At first, we thought it was a trick of the mirrors. Jake was only a few steps ahead, and the mirrors twisted and stretched his reflection. He disappeared around a sharp corner, and when he returned, Kristen couldn’t help but scream. His head was too large, and his neck was too thin, and there were new bits which I’ve never seen on a body; bits shiny-slick and looked as though they belonged on the inside of a person, not out. His chest was moving quickly—he was having trouble breathing from the hairless pink flesh rope that was strangling his ribs. He heaved around on the floor like a seizing snake.
I slapped Kristen silent since my head was beginning to hurt, and I took hold of Jake’s wriggling scalp, ripping back the black hair that was trying to wrap around my wrist.
The hair instead wrapped around Kristen’s ankles and began dragging her across the tilted floor. The wisps and tangles dove toward one of the mirrors and disappeared into the mirror world. Kristen dragged her nails across the floor as her legs broke through the surface-tension of the mirror until half her body stuck out, while her lower half was stuck in.
I grabbed hold of Kristen’s hands and angled my feet to push off the mirror. Deep in the reflection, rancid splotches of red opened and closed their bristle-lined eyes. Or were they mouths? I could feel my feet sinking into the cool liquid mercury, trapping them into place.
The shouting alerted the staff, and the flencers rushed about, brandishing their machetes. They weren’t supposed to show themselves in daylight, as their appearance would send any fun-seeker running, but since this was an emergency, they did what they needed to do. They saw what was birthing from Jake’s chest, tearing through his white cotton T-shirt, and the blades began their work, slashing and hacking until there were splashes of blood everywhere. Jake made a mewling noise and used his spaghetti-thin arms to hold the sides of his chest together. I could see his heart beating through the gleaming split.
Two more flencers grabbed Kristen’s arms and pulled, but the mirror wouldn’t give up so easily. The red splotches grew larger until they were pressed up against the glass, thumping against the other side. I felt their chittering teeth through my sneakers. Kristen gasped and began to spew blood.
Finally, they had to cut her body in two, not with any precision, but like chopping away at a tree stump. The mirror swallowed her lower half while Kristen’s upper half flailed around on her elbows, leaving a trail of red slime in a circular motion on the floor. After the red splotches swarmed and made short work of her lower half, the mirrors now reflected Kristen’s torso, doubling it into two.
After a few blinks, I realized it wasn’t a reflection, or if it was, I didn’t want to see what now remained.
Lena Ng shambles around Toronto, Ontario, and is a zombie member of the Horror Writers Association. She has curiosities published in eighty tomes including Amazing Stories and the anthology We Shall Be Monsters, which was a finalist for the 2019 Prix Aurora Award. "Under an Autumn Moon" is her short story collection. She is currently seeking a publisher for her novel, Darkness Beckons, a Gothic romance.
Man is the last species to die,
for he can eat all the others.
Plankton, plant, pork or porgy
All go down his maw.
Forget about cockroaches and rats,
Man dines on them both.
Consider seafood as example.
sea urchins and periwinkles,
sharks and slugs and squid,
unless rotted, all eaten.
And after man consumes
all the plants and animals
he’s apt to eat
other men as well.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over three hundred stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors. Follow Ed on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.