Mirror Lake (a short fiction)

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He always suspected she pretended a high sex drive in order to humiliate him. He could have used this newly-discovered potency to destroy her domination over him. Where had it been when Jody was at her most demanding? It had not been her fault. It had not been his. It must have been the fault of the time and place. He should have thought of mirrors before. It was, after all, simply Narcissism taken to extremes.

It was fun to watch. He found, after a while, that he enjoyed her mirror image better than the flesh and blood.

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If she was lovely in life, she was superlative in glass. They tried many different positions and he adored the reflections which tumbled away from him in all directions. Superb forms, equal to those produced by any sculptor he cared to name. Poetry in moving images. He preferred the silence to words or music. This was art. This was profound. This was the sport of angels What have you seen? He could have sworn He was surely drugged by that heavy narcotic called sex. This distant set of reflections had been doing something different. Walt and the woman had actually been in one position, and this particular couple, out of the thousands before and after them, had been in another!

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Surely that was impossible. Unless there was some sort of flaw in the mirror. But wouldn't that affect all the images? He tried to decide whether it worried him or whether he was merely intrigued by this strange phenomenon. Eventually he decided on the latter. Maybe it was because he was sated. His mind was playing tricks on his eyes. Yes, he was seeing things. It might be interesting to go with it, allow himself to be swept along with the illusion. He lay back again and she eased herself on top of him.

Walt's eyes scanned the mirrors, watching for the one rebel image to appear. All around him were couples locked in the shape of a reversed T. Yes, there. One pair on the far wall, way back down the line, had flipped over with the man now on top. Walt stared in fresh amazement as this movement fanned out from this single couple. Forwards down the line the images began riffling, running down towards him like a row of dominoes. Flip, flip, flip. It was a fantastic sight. He had seen computer images do this, but these were simply mirrors.

Then the line reached him and his consort. He suddenly felt himself being flipped over. Their sexual roles were instantly reversed. He was now on top of her. At the same time as this physical miracle took place he had an orgasm that was like a massive jolt of electricity rushing through his loins.

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He had never felt anything like this before, not even his first time over that gravestone at the back of St Peter's church. His head ached from the absolute pure passion of the moment. Semen gushed from him in a torrent.

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And yet afterwards he did not feel drained of desire. There was still a river of raw lust rushing through him. Her hands were all over him still, rousing him again, bringing him to a new and superhuman state of sexual excitement. Did you feel it too? You must have felt it. I heard you yell. You loved it didn't you? Christ I feel randy. I'm ready for half-a-dozen of those. I bet it's better than any drug. What do you say - let's go for another one, eh? Then she worked her contortions to form the two of them into a new interlocking puzzle. Her body was fantastic. Walt thought she must have bones of rubber the way she was able to arch her back, put her legs under her own arms, bend her waist that way.

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Eagerly he stared into the mirrors around him, searching for that one set which would herald an unbelievable orgasm. Yes, there it was, on the ceiling. He was having the orgasms of a young god. The world was not just moving. It was spinning at ten times its normal speed, hurtling through space a thousand times faster than usual. He held her small naked body to his as if they could fuse together, meld, merge. She let out a high tinkling laugh. Incredibly she was enjoying it as much as he was. Oh, he knew that hookers faked it all the time, that they were good at making the right noises at the right moment, but he could tell she was luxuriating in it - not wildly like himself, but sensitively.

It was as if she were enjoying a glass of fine Champagne in a hot bubble bath. Thrice more they were manipulated by the couples in the mirrors and each time it got better and better. Finally Walt did not think he could stand another one and he suggested they have a cigarette. He went to the box under the bed and found his packet of Camels. He lit one, but she refused, with a little shake of her head.

Walt shrugged and lay back on the bed, puffing away contentedly. Four hundred dollars? Christ this had been worth a million. Fantastic experience. Jody would have been proud of him. Or perhaps not? Maybe she would be jealous. That thought was very pleasing to him, since he was the one who had been dumped. He lay there in a state of bliss, studying a thousand-thousand Walts with lit cigarettes, all in equal states of bliss. He arced his red-ended cigarette through the air, made designs as might a child with a sparkler. The Walts all copied him, faithfully, their lit cigarettes tracing figures of eights, centripetals and other pretty shapes.

Beside the Walts lay the beautiful oriental women, resting like lilies on black satin sheets. Their arms were by their sides, limp and lovely. Their mouths slightly open, revealing a hint of white teeth between the cupid's-bow lips, their eyes closed. Suddenly, as he stared, there was a tiny movement amongst one of the images down the curving line. The stirring of a butterfly. The flutter of a moth. What now? He frowned.

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They had used him to murder a woman whose name he did not know. It is a quality, light-hearted romance. This was art. He could have sworn She got the life. Maia, is the classic European novel, at once literary and entertaining, and filled with Cold War intrigue.

He was enjoying his cigarette. A search of the couples revealed nothing at first and then he saw her, way, way back down the long sweep of oriental beauties. She had opened her eyes. He glanced quickly at the real woman beside him, to see that her own eyes were still tightly closed. He looked back at the woman in the distance.

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So, this one was staring out at him from her place in the line, way out in space somewhere. So what?

