It is what it is
Into that mirror-ly town
Sarah opened a silvery book entitled ‘Mirror my love.’ A sucking noise emitted from the book, it eats Sarah. In one large gobbling motion, she disappears.
Fizzing lights, popping soda bottles, simultaneously went off painting kaleidoscopic triangles in Sarah’s eyes. She attempted to focus her vision but only a dizzying blurs of green, grey, and blue filled her focus. It took a few moments to find her bearings. Sarah wasn’t in the library anymore.
Sarah observed her surroundings, she found herself in a single detached home neighborhood that screamed suburbia from all directions. All of the homes are a single level. There isn’t anyone on the streets. It’s like a town that had all their inhabitants vacuumed up in one quiet morning.
A short truck on Sarah’s right side gently chugged down the street, heading in her general direction. It got closer and closer, till she was able to distinguish a sign on its side that stated, ‘Do your duty! Report to section 18-42 for mandatory reproduction!’
Sarah angled her head to the left muttering, “What in blazes?”
The truck ambled by, but there was no driver; just a steering wheel that directed itself.
Sarah sat on a bench behind her. It creaked under her weight since she was above the intergalactic weight average. The bench is green with a glossy coat of paint; sadly Sarah missed the small note on the ground that indicated, ‘Fresh paint.’ She recognized her folly and rose at once. Sarah complained to herself about the loss of a perfectly good set of clothes. Not that it mattered anyway, since she had several copies of the exact outfit. Sarah moved to sit on the curb; her feet protested for relief.
Another truck was sighted, but it ambled her way quite slower with a, ‘chugga, chug, chug.’ The sign on this vehicle differed from the last it said, ‘Rentable mirror rooms! See yourself on all surfaces! Tissues and a TV slideshow of you included for a limited time only.’
Sarah’s expression is honestly in shock. She wondered aloud, “Why in the ruddy saucers would someone want to pay for that contraption!” She shook her head at its absurdity.
The truck slowed to a halt. A hatch creaked open, this transport doubled as a bus for customers to get to the ‘mirror hall.’ Well Sarah figured it wouldn’t hurt to poke about. She climbed into the truck. It fired up and quickly left, bumbling along.
On the truck, there are five other people on board. Sarah looked at one stout male with black octopus-like hair before asking, “Umm… Where are we going?”
His eyes widened in shock, “Are you bonkers? We’re going to the most pleasurable place, where we can look at our sexy selves!”
The man turned away to focus his attentions on a small pocket mirror on the back of his hand.
Sarah is in shock, it unfounded her that it be actually fun to look at a reflection for hours on end, when she can’t even face up to her own love handles.
Once the bus halted at Mirror Land, the passengers rose with enthusiasm. They knew what to expect: nirvana.
Nirvana in a box
Sarah stared at them, unsure of what to do.
A white-clad orderly appeared at the doors ushering them into a receiving hall, at the threshold a clipboard was given. It’s a contract, to bind themselves to the facilities for unlimited testing use in exchange for some time in the mirror stalls. Many signed their forms off quickly, unknowingly of the cost. Their hype was only for the remuneration: mirrors.
After each of them completed the paperwork, an orderly put wristbands on them, replacing their individual identities with a number. In Sarah’s eyes the group’s identities were removed once they signed their names away, turning them into sheep. Those sheep were then shorn, tied to wheelchairs, and fed sedatives, to make them more compliant. Soon after, they disappeared, wheeled away by those white-clad workers. Disappearing behind double doors, flapping like a bird’s wings, “flappetty, flap, flap.”
A white-clad nurse appeared by Sarah’s side demanding, “Why haven’t you finished your paperwork yet?”
Sarah replied, “I haven’t the need to be here.”
The nurse retorted, “Its company policy for all arrivals to sign the consent forms, willy-nilly you.”
“You bend consent in different ways do you? I’d like to see what happens here before I agree to anything,” Sarah countered. She flashed her governmental ID at the nurse.
“Oh,” his eyes widened knowingly, “Miss umm…”
“It’s Sarah,” she supplied.
