As always, if you haven’t read the previous episodes, please do so before reading this one.
Mirror of the Nine Halls part 5
When Kalgan finally got home, he found the front door locked. He knocked, but no one answered. Where did his mother and sister go?
“Maybe they went to go get groceries, or something,” Karl commented.
“Yeah,” Kalgan replied. He wasn’t really in the mood to talk right now. All he wanted to do was hide in his room and forget what he had done.
He sighed and dug up the spare key from the planter box near the door.
“That’s not the best spot to hide that,” Karl said.
“It’s where mom wanted it, so that’s where it will be.”
Kalgan replaced the key, and covered it over with a little soil after unlocking the door.
“Can’t wait to see this mirror!” Karl said, right behind Kalgan as he marched off to his room.
Kalgan rolled his eyes, but when they reached his room, he pointed to the mirror. “There it is,” he said.
“Under the blanket, I take it?”
“Yep. Go ahead. I really don’t want to look at it right now.”
Karl marched over to the blanket and ripped it off with enthusiasm. Then he looked at the mirror speculatively for a few seconds. His smile slowly faded. “Huh. Were those columns always there?”
Kalgan frowned. “It isn’t pitch black?”
“No. It looks like some kind of marble column-lined hallway.”
Kalgan marched over to his mirror and looked at it.
“Well… That wasn’t there before,” he said, then swallowed. He recognized the place. It was the same mirror-lined corridor from his dream. The torches blazed with ordinary orange fire, though.
Karl reached out and touched the surface of the mirror. It was cold and smooth.
“I feel like I could just step through into that place!” he said excitedly. “Do you think it’s some kind of portal?”
“I don’t think so. I think it’s a window, not a doorway.”
“You sure? How cool would it be if it were a wormhole, or something!”
Kalgan really didn’t want to think about the implications if it were.
Karl examined the mirror from all sides. “Why is it so thin on the edges?” he asked.
“I don’t know, Karl. It’s just a fucking weird mirror-window thing. What more do you want?”
Karl rolled his eyes and took a step back. “Well… the other side isn’t black anymore, either. It just shows the other end of the hallway, as far as I can tell. Where do you think it is?”
“I honestly have no idea. It could be anywhere.”
Karl then tried tipping it over, gently at first, but then with more weight as it became evident it wasn’t going to budge.
“Yeah. I couldn’t get it to move, either,” Kalgan said as he watched his friend.
“What is this thing made of?” Karl said. “It’s heavier than it should be, even if it were made of lead…”
Suddenly, Karl backed away from the mirror quickly and started to make his way to Kalgan’s door.
“What if it’s radioactive, or something!”
“Then I’m pretty sure we’re both dead,” Kalgan said, slightly annoyed with his friend. “Look… If it was radioactive, I would already be extremely sick.”
“Okay. I’ll give you that. But.. what if it is, and that’s how you got your superpowers?”
Kalgan sighed. “Fine. I’ll give you that.”
Karl approached the mirror once more. This time very slowly.
“What is that?”
Kalgan looked at where his friend was pointing. There was a glint of light reflecting off metal in the distant darkness outside the reach of the torches. Then it was gone.
“I don’t know,” he replied. He had the impression of something large, but that was it.
“Interesting…” a male voice said. The sound was emanating from the other side of the mirror.
Both Kalgan and Karl felt an icy chill travel up their spines. They took a step back.
“There is no need to be afraid. The Mirror isn’t ready to allow matter to pass through it… Not yet.”
A figure began to approach the mirror. It was wearing armor… Golden armor with stylized spikes and a helmet crafted to look like a dragon’s head.
“What… the… fuck…” Karl said under his breath.
Kalgan simply found that he couldn’t say anything.
“Who…?” Karl managed to say after a moment.
“A more appropriate question might be for me to ask who YOU are,” the figure said. “The mirror has been dead for centuries, but now it is awake… and shows me two children, one a young wyrmling, the other a human… albeit a strangely familiar one.”
“Well… Umm… My name is Kalgan,” he said after swallowing once. “This is my friend, Karl. I… well… I purchased this mirror yesterday at an antique shop.”
The figure stopped several feet from the mirror and gazed first at Kalgan, then Karl, then back again.
“I see. It has bonded to you, then. That would explain much.”
“What… Do you mean?”
“The mirror. It exists in many places, but only one in each universe. It shows those it bonds to other places… Other worlds… Other realities.”
“Wow,” Karl said, relaxing slightly. “Really?”
“Yes. But only to one person at a time. Although, those who are blood-relations of the one it has bonded to may also look through the mirror.”
“Wait…” Kalgan said, shaking his head. “You haven’t told us who you are.”
“You’re right. I haven’t.”
Kalgan sighed. “What does all of this mean? Are you saying that this mirror connects…”
“Other worlds. Yes. I thought I made that clear, Kalgan.”
“It’s hard to believe, I know. When I first encountered the mirror, I had much the same reaction as you. I’ve had centuries to become accustomed to the idea. You have not. You’ll understand more eventually. There is nothing but Time.”
“Centuries?” Karl said, looking very confused. “Are you even… Human?”
The gold-clad man laughed in amusement. “Yes… And no. Are you?”
Karl sneered. “Of course I am!”
“And you?” the figure asked Kalgan.
“Are you sure?”
Kalgan didn’t know what to make of the question. Who was this idiot?
“Have you tried to stick your hand in fire yet? Or ice, for that matter?” the gold figure asked. “You should try it sometime. I might be an… enlightening experience.”
“What do you mean?” Kalgan replied.
“We’ll speak later.”
And then the man was just… gone.
“Holy… Shit.” Karl said. “This mirror is AWESOME!”