Fiction

Two-Faced

Introspection, more often than not raises more questions than answers. Not only does it bring you face to face with your inner demons, it also sets them free. 

As I stare into the mirror, I  do not recognize the man I see: he looks old and pale, his forehead bears the signs of defeat, of failure. And, I can only wonder what happened to him, for I knew him to be the most optimistic man. I look at him and ask him – ‘Why? How?’. He turns away from me, pretending to not have heard me at all. But, I know he did.

And then, just as I think of giving up on him, I hear the slightest whisper. Did he just call out to me? He lets out an alleviating howl, his veins pulsate menacingly, his eyes reek of fire. He looks at me in disdain, accuses me of being a liar, of being a pretentious illusion. Suddenly, he disappears into thin air. The mirror is now a screen, it reflects upon my choices, my decisions throughout my life. Like an old film, it moves along, frame by frame, ever so slowly, as I witness my own life flash before my eyes. Finally, it dawns upon me, he was right! Every single word he spoke was true. But, how did he know so much about me?

Are you two-faced? Do you have an other side you like to keep in check?

As I am caught up in the moment, the mirror explodes into shambles with an astounding force, and carries my body flying into the rubble. I feel scared like I’ve never been, and yet with the impending curiosity of a child, I open my eyes. The man from the mirror stands before me  with a knife, growling excitedly, as his bulging muscles threaten to rip through his shirt. He seems possessed, the fiery red eyes coolly fixated upon the target- me! He grabs me up by my collar, and pulls my torso up into the air with the slightest of efforts. The metallic surface of the knife in his hand glistens in the sunlight, as he drives it straight through my chest, with all his strength.

Blood oozes out from my body, my life force slowly drains out of me. He looks at me with a smug smile, while my own mind sharply plummets into a fading blur. I lose my strength, my will to live, I close my eyes for the last time. But, wait, that can’t be the end, my heart beckons, goads me on to not give up the fight. So, with one last surge of whatever adrenaline remains in my body, I pull out the knife from my chest, and stab it into my assailant! His smile changes into shock, as he is overcome with desperation, and lets out a loud cry, “Noooo…..”

The mild drizzle outside the window of my room makes for a panoramic scenery, as I wake up from my nightmare. Just a dream, my mind reassures me. I stare into the mirror, just to make sure. The mirror tells a different story altogether- It is not me, it is not him either, it is an amalgam of the two. And, then I realize that we are one and the same. That we are just the two different sides of me, who are at loggerheads with one another.

Bemused at the surreal world I often let my mind ramble into and interpret it so mystically, I laugh it off. After all, I am getting late for yet another exam. And then, just as I cross another mirror on my way, I can almost swear that I see a red glint in the corner of my right eye!

Article first published at The Indian Fusion.

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