Shattering Point: Part Three
"This house is cursed," I muttered, continuing to walk.
I was sure I didn't hear anything.
"The cursed and evil are often the most beautiful.
You must have figured out by now that everything you have seen here is only
what lies inside yourself, or what you have done." The voice was lyrical, musical
and sophisticated. I found my eyes being drawn upwards no matter how hard I
tried to fight the impulse.
I expected a warped version of myself, or some
important figure from my past. I was not prepared for the sleek blue Gelert
that greeted my eyes. He looked the perfect image of superiority, all of his
muscles were streamlined and refined his sapphire eyes clear and secure. If
it weren't for the scar below his right ear I wouldn't have remembered him at
He visibly flinched. "I don't go by that alias
here; you may call me Phaenon."
"You look so much different, how?" I was startled
by that, but he seemed happy, as if he had been planning to answer the question
even before I asked.
"I know this place seems kind of chilling, Aranel,
but trust me, it's wonderful. You can be whatever you want. Look at me; wouldn't
you be my friend now? I'm a recondite and yet gregarious pet. The friend you've
always dreamt of but could never have out there." The last part of his speech
was said with such contempt and hatred that I flinched. "Look," he commanded.
And my eyes met the eyes of my reflection once
It was the most lavish party I had ever been
to. The only party I had ever been to that wasn't a publishing stunt for my
owner. The ceiling was the purest black with tiny stars leading up in a spiral
to an unlit crystal chandelier. Smooth unnatural motes were the only light other
than the stars. The floor was made of Meridellian glass the color of smoke and
night. A thick scent toyed with my nostrils coquettishly. However, the most
beautiful thing about the entire affair was me.
I was dressed as an elaborate imitation of
Taelia, the ice faerie. The dress itself far outshone me. It was the color of
the spots on a Draik egg, accented by deep contrasting Maraquan blues. With
each movement I made the dress swirled right along with me accenting any natural
grace I had. The sleeves were long, almost to the floor, but I never tripped
on them. My mask was made of light white ice that wasn't cold or wet against
my fur, but light, and almost felt like an extension of myself.
A blue Gelert bowed to me, he was dressed
in only the simplest of tuxedos, but still looked incredibly sophisticated.
"My lady, may I have this dance." His voice sounded so familiar, but I couldn't
see his face.
"Of course." He whirled me onto the dance
floor. We spun in perfect time to an eerie melody played by an unseen orchestra.
A Pteri's chirpy voice rang high and pure above the melody.
"It is a lovely night," I remarked, and smiled
as he swirled me into a deep dip.
"No," he responded stoically as the music
"What?" What was he doing, such a break of
social etiquette was forbidden. The party really was fantastic, how could he
be such a brute? The melody sped up again.
"It's perfect," he replied. And I began again
to lose myself in the music, swirling, whirling, and twirling like a graceful
Suddenly the music stopped as a thought occurred
to me. "Perfect, like a dream."
For the first time in the entire night Jeremy
fell out of rhythm. The masks slipped from pets' and faeries' faces and melted
unto the marble floor. Jeremy was shrinking and my costume was disappearing.
I had shattered the dream.
I hit reality with a crack and the sudden pain
surprised more than hurt. Everything was so sharp. Quickly I searched for Jeremy;
where was he? But all too soon I saw him. He was curled into a tiny ball on
the floor, clothed in a tuxedo that was far too large for him. Here I was about
to go again, to hurt someone that I really wished to be a friend. But I had
to get out of here. I wanted my owner. I wanted struggle and hope. I wanted
"I'm sorry Jeremy, but I have to go," I whispered
to him. Not only had I broken my dream, but his. And I knew that there was no
"I'm sorry that I was cruel to you before. I'll
try to change my ways but I can't live in a dream. It would be like walking
on eggshells. I'd always be worrying that I was only an inch away from the trigger
that would break the façade, the mirror. And it would be fake. I prize my dreams
too much to contain them," I said softly, holding out a paw. "You can come with
me if you'd like." He was really a good a pet at heart no matter how much the
house had warped him.
"Curse you, Aranel." He was breaking down, a
twisted funhouse mirror from the carnival of terror about to reach shattering
The mansion was melting away to its true essence.
