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De Wolf

He stretched out beside me. Touched my face lightly and licked his lips. I groaned and pushed him away. Four o’clock in the morning is no time to wake me. I was in the best part of my dream. The prince I had been seeing for the past four nights was finally coming closer. I could just make out the deep magenta sparkle of his eyes.  It was like looking at the storms through my purple reflective vase on the windowsill, the flowers are wilted and had been dead for months now. It is a shame that I just don’t have the energy to even replace the old with the new. I used to keep fresh flowers on that windowsill. I kicked out my last live in boyfriend two weeks ago because he was cheating on me with four different women. That’s the third man this year and the first to live with me. Pathetic.

Now I live alone. My doctor says that my depression is worse than ever. Even if I take the medication he prescribed, I still feel it. It is like being pulled into a pit of never-ending darkness. Maybe it’s just my body’s way of saying that I’m not here anymore, and I never truly was. I pulled the harsh cotton sheet high over my head and fell back into sleep. My mind desperately searched for my prince again.

I could feel his eyes on me. Trying to stare me into waking. The feeling made me stir in the darkness, leading to the dream I sought. Cornelius’ mission was accomplished. Well played. I lifted my lids to stare into those diamond pupils, which dilated so frequently when thunder struck, which was every night.

“Cornelius. Go back to sleep, damn you,” I sighed.

He touched me again, this time much harder than before, as much pressure as he could manage straight into my cheekbone. Ugh.

“Fine. I’m awake.”

I stretched my arms over my head, and the cotton fell down around my shoulders. If it isn’t the storms waking me up in the middle of the night, it’s Cornelius. I swung my legs around the side of my bed and set my toes on the cold hardwood floor. Cornelius hit the floor with a large thump. Yawning, I padded to my bedroom door, passing my own reflection in that purple vase. I needed to change out those flowers, but somehow to me they just looked better dried out and lifeless. Life is full of death why not represent it in my own house?

 

Why do I have such bad luck with every man I meet? They seem so normal in the beginning. Every one of them had all the perfect qualities in a potential mate. Strong, daring, patient, witty, helpful, and the list could go on and on. Then something happens. It seems as soon as I let some of my guard down, the guy turns into this controlling, abusive asshole.

A groan left Cornelius’ throat as I hesitated at the bedroom door. I looked down at him. He looked up at me. I opened the door and it got stuck on my grey shag carpet. Cornelius pushed the door the rest of the way and ran down the hallway into the kitchen. On my way there I stopped to look at the grandfather clock near the bathroom. The time was five twenty three.

Cornelius sat at his dish, licking the rest of the food off of his mouth, purring in satisfaction. My bowl of Cheerio’s wasn’t as “cheery” at this time in the morning. Cornelius jumped on the table and tried to stick his tail in the left over milk in the bowl. Sneaky cat, always trying to score a free taste of everything I ate. I hissed at him, which just made him slit his eyes and dip his paw in the bowl in blatant defiance. Sometimes I really thought he was a person. Well, an extremely vindictive, adorable person. After my bowl was licked of every last drop of milk, I put it in the dishwasher. I could go lie down on the couch, or maybe read a book. It was Saturday and I didn’t have anywhere to go.

“What do you want to do today?” I asked Cornelius.

He paid no mind to me talking to him. He just flicked his burgundy-striped tail back and forth while yowling silently towards the birds he couldn’t get beyond the glass of the front door that he had his face pressed against. It was too dark to see them, no matter how close he got to that damn glass. The sun didn’t come out; it never did. The storm clouds just hung there, lighting occasionally darting through the sky followed by the sharp crack of thunder. It was amazing that the birds still chirped at all.

I turned away from Cornelius and his obsession and sat down on the couch. I grabbed the remote from the small coffee table and turned on the television. The news was on, but I quickly switched it. I couldn’t handle my own misery, so how would I handle the whole worlds? It made me sick. I just can’t believe that people can treat each other so badly. Frowning, I closed my eyes to the History channel.

