The Evolution of Story: A collection of four short stories
Sometimes, if not all the time, I dream when I’m awake— I’m seven years old again, eyes gaping wide as I stretch onto my tip toes, absently fingering my newly crowned tooth with my tongue. Before me, the mirror is full of infinite possibility, if only I could find way to get through that door— the one behind him. Suddenly the mirror-me grins, which is weird, because I don’t remember grinning at him to elicit such a response. There’s a wild sympathy in his eyes— like he knows something, something vital. Something I need to remember. And then it’s not me at all; it’s a middle-aged man with tossled red hair, a matching beard, and a cold, confident stare. He leans toward me and his grin widens, cracking open and ballooning out of proportion to swallow me in the void of his gaping maw, where I rocket through oblivion only to crash back into a sleeping body. As the lights go up around me I can hear myself scream, "I have a silver tooth!” Silver teeth? What? Flick the tongue around the mouth, no silver, not anymore. Get up. Was I talking? The image of the redbearded man wafts through my mind for an instant. Shudders-— cut quick by a drawling yawn. Thunder opens my eyes; I’m back in the park. I sit up and look around— no one but trees. Funny. When I was little that dream used to scare me because the man was a stranger. Now it terrifies me because when I look into the emotionless void of his gaze, it’s my own eyes I see staring back.