Kalgan had predicted.
But Kalgan did not stop at a third like he usually did. He kept the same pace and devoured the whole thing.
Kalgan laughed at the look on his friend’s face as he popped the last bit of tortilla in his mouth. Karl’s eyes were open wide, incredulous.
“What. The. Fuck, Kal!” he said. “You ate the whole fucking thing!”
“What? Jealous?”
“Fuck no! I just hope you don’t die from intestinal distress later. Holy shit!”
“I’ll be fine. I’m not hungry anymore, at least.”
“You sure? Do you need one for the road, too? That was fucking ridiculous! Maybe you should take part in those hotdog-eating competitions. You could make enough money to pay for your own lunch then!”
“I said I’d pay you back later,” Kalgan said, slightly hurt that his friend would say such a thing.
“Whatever. Let’s just go. You can wait out in the car while I go pay.”
“Thanks Karl!” Kalgan said with exaggerated sweetness.
“Fucking freeloader!” Karl replied, with equally exaggerated sweetness.
Kalgan laughed as he went out to his friend’s piece-of-shit car. and left the door open as he sat back in the passenger seat, luxuriating in his full belly. He closed his eyes and sighed.
Kalgan heard a vehicle pull up in a nearby space, then two doors close in quick succession. He opened his eyes and turned to see a large truck with a significant lift-kit, and two men walking towards the door to the Cudgel Duck.
They glared at Kalgan as they passed by, then the slightly taller one flipped him off.
Kalgan rolled his eyes. “Yeah. Fuck you, too,” he said under his breath as they opened the door and entered the restaurant.
Karl smiled as he turned around from speaking to the Hispanic woman running the place after paying her, only to come face-to-face with the two assholes.
“My bad,” Karl said, taking a step back to avoid colliding with them.
Just then, the man on the left pulled a gun out of his pocket and pointed it at Karl.
Karl’s eyes opened wide, and he immediately put his hands up.
“On the ground, you piece of shit!” the man said.
Karl immediately obeyed.
Once on his knees, the man with the gun kicked Karl in the back, forcing him to lie face-down on the ground.
The other man casually walked over to the woman behind the counter and pulled a gun out of his pocket nonchalantly and pointed it at her.
“Give me the money, or give me your life, senorita,” he said to her calmly.
With tears streaming down her face, and eyes filled with horror, she desperately opened her register and began to hand him bills.
Kalgan sat completely shocked for a moment at what he was witnessing.
Then his blood grew icy cold.
That man was holding a gun to his friend’s head!
And that other man was holding another gun up to that sweet lady, and taking all her hard-earned money!
The injustice of it filled him with a tiny spark of rage amidst the icy coldness of his blood.
The spark grew within him.
He got out of Karl’s car with what felt like agonizing slowness.
He could feel his heart beating in his chest. Could hear the rush of blood in his ears. He smelled red-hot metal. He tasted the metallic tang of blood in his mouth. He saw only the robbers, outlined in red and blue.
He opened the door. Time seemed frozen.
Kalgan stepped up to the robber holding a gun to his defenseless friend.
He watched for a few moments as the hammer began to move back with agonizing slowness. The robber’s hand squeezing on the grip of his gun.
He realized that unless he did something, Karl was going to die.
He touched the man on the hand, then approached the man holding the poor owner of the Cudgel Duck at gunpoint.
“If you need money so bad, asshole, why don’t you sell that stupid truck of yours?”
Then he punched the man in the ear as hard as he could.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
Time began to flow once more, and the man in front of him was slowly lifted off his feet and began to sail towards the wall.
Kalgan turned around to see a black spot begin to appear on the other man’s hand. It spread a few inches in diameter, then the center of the wound began to smoke, then catch flame.
Time sped up faster, and Kalgan’s heartbeat began to slow.
His ears popped and time took it’s normal course once more.
The man holding Karl at gunpoint screamed and threw his gun up in the air as his entire hand burst into flames.
The man at the register crashed into the wall and clutched at his face as a point of frost appeared and began to spread over his ear where Kalgan had hit him.
The feeling of hot and cold ceased as Kalgan took a deep breath. He felt suddenly exhausted, and dropped to his knees.
“I need to sleep… Just a little while…” he said, unable to stop his eyes from closing.

Karl took one look at the situation, and knew he was in serious trouble.
“Oh no. Not again!” he said as Kalgan fell to his knees.
He shuffled over to his best friend and picked him up, then took off for the door as the screaming from the two would-be robbers intensified.
Karl didn’t want to see what was happening to those two. He didn’t want two more gruesomely-inexplicable deaths added to those already taking up residence as memories in his head.
He threw his friend into the passenger seat, then ran over to the driver seat and took off in reverse as quickly as he could after starting the car.
Karl didn’t even know where he was going, he just needed to get away!

Kalgan stirred awake to find himself in the passenger seat of Karl’s crappy jalopy.
He had a headache and couldn’t open his eyes fully from the pain.
He knew immediately that he had had another blackout. It was always like this. Except…
Hot. Cold.
“Oh no.”
The memory of what he had done all came flooding back.
“Oh no! Oh fuck no!”
“Calm down,” Karl said next to him. “For the love of god, please calm down!”
They appeared to be stopped on some dirt road in the middle of nowhere.
“What the fuck did I do, Karl? What the fuck!”
“I don’t know, Kal. I don’t know!”
Kalgan curled up into a fetal position and rocked back and forth as racking sobs escaped him.
It was several minutes before he was relatively composed once more.
“Thank you,” Karl said after a moment. “You saved my life today.”
Kalgan sighed and took a deep breath. “Did I kill them?”
“I don’t know, Kal. I got out of there as soon as it happened. I don’t want to ever see something like that again.”
Kalgan nodded. “Are the cops going to be after us?”
“I don’t know.”
“I blacked out. But this time… I remember everything.”
Karl turned to his friend. “I wish you didn’t. It would be easier just to take you home and forget about today.”
Kalgan laughed. “It’s going to suck not being able to go back to the Cudgel Duck.”
Karl laughed as well. “Yeah. I left the rest of mine there. Lucky you were able to finish yours. Asshole.”
Kalgan laughed, tears streaming down his face. “Please. Just take me home.”
“You got it pal.”
And the day was just getting started.


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