"You're looking into a mirror that reveals the thing you hide most from. That could be an emotion, something shameful in your past, something painful that happened to you, a dark secret that you've kept hidden for years, something about yourself that you refuse to acknowledge, anything. You can't look away and the longer you look, the more vivid the image of the very thing the mirror is revealing to you becomes. What is that thing?"
John protests, even in his fevered dream, and even though it is Morgan, "You must know I do not hold with scrying."
Morgan opens the door to the dressing room, "It is not really there."
There is a full length mahogany mirror in a corner, reflecting the room and a dressing table, with a ewer and bowl, shaving utensils, a few other oddments. Morgan, no longer the focus, fades or exits, stage left. John closes the door, thinking of privacy. "Something I cannot face..." He turns to look for Morgan, but he has gone.
John steps in front of the mirror. Nothing unusual. He looks at himself; his fine suit and his silk waistcoat. He straightens his cravat, touching the stickpin that means so much to him, and removing his hat, placing it on the small table. Stepping closer, he looks at himself rather than his clothes. He smoothes his moustache, feeling habitually with his finger for the slight scar beneath it. He runs his fingers through his hair and notes that his face is flushed. Faced with a mirror, he briefly examines the appearance of his own teeth. Nothing unusual so far. He takes a deep breath but cannot manage an attempt to fill his lungs, even in his sleep, and he stirs restlessly in the damp covers, coughing without waking. The mirror is still there, the room just the same, and he looks bravely into his own eyes, looking for pain, for anger, to see if they are expectant, clear, intense. They look back at him steadily. Yes, all that is there. He holds his own gaze.
And the image begins to change - someone behind him, a hand on his shoulder. A familiar hand and a kind one, but he holds his own eyes. This was not supposed to be pleasant, so he waits for it to turn. The whole figure materialises behind him. Still he holds his eyes, exerting his will on himself, to keep himself there.
Wyatt. It is Wyatt. The old Wyatt - young, though not as young as John, his face full of care and interest, about to ask... something. A girls laughter sounds beyond, in another room. It is sweet, rising from her joyfully, like champagne bubbles - light and full of promise, like springtime. John sees his own form begin to fade, to disperse into granularity, and he remembers the cell theories in his old dental textbook. Wyatt's hand falls through his friend's shoulder as John dissipates, and he turns his head towards the sound of the laughter. And John, though he still holds his own eyes, sees the small round kippah on the back of Wyatt's head that he wore in Albequerque, and hears his halting greeting to the girl in an unfamiliar tongue.
And he feels all the jealousy and fear and loss he had felt then, rising in him again, filling his skull, making him lightheaded and ill. And he feels himself, hears himself again, lashing out at his friend. Invective and epithet. Jeering and childish and bitter.
John braces himself, still gazing into the mirror. But Wyatt is gone. And John is gone too, only his eyes look back at him, only pain now, and their sockets red-rimmed with fever. He lets out a cry - he who fears nothing.
And he wakes himself fully, twisted in his sheets, choking on his own blood, his eyes wet and comfortless.
He'd known the moment he'd spoken, that it was the wrong thing to say. And he could not let himself be the person who had uttered it, could not let his friend bear him any longer. And he had gone away forever. Except for those few brief moments years later, to say goodbye.
It was not alright.Name: John H. Holliday, DDS.
Word Count: 639
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Nulli Virtute Secundus