Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Mirrored Room

Prompt: Write about someone who discovers a key.

Source: davidrm.com/thejournal

Response: The Mirrored Room

"Do you think me insane?" I muttered, not truly directing the words to any of my surroundings.

The wide-striped floors seemed to leer and the cross-ways furnishings tittered giddily. "Doth it matter what we think or say?" They laughed at me. "The story is told by the characters, not the furniture."

I shooed them with my hands, telling them to be quiet. The mirrored room reflected my madness in angular patterns and rotational symmetry like an over sized Gerber Daisy. Cubically I could see myself - the line of the part in my hair, blazing white with scalp; the shape of my stomach, a soft crescent moon; the soles of my feet, torn and pale, the mark of my journey around the mirrored room.

"Do you think me insane?" I bit my lip, recalling Einstein. "'Tis madness to preform the act identical and expect something to change."

I laughed aloud. "I am indeed insane!"

Clattering their drawers, the bureaus agreed. The paintings' subjects looked down on me and then looked away.

I arrange my lorgnette to look in the mirrors and the colors explode like kaleidescope rainbows. I am all white - I am all pale and faint. But the wide-striped floors are teal and amber and the chest of drawers reflects in shades of lavender. The pictures dance in mirages of color wheel hues and their subjects look upon their multifaceted worlds in superiority.

But beneath the colors - the shades of umber and carmine - I see the lines, the blueprints. Like hand-drawn spider cracks in the idol of an ancient deity beneath the watercolor splashed all over. I see the bones of the mirrored room and a little black speck in the great engineering plan. A tiny ebony key - all dark like I am white, all black like I am pale.

Reaching out like a blind man in the dark, I grope for the key - reaching through the splashed oil paint to the little key. The little, old-fashioned deliverer hidden in the fabric of this place.

But somehow I cannot touch it. It skitters away from my fingertips, bounding with the motion of a startled rabbit. It ran from me - fled from me and I felt tears well up. I didn't know why, but I wanted it. I needed the key.

I touched it gently as it backed itself against the wall. It burned my skin like dry ice and I let it go. It disappeared.

I let my lorgnette fall to the floor. The room tilted back to its muted mirrored-ness.

"Do you think me insane?" I asked again.

The room did not respond.

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