A Waffle Paradise Circulation: 111,625,219 Issue: 222 | 6th day of Sleeping, Y8
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Shattering Point: Part Three


by orginalcliche

--------

"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 all. "Jeremy?"

      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 more.

    

      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 slowed down.

      "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 Nimmo ballerina.

      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 reality.

      "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 greater crime.

      "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 fa├žade, 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 point.

      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 in fear.

      "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 free?"

      "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 afraid.

      "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 tired.

      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 point. "

      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.

The End

 
Search the Neopian Times




Other Episodes


» Shattering Point: Part One
» Shattering Point: Part Two



Week 0 Related Links


Other Stories


---------

Falling into the Pot - Edna's Story: Part Two
We felt the trunk moving around. When it opened, our eyes were hurt by the light. The Kau peered down at us, grinning...

by shrinkme

---------

The Story Behind Usuki Frenzy
There is more than neopoints to be gained here. There is a valuable LESSON to be learnt. Not many Usuki Frenzy players may have realized it is there.

by firefly_055



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.