Wednesday, 26 November 2014

On Reflection

Her sightless gaze stared at the mirror. The face of a man took shape in front of her. The reflection had a vague watery look about it, as if it was not quite real. Yet it was definitely a man’s face. A handsome face, confident and self assured. The lips disdainful, moved to a full sneer. His eyes were black with contempt, and she felt the fear. Then something moved.
The whole face turned into disbelief and shocked surprise. The smooth forehead was flawed. The flaw a perfect circle. The circle grew in size and colour right in the centre. She was transfixed by the symmetry. The back of his head exploded in an arc of grey and red mist as he went down. He had been a big man, that had been part of his problem, and now in slow motion he spread his length upon the pavement. He fell like an old factory chimney, and lay unmoving upon the ground. She knelt beside him shaking, she could feel herself shaking. Then feet arriving, many feet came from nowhere. Always feet, she never looked above the feet. Hands gently lifted her away, but still her eyes remained on his grey face, taking in the crimson puddle, then again the feet. More and more feet. The further she backed away, the more she melted into the gathering crowd. Then he was out of sight and she was walking.
She knew the mirror had been there, but all the time she stared the events continued to unfold in a perpetual loop. How long had she been there?
Now his face was back just as before. This time she was aware that another face, that of a woman, was superimposed onto the sneering lips. She was aware of a desire to identify this woman. Somehow she was important. The loop continued as before with the scarlet hole central to his forehead, but the woman’s reflection intruded further and further into her consciousness. The more she tried to identify the reflection the more ‘ he’ faded into the background. Once again she reached the point where she left the feet behind and began to walk. She was aware of the walk. She remembered walking. She had walked here.
Then the woman in the mirror stared right back at her as clear as day. She was grey and drawn, even under heavy make up and her eyes were black. The black had cut a swathe through the peach foundation, skirted tight lips and was dripping off her jaw line.
The soaking wet mascara began to smart quite painfully, and to her horror she saw the face in the mirror make the connection. Once again in slow motion she watched as the woman’s reflection came to the realisation she was staring at herself.
The pain in her eyes and the release from shock galvanised her into action. The full peril of her situation hit her hard and fast.
Grabbing a handful of tissue she wiped away the errant mascara, taking the heavy peach foundation as she went. Methodically and efficiently she worked until her face was naked. She raised her eyes once more to the mirror to survey her handiwork. The vulnerable reflection eyed her back. No more black streaks, only red rimmed eyes where the chemical had been. However, in its nakedness, her skin revealed a mass of small scars and evidence of recent bruising. He had always aimed for her face. He enjoyed her pain and liked to admire his handiwork. He knew he controlled her completely and it gave him such a buzz. Always so very sure, the final surprise had been total.
The tinny voice of the tannoy crackled into life announcing the imminent arrival of the London train. Gathering up the large pile of damp tissue, she deposited it into the bin with something akin to aplomb. She opened the clasp of her handbag and placed the leather gloves on the top of the gun. She closed it firmly. In the mirror her reflection raised an eyebrow in acknowledgement of a job well done. Closing the door of the Ladies waiting room, she crossed the platform and entered the anonymity of the train.

The copyright of this post belongs to Geneva Grey

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