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Then he saw that the Walt beside her was unaware of her changed state. That should not be, for he - the real Walt - was certainly aware. The next move made Walt start with horror. The distant female image had used those long sharp fingernails at the end of a flattened palm. Her hand was like a knife with a serrated blade. In one swift movement she had slit the throat of the man beside her. Blood spurted up in a fountain, dousing the cigarette. The reflection of Walt made a motion as if gargling and pressed his hands to the gaping wound.

To no avail. The blood gushed between his fingers, splashing on the black satin sheets. And her face was twisted in an ugly triumph, as if she had just performed a great duty for herself.

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She stared out gleefully at the real Walt. It was horrible to witness the savage joy in her expression. It was as if she hated him with a primitive passion, a loathing nursed by ten thousand years of servitude. He watched horrified as his dying image, deep inside the mirrors, reached out wildly with blood-blinded eyes, seeking a hold on his murderess, only to find its fingers groping between her open legs, scrabbling for a grip on the sparse hair of her vagina.

Desperate fumblings, unable to get a hold on that elusive female center. It was her magnet, yet now she used it to repel what she had once attracted. His hand fell back, clawed at his terrible wound, which opened like a second mouth crying for pity. She threw back her head and silently laughed. All this happened within the tiniest fraction of a second. Then, inevitably, all along the line the women began slitting the throats of the unsuspecting Walts, one after another, slash, slash, slash, slash, slash, with the same reactions, the same twist of the female features.

The blood and gore rushed down towards him like a swiftly-burning fuse. In that instant he knew he was going to die. When the line of murders reached the end, the nearest reflections, the woman beside him would wake and then slit his throat with her scissor-sharp claws. Down the line came that sweep of slashing hands on the end of white arms, like a sea wave surging down a long curved bay.

Instead, he reached under his own pillow and found the automatic pistol. In the next moment, before the line of arms reached his bed, he shot the woman beside him twice in the chest. She did not even open her eyes. There was the faintest of grunts and then she flopped over the edge of the bed, to strike the glass floor with the sound of a dead fish hitting a slab of marble. Walt sat there trembling, the gun still gripped tightly in his fist.

At any moment he expected the door to be flung open. There would be oriental men wielding meat cleavers tumbling into the room. They would see the dead body and set about him, hacking him to pieces, leaving him bleeding from a thousand cuts. In his mind he could feel the cold bite of the choppers and butcher's knives now, biting into his vulnerable flesh. Bile rose to his mouth, as the terror of a horrible death washed through his stomach. He had twenty-five rounds left in the automatic.

He waited in abject misery, wondering how he had got into this mess, and how he would ever get out of it. No one came. He waited for at least ten minutes, before breaking down and sobbing, burying his face in one of the pillows. Then he suddenly got angry. Red, misty rage swamped his brain. He sat up quickly. What the hell was all this? They had set him up, somehow. He was a patsy. They had used him to murder a woman whose name he did not know. What would he say to the police? The whole story was so fantastic the cops would laugh at him. Yet it was possible, with modern technology, to arrange something like this.

The mirrors could be screens, displaying pictures they picked up through hidden cameras. Once the computers behind the screens had the images, they could do what they liked with them. All right, he had experienced unbelievable orgasms, but those could have been drug-induced, using that fragrance which pervaded the room at all times. He stared again at the terrible mirrors and another thought came to him.

Maybe it was more devious still! He remembered they could often hide prying eyes behind them. He finally saw through their whole filthy deviant scheme now. There was an audience behind those mirrors, paying to watch him make love to, then murder a young woman.

Voyeurs of sex and death. The owners were using him to supply their jaded customers, those men who had seen and done everything, with a new excitement, a new experience. He imagined drooling customers watching open-mouthed as he and the woman frolicked on the bed, cried out in ecstasy, desire overflowing. Then the spectacle of the murder, the weapon blasting, the bullets striking flesh, the fear on the face of the murderer, the subsequent show of remorse.

They probably loved every twisted minute of it: their voyeurism satiated with visions of fornication and blood. Well this was Walt Jones they were dealing with, not some namby-pamby from the suburbs of Suckerville. He was not going to lie down for this kind of deception. He was going to make them pay in more than money. Walt imagined the terrified audience behind those mirrors, running for their lives as he pumped rounds into the walls and ceiling. He felt a barbarous achievement as the mirrors crashed all around him, the shards falling on his bed, slicing and piercing his naked body.

It was raining glass and he did not care whether one of those dagger-sharp shards pierced his heart or not. He felt he really deserved to die with the woman. Those monsters had forced on him the role of executioner for their own anomalous cravings and he had failed to see how they were manipulating him. Finally, he was out of ammunition, the mirrors all broken.

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He shook his head. Fragments like diamonds fell from his hair. Seating is available at 5 p. Opening remarks and the lecture begin at p. An author reception and book signing will be held from to p. The lecture is free and open to the public. Walk in the Fire , a sequel to Lightwood , will be published in Steph is also a short story writer, reader, teacher, and dog lover among many other things.

She was born in St. While at Davidson College, she won the Vereen Bell writing award for short fiction. She later attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington as part of the Graduate Liberal Studies program where she continued to write both creatively and academically. She currently lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and teaches writing at a performing arts high school in Tampa.