Kickoff written by fefedove

Break the Glass

Will you still love a mystery after its reveal?

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I am a strong believer in other worlds. Alternative universes created by time travelers, our alternate selves living out experiments. Parallel worlds of our reflections. Skewed worlds where time flows backwards.

There are so many universes possible. Our neurons are like the stars and galaxies. We all live with a different perception of the world.

Others say I'm crazy. Delusional, fanatical, whimsical. I play along, and so I don't care. I'm perfectly fine "living inside my own mind," as they put it.

But I don't understand how they don't feel it.

It's 4 a.m. right now. In some cultures, "four" means death. For me, it is peace.

At night, my mind is clear, but the boundaries become blurred.

The streets are empty, save for the rumbling of an occasional vehicle. Where are they rushing towards? Who is inside, trapped between the metal frames?

I want to take a moonlit stroll down the center of the road. The shadows beckon me -- there are stories and spirits lurking in every corner.
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A fallen leaf disintegrates under my feet. The crunching is a cry of pain from the flower fairy trapped between its veins.

The fantasy world of the streetlamp reflected off a puddle by the sewer is still in my mind as I push open the door. Waiting for the elevator to descend, I glance at my reflection. The elevator door has long lost its luster, scratches and stains marring it despite the custodians' efforts (or lack thereof).

The other me looking out from the metal is skewed and hazy, as if a piece of Impressionistic art. I cock my head and stare. Why do I seem so sad, my lips stretched into a frown?

I time my breaths with the change of the neon numbers.

3 . . .
2 . . .

My reflection splits in half. I allow the elevator to swallow me and bring me up to another world.

A dingy world.

The musty smell welcomes me as I force the door open with my shoulder. It's dark, the shadows snaking up my waist and around my arms like tendrils of smoke.

I need to fix the light, I realize
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as I flick the switch on. The fluorescent glow drowns the room in a sickly yellow wash, before the bulb crackles and fizzes out.

I don't mind. The full moon sheds enough light on the undone room. My roommate isn't there, although the blankets on her bed are mussed. Heat radiates from it still. I imagine her parallel self is sleeping soundly. But I have no clue where she is now, in this world. Probably drowning in liquor and drinking with the spirits.

People laugh when they find out we're roommates. Only someone drunk day and night can stand someone as off the walls as me. But "crazy" as I am, I still can't stand the pungent smell of beer shrouding the room.

Dragging myself to the bathroom, I'm pleasantly surprised that the light here still works. The tiny bathroom brightens, and the mirror reveals how dead awful I look.

Dark, heavy circles ringing my eyes; hollow cheeks; ghastly skin dotted with pimples . . . well, this is probably expected for someone who works until 4 a.m. every
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night (or is it day?)

Heaving a sigh, I turn on the faucet and hold my face under the running water. My hair is drenched and will dry awkwardly, but who cares? The water is refreshing and cleans away the exhaustion.

I only wish that my alternative identities are more well rested.

When the already cold water turns freezing, it's time to come back. Slamming the faucet down, I straighten and stare at the mirror, hoping I look more alive.

Something is wrong.

My reflection is facing the other direction.
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