***

I woke up to a loud pounding at my door. I jumped off the couch and quickly ran toward the door grabbing the umbrella sitting next to my still standing there, hissing cat. Holding it like a professional baseball player, I tried to peer through the darkness.

“Lyza you there?” I heard the familiar voice say.

I lowered the umbrella and opened the door to my best friend, Jamie. She strode into the room and shook off her florescent yellow raincoat. Rainwater covered the marble floor and sent Cornelius scurrying to the back of the living room in fear. We both laughed at his misfortune.

“You didn’t tell me you were coming by.” I yawned.

“I just figured I would stop in to see how you are. I know how sad you have been feeling after that D-Bag ran around on you.” She scowled.

“Well, I’m just fine.” I smiled. I could tell on her face that she didn’t buy my “happy” appearance.

“Oh lord, don’t even try to lie to me.” Her choppy blond hair swished over her left eye as she shook her head.

“Fine. I’m a little upset about it, but there is nothing I can do now.”

“Girl, you need a shower and some chick flicks.” Jamie walked across my floor, her rain boots clomping to the TV stand. She ran her fingers through her hair as she searched through my collection of DVDs. Jamie were wearing a bright pair of pink leggings and a baggy t-shirt. She tilted her head back and glared at me.

“Well, I’m picking out the movie. Get your ass in the shower missy. You look like the cat dragged you in.” She chortled.

“Only if you insist. And don’t call me missy. You know I hate that.”

***

I finally got in the shower. The water was steaming nicely, creating a glow in my small bathroom. I was lucky to have the glass door on the tiny, water-spraying cell. I could see the mirror almost perfectly. My reflection in it looked tired, sad, and just a bit unfamiliar. I stared at the now fading bruises from the last one sided fistfight I was in. It was over what I chose to make for dinner for Phillip, or D-Bag as Jamie called him, one night. It was spaghetti with Alfredo sauce instead of the Marinara that he liked. So, he pushed me into the fridge and punched me multiple times in the ribs. Telling me I was a “stupid bitch” or something of the sort. I snorted at the memory. It was just like so many others. I couldn’t be upset or mad about it anymore it just added to the depression that was already bringing me down enough.

I looked away from the mirror and lathered my hair. The dark locks twisted with bubbles atop my head. I massaged and rinsed, then I repeated twice. It was getting thicker and a bit longer now. I chopped it off after Phillip and I broke up. Jamie was terrified when she first saw me. I had always had long hair until that last break up. I guess it was obvious from just that, that I wasn’t ok. She was so worried that she stayed at my house for three weeks just to sit up at night with my nine millimeter to make sure he would never come back to hurt me. She truly was the best friend I could ever ask for. I felt terrible that I had almost hit her with an umbrella.

I hopped from the shower and wrapped a towel around my hair like a turban. I wrapped a second towel around my body and went to the sink to brush my teeth. I looked up and was staring into lavender eyes and a crooked smile. Those obviously weren’t mine. I jumped backwards and fell on to the toilet, so hard that the porcelain cracked and water started to run out of it.  I fumbled to twist the turn off valve on the wall. When it finally stopped running, I looked back into the mirror. Nothing was there, except for a black card, stuck to the mirror. I got to my knees carefully, peaking my head over the sink and slowly reaching up to snatch the card from the mirror. Successfully retrieving it, I looked at the writing on the bottom, in a neon green box. It read, Stephen De Wolf. That was all. How odd. I got onto my feet and looked in the mirror again.

“Stephen De Wolf?” I questioned my reflection. Nothing happened. Feeling a little silly, I turned to clean up the mess I had made from breaking the toilet. As soon as I bent down to place a towel on the floor, I heard it.

“You called?”

“Who said that?” I turned quickly to catch the man behind the voice. No one was there, but myself.

“I did.” The man’s voice repeated.

“Who did?”

“Stephen De Wolf, of course.” He laughed. It was a hearty masculine laugh. One I hadn’t heard since I was around my father. I cringed.