“Sarah, I’m Jenkins. Would you like a tour of our facilities? It isn’t everyday a distinguished guest such as yourself graces us with a visit,” he said meekly.
“Well if you insist,” said Sarah.
“The pleasure’s all mine,” the nurse motioned her towards a side room with pale green walls, which was not as sterile as the previous ones.
The nurse handed over a white overcoat, Sarah pulled it on. The dratty thing covered most of her body like a child wearing an oversized coat. She now matched the nurse, how blatantly conformist.
Jenkins opened a door and walked through, Sarah followed as though she were following some sort of unwritten dogma. He pointed at a window. The people she arrived with lay on stretchers sedated.
“Here is the first step of processing our narcissists sedatives are quite a necessary; for we wouldn’t want any dissenters causing a ruckus. Our facilities sort the level of severity of their affliction, and we triage them with color changing bracelets.” He explained.
“Jenkins, could you tell me what each color represents?” Sarah asked.
“Well orange is for moderately batty, pink is for madly in love with inanimate objects, green is mildly fascinated with mirrors, and black is… um… totally synchronized with themselves,” Jenkins said dryly.
“There aren’t a lot of black bracelets about,” Sarah stated.
“Of course not, it’s the highest echelon a patient can get. Let’s move along to the next area,” Jenkins suggested.
“Lead the way,” Sarah responded.
They walked further down the hall, a second set of windows showed six people reclined in cubicles. All of them looked content, watching a tiny television; pacified no less by generic programming, and content that brownnosed the viewer.
Sarah scoffed at this oddity. “Do any of them get bored from that?” she inquired.
“No, no, only when we change the channels they’d become antsy,” Jenkins replied
“Funny… I thought folks appreciated variety,” Sarah said.
Jenkins smiled and said, “Variety is there, the background color changes every hour.”
Sarah snorted, “Really?” quirking an eyebrow, “What other entertainment do you provide here?”
Jenkins motioned towards a darker room. “This is our famed mirror rooms, only the best make it in here,” he pointed at a curly brown haired man who was entranced with his reflection. The man’s eyes sparkled in admiration of his reflection.
“Jenkins, would it be possible for me to interview this man?” asked Sarah.
“Hmm… normally not, but for you, anything,” replied Jenkins.
With a flourish of Jenkins’s arm she was led into an adjoining room. The room again conformed to the bland white decoration scheme. Sarah thought that someone should be fired for their bad taste. She sat on a chair in front of a stainless steel table, a few scratches evident on the cold metal surface. Perhaps some people resisted the status quo Sarah wondered. She noticed that the doors were absent of any locks.
“Jenkins?” She asked.
“Yes?” He replied.
“How come there aren’t any locks on the doors?” Sarah inquired.
Jenkins said, “Don’t worry, no one ever bothers to escape and management deemed it an unnecessary evil.”
Sarah stared at him puzzled as if the world had gone all wrong, “so if anyone wanted to escape they could just walk out the front door?”
“No, no of course not,” Jenkins chuckled, “any escapee would be caught by the automated sedative system. You see the bracelets all of the patients have on?”
“Uhmm, yes?” mumbled Sarah.
“The bracelets have emergency doses of sedatives in them, so if they do try a jailbreak, wham the automated sedative system or the ASS sedates the suspects,” Jenkins explained.
“How fast does the ASS activate? And is it isolated to a select few people or does it sedate everyone?” inquired Sarah.
“The ASS wakes up whenever a patient crosses a boundary threshold without permission. Within twenty seconds it stuns the escapee with a shot of Liquid Granite 420; it’s one of the best fast acting sedatives we have on site. Mass inmate sedation only happens if I press the shutdown switch,” Jenkins calmly described pulling out a small red box with a clear plastic casing.
The box screamed doom, and looked inviting enough to tempt Sarah to dream of pushing that button just for the hell of it.
“Jenkins, could I see that man now?” She asked, changing the subject.
“Just a moment,” Jenkins replied.
Above: Cover art is by my good friend Yannick
The above is a part of the whole novella which is available in a paperback 🙂 please send me a message for for info if you’d like to get a copy ^__^
Thanks for reading! Feedback is appreciated