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Chapter 8 – Clarity in Mirrors

Tonight I find a fine whisky waiting at the entry to my catacombs – but again I pass. I head to the stairs – I am curious if the mirrors are still there or if the demons have destroyed them.

I look at Hate as I pass it – the eyes are piercing tonight – even more so than usual. I feel its tension. As I walk down the stairs, I notice everyone is awake – just like last time. I look at the floor by the stage – the mirrors are still there. Still intact. They seem to be waiting for me.

I sit myself in the middle of the semi circle of mirrors. I look at the images – they are just me. I am disappointed – what happened to the demon images – what did they mean, what was that final distortion?

I look back at the demons – they’re all watching me. I look at the Lost Loves – all pondering me with such disdain. All the Dead Friends are also facing me. I see the one who has the eyes. I don’t understand how that is possible – but those beady black eyes are staring at me. I think I even see him nod at me.

I look at back at the mirrors – my heart starts to race and my breath deepens. The images shift again – just as the did before. Slowly the demons fill all the mirrors – all but one – one of me. After the mirrors are filled they begin their sequence of shifting from mirror to mirror to mirror – just like before. As the speed increases my mind is able to adjust and watch more closely. I notice the pattern. I can see where the images are going to shift to – the shift is not random – it is a set order. I can follow images around the mirrors – providing clarity of the mind. As the sequence speeds up – just like before – the images start to distort. As I can follow the order, I am able to focus my mind on the distortion of the images. When I see it I don’t understand it – did I just see what I thought I saw? I have to look away. I look at the Dead Friend with the eyes. He is staring at me – along with all the others – but I see his watch as his eyes – though small and black – are so penetrating – penetrating right through me. He blinks, nods and shifts his head to the side – motioning me to look at the mirrors. Showing me the truth – the truth of what I saw.

I look back at the mirrors. The images continue their sequence. It takes me a few moments as I re-establish the ability to follow a single image through the series – through the shifts. I find one – and follow it along – seeing the distortion – absorbing the distortion – letting the distortion fill my essence. The distortion is two half faces – half of the demon face – with the other half my face. Half of my face – blended with the demon – half the demon – blended with me – cycling through all the mirrors. Each image – half demon, half me – circling, cycling, shifting. I can see it now – each image. Now I can see it I don’t have to follow – I see it clearly – I see it is me – me with the demon – the demon with me.

I look back at the cells of demons – they are all agitated. I look at Hate. Hate is vibrating – vibrating side to side quickly. Those eyes staring – but blurry. The whole body of Hate – vibrating to blurriness.

I look back at the mirrors – the cycle continues. I keep watching the sequence. I remember one is me – one that was always just me. Where is it? The images flash so quickly I have a tough time finding it. After what seemed like many minutes, I find my image. I realized my challenge – my image is distorted. My image also had me on the side where the demons were on all the other images. I find myself in the sequence – following the image – analyzing the distortion. I look closely. It isn’t one of the other demon images, it isn’t a Lost Love. It isn’t a Dead Friend. I realize who it is. The eyes – the eyes give it away – the stare – the stare from one eye – the eye of Hate – with my eye as the other. Hate travels through the mirrors with my original image – staring back at me.

Once I discover how my image circles the mirrors, the other images begin shift. One by one by one they all become the same image – the one true image – the true image of meaning. Me and Hate filling all the mirrors – each and everyone one of them as they cycle. As the images become just one, the cycling slows as they all merge to one – one image – one image filling every mirror – one image staring at me – no movement – no distraction – just the one – 27 mirrors – me and Hate – Hate and me.

I stay seated – seated looking at myself – at myself and Hate. Time seems to stop. Silence surrounds me – I only hear my breath. I stay staring – absorbing – feeling – quieting the mind – sensing – feeling the sensation – feeling myself – myself with Hate – Hate staring at me – myself staring at me – Hate and myself staring at me. I close my eyes, I deepen my breath. I feel the cold of the downstairs permeate through me – and I breath warmth in – warmth to surround me. I open my eyes. The mirrors have not changed – Hate stares, I stare – we stare together back at me.

Suddenly the images shift back to the half demon, half me and quickly cycle through the sequence – very fast – faster than before. After one time through the full sequence the images stop – all staring back at me. Then slowly image by image the demons are replaced with Hate. This pattern continues every few minutes – rapid imagery of the demons taking the images over and quickly cycling through the mirrors, stopping and slowly replaced by Hate. It is all so hypnotizing – I cannot look away, I cannot move, I cannot stop. I just sit – sit and watch. It seems for days, it seems for weeks, it seems for months – watching – taking it all in. Seeing myself merged with the demons, merged with Hate, moving through the sequence.

Eventually I look around away from the mirrors. Everyone – everyone but Hate – is asleep. I see the demons all sleeping against the bars – sleep with boredom. Even Ugliness and Suicide are sleeping – I didn’t think that was possible. They also seem less healthy – less nourished. All their skin is more ashen. I look around the bar. The Dead Friends still hanging but their blank faces are facing the other way – except for one – the one with the small black eyes still faces me. Who is he? Why is he different than the others? I look at the bar. The Lost Loves are all curled up on the floor. They look less perfect, they look less desirable, they look less beautiful. Especially one – one’s skin has imperfections, their body shorter and legs look different, breasts not as perky. Who is she? Why is she different? What is going on here? I look at Hate. Hate is still awake, strong and alive – but the gaze – that stare while still penetrates has something else in it. I cannot sense what it means, why the change. Hate also vibrates slightly – less than before but still detectable.

I look back at the mirrors. They have not changed. I continue to sit, continue to feel, continue to absorb. I feel no sense of time, no sense of fatigue, no sense in leaving. I just sit and ponder – ponder at the shift, the change, the … the realization?

After what seems like an eternity, I stand up and slowly head towards the entrance upstairs. I make little sounds as I don’t want to wake anyone, not the demons, not the Dead Friends, not the Lost Loves. The two – the Dead Friend and the Lost Love – are still awake and see me through – did the Lost Love just smile at me – a genuine smile – not the mocking smile of the past. I walk past Hate’s cell as I continue up the stairs and leave my catacombs.

Chapter Nine