“Show yourself.” I tried to sound calm, but my voice gave me away with its instability.

“If you insist, Lyza.”

It was surprising to hear my name on this strange man’s lips. Was my mind playing tricks? I wasn’t sure, but curiosity got the best of me and I looked into the mirror, a little too closely. The man who looked back at me was someone familiar. I couldn’t help but smile in spite of myself. It was he. His eyes were the right color, and the build looked appropriate for the one I saw from far off in the distance every night. I looked at his features. He had a nose that was sloped a little too much at the tip, his ears were missing their lobes, or they were perhaps too small to make out from the rest. His lips were too full, but his teeth were straight and white. His black and grey hair fell in a spiked mess atop his head; it matched the sharp cheekbones that protruded from his face like razors. Strangely enough, I found him dazzling. So alluring that I didn’t notice his arm come from the mirror and grab the back of my neck. I screamed and heard Jamie’s voice and boots approaching the door. Before I could hear anything she said he pulled me through the glass barrier. I stood in my towel totally stunned when his lips smashed against mine.

***

All too soon, his lips left mine. I opened my eyes quickly to make sure I wasn’t sleeping. Surely, I didn’t just get pulled through my bathroom mirror and into the arms of a strange man on the other side. And I let him kiss me! I shook my head back and forth in denial while stepping back from the magenta eyes staring me down. His hand was on the small of my back and I felt the strength in his arm as he started to pull me back to him. I right hooked him in the jaw.

“Don’t ever touch me like that!” He popped his mouth back and forth while releasing the pressure from my back. He put his hand down at his side. His lips thinned and formed a frown, “I am so sorry if I have upset you. It’s just,” he put his hand on his chin, “ I have been watching you for a while now and I want to show you how much better your life can be.”

“My life is just dandy, thank you! I don’t need some weird hallucination that I must be making up in my head right now to interfere with it! Jesus, I need to lay off the depression medication!” I couldn’t help but to yell. I was completely delusional. None of this could possibly be real. He touched me again, more softly this time, and whispered, “This isn’t a delusion Lyza. I know it may sound absolutely ludicrous to you right now, but this is real. This is my home and our mirrors have been attached for a very long time now.” My mouth gaped slightly as I tried to think of a response to what he was saying. His lips kept moving, but I wasn’t hearing anything.

My mind was in a panic. The sharp impulses from each neuron firing too quickly caused a massive tornado to hit me. How could I have possibly been pulled through solid glass like it was dry liquid? How do I get back to my best friend and cat that were probably freaking out that I wasn’t in my house? I had to find a way out of here. Now. I started to back up more swiftly. I held my towel over my chest and avoided the touch of the strange man’s hands, even though he tried several times. My back hit the mirror with a thud. I turned and pounded on the mirror with my fists.

“Let me out of here! Jamie! Jamie, please help me!” I screeched. I felt his fingers touch the backs of my shoulders and I jumped away in fear. It all had to be a dream. I was imagining everything. He pushed me hard against the mirror. His whole body engulfed mine, my towel slipped as I tried to push him away. He didn’t react to my nakedness; he instead just looked me in the eyes and grabbed my face with both of his palms. I moved my hands onto his and started to pull, but he was too strong.

“Stop this.” He pleaded. Those eyes of his were so mesmerizing that I was actually tempted to stop struggling, but I couldn’t. Not after all I had been through.

“Please, Lyza! I love you.” He half yelled it in my face. I stopped moving.

“Let me go. I don’t know you. I have never known you. You can’t just trap me here, even if you aren’t my imagination. You can’t love me, you don’t even know me.” I murmured.

“That’s simply not true. I know everything about you. Let me explain, please.”

“If I let you explain, will you let me go?” I asked.

“Yes. I will let you go.” He bent down slowly and picked up my towel that was lying on the gold streaked marble that we stood on. I looked over his head at the huge bathroom I was standing in. It was twice the size of my own and had a four-spout shower in the left corner. It was completely made of marble and glass. I inhaled a sharp breath as he wrapped the towel around me. I held it as tight as I could.