"Just take my paw!" I cried, not wanting to lose him to a fake dream.
"What have you done?!" His voice was a childish
whisper and I saw him for the small Gelert that he really was. The baggy tuxedo
from the masquerade fell about him like an ill fitted costume. "Now I just a
lil Gelert 'gain Ari." His voice was pitifully small. "Do you still want me
as a friend?"
"Yes, grab my paw!" I yelled. All of the dissonant
melodies I had ever played were being pounded out on the piano in the next room.
He looked at my paw as if it was just an illusion
too. "I'll just stay here; the house will be fine." The clothes slipped off
of his frame and he curled even tighter shielding himself from the most real
thing about the house. It was falling apart.
"The house is falling down, Jeremy; they are
tearing it apart. You have to come with me, and you can't live here anymore!"
I screamed as loud as I could, and I was only just barely audible over the din
of destruction. The rafters shook with a sickening laughter and the floor trembled
"My name is Phaenon."
The floor shattered and I was falling down into
darkness along with millions of tiny shards of glass that reflected nothing.
There was only darkness and silence around me,
a void of emptiness, except for two specks of light, one to either side of me.
"Left or right," I muttered. I was utterly lost.
Carelessly, I picked right, and padded as silently
as I could to the light. But even the light was just a reflection from a mirror.
Everything here was a reflection that I had to understand, to learn from. But
what was there to learn from this nightmare?
The last mirror was the only normal looking
one in the entire house, an antique mirror framed by thick ostentatious gold
plating. My reflection looked completely normal, and I was finally relieved.
It wasn't speaking or doing anything odd; maybe this was the real mirror, the
ordinary mirror. But then it blinked. I hadn't blinked, but it did. It was free
from me. I sighed one last sigh. "Could you tell me which way is out?"
"You may not pass," my reflection said solemnly,
its eyes burning scarlet. The voice was harsh and warped. "Do you really think
"You're a part of me; I shall not cower in fear
of myself!" I proclaimed with much more bravery than I felt. But it wasn't a
part of me. It blinked again.
"You cannot fool yourself," the reflection,
or was that me, whispered silkily. "You don't even know who you are!"
"It doesn't matter who I am, all that matters
is what I do!" My words echoed strangely in the darkness. When I looked again
to the mirror my evil reflection was gone. "Thank goodness," I sighed.
I tried to move forward, but I only found a
pane of glass. "What?"
"It is you that is the reflection; you have
been behind that mirror all of your life. Trapped in what you expect to see."
Red burning eyes delved into my mind, seeing my every weakness, but I was not
"Then I shall break the mirror," I declared,
already knowing it wouldn't be so easy.
"No!" I cried, pounding at the glass walls.
"Please," I was on my knees, every molecule of me pressed against the glass
pleading with myself. "I am amazing, I am amazing, this is just a dream, a reflection
of everything of everything I wanted," I hopelessly tried to persuade myself.
"I know who I am, and you are not me!" I screamed, but my voice was harsh and
The other me turned around, and looked at me
with a single tear in her eye. "It is necessary, the house needs to go on living,
and if you were to go out you would only destroy us. Just stay here with Jeremy.
Is it really such a terrible fate to have everything you've ever wanted?"
"I'm so sorry." I told myself, Jeremy, my piano
teacher, my owner, the house, everything. I brought a single claw up to the
delicate crystal barrier. The other me huddled against the glass, just cried
and cried knowing that this was the end. And then everything shattered into
a thousand pieces that would never be put back together again.
I put away my books into a single bag. Today
I am going to the Money Tree to donate almost everything I own, because none
of it makes sense anymore. Why would I want to read about fantasy or the Battle
of Meridell? From my large plain arched window I can see them tear down the
mansion in perfect clarity. I massage my forehead. "Every beauty must end, every
glory must fade, the only constant is change, and even then we are never sure
when it will begin or end. Every moment, every mirror, every hope has its shattering
I move to leave, but before leaving I open the
window and feel the clean breeze of a new day. "Isn't it great to know exactly
who you are, to wake up every morning and stare in the mirror and understand
exactly what you see?" Perhaps I will go back to the ruins of the mansion one
day and find Jeremy, once this moment in time shatters. But for now I will live;
there is nothing else I can do.