Be sure to read parts one and two below before reading this one, as this is a direct continuation of my previous posts. Enjoy!
Mirror of the Nine Halls part 3
Kalgan was not feeling well by the time he got home from clearing his head. The cut on his right hand was throbbing… Alternating ice cold and burning hot.
His mother was watching her favorite show on TV when he walked in. He kept his injured hand in his jacket-pocket.
“Have a nice walk?” she asked, not really taking her eyes off the television.
“Yeah. Nice sunset out there tonight. You should have seen it.”
“I did. Looked out the window while doing the dishes.”
“Look… Kal… Are you sure you want that mirror in your room? Your sister says she doesn’t like it. It gives her the creeps.”
Kalgan rolled his eyes. “I don’t think her opinion really matters when it comes to my stuff,” he replied. “If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to see it. It’s in my room, not hers.”
“Very well. I won’t pester you about it anymore.”
Kalgan hurried off to his room before his mother could question him anymore. He sighed in relief when he closed the door behind himself.
He then decided that he should try to get some sleep, hoping that a good night’s rest would make him feel better in the morning. He glared once at the mirror, then changed into his pajamas and fell on his bed.
Sleep didn’t come for some time. Now that he was relaxed, his hand was throbbing even worse. He felt his pulse in every throb of hot and cold. It was strange. One throb–cold. the next–hot.
Cold, hot, cold, hot, cold, hot.
When sleep finally hit him like a dark blanket over his consciousness, he felt like he was slowly being immersed in a cold, oily pool of liquid. It clung to him, enveloping his entire body.
He gasped and sat up suddenly, throwing his blanket off. The pulsing of hot and cold in his hand was now an insistent hammering, beating at his hand, arm, and up into his neck and forehead. He felt feverish and weak.
“Fuck me,” he said. His voice was hoarse.
He got up and noticed that the clock on his bedside table said it was two-thirty three in the morning. Neither his sister nor his mother would be up at this hour. With a pounding headache, he made his way laboriously across the hall and got a glass of water. He gulped the entire thing down, then filled another. This one, he took with him for later.
He stopped by the bathroom on his way back to bed. He really needed a splash of water on his face.
He stooped over the sink, and after rubbing the excess water off his face, he looked into the mirror.
“Damn. I look like shit,” he said. His face was pale, and his eyes looked sunken into his head. He blinked once.
Suddenly, his pupils were different, slit like a cat’s or a reptile’s. He blinked again and took a startled step back.
His pupils were back to normal. He took a deep breath. “Great. Now I’m hallucinating.”
He thought it was probably best if he went back to sleep. His fever was getting worse. He could feel it.
When he got back into bed, his hand, arm, and head were throbbing even worse.
Nevertheless, he was pulled into sleep fairly quickly.
Kalgan rose up to a sitting position to find himself on a cold, hard surface. It looked to be some sort of marble floor. There were marble columns surrounding him as well, and on each column, there was a torch.
Each torch alternated blue and orange fire. One second, the fire would be orange as normal, then it would change to blue on the next.
Other than that, there was nothing in this large chamber except for… the Mirror.
It was directly ahead. But instead of being black, it swirled with orange fire. The fire swirled down from the outside of the mirror, into its depths.
Kalgan watched as the fire suddenly changed color in time to the color change of the torches.
Blue fire. This was one heck of a dream.
Kalgan frowned. This didn’t feel like a dream. First of all… If it were a dream, shouldn’t he be unable to tell it was a dream?
Also, his whole body pulsed in agony. Ice cold and burning hot… Perfectly in time to the color changes in the fire.
He grasped his head in two hands and sat there breathing hard in agony for a moment.
Then he rose to his feet and headed in the direction of the mirror. It was a good hundred feet away, and his entire body was now pulsing in agony from the fever.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
He took several more steps toward the mirror.
Was the path sloping downwards? He hadn’t noticed when he started walking.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
There was now a pronounced downward slant to the path. The pull of gravity was undeniable.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
His blood was cold like glaciers colliding in the antarctic. It was like molten steel being hammered into shape.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold.
The path became a cliff, with the mirror at the bottom. It was inescapable.
Suddenly he found himself falling towards it.
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Hot cold hot cold hot cold hotcoldhotcoldhotcold.
He screamed at the agony that was his life. Sweet oblivion was so far out of reach. The mirror was pain. The Mirror was all. The Mirror. The Mirror!
He watched, unable to close his eyes at the inexorable approach of that swirling vortex of hot and cold.
The alternating hot and cold increased in speed until there was no difference anymore. Just the agony. The searing agony of extremes.
He struck the surface of the mirror what felt like an eternity later, but it was not the end. He felt a moment of strangeness as his body was stretched to infinity, then his eyes flew open.
He was awake!
He ran to the bathroom as quickly as he could, and was barely in time to vomit up last night’s dinner into the toilet.
Once his stomach was empty, he laid down on the cool floor. His fever was gone, but his body was still tingling from the nightmare. It had felt so real. The heat and cold, the feel of marble stone under his bare feet, the sight of those orange and blue flames flickering as if alive.
He’d never had a nightmare like that before.
Kalgan stood up and grabbed the glass of water he had saved for later. He took one mouthful and swished it around to get the taste of vomit out of his mouth, then spit it out.
He did this several times, then refilled it from the faucet and gulped it down.
Afterwards, he almost felt like his normal self again.
He started to unwrap the cloth strip from his hand to clean it, but after unwrapping the entire bloody cloth, he was met with unbroken skin. The wound he had received just last night was gone! Not even a scar remained.
“Huh,” he said, then shrugged. He guessed that it hadn’t been a very bad cut after all.
He looked at his face in the mirror. He looked gaunt and a bit starved, but otherwise normal. No weird-looking reptilian eyes. That was always a plus.
Kalgan returned to his room to find that it was barely four in the morning. He felt exhausted, so he fell back into bed.
“Fuck being sick. Fuck weird dreams. And above all… Fuck that stupid Mirror!” he said before drifting off to a blessedly-dreamless sleep.