“Lyza, our mirrors are connected. I know how that sounds, but just give it a thought. I live in this vast house alone and the only pleasure I ever get is when I see you in the mirror. Doing your makeup, hair, looking at yourself in it, and everything else you do in front of it. This is the only thing that makes me happy.” I scowled at him. He was a freaking stalker. I started to push him away again.

“Stop it. This is another world, Lyza. I’m not the only one. The rule of my species has always been to look but never touch, but I had to touch you. I had to feel you and make you understand that someone loves you. Someone who would break the rules and would risk being put to death for making you feel the love you deserve. I know this isn’t easy to accept. I will just ask you one question. You can take it and leave or you can answer me truthfully and accept that this is real.” He sounded so sincere and I wanted to believe him but another world, outside of ours, that watches us through our mirrors? That is just too creepy. I could at least answer the question he’s going to ask, I thought to myself. Just give him a bit of a chance, the worst that could happen is that I wake up or be stuck here forever.

“What’s the question?” I asked, defeated.

“Have you ever had the feeling you’re not in the right place, like you weren’t meant to live in your world?” I couldn’t even stand looking at Stephen at this point. He had just thrown a question at me that I hadn’t been asked since the day that my father passed away. That was nine years ago. He always asked me and everyone else if they had had the feeling that they didn’t belong here. Always trying to convince people on the street that there were other worlds, dimensions. I loved the stories he would tell me, but that was the problem, they were just stories. Other places didn’t exist. There was nothing more than the world I lived in now. I made my decision.

“No. I haven’t.” I replied and threw myself towards the mirror. I felt a sting of pain as the glass shattered around me like sparks from a lighter with no fluid. In that moment, I saw it. I blinked my eyes, not from the glass hitting my face, but from the unbearable lightning strike that flashed into my vision. It was such a brilliant white that it caused rainbows to appear behind my eyelids like a prism. I landed face down on my cool, wet tile. I could feel the prickles of blood forming on my upper lip and chin. My feet were resting on the edge of the countertop, so I kind of formed a right triangle. I slid down on my front and desperately tried to get up without getting any more glass in my body. It was definitely a task. Jamie pounded on the door.

“Hey, Lyza. Are you ok? I’ve been out here for almost three hours! I heard a crash, open the door!” I limped my way over to the knob and unlocked it.

“I kind of shattered the mirror.” “Uh, you really shattered the mirror! What happened?” She stared at me with wide, angry eyes.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. You would lock me up in a mental hospital.” I felt stupid for even saying that.

“If you don’t tell me, we are definitely going to the hospital.” She looked at me pleadingly.

“I got pulled through the mirror by this man, he took me to another world, he loves me, and I know I’m not imagining it. I came crashing out of the mirror, my dad was right, I’m bleeding…” The words all jumbled together as I slowly sank to the ground. Jamie followed my body with her hands until I made it to my own little spot with no glass covering it. I looked at her, grinned, and then promptly passed out.

***

He walked up to me. His eyes sparkled purple. His lips were soft against mine. I could feel the heat from his skin. I didn’t want to push him away. I liked the way he smelled and the light touch caressing my cheek.

***

“Wake up.”  I heard his voice. Soft at first, then it got louder.

“Lyza. Wake up.” I opened my eyes, but it wasn’t Stephen, it was Jamie. I was stunned to realize it wasn’t him. But I found, strangely, I wanted it to be.  I looked around at all the monitors surrounding Jamie and I.  Light was shinning into the hospital room window.

“Jamie.” I gasped. “It’s finally out. The sun has finally come out!” I jumped up and tried to run to the window. I ended up on my ass, monitors blaring, but Jamie grabbed my arms and pulled me up. She walked me slowly to the window. I couldn’t believe the sight. There was sunlight after all the dark. It was truly amazing.

“Jamie can you bring me home?” She was surprisingly quiet when she looked at me. I didn’t know what she saw but she just nodded and left the room without another word. How odd. I continued to stare at the light until the doctor came in to tell me I could leave.

