The first sign of something going wrong is the disappearance of your reflection.

You stare at the empty mirror, slowly putting your toothbrush down, convinced your eyes are playing tricks on you. It’s as if you don’t exist, and the mirror is seeing through you to the steel towel bars attached to the wall behind you.

You rub your eyes, pinch yourself, but each time your eyes find the mirror there’s just blank space. This has to be a dream, right? People don’t just … not have reflections. Scientifically impossible, your mind helpfully supplies.

Hysteria is the next emotion, welling up from somewhere deep inside of you and clogging your throat. This can’t be real. You stayed up late writing that report yesterday, is all. Your eyes are fooling you. Or maybe it’s an elaborate practical joke—you lean into the mirror and inspect it, but there’s no signs of tampering. Just the bathroom, without any sign of you being in it.

Then there’s the shadows. They’re less obvious, but everywhere you go, you leave no shadows. No displacement of light, as if light, too, is seeing right through you. Like you’re disappearing, turning invisible. But no one sees that; no one even notices.

So you don’t ask if you’re seeing things, because. Well. You’re not about to admit you might be going insane.

You practically float through the day, waiting for someone to scream and ask where your shadow is, why you don’t have a reflection standing by a mirror. Instead, no one notices you at all. Their eyes seem to skate over you. You walk in front of a guy on the street, and he stares right through you, as if you’re not there. You shout, and no one bats an eye. If this is a prank, it’s the most elaborate one you’ve ever seen, because everyone is in on it.

Then you actually start to disappear.

You stare at your reflection each morning, as if it’ll have reappeared overnight. You reach out to touch the blank mirror, and that’s when you notice your hand, nails bitten down to nubs. Except one.

Because there is no nail there. Your right pinky finger is a smooth expanse of skin, flat and pinkish, without the shiny keratin shell over the top. As you watch, the tip of your finger fades away, a perfect eraser mark on reality.

It only grows throughout the day, like a malevolent beast is slowly eating away at you, like your very being is being erased from existence. It hangs in your mind, each time you glance at your fading hand, seeing straight through it to the floor.

By the end of the day your entire right hand has turned transparent, invisible. It’s just gone. A stump of a wrist floating through the air.

And then you look at your nonexistent reflection and nearly scream, because it’s not transparent anymore. Your fist, your missing right hand—it floats there, hanging in the mirror, mimicking every motion you do with that invisible appendage.

By the time you sleep, your arm has started to vanish, too. When you get up, you see the reflection’s hand has grown. It stretches up an entire arm, and, if you look closely enough, you can see the outline of a person growing in perfect sync with the steady erasure of your own self.

More than half of you is missing by nightfall, stolen by the mirror. 

By the next morning, you know what’s going to happen with dreadful certainty. Your heart pounds, steady terror pumping through you, the only sign that you’re not completely gone yet.

Your reflection, sans one finger on your left hand, greets you in the mirror, but without the exhaustion and horror you’re expressing—no, the reflection projects nothing but confidence. It’s not you, even though it’s stolen your appearance. And as you watch, the pink flesh of your left index finger fades, as if being eaten by a hungry force.

When it’s completely claimed, you stare as your full reflection appears before you in the mirror. But instead of the open-mouthed terror that paints your face, the expression on your reflection is of wicked triumph. A twisted grin takes its face, a glint in your other-self’s eyes that makes you shiver. Something in you screams at you to run. But you’re rooted to the spot by an unseen force.

And you can’t do anything as your mirror-self steps out of the mirror, into the three-dimensional world that you inhabit. You feel your perspective tunnel, a dizzying feeling as the world shifts beneath your feet.

Your vision refocuses in an unfamiliar place—a cube, shiny and hard. You’ve never been there before. But you know where you are.

On the other side of the mirror, other-you smirks savagely, wielding a confidence you’ve never borne, then turns and walks away. You unfreeze, slamming into the reflective surface with a strangled shout.

Instead of that twisted reflection, you see yourself, wild-eyed, panicked.  You pound on the glass, every facet of this prison reflecting the movement. You scream, the very picture of desperation. “Let me out! LET ME OUT! Please, someone help! HELP!”

But the sound just echoes back, bouncing off your infinite reflections, never leaving the chrome prison. There’s no one out there who can hear you scream.


Image Credit: iStock Photo

Written by

Cassidy Cheng

Cassidy Cheng, senior, has always loved to read and write, and she loves diving deeper into her interests, from food to psychology to biotech to new book releases. She's proud to serve as one of the Editors-in-Chief this year, and loves seeing how creative Muse writers can be!