***

There wasn’t much wrong with me except for a couple scratches, some glass in odd places, and a mild concussion. We approached my house and the sun wasn’t out. I frowned. The storm clouds still hung above my house.

“Jamie, why isn’t the sun out here?” She just looked at me with a confused look. “Honey, the sun is out. Everything is going to be fine. We aren’t going to your house, we are going to go to mine.” We made a left before my driveway. It had been almost a year since I had been to Jamie’s. It was six miles down the road and the whole time I kept thinking about the reoccurring dream I was having while I was asleep at the hospital. They were all about Stephen. I couldn’t get him out of my head.

“Lyza, I believe you.” Jamie suddenly said.

“I’m sorry, what?” My eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I have always had this feeling that I’m being watched in my bathroom and it might be plausible that you really did see something.” She shrugged.

“Um, ok. Well I didn’t see something; I got pulled through a mirror Jamie. Not only pulled through, I jumped out of the thing and ruined my bathroom and my chances of ever seeing him again.” “Oh god, why did I just say that? Just get to your house before I lose my mind again. You sure you don’t want to bring me to the loony bin?”  I laughed a little too hard. Jamie shot me a look.

“Just take a look in my mirror and tell me what you see. That’s all I’m asking you for.”

“Yeah, sure.” I probably shouldn’t be trusted around any mirrors, I thought.

We pulled up to her house and the sun was shining brightly over it. I looked into it even though it burned my eyes and left white spots floating around in them. I slowly got out of the car. The cuts on my legs stretched as I walked. I made it up Jamie’s front steps with a few groans and she unlocked the door ahead of me and held it open. When I got to the bathroom I looked in the mirror, to find nothing. So, I went to the restroom and started to wash my hands. I looked up at my reflection, carefully peeling off the bandages, and inspecting the cuts. Jamie walked up to the door and asked me if I saw anything. I replied that I didn’t and continued scrutinizing the wounds I had gotten from the broken glass. Each one made me think of Stephen De Wolf. I couldn’t stop feeling like there were pieces of him in each cut. I was responsible for hurting him and myself in the process. It made me sad. I actually liked the thought of him, a lot.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw magenta eyes in the mirror. Without thinking I threw my hands at it and grasped what felt like thick hair. The eyes looking back at me became panicked. I braced my legs on the floor and pulled with everything I had, but what landed on top of me was not Stephen, or a person for that matter. It was actually a huge snarling and whining wolf. His paws quickly backtracked through my shirt as I grabbed for the skin on the back of his neck.

“Stephen! Is that you?” I yelled. The wolf yowled and threw itself hard against the cabinets below the counter top. Jamie came bursting into the room as I struggled to get on top of the wolf to hold him still.

“Get off of him!” Jamie screamed. She pulled me back by both of my shoulders. One of her nails hit a deeper cut on the inside of my neck, I shrieked and let go. The wolf stared at Jamie with a deep familiarity. Jamie looked at him with affection. I got in her face.

“What the hell? Why are you defending a wolf?” I poked her with my index finger.

“He isn’t a wolf.” She breathed, not even the least bit peeved that I had poked her.

“Yes. Yes he is. Can’t you see it?” I asked with utter confusion.

“I don’t see a wolf, I see handsome.” She smiled at the wolf, which was whining and showing its teeth in a fucked-up looking wolf smile. This is too weird. She started talking to him in growls and whimpers. I looked for the bathroom door.

“No Lyza. Don’t leave. He can take us to the other world. He can take you to Stephen. I can’t believe there was one for me too. Let’s go. Let’s get out of here.” She stared at me with wide wolf eyes. I started to back away but the wolf was behind me. He nudged me towards the mirror with his muzzle. Jamie took my hand and winked. I saw Stephen standing in the mirror. His teeth gleamed and his eyes stared through me. I let Jamie walk me to the mirror and we both walked through, the wolf right on my heels.

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